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All #FSBletters translated as of August 14th, 2022 - Chronological Order - Look Inside

Before reading these #FSBletters from the #WindofChange, please watch/listen to the following audio for the origin & context of these le...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Infineon Raceway (Sears Point) Test - June 6th

In preparation for the Infineon race in conjunction with Nascar Nextel cup in late June, we went out to test on June 6th. The test was also in conjunction with Nascar, which was a first for us and pretty interesting. Our garage was right next to Carl Edwards and Boris Said testing the Busch cars.

We made major changes to the engine and suspension since Mid-Ohio, and the car was running considerably stronger with a much better cornering dynamic with altered springs, swaybars, and shock settings.

However, early in the day, a major incident struck. It seems that we've had plenty of them this season....

As I was coming out of turn 3, still feeling the new settings and power out, I did a quick brake check on the straightaway to ensure a stiff pedal and continued to approach the brake zone for turn 4. I hit the brakes and the pedal went all the way to the floor, with no brake pressure, and got stuck there. At this point, the speed was 108 mph. With my left foot busy digging the brake pedal out from its underside (I usually utilize left foot braking, since our car is equipped with a sequential transmission that does not require the use of clutch during downshifts), I began to downshift from 4th gear in an attempt to slow the car down. Unfortunately, without brakes, I ended up hitting the concrete barrier (at least there was a set of tires in front of it) at around 20 mph straight on, and the day was over.

We are still investigating the reason for the brake failure and have some leads.

Look out for us to make a come back to World Challenge for the season finale race at Laguna Seca in October. We will need time to fix the extensive damage to the car and continue testing to prevent such incidents from happening. As a first season team with a brand new motorsports program, we are relieved to know that every mechanic problem we have had has not repeated itself throughout the season so far, and we are able to learn from our failures to continue to strive for success in the series.

Stay tuned...

Mid-Ohio Race

The Mid-Ohio race experience was unique to say the least. The team arrived in our transporter from Los Angeles and was greeted by rain and mud. The paddock for World Challenge was the worst I have ever seen for any type of professional racing. Many rigs got stuck in the mud and had to be pulled out multiple times during the roll in period, and things didn't exactly improve as the week went on. There was lots of rain and no hard surface. The working environment for the crew was terrible.

One of the practice sessions ended up in the rain. That was fun in a GT-R. I had never driven this car in the rain before, and so I took care to warm up to it slowly, but even with such conservative mindset, the car blew by the competitors. With the GT-R's all-wheel-drive, I could come out of the corner with nearly full throttle, reaching full throttle very rapidly with the car hooking up with all four tires. The stability at over 120 miles an hour in the wet was also tremendous. All the rest of the cars could do was spin rear tires during for nearly entire duration of the straights.

With the rain disappearing for the remainder of practice and the weekend, that is when things began to go wrong. I actually lost a wheel due to faulty studs - it got loose at Mid-Ohio's rear straightaway. There is a small kink in the middle, and usually a tiny input is all it takes to changes direction, since the speed is well beyond 120 miles per hour there. Not this time.... my regular input in the steering wheel did nothing to change direction, and I barely managed to not slide off the outside of the corner exit, nearly yanking on the steering wheel. I quickly radioed Sean Morris and told him something is definately loose on my left front side. I attempted to baby the car back to the pits, but did not make it, losing the wheel at nearly 0 speed right before Madness. Because I was already going slower than a turtle, the car got no damage and I safely got it off the track.

The car was towed back to our paddock and the damage incurred by the tow truck was fixed.... Some of those guys need to be fired. But more on this later.

We sat out one practice session to fix the broken studs and went back on the track. However, the tune appeared to be an issue on the engine, causing the turbo wheel to go to shreds. The crew worked all night long to replace the turbos for next morning's qualifying session. But a water leak and a gamble to at least put in one full lap in qualifying resulted in a toasted engine. Unfortunately, we did not have time to swap the RB26DETT before the race and had to retire.

The Mid-Ohio tow truck guys ended up bending our car's front core support despite my clear protests that their way of picking up the car would result in just that.

Not only that, I heard that one of the Aston Martin DBR9s was also damaged by the tow crew.

AND maybe you got to see the World Challenge GT race on TV - when a tow truck pulled a Viper INTO Leighton Reese's Corvette at a rather considerable speed in attempt to get it out of the gravel. That might have been a first in history - a T-bone of two race cars caused by idiot tow crew at a RACE TRACK. I thought they needed some kind of qualifications to hold that sort of job.

Now, I want to make it clear that the Mid-Ohio management team is top notch, and I had a great time with them, including an autograph session promoting the race track in Cleveland the first day I got there. But seriously, they really need to fire some of those tow truck crew.