Upgraded to Solo!

So, there’s lots more to tell, and it will take some time to get it all down on “ePaper”.   But, the biggest news of the weekend is that I’ve been upgraded to run solo.  Actually, my instructor got out after the first green session, and said, “Your doing good enough to drive solo.  You don’t need me here.  Just work on tightening up those Apexes.”

At the time I presumed that just meant that he would recommend upgrading me to the intermediate group at the end of the day.  Still cool.  That was my goal for the day because it opens up so many more options for seat time.  Besides the intermediates get a full 120 minutes of green-flag seat time.  The Novice groups only get 80 minutes.

Anyway, I showed up for the 4th session of the day (first one after lunch).  And the instructor never showed.  When the pit-master came to my car I kinda shrugged, indicating I didn’t know where my instructor was.  Shane came over and said “your instructor is Scott, right?”

Me, “Er, maybe? I didn’t catch his name.”

Shane, “Yeah, he talked to me about you.  Said you can run solo. So, GO!”

Alright then!  I, um, tightened the belts a bit more than usual, threw it in gear, and GTFO before someone changed their mind.  Yippe, Kai-yay!

I spent the remaining three sessions running solo, but still in the novice run group.  The car sure handled different without the 200 lbs in the passenger seat.  It took a few laps to settle in, and get into a groove.  Its funny how your psychology changes when the instructor isn’t there anymore.  Instantly, I was paying more attention to my own marks, turns, laps, etc.  I didn’t realize I was doing it before…but, I was deferring (at least) part of the job of analysis and correction to the right seat.  Once he wasn’t there, I had to THINK about it on my own…and make my own decisions about what to do next.

That was where the G2X came in.  It took me a few sessions to actually remember to set the SF.  But, I managed to do that on the first green session.  So, I had lap time +/- to use to see what I was doing, and how well.  In addition the G2X has a real-time +/- vs. best lap that helps to see how you just did in the last corner.   That makes a huge difference for on-track corrections.

I have video from most sessions (I forgot to start the camera a couple times).  And, I have G2X data from all.  It will take some time to go through it all…and figure out what I need to do differently.  I’ll be posting my thoughts as I make my way through it.  Besides, its also a learning experience to figure out how to use the G2X software, and data+video as a learning tool.

Given the limited amount of actual track time (once or twice a month), the data+video becomes important to get the most learning out of each and every corner of each and every lap.

The car performed great.  I have a couple minor issues to sort out:

1.  The car consumed about a 1/2 qt of oil during the day.  Nothing visible coming out the tail-pipe, But, I do know the front seal is leaking (normally just a nightly drip), and the valve cover gasket is leaking.  But, I don’t know how those two things add up to a 1/2 qt.  Hmmm….

2.  My entire dash, and blinker circuits stopped working on the last couple laps of the last session.  Not sure if this is a fuse, or something more sinister.


Stay tuned for more!

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