My last trackday entry spoke about Pearl’s first outing at Wakefield Park Raceway which happened more than year ago. Seeing that I may never write about present events days after they happen; as I have yet to write about my last three track days, I’ll fast forward all the way to the most recent track day which was just over a fortnight ago.
As much as I would have liked to, Pearl didn’t attend many track days in the past year. From her debut at Wakefield here, she has only left her mark four times since – twice at Eastern Creek South Circuit and twice again at Wakefield. And out of those four visits, two were with the friendly and well organised HSV Owners Club of NSW so I had no reservations about going with them again to Wakefield this time around.
This track day ended up slightly different though, this time I had a crew in tow to whom I could ramble to about my car setup and track times (although to her credit, my girlfriend is pretty good at pretending she understands it all). Jay from trak-life finally decided to take The Fridge out for her first outing at Wakefield Park and friends of trak-life Sam (180SX), Andrew (MX-5) and Angus (Evo X) came along to put their rides to the test.
Sporting an aggressive wheel alignment (-3.5mm front camber and also 3.5mm front toe out) to help reduce the understeer to what I believed hampered my lap time on last visit, I expected some decent improvements on the clock; rest of the car remained unchanged.
An average 1:13.91 was my time to beat which was set on my last visit in April 2013 with HSVOC.
How much more can I push with my current Federal 595 RSR street tyres?
Well not much more it seems, my best for the day was a 1:13.69… a massive 0.22 seconds faster than my previous time. For the first two sessions I thought I would never be able to replicate a 1:13 time as I was constantly hovering in the 1:14’s. To my glee though I did manage that one 1:13 time on the third session where a (stock looking) blue S15 was hot in pursuit. Kudos to that driver though, he obviously is the better driver by driving the same car but with worse tyres, suspension and power than Pearl (or perhaps he was following my awesome lines haha). Goes to show as a driver, I have plenty areas of needing improvement.
As if showing her disappointment with my progress, Pearl gave up after the third session. An electrical or alarm immobiliser fault disabled her for the rest of the day so my chance to crack into the 1:12’s was left for another day. Thankfully though with a slight push on the backside she could be clutch started so I did manage to get her home… phew!
Reviewing my in-car footage at great length, I realise my corner entry and exit speeds are still suffering. Faster in and faster out of the corner required! For next time though I will have my lap timer ready so lap by lap I will get instant feedback per sector so I know if what I’m doing is better or worse.
For her maiden voyage, Jay’s R33 Fridge managed a 1:19.41 which is good time considering her minimal handling modifications, stock power and sub par mismatched tyres. But I did wonder after a while if Jay was really trying to get the best time or was just having too much fun going sideways on most turns. I’m sure Jay is already planning his next mods to get that time down and catch up to Pearl!
Marking a great 1:17 laptime in his 180SX at his first visit to Wakefield in April, Sam drastically improved that time just by slapping some new treads on the rear. The shiny new Kumho KU36’s managed to get him 1:14.7 on his very first session! That’s a three second improvement straight off the bat! He ended the day with very worn brake pads and a proud 1:14.6. With more track time, better brakes and suspension Sam is really going to be friendly competitor.
Another second time visitor, Andrew’s MX-5 was out to represent the naturally aspirated 4 cylinders amongst the V angled cylinder and turbo charged crowd. Wearing Bridgestone Adrenalin RE002’s, the nimble roadster beat it’s PB with a solid 1:18.51. So much potential waiting to be unlocked! Can’t wait to see what’s next in store.
For the newcomer in his shiny new Evolution X MR with SST, Angus was just happy to get out there and have a fang around the track. It wasn’t about setting the fastest time on the leaderboard, instead it was about learning the right driving lines and adapting to the new feel of the car. It also could have been about overtaking slow cars on the straight but oh well… maybe he can master that next time.
Overall it was an awesome day, the best I’ve had to date. It was great having Jay and friends there enjoying it as much as I do was and just as great meeting new people who share the same passion in cars and time attack. Although I did not make great strides in my goal to 1:10, I was still learning and progressing which is all part of the fun process.
Big thanks to the two lovely trak-life photographers (you know who you are).
Also thanks to the guys who made me the best egg and bacon roll when I was going massively catabolic (losing gains!).
And lastly of course to HSVOC for organising another great day, we will all return to represent trak-life!
P.S Sam who managed the 1:06.84 on the day and Tom who followed so ever closely behind with a 1:06.89, top work! I need to say hello and get some tips from you next day 🙂