GRIDLIFE Round 1: Mid Ohio
Mid Ohio has always been near the top of my list for North American tracks to turn laps at, so naturally when Gridlife announced the season opener would be at Mid Ohio, I was stoked! Given the time of year, everyone would be taking a risk on the event due to the high possibility of inclement weather. That wouldn't stop Gridlife from incurring record turn out, and stacked Track Mod RWD class with over twenty drivers.
With all the developmental of the #916 Enjuku Racing LS350z in the offseason, and my shakedown weekend at VIR last month being a bust due to unforeseen issues, I would be facing more than one unfamiliarity at Mid Ohio. No doubt, the manual brakes and pedal assembly would be the most difficult thing to relearn on the car.
We arrived at the track on Friday evening after an 8 hour haul from Southern Maryland. The weather on the drive was anything but pleasant, it snowed practically the whole way through Pennsylvania and Ohio. Sure enough, when we unloaded the cars to run through tech that evening in the ugly 36 degrees weather, we realized it had snowed at the track earlier that day as well.
Saturday morning our group was the first out on track. Mid Ohio is notoriously known for not having a slick track surface, so when we were warned on grid that there was snow and ice on the track, we knew we were in for an interesting first few laps around Mid Ohio. The track conditions that session made it rather difficult to learn a proper line, with snow still sitting on the apexes and rivers of ice running across the track in a few places. I didn't get much video, because of an almost incident that left my camera a little lopsided, haha. See video below:
The track conditions improved with each session, and I became more comfortable with the track. The car however, proved more difficult to find comfort in. The brakes, while consistent were very different than what I was accustomed to considering the car had ABS and Power Brakes last year. We also encountered a strange hopping in the rear end over the off-camber crests. Since we had changed nearly every aspect of the suspension over the offseason, we started turning knobs to see if we could rectify the issue.
Sunday brought much warmer weather and faster times. I tried to focus on the car and adjusted the set up every session. While I didn't get down the times I was hoping to see, I knew I had to remain objective and focus on learning the car. Being inexperienced myself, and driving a car undergoing development can be a bit discouraging at the end of the day. But I got faster every session, and I have no doubt that once I get this car dialed in it will all be worth it! I learned a ton, and I can't wait to get back to Mid Ohio!
Next up for the #916 Enjuku Racing LS350z is a test weekend with NASA Mid Atlantic at the brand new Dominion Raceway, then we're off to Global Time Attack / Formula Drift Road Atlanta!