646 Roosevelt Trail, Windham, ME 04062

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Race Recap: Loring 2016

Loring is the climax of the Cumberland Motor Club’s season.  This year proved no different than past years, delivering courses that tested speed, focus and agility amongst the already tiring and long days that are what make Loring what it is.  This event last year was my first encounter with the G, purchased the week after driving it at Loring.  So it was time to return and drive it like it’s mine.  Loring is a long weekend filled with fast cars, heat and wind like you’ve never felt, bugs you’ve never seen before (one’s that like to find comfort in your dash and inner windows), lies and excuses being told around the campfire or that ice cold PBR at the end of the day, and it’s great to see everyone that makes the trek to offer the best competition the club gets each year.

  • Date: 08/05/16 – 08/07/16
  • Club: Cumberland Motor Club
  • Venue: Loring Air Force Base
  • Event Name: Loring 2016
  • Weather: Hot, sunny, windy, rainy, cold.  60s in the mornings, 80s in the afternoons.

Race Prep

After putting the car in the air to change the oil 2 days prior to the trip, it was immediately apparent that I needed to do something about my front tires.  Oh crap.  Last minute Loring issues as always.

The insides had seen too much of the abuse from the aggressive alignment and needed to be flipped if I had any thoughts about running them at Loring.  I visited my local tire shop to cash in on my lifetime alignment and get the 2 tires flipped.  The tech that typically does the alignments was on vacation, so I pretty much sat there explaining to the tech how to make the adjustments for 2 hours and I pretty much left with the same specs, albeit a little less toe out in the front.  They then told me they couldn’t get the tires off the wheels and refused to work on them.  I called up my friend/fellow autocrosser Chet and made the trek to his shop (Kennebec Automotive) in Waterville, ME.  He had installed them previously and had no issues doing it again.

After that, it was a final pack and on the road first thing in the morning.  At least that was the plan…..

Went to pop the trunk to load the cooler and….nothing.  Look at the dome light…nothing.  Crap crap crap.  Battery is dead.  Put the charger on the small battery in the car and located all of the parts needed to swap it back to stock, pulled a full size battery out of the XT and added it all to the packing.  I eventually realized as I was pulling out of the driveway that the dome light was on.  Clumsy me must have bumped it when cramming all that crap in the car the night before.  Doh!

Let’s Drive!

Surprisingly, arrived on time to meet up in Augusta with the Subaru duo of Brenton and Ben, both #baxtuned cars.

We were delighted to be escorted by Maine’s finest for what seemed like an eternity from Augusta to Orono.   haha.

The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful.  I think we made it around 4.5 hours, including Ben and I’s detours.  We arrived on time at the base around lunch time for some test and tune shenanigans.  I managed to get a couple drives in the S/C Toyobaru (on winters! that was a blast!)  and Ben’s STi, as I would be driving both during competition over the weekend.

2016 Sponsors!

As I mentioned last week, I am sponsoring Ben in his 2005 STi and Patrick in his S/C Toyobaru for the rest of the season.  We organized it so that the three of us had a drive in each car each day.  Both cars proved very competitive on both days and both were a freaking blast to drive.  I’m now even more happy that these guys let me sponsor them!  What a great way to represent the shop.  I’m seriously happy to have these guys on board and looking forward to the rest of the season!

It’s Saturday, let’s race!  No pressure!

I woke up Saturday morning to a good battery after sitting over night and headed to the strip early.

The group of us got placed in the odd run group on Saturday, which meant that the evens got to dry out the course and we got to see some people on the course before taking our turns.  The evens finished their runs and the odds get called up.  Tire tread issues and battery issues were behind me and it was time to focus.  Head out on my first run taking it easy, learning the course.  Get back to grid, check pressures before Pat hops in the car…and…what is this??!…27psi in the fronts.  What the heck?  I left grid with 36 or so and that should have climbed to 38 or so.  What.  The.  Heck?!?!  Ran down and got my tire tank, returned to add air.  Pat returns, same thing.  What. The. Heaahaaack!  Aired up again.  Went out and same. freaking. thing.  Finally ran out of air in my tank and ended up borrowing a air compressor to get me through the day by airing up to 41 and ending with 34 or so each run.  Talk about a pain in the butt!  I’m still not sure why it was happening.  The tires that were the worst have been mounted since the first event this year and have seen 3k street miles, not a single issue.

So yeah…no pressure.  Well, maybe a little pressure, but not as much as it should have been.  It was in my head all day.  What I think now was fender liner contact was what my brain thought was wheel hitting ground during the high speed sweepers.  Talk about backing off.  I spent the day at 7/10s, never on “right” pressures and never really feeling good about the car.  Mr. Dooley beat me by an embarrassing amount in my car, but the results aren’t showing up.  Ha!  I’m sure that will change.

