I headed back to Buttonwillow Raceway, where Speed Ventures was holding the Pony Car Challenge, the Corvette Challenge and the Cadillac Challenge. We ran configuration 13 clockwise, which is one of my all time favorite courses- very technical and safe in the event of an oops, as there's almost nothing to hit. This weekend held a lot of firsts for me. First time running Hoosier A6s, first time running aero at this track, and first time competing in a time trial.
Pony Car Challenge
The way these time trials work is very simple - everyone competing has a transponder, and your fastest lap of the day is ranked against all others' fastest laps. The cars are divided into classes, my class was second to the top, Class PC2 because of my suspension, engine, tire and aero upgrades. Out of the roughly 70 cars at the track, unfortunately there were only 5 pony cars that entered, but it was still fun to participate. Clearly this competition is in desperate need of a friendly rivalry, LOL. Maybe we can get a Mustang club to compete against Camaro5, the SoCal Racing Team, and some of my NorCal Camaro buds.
Out on the Track
The reason why I added a wing and splitter is because of this track. My goal was to break into the sub-2:00 club. I could turn respectable laps, but the cars at the top of the charts were always those with big aero. And the cost of aero compared to my other mods was small, about the same as a set of track tires. So I thought, why not? After running aero at Willow Springs and being amazed at how planted the car is, I returned to Buttonwillow. In my first session Saturday, I was running in the Red Group (top advanced group), and I was third fastest while just feeling out the car. Between the Hoosiers and the aero, man this car was on rails!
In all sessions but the last, I was able to turn 1:58s. My best of the day was a 1:58.14, which made me fastest Pony Car (out of 5, LOL), so it was cool to win one for Chevy Nation. My car was third fastest overall for the day. The fastest car of the day was a race-prepped, gutted, winged ZR1 that ran a 1:55.14, driven by a well known driver Stephanie Cemo. She came in on a trailer with a crew, ran a couple sessions to win the Corvette Challenge and then packed up and headed home. A friend of mine told me that she's been racing since she was 15 and her car weighs in at about 3,000 pounds, a good 850 pounds slimmer than mine. Very cool lady, I chatted with her for a while. She said it was an "off day" for her. I asked her what an "on day" is like. Her personal best is a 1:52!
On Sunday, a large number of Cadillac CTS-Vs rolled in to compete in the Cadillac Challenge, some in the neighborhood of 1,000 HP at the flywheel. These guys came in with enclosed trailers, motor homes and support staff from a tuner company called D3. When on track with these guys, I had no problem overtaking them in the corners, but the only way you can pass them in the straights is if they let you! My car pulls pretty hard with about 560 HP, but those 4,300 pound Caddies can just walk away in a straight line from anything short of Stephanie's ZR1.
On Sunday I was feeling confident with the new set up, and turned my new personal best of 1:57.47, which made the Camaro the fastest car of the day. I have to admit, it felt good to drive to and from the track, beat the uber-dollar Caddies as well as all of the Porsches and Vettes, many of which came in on trailers. Considering my previous best was 2:02.9, this was a good day for me. Travis, a new owner of a fine ZL1 came out to watch on Sunday. His car's not yet broken in, but will be sure to be a blast on the track. Also good to hang out with my friend Mike in his bad ass Viper ACR and Sean Southland, who pilots a Camaro in various racing series.