If you’ve been following the blog as religiously as our chief priests and bishops require of you, oh parishioner of the Our Lady of Malfunctioning Dashboard Clusters ministry you would know our June 20th play-date with the southern format of the Autobahn Country Club left us sorely wanting. In our Covid-19 lonesome we were left to trek to the track alone and wallow in the sadness of reflecting on our Sport-5 class victory without the critical analysis we’ve come to appreciate from our teammates. Fortunately, the state, and so the track, reasonably loosened restrictions and we were thusly allowed “crew members” on the next outing. The July 3rd Full-Blown RYE30 Racing Trackday, presented by the Chicago Region Sports Car Club of America, and hosted by the Autobahn Country Club of Joliet, Illinois has been regarded by some as time capsulate to many of the greatest moments in motorsports history, and we will now telltale for you a synopsis of that great day via a format of learn-ed lessons.
Lesson #1: Anatomy Homework
Watch videos or play video games to learn the track (especially if you bring a newbie with you)
This would be our first opportunity to have full reign of this suburban Chicago jewel. We’d done two autocrosses on the southern format of the course, but even that only allowed us access to three-quarters of the track, and only for just over minute at a time. Fun, but not very conducive to learning. Covid has made many people’s lives more difficult so we won’t complain. Because we weren’t allowed an instructor, we made the best of our time there by treating it like a high-school independent study semester. We YouTube’d some videos to get use ready for the 20-minute sessions. We saw how driver’s setup for more difficult turns, where they entered the pit, and where we might have to give folks the good ol’ point-by. If you’re reading this in the past, you’re boned. But if you’re reading it in the future, you’re in luck. Assetto Corsa and Simm Trax have recently released the Autobahn Country Club for PC users so you can practice it in real time with better cars than ours.
Lesson #2: Brake Faded
An ex-girlfriend of your author used to make a wish any time she’d see 11:11 on a clock. Maybe one of those wishes came true when we gingerly floated into the grass after fading our Hawk HP pads on approach to Turn 11. According to NIOSH’s Hierarchy of Controls, we should have adjusted our driving style. Your author can be an on/off driver at times and that fade bit us in a way we had never experienced on track or in daily driving so it was an incredible surprise. The saving factor was that in still learning the track I was using a braking marker that was far enough back to give me plenty of time slow down, even with brakes that were far from adequate. You would think the opposite, but from our research of how SpecE30 does the thing, we learned that cooling isn’t as important as quality. The Hierarchy would demand that you give the car an occasional cool-down lap and that you then bump your pads up to something equivalent to PFC 08s or Hawk DTC-60s.
Lesson #3: FUN MAXIMIZATION
Pay attention to the schedule. If we’d at least glimpsed at the schedule to glean more than when it was our time to run, we would’ve noticed that the ‘track touring’ of the day. This time is reserved for the the spectator to leisurely gallivant about the course at spirited speeds in a competitors car or their own. This would have been our opportunity to take Papa RYE30 out for a run but we missed it by a throttle cable wire due to incompetence.
Lesson #4: Don’t Let Financial Ruin, Ruin Your Good Time
Be confident. But not wreckless. When a fellow participant is hogging the course, remind them gently (with your imminent presence) that they might be in the way. We were hesitant to crowd the lone, novice driven Ferrari that day. But in nearly every corner, we couldn’t stretch our legs enough to take the corner with any sauce seeing as the wet noodle ahead of us was still learning. After a stern talking-to by the crew chief about standing out, we stopped holding back on the corners and kept pace with the Ferrari enough to make sure it knew we were there. Good faith is often part of the equation unfortunately, but this time, surprisingly, the Ferrari took the hint and gave us the finger. The point-by finger. After that, the wind was in our hair. As much as can get in there with a helmet on.
Take it from us, you can have fast fun in a slow car. You just have to be aggressive, be-be aggressive.
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We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.
Featured image courtesy of Austin Boynton