Saturday, September 3, 2011

End of Summer, and end of F1 Outdoor Karting League 2011

After 6 x Fridays of intense racing despite many re-schedules due to hurricanes, rains, heat waves, random cancellations we finally had our final race last night with tons of smiles on our faces.

The first time i hit the track on June for practice, with 16 other race hungry locals who had signed up to the league, with some veterans who have done this for multiple seasons and some being first timers just like me... i had a feeling i was going to have a great time..with intense battles and a lot of learning...and i was right.

I have to add, this was proabbly the best bang for the buck... ~$500 gets you 6 Fridays of racing. Each night you get 1 practice session, and 3 heat races. Total seat time per night ~30-40 minutes... 1.5 mile track, with many configurations, lots of room for passing... they even spice it up by running the track in reverse...

However as always there are some drawbacks... $500 gets you access and plenty of seat time in proabbly one of the best go-kart tracks in New England, but with some shitty rental karts... But don't be alarmed everybody gets the same shitty karts! :)

Karts are 9hp, weights are added based on driver to equalize kart performace... but its always a hit or miss,, you can either get a shitty kart that turns well, or you get a pocket rocket with no brakes.., when i say no brakes.. i mean "OMG im going 55 mph and i need to take the hairpin turn...right NOW !! OH SHIT!!" no brakes..! You live and learn..plenty of grass and run-off...and no walls or trees to hit :)

Oh, also these guys run Hard compound meaning it is very easy to overdrive the kart.. which is actually a great learning tool for i am naturally genetically engineered to overdrive! :)

The racing,, i guess this is standard for karting, involes a bit more contact then i would like. Most common strategy is to bump-pass... you use the guy infront for brakes, as he slides pass on the inside. This usually should be penalty according to the rules, but only if the flag station guy has finished texting and is watching the race. (You can check out my previous post with a video of this happening). BTW to set the record straight i never passed like that,, i had plenty of tools in my arsenal thanks to thousands of hours of working traffic on Iracing :)

BTW after that video, they banned my GoPRO camera on the track... i guess it made'em look bad...oh well...its their track and not mine..too bad or i would have some really awesome 3-wide battles, crazy passing racing porn to share :/

"Measurement is Key to Progression"... when i first started, the first night... i noticed i was ~1.3 seconds of pace from the #1 driver, who also happens to be a veteran of this league.

At that point, i decided i should try to learn as much as possible, and try to improve my self in each night of racing. To reach that goal i started to measure my % of diffrence in lap times (of best lap per race night) and overall points per night.

Each night i would try diffrent driving styles... braking early, braking late, altering lines, controllong how much I let the kart drift. This was a challenge as each heat i would get a random kart, and each race nights karts would behave diffrently... But the principals were always the same.

So when i had first started, i was %2.2 slower then #1 guy, at night #6 i had closed that gap %0.4 (from 1.3 seconds to 0.2 seconds diffrence). Here is a simple graph of night/percantage as i work on my driving:

As i improved my overall speed, this got reflected on the points i would collect each night. To put thinhs in perspective, first night i had 22 points... 6th night i was up to 36 points:

Which is exactly what i wanted...although i started off slow and mid-pack i finally started to find my rythem and winning races, which allowed me to catch up in the points to be tied 3rd place and be up there in points with the veterans:

Now that i am able to get average 30+ points per night... the next summer i am hoping to continue improving my style and finishing even higher!.... does anybody have a time machine to take me there? NOW! :)

The only frusturation i would have is,, if one day the progression stalls despite all my efforts, but i will worry about that when i get to that bridge.. for now the work must go on! :)