What a week. First time going to nationals, and first time going Laguna Seca. I have been prepping for this since my race in Hallet. I got enough race points to make nationals, and now 100 percent committed.
I paid for transport with the other Spec Miata friends. The cost was 3,000 USD to transport round trip. Yes, its expensive, but I would have paid roughy that much if I trailered the 86 with my LC. Since I had enough points on my credit card, I got a free round trip ticket to Monterey and back to Houston. Win, win.
Best part about the transportation, is having space bring my tools, and sets of tires. I wish I was paid to race, and fly all over the world. One day maybe.
My car made it to Leguna Seca before me! Getting excited, and also nervous.
I arrived later that day and picked up my Turo car rental. It was cheap rental, but the car was kinda eh. Thats a different story. Anyways, I got my rental, and then drove 20 mins from the airport to Laguna Seca!! I was so stoked at that point. I met up with Anthony for the driver registration. We recieved a swag bag, umbrella, and couple paddock passes.
Then I picked the 86 from the SM crew, and I parked next to the Honda Challenge boys. Mainly because we all sharing the Airbnb. Easier to go in one group.
Wednesday, I arrived 4pm and made it just in time for registration. Thursday I didn’t sign for the extra day of practice. I explored the Pacific coast highway with Anthony. My non racing adventures I’ll make another blog post. Lets just say Norcal, and Bay Area are very beautiful with the perfect weather.
Leguna Seca things. Unfortunately there is a sound restriction, because of the home owners complaining about the noise for sometime. The really sad thing is, Leguna Seca was built before the homes.
Friday was my 1st day of practice and qualifying. I went around the ring road to get views of what other car where doing. Some corners, they were not lifting, or just a brief lift of the gas pedal.
I did my first practice session and was great! Manage a 1:57 on my first time out. But in Grand Turismo 4, I was getting 1:48 with similar set up.
Post race, just waiting at impound. Make sure my car is in compliance. Unfortunately I have the lowest HP in the race class, and 320lbs over my minimum competition wt.
After practice, it was qualification number 1. we Had 4 quali before the Sunday race. The quali was there to help determine the race group for the green flag.
In the 2nd quali, I had two exhaust bolts that decided not the live this life. Ended up dragging my exhaust to paddock, and interestingly, I didn’t get black flagged. I knew my car was super loud, basically running open headers.
That is why I have spare bolts. This time I double nut and red loctite on the bolts.
No issues after that!. Except for my exhaust mounts was bending from the g forces of corkscrew. The car ran great, and that’s all I cared about.
Saturday, I arrived at the track early to make my dyno appointment. This was to make sure my car is compliant with ST6. Which honestly, would be surprised if I was over my HP.
The dyno graph look healthy with nice flat torque line throughout the RPM and nice increasing HP line till redline. Made 110 whp and 90 tq. Small numbers, but I’ll take it. Yes I miss the power of the M3, but the 86 is teaching me soo much as a driver.
The NASA inspectors where gawking over my 86. I think I’m the only grip 86 that is legit racing. I really need to get the word out, that the 86 can be great grip cars too. Nice battle for the old Hondas and Miatas.
After dyno, I had my 3rd quali and still managed 1:55. Not really improving on time and other racers in my class was at least 3 seconds faster then me. I was only faster then one car. Not really great, but I know the car is not optimized for ST6 like the other cars here. So knowing that, it did give confidence I could be a good driver. But also made me think. I might need a driver coach to teach me where I can improve. Yeah I could mod the car more to optimize ST6, but I think I should do driver mod first.
Dai had cracked rotors. He is on willwood 4 piston front, but its a conversion to Corrado rotors. No one in the Honda crew has Corrado rotors. Dai ended up having to buy a GSR spindles from the racer friends to run his willwood BBK to GSR rotors.
Dai didn’t get to finish his race weekend unfortunately. But he made the most of it, and explored San Fransisco with his family. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.
Quali 4 was the last one before the big race on Sunday. But the quali was different. This was a race quali. So wherever you placed in this race will determine the grid position in the big race. I love race starts, I try to take advantage of the cold tires, and get in front before the tires start to warm up for the competitors. That way, I can be in front, and get defensive to hold my position. Basically hold them off till the checkered flag. Works most of the time.
I finish the race, and place 5th. But I was DQ’d, and will start at the very back. During impound, my lip on the bumper was 0.5″ too long. Not within ST6 rules. Bummer, but rules are rules. I did manage to find a way so I wont get DQ’d for my Sunday race.
Scott had some spare foam rolls, and I just ziptied to the lip. Now Im compliance. Tacky, but you gotta work with what you have. Main goal is racing, and finishing it.
Zip ties for the win.
Sunday comes, and its a big day. Rain was called in the forecast. I woke up to heavy rain, and getting nervous. I have no wipers. Yes, I have rain-x on the widows which helps wick water away, but not sure how well it would hold up.
The Spec Miata race was before our race, and looked like the track was drying up with sun out. But in the near distance, you can see dark clouds looming. Norcal is know for its micro climates, I just hoped the rain stayed out for our race. This was probably the most nervous in race that I’ve felt. I was thinking “if its rains, will have have that inner Tsuchia in me or pull my inner Aryton?” Nah, probably not, those drivers are Gods. Im just here trying to have a good time.
Thankfully the rain held out just in time for finish line. I made it!!! Raced Leguna Seca, and the car drove on its own power!!! The best feeling in the world!!! I might not have gotten podium, but just being here was a win for me.
Takes a lot of hard work and overtime to make racing possible. I always ask myself why even do it. And moments like these is why I do it. I do it because speed, and going fast is in my blood. I respect my life and the others around me, so I race at tracks. I get the need for speed here. Just being one with car, is something you never experience on public roads. This is my hobby. This is my passion. I do have people also discouraging me, but in the end of day. I’m the one that still has the drive to keep going. And I will, till I can’t anymore. Thank y’all for the love and support. Appreciate it.