We need to start this off w this link.  If you go there…it says it all. Geoff Stahl, Porsche 997.2 GT3, Top Time of the Day, AND…AND new lap record for the class.

PCA Event – Thunderhill – RESULTS

Our customers have been making some great strides, but to take the Top Time of the Day (not just in the class, but the Top Time of the Event) is a whole new ball game.  While we (BRracing Motorsports) have been working hard to put the right car and setup under the hands of our very capable customers, nothing replaces pure talent.  Geoff had pulled off a good first lap, one that initially set him at the top of the charts, but while he was out, another car had just set a very close time to his first lap, and we radioed him, and told him “time to go”….and he reached deep, and drove an amazing lap, and produced the wining time.  We have seen this on TV, we have seen this in other PRO level events, but to pull this off as an individual is an amazing achievement.

Here are some insights into how the weekend developed for two of our customers.

David O – beautiful blue 997.2 GT3 track car.

And, if you are paying real close attention here to the picture above, we have the car shown here w the street wheels and Pirelli Corsa tires, which is the setup we were going to use if it were to rain…..which it did during the weekend.

Here are the enhancements we had previously done to David’s car –

– full GMG interior roll bar / harness bar / rear shock tower brace, full 6pt harness sets

– StopTech STR60 front brakes and STR40 rear brakes, Endless brake pads

– Endless RF650 racing brake fluid

– GMG front steering toe link set

– GMG rear full toe link set w bump steer adjustment (bump steer custom defined by BRR)

– GMG World Challenge track wheel set w Hoosier R6 tires

– GMG World Challenge thrust arm bushing set, front and rear

– GMG World Challenge rear dog bone suspension links (upper control arms, monoball bushings)

(there may be some more stuff…..but you get the idea of what we have done to this car so far….there is more to come)

We have been making small enhancements to David’s car over the last six months, and we had just added some for this event as well.  As customers develop in their driving skill, one of the first areas we like to focus on is the elimination of the play in the bushings in the suspension.  The OEM bushings allow deflection under heavy load (like braking, or hard acceleration on the exit of a turn), and the result is the car does not feel steady, just at the most critical times on the course.  So, looking at the prior data from the other events, and from our own feedback as riding as an instructor with him, we may one more change to the suspension components (tie rod ends, front set, tie rod links, full set rear).  To go along w that, we did a full suspension setup and alignment change, making some slight changes to align with David’s driving skill, style, and tires.

The weekend.  We knew that we would be facing changing weather conditions, with strong possibilities of rain….but, it was a question of when would the rain come, and how could we make the most of the Friday?

We played with Tire pressures most of the day, as the track was cold (we shoot the temp of the track surface regularly to see how it is either holding temp or gaining temp….this day it wasn’t gaining temp, so we had to alter the tire pressures quite a bit from our normal baseline)

The new suspension setup and the new suspension pieces had helped settle the Blue Demon down, and David could really extend his driving.  Each session, David was able to carve time out of his laps…producing new personal bests each time out.  As we saw the tires come under control, we were ending the day on Friday in great shape for Saturday….we thought.

Saturday….we arrived at the track early…under heavy cloud cover, but no rain yet.  This was 6:30am.  We started to get the cars ready, as the first car on track would be at 8am.  We had made the call the night before….it was not whether we would get rain, we would have rain.  So, we had changed the tires on all the cars from the Hoosiers to the rain setup…tires w as much tread as we could find.  We even had different rain tire setups to learn more on that side….we had Pirelli Corsa on Davids car, we had Continental DWs on Niraj’s car, we had Michelin SuperSport on Geoff’s car, we had Michelin PS2 on Rees’s car, and Lamar was playing the victim, with him still on his set of Nitto’s NT01 (crazy experience…ask him how the car felt down the front straight later on Saturday).

