For the rest of the day Friday we kept playing with suspension settings trying to get the car dialed in and also dealing with some odd pressure build ups on the tires. They had been sitting in my garage for a good while and this was the first time I had used this new set. It seemed no matter what we did they would build a ton of pressure equally all around after just a lap or two and never seemed to stabilize no matter how low we set them to correct the issue. I had used the same Hankook TD’s tires the last season without issue but these seemed to behave a bit different. We unfortunately chased the tire issue all weekend but ended up finding a somewhat tolerable middle ground with them allowing us to get a good lap or so out of them at a time. With the threat of rain on Saturday we tried to use the last session of the day to push as hard as possible but at this point the track and car (slight overheating of engine, brakes and tires) didn’t want to cooperate and left us with a pretty slow 1:39.xx to finish out the day. Knowing there was still a ton of time left in the car we made a few more suspension changes that evening and prepared for the first Saturday morning session before the rain came.
Every year it seems the Saturday morning sessions are always the fastest of the weekend and this year was no different. With the threat of rain looming all of the teams tried to push the limits Saturday morning and I was ready to do the same. Right off the bat I started to shave time in the first session thanks to Russel and Steve for getting the compression and rebound settings better than ever. The car was still rolling over more than I wanted due to the spring rates but I dealt with it and kept trying to improve, shaving time every lap.
Going into the second session I assumed it would be our last since the rain was forecast to be there any minute. I was hoping to at least get the car sorted out and my confidence built back up enough to run a 34 or 35 but unfortunately the best time I could muster before the throttle body began to fail (throttle pedal became intermittent and non-responsive toward the end of the session) was a 1:37.135. In Road Atlanta fashion the weather tricked us and ended up not coming down until later that evening after the race. With the track still dry and unsure if the throttle body would hold up I went into the final session ready to improve and more confident than ever and sure enough I lost throttle response going into the esses on my out lap and my weekend was over. I wasn’t very happy to break in the last session due to the simple throttle body failure but I was still amazed by how much better the car was handling and running as a whole, leaving me excited for the rest of the season. Z1 Motorsports helped get the car to where it has never been before and with some more changes I know we can continue to improve the car and get it closer to the front runners of the Limited RWD class.
The #44 G35 ended up finishing 4th in Limited RWD which was respectable but no where near the time I was hoping for. We will continue to improve the #44 Turbo by Garrett / Ignite Racing Fuel / Hankook Tire / Z1 Motorsports Infiniti G35 this season and use the GTA East Coast Pro-AM series to prepare the car for Super Lap Battle later this year in California, see you all there but in the meantime be sure to checkout the video above and visit www.GlobalTimeAttack.com for more info.