jool @ petting-zoo
My adventures in a 1983 RX-7.
Buttonwillow on my
birthday! (April 21-22)
buttonwillow by Team Venom
March 3 & 4, 2001 - Laguna Seca HPDE
Saturday - Per Holden, instructor
This guy raced in the Camero-Mustang Challenge -- the feature race at the
track this weekend. The first lap out I was SCARED and went way too
slow. But I was surprised at how quickly I figured out the line on my
own. After the lap, Per gave me a map, and showed me some improvements I
could make on the turns. Then I went out for a ride-around with Glen in
our car, and I noticed that I knew where the line was. Yay! My next time
out, Per said I had a pretty good line, and he let me take Glen as a
the next couple runs. I'm sure I'm going to sign up for Group 1 for a day
on a new track, and run Group 2 for the 2nd day. I'm getting better and
I'm moving up a group.
Trouble spots today:
- Clipped turn 2 short sometimes
- Bad line through 8-8a
- Didn't track out wide enough after 8a for set up to 9
- Needed to track out wider after 9
- Don't need to break so much in many corners, particularly 4 and 10
I can't remember my instructor's name for this day (Ali?), but it poured
rain all day and I spun us off the track at Turn 5 the first time out. The
instructor told me to go wide and not hit the apex at all on 5 for future
laps, which seemed to work well. Unfortunately, I didn't push myself at
all after the spin (it didn't help that the instructor reached out toward
the wheel when it seemed like the back end might go loose). I continued to
choose a great line most of the time, but I drove so slowly that I didn't
get more experience with car control. The car also locks on a downshift to
2nd gear if you don't heel-toe, so I wound up scrubbing off tons of speed
before turns 8-8a (corkscrew) and 11 (hairpin).
Trouble spots today:
- Need to avoid puddle toward apex of turn 5. Need to correct with
steering much quicker when back end gets loose. Break after a spin when
the car is hurtling backwards! ;)
- Need to heel-toe on down shifts, particularly turns 8-8a and 11.
- Need to push car faster -- should be in gears 3-4 most of the time,
except for turn 11, which is 2nd. Also should upshift quicker out of 2nd.
- Remember to break and downshift early for turn 11. Spun off track into
sand after one late shift, but drove back out.
February 3 & 4, 2001 - Sears Point HPDE
NASA High Performance Driving Event (HPDE) at Sears Point
racetrack. This basically means I got
to drive the racetrack with an instructor's help. No passing is allowed
except on 3 straight parts of the track. See the
To drive on a race track successfully, you need to learn the "line." This
is the fastest path through the course. Since Sears Point is a
very technical track (lots of hard turns to navigate), it can take a
beginner a few runs to learn the line. (In fact, after my first run, I was
sure I would never learn the line. But I got it down for my last couple
- Glen slides at Turn 2. After working the wheel hard, he saves it.
- Julie takes 4 too fast/wide and over-corrects steering too much
several times. After much work, finds line again and continues into the
- Julie successfully follows faster-paced instructor around track last
time out on
Saturday. Instructor jumps up and down in glee.
- Julie went really fast on carosel and slid rear end correctly.
- Hit Turn 3a apex curbing a cuple times, launching car.
- Bad line through Turn 4. Need to remember to go wider on entry.
- Bad downshifting at top of carosel.
- Need to push car harder through the esses.
January 13, 2001
- Glen finds good deal on a
pro-7 race car
with trailer and extras. We measure the garage, and Glen decides the
trailer with car will just squeeze in. We drive up to Sacramento today to
purchase it. (
Learn more about pro-7 racing.)
- Everything looks good, we hitch up the trailer with the car, and drive
home. The truck is great hauling the trailer+car, with just a bit of
bouncing on rough stretches of road.
- It's raining and dark when we get home.
- After much co-ercing, we get the trailer backed into the
(Glen driving and me shouting things like "Ok! Ok! You're
fine! WAIT--YOU'RE GOING TO HIT THE NEIGHBOR'S MINIVAN!" (Neighbor peeps
out window at this point, but doesn't offer to move the darn minivan.)
- ACK!! The trailer doesn't fit into the garage. Nor does it fit in the
driveway -- it's too long and someone might trip over the ball hitch
- We decide to drive the car out and park the trailer by the
beach. Unload the car, and leave the trailer near people's boats parked on
the side of the road. It's still raining.
- We see a nice long space right near our house, so we pull the
truck+trailer in there, with the truck blocking the road a bit and the
entire crosswalk. People walk by now and then, staring at us, as they come
out of the nearby liquor store.
- We untie the car (it's held to the trailer with several
straps), place down the ramps, and Glen starts the car. Nothing. The
battery is dead. (later learn that battery needed water)
- We sit in the rain rather dejected and tired. Glen wants to leave the
car on the street. I disagree. That's a lot of valuable hardware to leave
on a city street, even though it is just one night. We tie down the car
- A bus driver double-parks her bus to run into the liquor
- Some women who works in the building next door asks us where we're
running the car (Sear's Point, Thunderhill, Laguna?) and how it's placed.
We explain our dilemma. She suggests we sleep in the car.
- After much back and forth, Glen gets the battery charger while I watch
our vehicles and the gaping passers-by.
- Yay! The battery charging works. Glen gets the car running. We untie
the car again. Glen re-positions the truck so he has room to drive the car
down. I reposition the ramps, and Glen drives back off the trailer.
- Something's wierd with the hitch. The truck rises as the car comes off
the trailer. THUNK! Car is down, trailer & truck are level again.
- Glen drives off, parks in our garage.
- Truck unhitched. We pack everything up, reposition the trailer next to
the curb, and go park the truck in our driveway.
- We drink lots of beer.
- Bought a truck
that will pull up to 6000 lbs
- Glen has race car in pieces -- he's putting it together to run in the
- Glen still has car in pieces -- we decide to buy a car in the class
down so we can both race sooner.