|A bad day at the track is better than a good day at work
||[Mar. 21st, 2008|07:34 pm]
Today was my second track day of the year. It neither started nor ended well, but the middle was great!
Last week, I had the transmission serviced. On the way to the track this morning, the transmission started slipping. The car wouldn't go over about 25MPH, so I limped it back to the dealership that did the service. Turns out they hadn't clamped one of the transmission lines properly, and it had dumped all of automatic transmission fluid. So they cleaned it up, refilled it, and double clamped the transmission line. This made me miss the first session of the day.
The middle sessions all went well. I was reasonably fast (I'm guessing 1:45 or better laptimes) and had a lot of fun.
It was raining for the last session of the day, so I decided to take it fairly easy. Apparently, I didn't take it quite easy enough. The back end snapped out on me in turn 5A. Counter steer did absolutely no good, so I locked up the brakes and became a passenger. After doing a 180, I went off track and bounced off the embankment. The right rear took most of the initial impact, and the front had a bit of damage as well. The car came to rest on track after it bounced off of the embankment.
The response from the corner workers, medical staff and coaches was timely and professional. After they made sure I was OK (just a bit sore and embarrassed) one of the coaches talked to me about why it happened. Skid marks indicated that I missed the apex. Now that I think about it, I think the spin may have started on turn entry, which is probably what caused me to miss the apex.
The most likely cause is that I was just going too fast for the slick conditions. My sense of what is slow needs to be readjusted. A few laps earlier I was doing just over 100MPH through the kink/turn 10, and it felt like I was crawling since I typically take it at around 120. Another possible cause is that I didn't manage the weight transfer very well on the approach to 5A. For 5A, I have to brake fairly heavily, downshift and get on the throttle simultaneously just before turn in. I probably didn't blend easing off the brake while adding throttle after the downshift very well, which would lead to an abrupt weight transfer, which could kick the rear end out.
The car is at the body shop, and I'll probably go with aftermarket bumpers. The car is currently stuck in Neutral, which I'm hoping won't be an expensive fix.
The new race seat and harness appear to have done their job well. It is impossible to know for sure, but I suspect I would have sustained minor injuries without them. I don't think the roll cage made a difference either way, but the additional stiffness may have kept the frame from bending.