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Philip Glazatov & Jack Tertadian: Private Track Rental, April 12-13, 2003
Road America Raceway, Elkhart Lake, WI
Article, In-Car Videos and Photos by Philip Glazatov
Article by Jack Tertadian
Philip's Report - Highlights
Road America is a very cool track. It is fast and reasonably safe. There are open areas or sand pits in strategic locations and nice and cushy tire walls (which saved me once). There are professional safety crews patrolling the track and flaggers in fireproof suits on every corner, who watch the cars and signal if problems occur. If there is a problem with your car a crew will be there to help you in a few seconds.
Merritt, John, and Jack T.
I finally met Rich Merritt. Yes, he is a real person. :-) He does not look like an old poop either. He is much taller than he seemed in one of the pictures where I saw him sitting in his car. I asked how he fits in his VR-4 and he replied that he goes not fit in the car, puts the car on. He is a real hardcore driver out there on the track, trying to kill everything that moves, and usually does.
Tuning the Suspension
I left my AEM EMS at home. I had a JIC suspension there to play with instead, and it kept me busy most of the day Saturday. I was fighting oversteer all day. I did not quite figure out my new tires and new lowered setup with the JIC suspension and spun out the car in the first session into a tire wall. Click HERE to watch the crash into a tire wall video... Normally that would have never happened. The car would have gone sideways for a split second, I would have applied some gas and the car would have straightened itself out, just like it did here:
Fun on the Track
After I fixed all the steering problems I had a ball! I was able to keep up with most and pass a few cars. I could make distance on almost anyone on the carousel and the back straight after the carousel. However, virtually everyone there was outbraking me.
The Magic Exploding Rim
I never could get turn #5 right. The same turn after which I spun out and crashed into a tire wall. This time I went wide, past the rumble strips (oh, they are hard!), past the little asphalted section, and with two wheels off into the sand. That did not feel right. A few feet later I realized that I had a flat. I pulled over to the side in a quiet spot and then a flatbed came, loaded me, and took me to the pits.
After driving my car at 130 MPH for two days straight on a stiff suspension and negative 2 degree cambers, driving my daily driver, which I earlier thought had a pretty sporty ride, now feels like bouncing on an old couch. Yuck!
Jack's Report - Highlights
The F-Body Club/Speedseekers Club event at Road America 4-12 to 4-13-03
turned out well, I thought, as did the organizers. It is not a school, but
neither is it a "timed speed" event, so some insurances can cover damage.
If they don't, Pfffft. The wonder is that any DO.
Setting Up "Battleship Mitsubishi"
My car got the new turbo setup on the [ported heads/stock cams/stock
shortblock incl. cast pistons] engine 3 days before the event basically.
The block is my old 1997 record-setting one, resurrected because the machine
shop couldn't manage to finish both the 94's heads AND the block in 4
months. They also forgot to tighten at least 3 known allenhead oil galley
plugs, all of which leaked to varying degrees. When they said the heads
were "ready to go", and there IS teflon tape on the plugs so it appeared to
be all set, I guess I made a mistake not RETORQUEING Every Single Plug or
Bolt as though they were incompetents. They've made mistakes before..., now 3+
strikes and they are WAY out.
Rich Merritt looked fast and smooth, very nice driver from what I saw. He
made lap after lap, run group after run group at high speeds on relatively
limited brakes, stockish turbos/engine, keeping up with some more serious
metal. To do that he has got to be fast, smooth and consistent. I know he
attends more events than many of us do. He and Phil Glazatov were in the
same group; Phil was hashing out suspension settings including camber,
figuring some things out in an impressively methodical way. Of course a
little offtrack excursion when exploring the shape of the envelope did
happen, but all in the name of Science :) Phil makes cogent and concise
observations; I listen when he speaks.