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sb_915
April 16th, 2013, 03:23pm
Last week, Chris and I found out about an opportunity to rent a BMW 318i for the Chump Car race at Watkin's Glen. It wasn't in the budget, and it was expensive, but it was a GOOD deal because they had two drivers back out, and it was last minute.

So, we went for it!

Friday: 5 hour practice session
Saturday; 7.5 hour endurance race 1
Sunday: 7.5 hour endurance race 2

Chris made a trip to Perry Performance on Wednesday, and Carl hooked him up with a suit, socks, balaclava, and a HANS device. We were all set to go! Plus, Carl had booked an extra room, so we had a place to stay at the Seneca lodge!

Thursday after work, he came to pick me up and we headed out. The trip was long and BORING, but we made it there in decent time, and we were pumped for the weekend. Carl met up with us about 30 minutes later, and we had a couple beers at the Seneca Lodge bar before calling it a night - they have GREAT local homebrew.


Friday:

Friday morning we wake up to a COLD, WET, miserable day. We make our way to the track for 8am where we meet up with Open Road Motorsports. We are introduced to "Blanche" who was to be our ride for the weekend. It's a "stock" 98 BMW 318i, with Dunlop Direzza DII tires. They were going to be running "Buzz" - a 1992 BMW 325i, similarly equipped. Our team consisted of 3 "experienced" lappers but our fourth was the only one who had wheel-to-wheel experience. The other team consisted of 4 VERY experienced road racers.
http://i1342.photobucket.com/albums/o769/sb_600/Chumpkins Glen 2013/IMG_1451_zps6e123dfc.jpg



After a bit of prep/setup, the cars were ready to go for practice. We get on the track, and it's cold and rainy. I was the second driver - I get strapped in, barely knowing the configuration, having to get used to people passing everywhere, in a new car, on new tires.... holy crap.

http://i1342.photobucket.com/albums/o769/sb_600/Chumpkins Glen 2013/IMG_1452_zps717eb5ba.jpg

http://i1342.photobucket.com/albums/o769/sb_600/Chumpkins Glen 2013/IMG_1454_zps232960bd.jpg


The first lap went ok. I was told to brake early for corner 1 (at the 400 marker) until i got a good feel for the car, so that's what I did. Well, turns out there was standing water exactly there, the car locked up, and I thought I was going to go off! OMG. I was in WAY over my head.

I took a breath, kept going, and the rest of the practice went well. We each did 2 30 minute stints, and were all comfortable with the track layout, and relatively comfortable with the car. People were really courteous on Friday, so we had high hopes for the weekend. Obviously, we went back to the bar Friday night. Good times.

http://i1342.photobucket.com/albums/o769/sb_600/Chumpkins Glen 2013/IMG_1456_zps2adc801a.jpg
http://i1342.photobucket.com/albums/o769/sb_600/Chumpkins Glen 2013/IMG_1457_zpsef155de6.jpg

Saturday:
Saturday, breakfast was being served at 7:15, driver's meeting at 8, and the track was to go green at 9am. We had a DELICIOUS breakfast, got ourselves sorted out on pit wall, strapped our first driver in the car, and we were good to go!

Our car was capable of doing about 3hours on a tank of gas, but since we had to do 3 driver changes, we opted to fuel at the same time (so every 1.75-2 hours). Every time you fuelled you needed to stop for a minimum of 5 minutes. While this may not have been the "best" race strategy, it worked, and helped ensure equal track time.

I was the second driver in the car. It was drizzling for the first session, and that carried over into mine. I get in, and in the first lap I notice the car intermittently shut off and the restart. I call it in over the radio and they tell me to keep going as long as the temps are good. Cool.

A few laps later it does it again, and then again.... crap... then finally, it gave out and didn't restart. Pull off the track, and wait for the tow truck. They get me to the pits, we start checking stuff - loose ground. I'm back out in less than 10 min from the time it shut off – not bad!
The rest of my session goes really well – the car was awesome, and I got it down to a 2:36.X. I was pretty happy with that, considering it was my first time driving under race conditions. Turns out the courtesy we saw on Friday didn’t translate to Saturday. Only disappointment is there was a big crash which caused a red flag for about 20 min, so I lost that driving time in my session - Oh well!
Chris gets in the car and does equally well – gets down in the 2:36s as well. But when our 4th, experienced driver gets in... whoa – nails a 2:32 – cool now we have a target for Sunday! The car finishes the day with no more issues. We finished 27th out of 94 (yup, 94 cars!!!), and Buzz finishes 5th! We do a nut a bolt check, have dinner, and yup – head back to the bar!

http://i1342.photobucket.com/albums/o769/sb_600/Chumpkins Glen 2013/IMG_1461_zpsef8332b3.jpg

Sunday:
Sunday start was similar to Saturday – 7:15 breakfast, 8am drivers meeting, 9am start. Same driver order, since it went so well. Also, we had planned on changing tires, but they looked so good, we kept them! Weather was a bit better – still cold, but not as much, and it wasn’t raining anymore. By the end of the day, the sun even came out.
First driver does well – gets to the 2:36s, I get in, drive as best I can, get a 2:31 – SWEET! Chris gets in, gets a 2:32, bam – Red flag. A miata went off in turn 1 – driver unconscious, MEDIVAC on its way (he was OK in the end – it was just a precaution). They pull everyone around to the front straight: all drivers out of the cars – doing a meeting at the start/finish line (if it was not for the circumstances, would have been really cool). About 20min or so later, race goes green – Chris finishes his session and we put the last driver in – 2:29s!!!! We ended up in 23rd that race. It was EPIC.