Due to most of these being street type tires, the tire pressures were way different than what we run w the Hoosiers or the Yokohoma slicks (Cup Car).  The rain started just before the first session, and continued to rain all day long……not a downpour, but a steady faucet flow of rain.  Puddles soon formed, and puddles turned into lakes.  The raing washed the track completely clean.  Somewhere, after the 2nd session, David came in and reported his car was “solid”, like a rock, but something had happened w the steering wheel during the session.  When he backed in the car under the BRR canopy, the car would drive straight, but the steering wheel was now off center.  What had happened?  I took the car out in the skid pad area just to see what might have changed…and the car drove and tracked fine.  How could the wheel be off?  We put the car fully up on stands, took all the underbody panels off, and started crawling under the front of the car to check all suspension items, all steering connections, all tie rod ends, checked the steering column…..we found nothing.  So, the question was what to do?  Do we do a full four wheel alignment at the track?  Did something else go bad in the steering box?  So, we pulled out the Smart Strings alignment gear, and set about looking at what we had.  By this time, the next session was approaching, so, since we didn’t find anything, we decided to send David back out again.  Remember…..we’re driving in standing rain and water everywhere, so the feel of the car is completely different, and can produce some interesting moments on the track…and that is exactly what David found this time out….he wanted to go one way, and the car wanted to go another (great car control David ! ).  David brought the car back in again, and I jumped into the car again to test it again, and could immediately feel that something was indeed not right.  Back under the canopy, back up on stands, back off w all wheels and all underbody panels, and another full examination of the car and suspension.  This time we found the culprit….it wasn’t in the front suspension, it was in the rear.  Went to work to fix the issue there….made a quick change to the rear alignment settings, and then I took the car out on the streets in front of the track to test at speed.  Drove the car to 150mph, car was solid and steady, and ready for use again.  David took the car back out in the final session of the day, and car was back to rock solid.

Sunday – woke up, looked out at the skies….solid cloud cover, and the rain was still coming down….looked at the ground, ground was soaking with puddles everywhere…evident it had rained all night long.   Hmmm….what would this day be like?

Being in a house w a solid day of rain is not too bad…..being out in the rain all day, w a slight breeze, cold temps, and water everywhere…..starts to drain on you.  So, emotions ran the gamut as we drove out to the track to get ready for another day.  Sure was nice to have the BIG SEMI trailer and canopy w side curtains….we could button down the hatches, and leave it all there during the storm, and made setting up for the next day relatively easy.  We had all the radar application running, trying to get a sense of what the day would hold, how would it turn out?  It looked like it held some promise, but the weather was coming from the South, and rolling right through Willows.  It showed the Bay Area to be breaking up…..maybe…just maybe we could get some dry weather.

When the first session started, it was still raining, and the track was thick w water.  The cars were running w plenty of space between them, but the rooster tails as they ran down the front straight were  huge…..good way to see how the wings and downforce work on the cars.  With the rain still coming down, the first session was run w the rain tires.  Right about 8:30am, the skies looked the same, but the weather changed.  Someone turned the rain switch off.  The clouds still looked like rain, we could see rain to the West of us, but it stopped coming down from the clouds on the track.  Now the question was whether it would continue….would it stay dry?

Session after session, the track now started to dry out.  Since we had guys in almost all sessions, we had great feedback on the drying of the track.  At about 11am, we made two decisions….the radar showed no signs of future rain, and the track was now indeed completely dry….on line, and even the off line.  In came all the cars, and off came all the wheels (rains).   The rains had endured very well, no over heating, no damage, no excessive wear.

We sent David back out in the final session before qualifying, to get his feet under him again in the dry.  As the car came in from the last session, we looked over the tires and wear (remember, the track had seen tons of rain for the last 26 hours, and the cars had been driving in the rain, which was sure to clean the track of all rubber and grip).  We also wanted to see now how the informal alignment had performed in the dry, and we could see a small change was needed still.  We made the change in the rear toe settings, and we had the car ready for the qualifying session.  Qualifying went well, times were good, and tires were coming in right where we wanted them.  David drove a great session, produced a new personal best, and the car was solid.

Great job David….another eventful but fun weekend, and a great learning session with all the rain driving the team got.

Geoff S – Porsche 997.2 GT3 – the track master

Here are the enhancements we had previously done to Geoff’s car –

– full interior roll bar / harness bar / rear shock tower brace, full 6pt harness sets

– StopTech STR60 front brakes and STR40 rear brakes, Endless brake pads

– Endless RF650 racing brake fluid

– RSS front steering toe link set

– RSS rear full toe link set w bump steer adjustment (bump steer custom defined by BRR)

– GMG World Challenge track wheel set w Hoosier R6 tires

– GMG World Challenge thrust arm bushing set, front and rear

– RSS World Challenge rear dog bone suspension links (upper control arms, monoball bushings)

– Semi sequential transmission

– Removal steering wheel

– Full Racing Radios, intercomm system

– Rear center secction exhaust

– Cup Car rear top decklid

– Cup Car rear wing and uprights

(there may be some more stuff…..but you get the idea of what we have done to this car so far….there is more to come)…some real exciting stuff hopefully before the next event.

