Thursday, July 26, 2018

Wettest track day ever at Tremblant


Yesterday I attended the wettest track day I’ve attended, ever. It rained all day, non stop, sometimes at a medium rate, sometimes heavy. It also rained the whole way there and I arrived at Tremblant later than planned, just as the instructor meeting was beginning.

The drive to Tremblant was nerve wracking… I have almost new tires on the Civic, but still the car was hydroplaning on certain sections of highway 15, due to massive water accumulation in the ruts that have formed over the years. I guess it’s a combination of wide tires and a light car, because when I rode with my students in their much heavier BMW’s, they did not seem to hydroplane as much.

Anyway, the unloading and preparation of the Civic, although quick, already left me soaking wet. As I headed out for the first session of the day, I could not help to laugh as I very slowly made my way around the track. I didn’t set up any data acquisition or the camera, because it was pointless in such terrible conditions. There was so much water on the track that it was impossible to avoid deep puddles and rivers, no matter what line you took. It was not like regular wet driving… there was hydroplaning every single lap… I’m not exaggerating.

After 2 full sessions and the lunch break, I headed out again in very heavy rain. After 2 laps, I came in. I wasn’t having any fun and I didn’t see the point of continuing. I spent about 45 minutes trying to get my driver side window rolled up (they make you run window down at that club, no negotiation. I was comically wet by this point. When I got some help and finally got the window up, I decided I was not doing this again and loaded up the car. My students were running solo and doing well, so I got permission to leave early, and I was home before dinner.

Windows closed, but water still getting in...
How did the car perform? The ECU problem never came up. The car felt stable. It takes on massive amounts of water in these conditions, I think through the floor, firewall and trunk. I don’t think it’s a major issue, I don’t plan on ever using the car in such conditions again, as I don’t see the point. I just want to go drive the frikkin car in normal conditions for once, not 35-degree heat, not massive rain storms… I guess I just have to be patient.

Civic ready to head home
Here is what I remember about the extreme wet line:


River across the track coming up to turn 2. Just drive straight through with wheels straight. Luckily, turns 2 and 3 had no water accumulation. 

Apex of 5 full of water, use the outside half of the road. 


Lots of standing water beore and after turn 6.

Turn 7 is fine, but after the turn, you have to keep to the right of the track to avoid huge amounts of standing water. As you approach 8, there is so much standing water that there is no way to avoid it. This was the scariest part of the lap.

Decent grip in turn 8. On the run up the hill to 9, there is another river running across the track and you will probably get wheel spin. I decided to time my 3-4 upshift with this area, and take my time shifting. After that, the left side of the track allows you to continue full throttle. 

After the hump, there is a big patch of standing water just before the braking zone. I usually lifted before that patch, then braked in the usual braking zone. 

Turn 10 is pretty normal, except there is a big puddle right at the apex, so leave a few feet from the dry apex. 

Turn 11 and 12 have good grip. 

Before turn 13, there is a massive amount of water on the track. The braking zone for 14 is fine, as is the corner. There is a lot of water at paddock bend, and the regular apex is submerged. After the bend, you can accelerate decently well before the big, early lift for turns 1 and 2.

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