SCCA SFR Race 3&4 Thunderhill

The Practice Day

The practice day didn't go as planned. I originally was going to use the different sessions to focus on specific corners and work on sensing the car and tires. However, after the first session we noticed a broken rear motor mount that needed to be replaced. Unfortunately, the replacement part we had didn't quite fit right and requiring some massaging to get it installed, which meant I missed two of the sessions. On my out lap for the next session the car died and wouldnt restart on the back straight and I was towed in. I had blown the main fuse. We tracked it down to an electrical short that had been caused by the alternator wearing through a cable tie and  into the rear chassis harness. Some wiring relocating and a couple of wire splices later and the car was ready for race day. Not a total loss and I got to practice my crimping skills. 

Race 1

Qualifying was tough for me as I got stuck in some traffic and didn't get the most out of the car when I did get some clear laps. I ended up 7th of 15 in class. As I pulled up to the pre-grid a light rain started which would later seriously affect the race. On the warm up lap I checked to see the surface grip and tried desperately to get as much heat in the tires and brakes as possible. I got a fantastic start and in the opening lap had moved up to 4th in class where I remained until the heavy rain came. I later lost two positions in the rain trying to avoid a slower Gen3 driver. The mixture of late rain and racing slicks didn't go well for a few cars and soon we were under double yellows. I was looking forward to the restart, unfortunately we finished under the safety car and I end up 6th for the first race but with the knowledge I could potentially move further up in the field for Race 2. With the rain still pouring we had a beer in the paddock as we waited for it to ease.

Race 2

Race 2 was one of my best races to date with lots of close action from start to finish. There was no sign of rain this time and with hot temperatures it was tricky to set the tire pressure before starting. At the start one of the Gen3 had an issue and pulled out of line. When the green flag flew a few cars missed a shift, resulting in some shuffling of the field. I got a great start and made up a few positions tucking in behind Mike Boyle in 5th place chasing him down as we both tired to keep 2nd and 3rd in sight. I was able to gain in some corners but Mike pulled away in some of the fast corners. I got along side a few times coming out of turn 9 but couldn't make it stick. The race even came down to the last corner of the last lap with 2nd through 5th crossing the finish line in close succession. I ended up 5th but had a fantastic time even if I spent most of the practice day fixing the car. After a solid start to the season I now stand 3rd in class for the regional championship.

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James Chartres

San Jose, CA