HOW'D THE VR4 DO?
For example, I had a problem at Canada Corner in selecting the proper gears
- if I shifted down to 2nd for the turn in, I was at 7200 rpm before
corner out, and had to shift up whilst still in the corner. But if I
entered in 3rd, I had to carry a lot of speed into the turn, taking it to
the rumble strips on corner out, while the gravel pit beyond beckoned like
the Sirens. Floyd and the classroom group decided that I should try it both
ways, and check my exit speed as I completed 13-- the theory being that the
exit speed two corners later would be a good indication of what the fastest
speed through the three linked corners was.
Good plan. And if I had gotten any unobstructed or noncompetitive laps, I
woulda tried it. Alas, half the time I came to Canada Corner it was behind
a slower car. The other half of the time, I had a fire-breathing Cobra R or
an M3 on my tail, so I never got a chance to try the theory.
OK, I know what you're thinking: "Why didn't you just let those cars go by?"
Because I had passed them originally.
It seems like I could catch these guys easily. I'd run them down somewhere
on track, and they would dutifully point me by as soon as I appeared in
their mirrors. Next thing, they are all over me! Holy mackeral! Where'd
all that speed come from? I had some tremendous dices with these guys, one
per session. First the Cobra R, then a black M3 from someplace racing with
a roll cage, and then a blue M3, driven by a guy who will be an instructor
next year. Man, it's like the sight of a black Mitsubishi going by lights
their fire or something!
I have scorned M3s and Cobras in my posts in the past, but let me amend
those comments. An M3 or a Cobra, when driven by someone who knows what he
is doing, is ferociously fast! I could not believe that these guys were
hanging with me. We Stealth & Mitsu drivers are not accustomed to seeing lesser cars
in our mirrors.
But I got 'em! I learned that by shifting down to 2nd at 5 and at Canada
Corner (throwing out the anchor, my buddy Jeff Lacina calls it), I could
force them to brake a little harder at corner entry. Then, with the AWD and
the turbos screaming, I could pull away under sheer acceleration. I ate
them alive from 5 to 6 up the hill, then from 7 to 8 (a flat out, early
apex righthander taken at about 80 mph), so I'd gain 50-100 yards or so by
the time we hit the Kink. I limit myself to 90 through the Kink (and they
don't, being better drivers), so by Canada Corner, all three would be up on
me again under braking. I 'd throw out the anchor and gain it all back
from there to 14 and onto the front straight. The Cobra R would catch me up
by the time we got to 1 (that is one fast sumbitch!), while the M3s would
stay with me. I'd get 'em through 3, but they would all catch up under
braking at 5. My car brakes OK, but it's still a 3800-lb car, whilst the
M3 and the R are 3200 lb, so they brake much better than I can.
Note: I woulda let any of those three cars by if they had showed any
indication they want to pass - like flashing headlights or pulling into the
passing lane. The black M3 could have gotten me if he really wanted to (he
said he closed up on me every now and then just to show me he could), and
the R could have gotten me with sheer top end if he had been close enough
on any of the corners leading onto a straight - but they all seemed
content to just sit back there and scare the beejeesus out of me.
I'll tell ya, it's really something to come screaming downhill into 5 at
125 mph with an M3 or a Cobra R on yer ass, bang on the binders, and hope
the guy behind still has brakes! I hit 125 at three places - 1, 5 and
Canada Corner - and always with one of those three cars in my mirrors. I
gotta get a boost controller if I am going to run with these kinds of fast
Afterward, it was cool to go shake hands and congratulate each other on a
good run. It turns out that the black M3 was carrying a video camera and
recorded our entire session, and he'll send me a copy.
Yeah, yeah, I know. We're not supposed to be racing out there. But I
learned as much from dicing with those guys as I did from my instructor. Of
course, it was my instructor, Jeff Whyte, who showed me the correct lines
and smoothed out my transitions, making it possible to stay with those
three fast cars.
But "Floyd" and the classroom group showed me something really cool, too,
which I would not have tried without an M3 on my butt. It seems there is an
access road intersection at the exit of 13, after the bridge. Floyd showed
it to us on a diagram, illustrating where the rumble strips are, with the
access road just beyond. The group discussed how you could use that little
section if you came out of 13 too hot. So, at one point, with one of the
M3s so close we could breed the two cars, I screamed out of 13, crossed the
rumble strips at corner out, and used the access road to gain another 6 ft
of road. This let me keep the power on for a launch toward 14, while the M3
lifted to avoid the rumble strips. I musta gained 50 yards with that
maneuver, thanks to the class.
What a weekend! Way to go, Badger Bimmers. I'll be back next year. With
studded snow tires this time.
--- Rich/old poop/94 VR4 (Rich Merritt)
1994 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 Twin Turbo
Ground Control/Eibachs, camber plates, lowered,
Kuhmos, Porsche brakes, SS lines, Hawk Blues,
water injection to rotors. Stock engine.