Based on the last event (Spring Mountain, POC event), we had a good idea based on Geoff’s driving style and the feedback we had received, that we needed to make some changes to the setup on his car.  We don’t have the optimal aero setup on his car, so we also had to take this into account in terms of the setup, rake, and ride height of the car.  He also had provided some similar feedback that the car was not steady under hard braking, some the rest of the suspension bushings needed to be dealt with.  OUT they came, in the new bushings went, and then we could do the corner weighting and alignment setup.

Friday….you already know about the track and weather on Friday (it was a great weather day).  We also needed to streeeeeetch the wear on the tires, as this is the last set that we wanted to use of this size (part of the changes coming before the next event).  After Geoff came back in from the first session…..it was like a Jekyl and Hyde situation….the car is MUCH different…..WAY different……what did you DO?  Hmmmm….did we go too far?  We talked thru the session, talked thru the handling of the car in the corners…corner entry, mid corner, corner exit…was the car doing what we needed it to do in all those sections?   We determined that we needed more track time w the new setup….so, back out the car went.  Remember, we are also trying to be gentle on the tires…..so Geoff couldn’t just toss the car around, he had to finesse it at all times.

After the second sesison, Geoff liked what the car was doing, but it would require a different driving approach.  That’s not an easy adjustment to make.  The lap times were looking good.  We didn’t want to jump and make any changes too fast…as we needed to let the car and the driver get to know each other again.  The different driving style was also affecting the temps and pressures in the tires, so we were hunting for the right set up there as well.  But the car was providing a solid platform, as the times were very consistent, and we looked to be one of the fastest cars on the track.

Saturday came, as did the rains.  Off came the Hoosiers, on went the rains.  Besides being a great learning session, this also provided great insight into the handling balance of the car that we were working with.

For the rest of Saturday, we continued to play with tire pressures, and continued to examine the tire wear, and the driver feedback.  Based on that feedback, we made some more setup changes to the car….just changing one item at a time, and then determining the feedback and results.  We only had four – five sessions on Saturday to evaluate the current status, and to evaluate the small changes we were making.  The great news by the end of Saturday, was that we had a very stable car, Geoff had come to grips with the way the car was now working, and his times were spot on.

We had some great video of some other cars incidents as they chased and tried to stay w Geoff in the wet.  They found out what the outer reaches of the course and grasslands were like when wet and you put a foot wrong.  Geoff never put a foot wrong.  One of our competitors chatted w one of our crew, and commented to them that out setup looked a little off….just a tad.  What they didn’t know was that we would have agreed….but that we had to moved to that setup to gain a particular advantage….and it was working.  They (competitor) also commented that they wondered how we had come to that conclusion….and one of the reasons is that we are working very hard to develop a complete datagram of the handling and setup parameters…..we don’t just follow the common or known setups, we alter them and play w them to understand how the car will respond.  By doing this, we gain a much deeper understanding of the parameters that can make a car fly, and also allow us to adapt a car to the particular driving styles of the driver….the customer.

As also previously reported…..the weather on Sunday changed again, as did the track.  But, we were starting to work on speculation that we might indeed have a very fast car for the weekend, and we (or Geoff) could be at the higher end of the charts.  So, the anticipation and light pressure were starting to build, and the decision matrix was becoming more complex….to risk a change, or to not risk a change.  That was the question.  We decided to make one more change….time would tell, and time would tell us whether it was a change that Geoff would like, adapt to, and leverage.  Could we indeed move to a higher level?  We also knew that we were on the other side of the tires….it wasn’t a question of saving them now, it was trying to get something from that was dead, it had been beaten and used….and would it provide us one more session before they fell off the wheel?

Geoff drove an amazing session, doing just what was needed, and responding to the radio call to go get that extra stretch (how does one do that?  How do you find that little extra amount and not go over the edge…how do go fast but not overdrive and scrub the time away?…..oh, the fun of it all).

The results…new personal best, new class record, and Top Time of the Day….it just doesn’t get any better than that….a great weekend in every way, and great fun at the same time.  To the future….here we come.