On the other hand…I had a fantastic time driving Ben’s STi.  Power delivery is super smooth and hit’s hard when you want it.  Suspension can be a little bouncy during certain situations, but overall handled well and the diff pretty much let you do whatever you wanted.  Thanks again Ben!

Unofficial Saturday results (I was #504 in the STi)
Class Results
PAX Results
Raw Results

I finished the day winning my class in my car and placing 15th PAX with it.  I was .9 sec back from Ben in his car, but secured the #2 class position and 17th PAX.

Here is a video of my 2nd run, 91.084.  GoPro died shortly after.  My best clean run of the day was a 88.774 (coned a 86.941).

It’s Sunday, Still NO Pressure!!!

Sunday’s course was a reversed version of Saturday’s course, with some slight changes toward the end.  So I showed up early again in hopes that I could hop in with a novice and get a few ride-alongs before the driver’s meeting.  The group of us were placed in the even run group on Sunday, again going second in run order.  That set us up for last runs in the down pour.  I returned to grid in the FRS on my 2nd to last run dry as a bone.  Ben came in behind me in the G, soaking wet.  Last runs in all of our cars were in the wet.

Head out on my first run, being cautious.  Back to grid, tires are 6 psi down.  Not as bad as the day before, but still going the wrong direction.  Crap.  Crap.  Crap.  Well, at least I know how to deal with it…  Back on a borrowed compressor, adding 6-8 psi in between every run.  Ben and I traded fast laps in my car all day, but I’m pretty sure I got him (results aren’t showing).  I had waaaaay too much fun in Pat’s FRS!  Especially, the last run in the wet.  😉

Unofficial Sunday Results
Class Results
PAX Results
Raw Results

I placed 3rd in class and managed to get 12th PAX in the G.  The times for the FRS are not currently showing up.

Here is a video of my 5th run in the G.  It was a 80.6.  My best of the day was a 79.734 (Run 4).

The Crew

The four of us took the opportunity on Saturday to get some group shots on the run way.

Loring brings out the some of the best competition in the region.  Drivers come from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, across the Canada border and all over the state of Maine.  This year was no exception.  There were around 112 drivers both days.  The s2k duo of Nick F and Josh B put down blazing times on both days.  Evan C slaughtered the competition, backing up last year’s results.  Scruffy was there is his pair of Porsches, this year in a Cayman GT4 and wife’s GT3 instead of his tired old GT3 RS.  Mr. Picher did a fine job of extending his PAX lead with an 8th place finish on Saturday and 4th on Sunday.  It’s also great to see the friends and random club members you don’t see too often at the smaller events.  The weekend truly is too good to pass up.  Even up to the last minute of me having issues getting the car on the road, I knew I was going.  Even if I wasn’t driving the G up or racing it.  I was going.  It’s that good.  If you’ve never been up before, mark your calendar for next year and make it happen.  If you have been up before, well…then I will see you there.

Lessons Learned

Prepare for Loring!  Always, always, always do everything early.  I’ve got 2 more tires sitting here at the moment, but they didn’t do me a whole lot of good here at the house while I was there.

Figure out what is going on with these tires!  I don’t forsee issues at our local smaller lots.  I definitely think that the added sidewall stress during the high G sections were to blame.  But the tires are not aggressively undersized and I know of several national STU 350Z guys that are running similar wheel/tire setups with no reported issues.

Don’t update Solostorm right before an event!  The software updated as I was setting up profiles for all the drivers on Thursday at the house.  I tried to capture some ride throughs on Friday and Saturday morning and the program kept crashing.  Same happened all weekend when we tried to use it during runs.  That was were the data would have been the most valuable.  It’s so hard to remember where you may have picked up or lost time at Loring.  And I was really looking forward to comparing driver inputs and speed.  Oh well, maybe next.

I don’t want to say “Have Fun!”, because I had a blast all weekend.  But I wish I had more fun in my car.  The issues were in my head all weekend and I couldn’t put everything I had into putting together good runs.  Hard to watch my videos without saying “Go Faster!!!” over and over.  It is what it is.  And I’m not sure I could have handled it any better.  The car was on the course all weekend with issues and put up respectable times and that is what matters.

Definitely, Definitely, Definitely setup dual cars for both days at Loring!  It’s too far of a drive not to.  It’s too fun not to.  I had so much fun in both of those guy’s car this year and I’d gladly give up a drive in the G to do it again!

Our next event takes back to LL Bean’s Desert Rd lot in Freeport on the 21st.  See you there!

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