Friday, July 25, 2014

Camaro transmission in for a rebuild

Thanks to Josh and Joe for helping me pull the trans. Hopefully picking it back up soon and will actually be able to shift it into 1st or 2nd!

Super long extension!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

GRM Ultimate Track Car Challenge!

Last Friday, I drove in the Grassroots Motorsports' Ultimate Track Car Challenge in my Dad's daily driver and autocrosser, the 2009 Mini Cooper JCW. We were seriously outgunned by some high-dollar racing cars but it was still fun track time. After some tire fitment issues in the morning sessions, I was able to get down to a 2:18.8 on the VIR Full Course in the 3rd and final timed session which put me in 38th place overall. This is the first time we have run race tires on the Mini and it was a learning experience. The balance was off (too tight) but it was decent enough out of the box to set a lap time. Definitely needs some tuning though. It's definitely the hardest I've worked to get beat by 30 seconds on a single lap! This event was less about competition and more about getting to race for a day as a family, which was great. Thanks to my Mom coming to the track to hang out, my Dad for lending the Mini, and Rich Schollmann and Sam Nixon for making the trek to VIR and helping sort the issues we had early!

In-car video here: LINK

Getting ready in pits
A little tire rub up front....
Coming through Turn 3
Nice panning shot

Photos Credit: David Ogburn

See more of my Dad's photos here: LINK

ProSolo Points Update

I'm guaranteed a tie for first with max points going into the ProSolo Finale after the win at Toledo and Dad is sitting in 6th with 24 points. The ESP Camaro is set for a battle in Lincoln.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Toledo ProSolo in the ESP GT500!

With a business trip putting me in Ohio in late June, I was able to run the Toledo ProSolo for the first time this year thanks to Jeff Cox and his high horsepower Mustang GT500. Thanks was fun man! We had 16 drivers in class sporting mainly V8 muscle car variants except for reigning ESP Champion Greg McCance and his Subaru WRX.

Photo Courtesy of Perry Bennett @

We lucked out with three dry heats despite being threatened by rain all weekend. I arrived at the track Friday night just in time to run practice starts in the new-to-me equipment which proved very helpful over the weekend as I was cutting 0.500 - 0.650 lights all weekend....better than I do in my freakin' Camaro! I finished P2 after the first heat about 1s behind McCance who clearly had the strongest pace all weekend. Car issues put Greg out of the 2nd heat but he was able to hang onto 1st place in class. I picked up pace in the GT500 but a few others improved even more dropping me back to 4th place.

Lined up for Sunday Morning
This setup a show down on Sunday morning as we had good conditions and a surface that normally picks up grip throughout a ProSolo weekend. Unfortunately, Greg had to drop out after his 2nd run with further drivetrain issues leaving the door wide-open for one of the Mustangs to take the top spot. With a half-second gain on my first left-side rum, I moved into 1st place and came away with a very surprising 0.111s victory Bitter sweet due to competitor car issues, but a win nonetheless meaning two Hoosiers for my man Jeff Cox and two ESP class wins heading into the ProSolo Finale!

Onto the Super Challenge where the field was incredibly tight - I think the qualifying delta was around 0.2s! I had my best Challenge to date marching to the Final Four as I got even more comfortable with the heavy, high horsepower muscle. I came up against Jason Frank in the Final Four round and scored a come-from-behind victory by 0.2s.....except for hitting the last cone on the course which bounced me out of the Finals! I tagged another cone in the 3rd-place round to put me in 4th overall.

In-Car video: LINK

Here is the writeup: LINK TO FULL ARTICLE

SoloMatters ESP recap:
Once again, Greg McCance drove his E-Street Prepared 2002 Subaru WRX over half way across the country to compete. He held the lead in ESP after Saturday morning over Dave Ogburn III, who was co-driving Jeff Cox’s 2010 Ford Mustang GT500 on Hoosier Tires. Greg suffered a broken hub during the Saturday afternoon session, but still managed to hold onto the lead as Dave continued to work on the handling of the Mustang. McCance was able to get the car ready for the Sunday session, but suffered a broken differential on his first run of the day. Dave Ogburn III dialed in the car and was able to laid down times to win ESP by 0.111 seconds, Dave Heinrich finished third only 0.031 behind McCance.

