2015 has been a busy year for me and I planned my racing schedule ahead of time accordingly. Unfortunately that meant that for a large chunk of the summer, after GTA Road ATL, the #44 BC Racing / Z1 Motorsports G35 was not racing. Fortunately though it gave us time to address a few issues and get it ready for our first NARRA Whelen USTT Series race since winning the TT1 North Cup Championship at Sebring in 2013. NARRA is a unique series that not only runs Time Trial but also runs GT cars, F2000, Formula Atlantic, Formula V and much more. They jam pack a ton of great racing into a well run schedule, its a great series with great people running it.
The NARRA Whelen USTT Series has different rules than what the #44 G35 usually runs in Global Time Attack. NARRA allows racing slicks in all classes from TT3 to TTU and divides cars based on power to weight ratio. As such our car was relegated to the TTU category but we were running on our GTA setup with our awesomely sticky Hankook Ventus TD tires. Before arriving at the track on Friday we found out that there was sadly only one other car in TTU and it was my BC Racing team mate Phil Grabow in his impressively fast Element Tuning Subaru WRX.
With a low car count (less then 10 TT cars altogether), we decided to use the weekend as a test weekend and to pay attention to the data the Computech DataMaxx, Haltech ECU and Aim SOLO DL was recording. My brother, who is the co-owner of Computech and all around data/computer whiz, joined me for the first time ever and served as my data guy. With his knowledge on the data side and a weekend with clear track time, I knew it would be a good learning weekend, and it certainly was. It was also the first time we were using our new enclosed Halmark 28ft trailer and I must say it was a completely different, and much more enjoyable, experience at the race track than I ever had with my old open trailer.
Saturday was Round 11 and for the first few sessions I used to learn the track and get used to the car again. The last time I had been to New Jersey Motorsports Park Thunderbolt in 2013 for NARRA USTT NJMP we were in the pouring rain and using a different configuration, so any previous knowledge I had of the track was minimal at best. We made a few small adjustments and along with learning a few of the tricky Thunderbolt turns ended up finishing day one with a decent 1:33.39 putting us 3rd overall and 2nd in TTU. I learned a great deal in the last evening session of the day and was excited to see what we could do on Sunday. Unfortunately also during the last session a nagging issue seemed to rear its ugly head in the form of a large smoke trail out of the back of the car during deceleration, a similar issue we had in the past that showed itself a good bit at Road ATL. Doing all we could to address the issue at the track we decided to try the first morning session of Rd 12 on Sunday and see if anything improved, and at the very least get a good lap down for the day.
When Sunday morning rolled around I was confident I would improve on my time from Saturday. I was aiming to be at least a few second faster, hopefully dipping into the 29’s before the end of the day assuming our oil issue didn’t get worse. The session started off great and I got a few good hot laps in just as the smoke blowback became unbearable in the cockpit and worried the issue might be larger than I thought. I got the #44 BC Racing / Z1 Motorsports Infiniti G35 down to a 1:31.23 on my last lap, which ended up not being quite as quick as we wanted but decent given the limited laps and the issues we were having. After the first session complete and the oil plume becoming a grave concern, we decided to pack up and head home in an effort to keep from hurting the car. All in all the weekend was a good test weekend that gave me more confidence in the car as a driver and showed a few issues that need to be addressed before we travel to New Orleans in October for Round 2 of the Global Time Attack Pro Series. Be sure to view the race recap Youtube videos attached to this article and follow on social media for more updates and photos.