A lap around the track Road Atlanta has a great flow to it and has got some very interesting sections. Turn 1 is almost a 90 degree corner, but due to a massive climb from the apex and out, it is blindingly quick. With an apex speed of 130 mph...
A lap around the track
Road Atlanta has a great flow to it and has got some very interesting sections. Turn 1 is almost a 90 degree corner, but due to a massive climb from the apex and out, it is blindingly quick. With an apex speed of 130 mph and lateral g-forces going above 3,3 it's a very daunting corner. Coming up to turn 3, its all blind and you can only see the apex right before you hit it. Going down through "The Esses" is easily flat out, but still gives you a great feeling. Turn 5 is yet another corner with a big climb. Turn 6 is a right hander and has big banking, and it is very easy to overshoot turn 7 as it does not have anywhere near as much banking as the previous corner. Turn 10a and 10b is a left-right chicane coming up after one of the longest straight-aways I have ever encountered. The braking is heavy and not overshooting the corner is an art in itself. Coming through 10b you drive up yet another hill and under a bridge. At this point all you can see is blue skies, before you suddenly drop down what feels like a 10 story building going into turn 12, which is a flat out right hander coming onto the start/finish straight. What a track!
As usual, the Star Mazda field was split up into two groups for qualifying. The slower cars from the test sessions would be in Group 1, and the faster would be in Group 2. Towards the end of Group 1 there was a lot of oil spilled onto the track, and this took a long time to clean up. The result was that the fast group would only get six laps each. Once out on track I was quickly up to speed and was right up there after the first three laps. On lap four I threw down a flier, but couldn't improve the next two laps. My competitors continued to improve their times right until the session was done, and I ended up in P5. All the guys at Mundill were looking forward to starting inside the top-5 for the race.
I got a great start and was on my way up to P4 when the guy in front decided to run me right off the road. As I was on my way past him he turned down on me, and my only option was to go to the grass. After a few seconds of trying to save the car from spinning or hitting the wall, I was back on track. I had lost a lot of positions, but would not give up that easily. I passed as many people as I possibly could during the 45-minute timed race, and eventually crossed the finish line as 9th after 33 laps of all-out racing. Neither Mundill nor I was impressed with the way I had been treated at the start of the race, but moving on from that, we showed good pace during the race. There were big gaps between all the cars out there, so chasing them down and then passing them was a time consuming effort.
I had seven guests come visit me at Road Atlanta, and there is nothing cooler than showing guests around the track and race car. Ironically enough, all of them were standing on the start/finish straight for the start of the race and filmed the incident. They were not happy about it, but at least got to see some passes during the race. On Saturday we all watched the start of the Petit Le Mans 1000 Mile race together, but the race would later be cancelled due to extreme weather conditions. Still it was a good time, and I look forward to having them at another race sometime soon.
I'm currently 7th in Overall Standings and 4th in Rookie Standings. The points up to a top-6 finish in the Overall championship is fairly close, so I hope we can have a good run and finish off the season in the best way possible. I'd like to thank all the guys at Mundill for their continued efforts and hard work, as well as my sponsors Trallfa Industries, Colosseum Dental, Antenor, KNA and ZAT Graphics.
We are off to the West Coast for the last round of the 2009 Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, California will host the 13th round of the championship, and the event will be held on October 10th. I've never driven Laguna Seca in real life, but as the avid Gran Turismo fan that I am, I've driven several thousand laps on the simulator. It seems to be one of those tracks that everyone dreams about going to, and finally I get to go there!