5.17.14 – “PARTNER ENDURANCE RACING IN MY ACCORD RACING MACHINE”
Skip all this reading and jump to the VIDEO if all these words are overwhelming!
Normally I run this car in “skid plate” races at Irwindale. However, several times a year the track holds a “Night of Destruction” featuring the same or similar cars that normally compete with skid plates running with all 4 tires.
If I’m honest – the main reason I put together a skid plate car was really to have a car for these “enduro” races. It is really one of the cheapest way to get into wheel to wheel racing.
The format of this event was different than ones in the past because the race would consist of two 25 lap races, with each half driven by a different driver. This meant I would need a co-driver and an experienced guy named Derek Powell would be my partner in crime.
I wanted this to be a special video, so I put 6 cameras in the car to try and capture as much action as possible. As for the car – it would remain unchanged, aside from getting 4 tires instead of two. The suspension is totally stock and the car was a handful to get around this tight course. For more info on the car – see the full post of the car build here.
Read on because this event was crazy!
I was planning to compete in two events. First the partner enduro followed by a skid plate race. I really wanted a good result for the endurance race and so our qualifying strategy was designed around that. The running order of the endurance race would be decided randomly. Because of this I decided to skip qualifying for the skid plate race to make sure the car would be in good shape for the enduro. This also gave us much needed time to prep the car with all of its cameras and other odds and ends . . .
Before we knew it, it was time for the autograph session. There was a big turn out and many thanks to my friends and family that came out to watch! I had no idea how bad of a beating this car was about to take!
I took the first stint in the car. It felt like a strong start but before I knew it, someone spun me into the infield. I was waiting to rejoin the race but before I had a chance to show I was not going to gain any positions by cutting the course race control got on the radio and told me I was down a lap. At that point I just took off (after a good conversation with the race director at the end of the night he did agree that it was probably a little too harsh of a penalty – it’s a really hard job they have – making sense of what is going on in all the chaos is next to impossible).
I kept pushing and the car felt pretty quick. I found this track to be really challenging with the stock suspension in our car. There was a ton of body roll and the car would just understeer in all these tight corners. It was even tougher because the track was pretty narrow and thus it was hard to find any room for a decent line.
About 2/3 into my session the track went red – a good thing because I had almost no brakes left at all. I put the car in park while under red and could see tons of smoke coming off the brakes.
After restarting there was only a little time before handing the car over to Derek. I was shocked how many big hits the car took. Though the car was running, it was far from factory fresh. At the driver change we saw some fluid leaking and thought it was coolant (turned out it was just washer fluid). I felt bad for giving Derek such a beat up car and told him just go until the wheels fell off – he literally did (and then some).
Derek’s session was as intense if not more crazy than mine. He drove hard and made up some places. Then he lost the left front tire. He kept going with the flat – holding his own in-spite of only having one front tire but it couldn’t last. Eventually he ended up on just a rim. He kept going for a while but I was actually afraid of a fire plus felt that given the circumstances it would be better to save what was left of the car and I signaled him pull off.
His session had one of the scarier moments – Car 56 got caught between car and a tire marking the course and flipped. He actually got back in the car to finish the race and went on to win the skid plate race!
This is the full, long race. For a short highlights edit, click HERE
Not as good of a result as I was hoping for but it was a really fun event. Now a lot of work to repair the car.
Thank you to TrakkTape – Great product for protecting my car on track!
This is the edited version. Click HERE for the full race