With an initial base flash from Karcepts loaded up, I tossed on some old Bridgestones and made my way to Danville, VA for the first event of the year (and the car!). The site is a pretty decently-sized runway, usually with two or three sweepers fit in there, but lots of transitions, and pretty grippy for asphalt, so seemed to be a great spot to shake it down. Nice warm day to kick things off with great weather, so got to the site, tossed numbers on, and (along with Ally!) got going quickly.
I had really no idea where to baseline the car, so just tossed some best guesses at settings and headed out. First run was a 37.0xx, and I was really impressed with how the car drove. No really bad habits, TONS of grip, and VERY easy to drive, probably the easiest to drive car I’ve ever been in. Really great work by Brian Karwan at Karcepts giving me such a spectacular setup to build on.
As the day went on, I didn’t really end up going a whole lot faster, which again, speaks to how easy this car was to drive. I had set a best time of 36.4, with a couple 36.5/36.6s there. A friend and multi-time National Champion, Andrew Pallotta, happened to swing by the site, so I tossed him in the car and wanted his thoughts (and to find out how bad I was driving). While I had zero issue with the car, he ran into some issues with high-speed transitional oversteer and a lack of ability to get back to the power. We ultimately ran within the same tenth after he took a couple more runs, but I knew that I would have preferred to use the driving style he was, while I was driving very tidy and calm. We’d tried some smaller changes, and they didn’t really do much. I knew that the next time I ran on these tires, I’d want to go up in front bar setting, and maybe throw back in some rear rebound to keep the entry rotation I was liking. Ally also found the car pretty easy to drive, and ended up about two seconds off of Andrew and I.
Day 2 was a little different. Ally had driven back home in the “support vehicle”, and took the Bridgestones home with her, while I decided to scrub in the new set of BFGoodrich Rivals I plan (or rather, had planned…) on using at early events this year. Some early rain meant by the time I got on course, it was still a little damp. I didn’t really get to feel how much grip the tires were gaining per run, because the conditions were changing, but I ended up preferring the way the BFGs drove to the Bridgestones, because I was able to be much more aggressive with them, both on entry and exit. Threw down a time that had me well clear of everyone else there, but didn’t have Andrew’s presence to go put down a flyer and show me how much work was left to do. I left early, and made the long drive back home, really content with how the first outing went. There’s some more prep to do still, but all of the big items are taken care of, and it’s just down to adjustments and getting better at driving.
Here’s a video of my best Day 2 run, I didn’t really get any usable video from Day 1.