ARTT at Buttonwillow


Wayne (in his 944 Turbo) and I went to Buttonwillow this weekend, for the Alfa Time Trials. For the first time, we decided to trailer a car, just in case Wayne’s clutch died, or my car died due to heavy abuse, or one of us wrecked. Wayne trailered his car(he picked up a used open trailer for $600) , and it was a pain in the ass getting there. Usually, we get to Buttonwillow in about an hour and 45 minutes, since we are going between 90-110 most of the way. Due to the trailer, it took us an additional 50 minutes or so. I bitch and more about what a pain the ass the trailer is, since I have to follow him at 70 mph instead of 100 mph. No other NSXCA members showed up at this event.

Mods for the weekend since last time: new fuel regulator(looks more reliable, no gasket in it like the other one), and Comptech Cat replacements.

We ran the entire track(minus the really tight hairpin) counter clockwise, using the long back straight instead of the kink. So if you look at this diagram: it is the entire outside line minus the two top hairpin sections in the upper left corner, and also minus part of the "U" in the middle, which is the hot pit. Looks like Cal Club could use help on their web site….

The real bummer is that I studied some old video tapes of Buttonwillow, but I watched the CLOCKWISE replays instead of the COUNTERCLOCKWISE replays. Bummer. More of a bummer as the COUNTERCLOCKWISE version is a little tougher to drive, what was fast increasing radius turns, is now very tough decreasing radius turns…

Anyways, after our first session on Saturday, Wayne and I drive so bad we feel like just quitting the damn sport and taking up trout fishing or something. We are running about 2:25 or so, horribly sloppy, missing all the lines, bad shift points, etc. Pathetic.

2nd session is a lot better, and we are running 2:08 or so, so we cut about 17 seconds off our lap time. 3rd and final session of the day, we are running 2:07 with 200+ lb passengers, and a big yellow flag due to a wreck. A red late model firebird(?) bit it going into the turn before the front straight(if you look at the web page above, and put 10×10 coordinates, he bit it at X=8, y=2.5.

Going clockwise, this is a pretty fast turn, but going counterclockwise, it is a really tricky, very very late apex, decreasing radius turn that everyone enters way too early. He went off to the outside, apparently tried to correct(instead of just going straight off into the dirt), shot across the track into a concrete wall. Driver is fine, but car is totalled. Earlier in the day, an Alfa Romeo also got totalled in the EXACT same spot. Only thing salvagable from the Alfa was maybe the passenger door handle. Needless to say, after these two incidents, everyone went a lot slower in this turn.

First session in the morning, we are running 2:07 or so, lots of traffic. Bob in his ZR-1 is running 2:02 in the race group, using those new Goodyear GSCS tires. They are DOT legal, for probably about 20 miles, in which they turn into slicks. Not sure if they will fit my Techno rims, but it might be worth a shot.

1st Session in the morning – Wayne and I are cooking now, and running 2:03’s, with me about 3/10ths of a second faster. The Comptech Supercharger is now taking effect, as previously Wayne pulled from me in the straights, but now I am pulling from him in the straightaways…heh heh heh….I know I am going to get my money’s worth out of the supercharger.

I pass Wayne(he of course will say he let me pass), and I am rocketing down the back straightaway at 120+ mph before braking a little before a small hill (located at x=9, y=1) as I go down the hill, I finish my braking VERY HARD as I am carrying a lot of speed still, but the pedal goes to the floor and I shoot off the track into the dirt. Wayne rips by laughing, thinking he pressured me into going off into the dirt. I got no brake pedal whatsoever. I limp in, and it turns out that my aftermarket steel braided line purchased 3 years ago (can’t remember the vendor name, I got the lines from Rod Millen Motorsports)(remember that thread from last month and earlier warnings?) separated at the caliper. The line goes into a screw on the caliper which has a hollow fitting for the hose to go over, and apparently I blew it off the fitting. Unrepairable, as it seems like an inner sleeve for the line is missing and it probably isn’t advisable to put a hoseclamp over the metal fitting, so I DNF, or DNS for the final time trial.

Wayne is laughing, as he realizes I owe him $50, because we go for best time in the printed final time trial results, which I cannot compete in. BUT, Wayne’s right front tire is showing cords, so I maintain that he can’t safely complete the time trials either, so it is a tie. He then says we will wait 3 hours for the final time trial, he will do one lap and run 4:00 minutes, just to get a result and collect his 50 bucks. I decided I don’t want to wait three more hours, so I give him the 50 bucks and we put the NSX on his trailer. Bummer. Especially because earlier in the weekend I was going over a mental list of stuff to take to the Hill Climb next weekend, and extra brake lines were on the list, along with a couple of those big thick radiator hoses that come from the firewall to the engine. Wayne now looks like a genius for insisting on buying the trailer and trailering HIS car to the event. So I avoid a $500 towing fee.

Wayne ended up picking up another 2/10th of a second in the next session, but I still be him by a 1/10 on our lap timers at 2:03.22, and he also got about 12 more laps than I did after I bowed out.

Other interesting points:

  1. Fastest person in the Time Trial group again was the Vette driven by Bill S., same guy who had fastest time at Laguna Seca. He said he was doing 2:01's in traffic. Grrrr... But, rumor has it he had some Lingerfield? work on his car. I could maybe possibly have run a 2:01.xx if I didn't break....(yeah, you heard that one before..)
  3. I used the R1s on my stock rims, until I get the techno wheels to fit.
  5. Seems like 70% of the cars there were running R1's.
  7. Fastest guys in the race group practice was a guy in a Lola, then the Dunestang (see laguna seca story on my web page), then Bob in his ZR-1. We didn't not stick around for any final results. Bob didn't used to be this fast, but he bought a Swift, races it, and he says it dramatically helped him drop lap times in his ZR-1. Now he runs 1:33 at Willow, which is a good 2-3 seconds faster than me and Wayne ever did in 23+ events at Willow. Grrrr...
  9. Wayne are I were probably third fastest and 2nd fastest out of about 55 cars in the time trial group before we bailed. But we didn't finish the event, so I am sure someone else will say, "I was 2nd fastest of the day in the final, printed, time trial results".
  11. In the last session on Saturday, I had to let a Caterham Super 7 pass me, as he was right on my butt through the twisties and I couldn't shake him. I have never been passed by one of these before at a big road course. Turns out he had a Ford Cosworth detuned Formula Atlantic engine it. He ended up biting the dust after he past me, as he broke an A-arm. I don't think he would of passed me on Sunday, when I was running 2:03's, but seeing that car hang with the NSX was pretty amazing.
  13. I couldn't hit the redline, as the engine light would come on, and car would stumble. I would have to shut off engine, turn key back on, and everything was fine again. I started short shifting at 7500 RPMs, and it was fine. Temp and oil pressure were fine. I got too many variables in the equation, cause it could be the new regulator, the change in the cat, etc. My mechanic also said that the O2 sensor might be going, and so did some people at the track, so I think I am going to start with that. For the past month, now and then at low RPMs in 5th gear, the check engine light would come on, but everything would be fine. Hopefully it is just the sensor dying.
  15. My gas mileage at the track event is about 6 miles per gallon with the super. I went 94 miles, 20 of which where on the highway at 60 mph. I used 13.2 gallongs of gas, so I figure about 12 miles to go 74 track miles.
  17. I got 3000 miles on the Super so far. Next weekend is the Hill Climb. Stayed tuned for the results on that one!!

At the Track
Track Tales

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