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2008 Season Opening

April 18th, 2008 - Track

The track season of 2008 has finally started!

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Our first track event was held in Alastaro Circuit, a great track for the season opening.

The beginning is always thrilling. Now it was even more so, because many of the carfreaks had new rides. The expressions and comments after some laps were very cheerful. Congratulations guys, leave a reply to tell something =)

Many drivers who used RaceChrono or PerformanceBox achieved lap times in the 1.28 minute range so the pace was good.

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One thing to mention is that the cars attending have become more focused on track day use. Roll cages and racing seats are more popular than before, just like having a different ‘daily driver’ in the garage for everyday use.

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Many view having a registered track day toy is an easy and convenient solution compared to serious race cars.

However, there has been recently interesting racer acquisitions and some are going back to racing or starting it as hobby. More of that later.

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Oh, did I already mention that the weather was excellent, sunshine all day long!

Thanks and keep on with happy motoring.

For pics by Niko & Toni visit the gallery!

8 Responses to “2008 Season Opening”

  1. Masa Says:

    Excellent start for the season! It was a great opportunity to test our new track-day tool, the 996 GT3. After a few laps I started to feel at home behind the wheel, and managed to get a clue of how this car should be driven. 1.28.4 was my best time of the day and I am pretty satisfied for that. This was a good start, now I’m waiting for the following track days so I could expand my driving skills…

  2. Moogie Says:

    What an absolutely brilliant start for the track season indeed!

    I can’t even begin to describe how much I had waited for this day. Having gone from the Audi to the M3 last fall, my expectations and anticipation were sky high. And as it turned out, there was a good reason for that :)

    I started the day quite carefully, needing to bed in my new Performance Friction pads at the same time. DSC was still on at this point, but it didn’t take more than two or three laps to realize that this just wasn’t going to work – the bugger was simply way too sensitive. Oh well, this wasn’t really a surprise, but I just had to feel it myself.

    I should probably at this point note that unlike many others, I was running on street tires. Even though I have a set of Pilot Cups available, I thought it best to start learning this beast with normal tires. The R-compounds are clearly at least some 2-3 seconds faster, so let’s keep that in mind when/if comparing lap times ;)

    After the initial warm-up, it didn’t really take me long to start feeling confortable with the way the M3 handled. Lap times kept improving steadily, and it wasn’t long until I was already lapping faster than I ever had with the Audi. At the end, I was able to keep a steady 1.32 – 1.33 pace, with the best at 1.32.4. This was actually spot on my own target for the day, so I couldn’t really be happier. While there’s still plenty of room for improvement even with regular street tires, I’d say that’s still a fairly nice time a “first timer”.

    The way the M3 is currently setup seems to feel nearly perfect for me. There is slight understeer if pushed too hard, but on the otherhand, oversteer is easily achieved by applying a proper amount of right foot :) It’s actually a shame that I have no experience driving a stock M3, therefore I can’t really comment on how much the existing modifications have changed the car.

    There were plenty of new faces at the event this time, and I’m actually slightly disappointed that I somehow managed to not find time to go and meet everyone. Well, there’s always the next time!

  3. ml Says:

    Thanks for everyone! It was very pleasant day.

    As usual the first laps after long winter felt difficult, although track conditions were quite good and grip level on the driving line was ok (outside the line it was much more slippery). Having made a few changes to suspension setup during the winter I was pleased to notice laptimes dropping lap after lap. I’m now using the softest front antiroll bar setting and rear ride height was lowered a bit. It seems that mechanical grip is now better and there is absolutely no understeer. Balance seems to move slightly towards oversteering as fuel load decreases.

    It was great to have some new fellow M3 drivers around who were running good pace. Had excellent fun with the silver E36 M3, which had been stripped down and modified for track use. The weight difference was clearly noticed in the corners, he was able to carry more speed through corners. We did some low 1:28 laps together when I was leading and after swapping places I could not follow him. Have to learn some new tricks for next time. :-) I estimate that the difference was 0.5-1.0 seconds per lap.

    Another new thing I was testing was RaceChrono. We had some problems with GPS receiver as my car has OEM bluetooth handsfree installed, which probably disturbed communication between phone and GPS. Afterwards I imported data logged with PerformanceBox to RaceChrono (what a great feature BTW) and did some analysis. Learned that there are couple of tenths to improve for optimal lap. It’s a shame that the PerformanceBox’s PC software is so limited that you can actually analyze your data better with a smartphone and RaceChrono!

  4. Lauri Says:

    Great coverage and pictures guys, looks like I missed a hell of a track day!

    The team BMW will have to get serious to keep those porches behind them. There is clearly great potential with the new porsches. With so many amazing cars in the first track session, I cant wait to see how the rest of the season will turn out!

    See you out there when the Z is up and running again!

  5. Toni Says:

    Some comments from the first timer… After spending so many track-days just standing next to track and taking pictures for you guys it was finally my turn to do some driving. Purchasing the Mini from Lauri last fall It was a really long winter before I finally got a change to drove it like its supposed to be driven. And how much fun was that… a LOT!

    For sure I was more of an moving obstacle for all the fast porsches and BMW’s but perhaps in the future after improving my driving skills and bravery I don’t have to be ashamed of my pace SO much :)

    For now on I just have to find time to do both; photographing and track driving.

  6. ESu Says:

    Once again – excellent track day by CF! Not to mention the excellent photos by Nico!

    I had a less fortunate day with my equipment literally falling apart: I have set of Dymag’s coming very soon and due to this anticipation I went ahead and optimized the use of my front Cup -tyres. This poor underestimation resulted torn down front wheels after 15 laps. Only thing to cheer up my dire mind at that point was the fact that I also had torn down my brake pads…

    I was still very pleased with the outcome of the day. Having had the luxury to do some test laps with GT3 Cup -car a week earlier, I had learned my lessons with the fast corners and managed to squeeze some 3,5 seconds off my last season fastest lap. Now I entered M3/GT3 -territory with my 1650 kg 997TT stopping the clock at 1:28:7. I’m confident that there’s still some improvement left with 911 specific trail-braking and having more guts to throw this combo into the fast corners even faster! Also the curly part just before the main straight still needs some serious studying.

    Eagerly waiting for the next session! Great day with great company!

  7. Juha Says:

    Looks like you had a blast guys! I wish I could’ve been there too! (Hopefully one day…)
    You are all putting down some serious lap times! 1,2X.XX with a street car at Alastaro is smoking fast!

    The season over here in SFL never really even ended so we have been really actively visiting the local racing venues since January. Next two weekends will be spent at two world famous tracks and getting even more familiar with my new weapon.

    I wish to see more of these write-ups here, now that you have officially started your season! It’s allways a thrill to log onto your website and find a new story!

  8. BradPete Says:

    At the age of 41 it was my first time having a real track day with my own car. What a beautiful experience it was- Thank You CF for arranging it & inviting me with You.

    I was very nervous when coming to Alastaro- really, it was my first time there. I had lot of expectations and was really surprised after seeing all these beautiful track toys waiting eagerly to get some bites of the track.

    My life in tracking started really good. After few laps with my GT Silver 997TT & Pirelli PZero’s I started to realize little bit what this track was about. It was really nice to notice after 1,5 hours of driving that my gas tank was totally empty- I calculated my consumption was around 90 liters/ 100 : ).

    It was nice to notice after the day I did not break my car & most importantly, anyone’s elses car : )

    The day was perfect for me, starting with 1:33’s and ending up at 1:28:80, next time I should have Pilot Cups + some suspension work done, so hope to meet some new challenges!

    I really wait the next event. only hope the weather would be as great as it was during the meet in Alastaro!

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