Mazda’s Formula X Motorsports Festival Presented by Cooper Tires put on a great race at New Jersey Motorsports Park! It’s really exiting to be part of a bigger televised event such as this or GT Live that’s held with Grand AM.
There is just more excitement in the air! You can watch Time Attack, Mazda Formula Atlantic, Star Mazda, Playboy MX5 Cup, and even IMSA Lights. If you ever get a chance you should race one of these time attacks.
For the second year in a row, Element Tuning’s Mod class STi took the overall and Mod class win shaving almost 2 seconds off last year’s time running our new custom BC Racing ER series coilovers, GT Spec braces, and some new aero work.
I was really happy to pull the win off given we had transmission problems. Something happened in practice on day two and the transmission wouldn’t select 1st or 2nd gear, which really isn’t a big deal, but whatever caused that would sometimes prevent the transmission from shifting at all. I simply had to coast through a few corners with the clutch in until I could grab a gear.
Having already managed a 1:29 on R888 tires in “Mod” class I was comfortable the time would hold for the win. With a new front splitter installed and some under aero work this year I decided to try to reduce some drag on day 2 by removing the front canards and reducing the angle on the rear wing. Reducing the angle on the rear wing didn’t have any major drawbacks (it was looser but not hard to control) but removing the front canards removed front bite in the slower corners. The car felt slower to me but due to traffic in practice I couldn’t determine the real lap time.
With a transmission acting up and nothing to loose I asked if I could put some “Unlimited” tires on for an exhibition pass. I haven’t run these tires all year long as I just didn’t have enough seat time in the car to feel the need. Once I hit the front straight braking zone and then the first turn I couldn’t believe how much more grip I had and was going way too slow. LOL! Unfortunately the transmission was really acting up but I was able to muster up a 1:27.123. Even with the problems I really under drove the car to that time. I know 1:25s should be possible.
At the last minute on Sunday, 2008 Volkwagen TDI Cup driver John Shim had an interest in racing the Element Tuning 2008 WRX “Street” class car. Having set great qualifying results for NJ I knew he didn’t need to learn the track and could just focus on driving. Using up practice session one bedding in the brakes he was only able to get about 20 minutes in the car before the main event. Before the race John said he thought he could run the last turn flat out. I said, “I don’t think so. There’s no downforce on this car.” He didn’t listen and on the first time lap spun entering the front straight. LOL! Basically loosing a fast lap for both time lap one and timed lap 2 he only had one lap to put it together. Like Danny Sullivan at the Indy 500 John spun and won! He was able to muster a 1:39 taking the AWD “Street” class.
Unfortunately this transmission failure took me out being able to run the Redline Autobahn event but I’ll be ready for the Grassroots Motorsports Ultimate Track Car Challenge at VIR in July.
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