Excited from our recent big win at Road Atlanta for the GridLife South Motorsports & Music Festival, and returning to a track in New Orleans where we had won GTA Limited class outright the year before, we were rather confident in the #44 BC Racing Time Attack G35 coming to New Orleans. And excited to see if we could best our time from the year before and repeat as winners at GTA Pro Series Rd 2 at NOLA Motorsports Park. With the newly rebuilt engine running well thanks to Z1 Motorsports, car setup and feeling great with my BC Racing ZR Coilovers and my confidence as a driver pretty darn high, we had some high expectations for a win and were set for a weekend were we would hope to at least end up on the podium, unfortunately only half of that ended up being the case.
The second race of the Global Time Attack Pro Series is hosted in one of my favorite race track cities in America; New Orleans, with its awesome history, amazing food, music and great nightlife… oh and a great track right across the bridge in Avondale, LA. Learning the track last year I felt like I had left some time on the table while chasing the track and setup, and was excited to get back for our second year in a row at NOLA and attempt to beat our benchmark time from the year before. Right out of the gate in Friday practice the car felt great and was already matching our times from the previous year, and in a good pace to improve over the weekend as long as the car stayed the way it was and I drove consistent.
Come Saturday morning we went out in the first session and quickly put ourselves at the top of the Limited RWD class standings and solidified our place in the faster A Group for the weekend. As each session progressed I noticed that the car started to lack overall grip, but I tried to drive through it and in a few spots overdriving and resulting in slower laps than we were expecting on the new setup. At the end of Day 1 our time from the first session in the morning remained as our fastest and keeping us on the podium in 2nd but not in the lead for LRWD.
After replacing the brake pads, checking over the alignment and a few suspension changes the night before, Sunday morning came with great weather and morning sessions that should have been good for some fast times, and our goal of beating our time from the previous year. After two sessions of driving my best, it quickly became obviously that our source for lack of overall grip was due to our over-used and over-heat cycled tires. Our Toyo R-888 100tw tires ran great for us at GTA Road Atlanta and GridLife Road Atlanta, but asking 3 event weekends from one set of tires was just too much for the compound to handle. Somewhere between unloading on Friday and running on Saturday morning, the 120+ lap tires finally gave up and became an unavoidable degrading grip issue, one that we didn’t prepare for with spares, and had to finish the weekend on the same set.
Stuck with what we had, I tried my hardest to improve on our time from Saturday morning but to no avail. We were simply unable to go faster than we had gone the year before but we had still managed to go fast enough to finished the weekend in 2nd place in Global Time Attack Limited RWD. It was a great weekend with friends, GTA family and of course Savanna and I can’t wait to come back to NOLA and get the lap we always seem to be craving when we leave. Now onto our shortest turn around of the year and head north to Road Atlanta for the 2017 Z Nationals Track Day presented by Z1 Motorsports!