SoloMatters Super Challenge recap:
All of the close class battles meant a low margin to get into the Super Challenge; you needed to be within 0.263 seconds of the class winner to qualify. There were lots of very close battles and very few red lights throughout the challenge rounds. The final four drivers in the Super Challenge featured Dave Ogburn III from ESP versus Jason Frank from STS, and Chris Harvey from CS versus John Vitamvas from SPB. In the first matchup, Jason Frank held a lead after first runs, but Dave Ogburn III laid down a smoking fast run beat Frank back with enough time; however, a cone awarded the win to Frank. Chris Harvey was able to defeat John Vitamvas to move into the finals. The final round didn’t disappoint, Jason Frank held a 0.124 second lead after the first run, they switched sides and Chris Harvey was first back on the second run, but not enough to make up the margin; Jason Frank took the Super Challenge win by 0.055 seconds.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Postcards from Monaco

Getting caught up on blogging. A few things to recap.....starting off with actually finishing posts about my trip to Europe...

Here's the quick summary: Monaco is awesome and you should go GP weekend or any other weekend if you can.

Here are some photos which will show you why:

Driving through the Alps en route to Monaco
La Ferrari sighting
Stepping out of the Monte Carlo Train Station
Subliminal advertising.....
Port Hercule
The Fort Antoine amphitheater (hint: it was in GoldenEye)
GP2 teams lining up for their turn on track 
Caterham GP2 
That's a nice building!
Our view of pit lane
Roughin' it....
Casino de Monte Carlo
The Famous Fairmont Hotel Hairpin
Partying til 5am at La Rascasse
Racing two scooters on the GP Track with some ahole going the wrong way.....

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Worst Car I have ever driven..........

Peugeot 308 Station Wagon. It has an automatic transmission that feels like a high-schooler lives inside and shifts for you. The eco mode is terrible on hills and the diesel motor left a bit to be desired. It did, however, fit all of our bags and go 120mph on the Autobahn.....

Cruising through Southern Germany.....sponsored by Red Bull
116mph snapshot
C'mon Ferrari...let the Peugeot through

Saturday, June 14, 2014

East Belguim Action & Fun Karting Center

Despite a group of weird Belgians playing skee-ball in livestock costumes, this is the best indoor karting track I have been to. First off, all of the employees spoke English well so that was a good start. The karts were gas-powered which I prefer and the track was long with lap times around 57-60s. At first it seems a bit expensive at 38 Euros per session, but one session is a total of 35min of track time - 10min qualifying session and a 25 minute race which is far superior to the 8min non-race sessions standard at American tracks. We had 16 drivers in our session. I got beaten by a few flyweight Belgians qualifying 4th and finish 4th in the race. Overall, I would high recommend this place if you are rolling through Eastern's just around the corner, right?

Btw, I didn't get any photos or video from the karting center so these are photos and videos I pulled from the interwebs.

Link to the East Belguim Karting Center

Oh yah...with techno beats:

This is what it's like onboard:

Nürburgring Touristenfahrten - Onboard Suzuki Swift BTG Lap from back in May

Castle Vianden on the drive from Lux to the Nurburgring
Lambo action on the Autobahn

A little late posting video and pictures from my trip to Europe....this was back on May 18th. I rented a Suzuki Swift stage 2 from Rent4Ring. Same as last year, Dale Lomas of Bridge to Gantry blog fame helped me get the rental sorted and he hooked me up with the highest HP Swift they have....

or maybe it's just pink. Either way, it was fun to pass Porsches and Ferraris in the pink Swift. It was a really busy Sunday when we were there so traffic was quite tough. My best BTG time was 9m30s but it was impossible to get a clear lap that day and two-up in a 140hp Swift is not ideal for fast times. The Swift was tons of fun to drive despite the low power - it has a good balance and really high grip tires which made it pretty forgiving. It was a good platform to get back in the groove at this tough track.

Driving the Suzuki Swift out on track

Onboard video w/data:

First Time to Spa-Francorchamps.....Spa Classic 2014

With my trip to Luxembourg, I was able to make the 1 hour drive up to Circuit Spa-Francorchamps for the 2014 Spa-Classic historic races. There was a really nice mix of cars there highlighted to Group C prototypes, F2 formula cars, and the Sports Racers and GT cars of the Classic Endurance Racing classes.

My favorite cars of the weekend were the Group C. This was my favorite:

Here is onboad video from one of the car owners....pretty spectacular noise:

Here are some photos from the weekend:

Elevated Podium...euro style
Endurance Pits and Garges...a blast from the past
Mazda 767B in before Group C Quali
1978 Porsche 935 in the CER 2 Group
Historic F2 car in the F1 Garages
Sports Racers coming through Eau Rouge and the Raidillion
Cool view through a hole in the fence looking up the Raidillion
Hot looking 1968 Chevron B8
A look down the Endurance Pits 
Nissan R90 missing its engine cover
Group C cars in the pits after a red flag
Sauber C11 poking out of the F1 garages