http://i1342.photobucket.com/albums/o769/sb_600/Chumpkins Glen 2013/IMG_1467_zpscc6fc2e3.jpg

Overall (or if TL;DNR):
The experience was unreal. I would do this again in a heartbeat. The gentleman’s racing is awesome, don’t get me wrong, but this is on a whole different level. The car needed more power, but it was a blast to drive, and you could outdrive most cars by late braking and carrying more speed in the corners. Absolutely EPIC.

http://i1342.photobucket.com/albums/o769/sb_600/Chumpkins Glen 2013/IMG_1478_zps6d2577ee.jpg

Oh, and the trophies are cool too:

http://i1342.photobucket.com/albums/o769/sb_600/Chumpkins Glen 2013/IMG_1479_zpsfa5d3ea2.jpg

Here’s a video of some of the best moments:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzmGT30ihAQ

0:00-9:26: good battle with an e36 325is, and general traffic
9:27-12:26: battle with an orange miata, get forced to do some agricultural work at the top of the esses (kind of a WHOA moment), and an outside line in the caroussel – anything to make the passes happen!
12:27- 13:30: 4-wide into turn one – I’m on the outside.... oh and that red BMW is back!
13:31: end: general good traffic, and a good feel of what the race was – good battle with ford contour as well!
9:27-12:26: battle with an orange miata, get forced to do some agricultural work at the top of the esses (kind of a WHOA moment), and an outside line in the carousel – anything to make the passes happen!
12:27-13:30: 4-wide into turn one – I’m on the outside.... oh and that red BMW is back!
13:31-end: general good traffic, and a good feel of what the race was – good battle with ford contour as well!

mphysk
April 16th, 2013, 03:27pm
thanks for the writeup... was just googleing for results....

mikeman
April 16th, 2013, 03:34pm
Awesome!! I actually read it all..

sb_915
April 16th, 2013, 03:35pm
No problem!

A couple more pics here:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/sb_600/library/Chumpkins%20Glen%202013

Mechs02
April 16th, 2013, 03:36pm
SOOOO awesome. Can't wait to be able to do this!!

1Morelap
April 16th, 2013, 03:39pm
Awesome!! I actually read it all..

Ian
April 16th, 2013, 03:45pm
Great writeup! Looking forward to giving this a shot one of these days.

wing
April 16th, 2013, 03:45pm
Damn you! When I saw that post from Glen and saw your "sold" I was bummed. Glad you guys had a blast!

Must have been really intense at the Glen for the first time racing, from what I hear it's scary just lapping at times.

raggedrabbit
April 16th, 2013, 04:28pm
:fyea:

Mario
April 16th, 2013, 04:59pm
Great story Shawn. It was like I was there. Lucky you

Just finished watching the video. Dam Shawn , it's so scary fast that track! The whole thing is full of close calls! With the high fencing you can really get a good sense for the speed you guys are carrying. Man it's 'intense'

condor888000
April 16th, 2013, 05:58pm
That's awesome!

t
April 16th, 2013, 06:40pm
What was your general impression about the driver skills on the other teams?

It is supposed to be grassroot-ish..

T

sb_915
April 16th, 2013, 07:32pm
Honestly the only real issue I had was with that one car that pushed me off the track- everyone was pretty well behaved. That being said Sunday was much more aggressive and there were a LOT of incidents.

Out of the roughly 400 drivers, 126 were new!!!

daft_mx5
April 16th, 2013, 08:59pm
Wow. So much awesome.

tellum
April 16th, 2013, 09:18pm
Sounds like a wicked adrenaline rush.

yanrider
April 17th, 2013, 05:58am
Wow lucky mofo. Man this series is growing or what?!? So you want to hit the glen in June buddy?

sb_915
April 17th, 2013, 07:25am
Haha Yan I really do- but it's just not going to be feasible this year :(

Mario
April 17th, 2013, 07:27am
The 'Glen'
it is now on my list of tracks to try
man it looks fast

Gamz
April 17th, 2013, 07:52am
Badass!

Manimillion
April 17th, 2013, 08:35am
Cool write up, even cooler experience.

GIF-PWR
April 17th, 2013, 09:12am
yea great job on the writeup - that was a fun read.

sb_915
April 17th, 2013, 09:33am
Thanks guys!

Yeah the track is insanely fast - coming out of corner 1, in 4th gear, and then you hold your foot TO THE FLOOR until the bus stop on the back straight... I was hitting 195km/h in that little 318i, with 108WHP. It was rediculous!

It's really intimidating at first, especially because the walls are all SO close, but they kind of disappear after a while - you figure out where you need to look, and then you forget about them - until you get your gap closed on you and you start straddling the curbing at 170kph - then the walls are REALLY close!!!

mikeman
April 18th, 2013, 11:26am
man I remember playing this track in NASCAR Racing for PC in like 95-96, and then in Grand Prix legends (sans bus stop) later on. It is really fun, getting it right was awesome and getting it wrong was death. It's one of the tracks I REALLY want to drive.