March 27, 2005

Moroso Sunday

Next morning at 6:45, cell #9 has dropped to 3.677.
The next lowest is 3.695. All the other cells are in the 3.7s.
We charge the pack for another three hours.

We have put back about 30 amp-hrs. Pack voltage is 342 volts or about 3.88 per cell.

We know that cell #9 has a problem. It is under the inverters and would be a long job to replace.

We decide today's goal is setting a full power qualifying time. The race is 15 laps and beyond our capability with a weak cell.

We take the car off charge even before they call the group before us out to qualify. (In spite of) Even with our early start, two cars have beaten us in line to qualify.

They are two RX7s. They are in our race group but not our class. I explain to them my plan of doing a hard warm up lap, one timed lap and then in.
Their qualifying plan is to go slow the first half of the warm up lap. This bunches up the pack and gives them their best chance of getting more than one clear qualifying laps before they catch up with the slower cars.

They offer to let me go ahead. We can both drive our plans and there should be no overlap.

I sit at the head of the grid mentally driving the track. The car will feel different with more power. The biggest change will be turn 6 will no longer be flat.

I am losing the most time in the chicane. I have been going all the way to the right of the track, braking hard and then pivoting in to run slightly over the entrance berm and then trying to carry some speed around the exit berm. The limiting factor is that the car has to turn too much to carry any speed out.

I have reviewed yesterday's video and think there is a better line. I will still move to the right side of the track but just before I start my braking, I will turn the car directly towards the entrance berm. I think if I put the outside wheels just beside the berm, the inside wheels can go over the berm, straightening the entrance, helping rotate the car to set up for the next turn and putting the car at a better angle to take the exit.

I review all this in my mind while we are delayed by a forklift taking a stack of tires out to a corner station. It is a big stack, four sets of tires stacked 5 high and I wonder vaguely where they are putting them. Perhaps a car in the session before, crashed and took out some protection.

The flagman waves me out.

I accelerate.

Immediately the BMS software informs me that Cell #9 has just fallen to zero. Since it is trash anyway, I decide to go ahead and try and get a qualifying lap.

Brake for turn 2. Starting feeding on throttle. The power is there. The car drifts out nicely, skating across the track.

Turn 6 is a trip. I am on-off-on with the throttle as I try and keep the car balanced and on the track.

I move the car right. I catch a hint of the smell of a battery letting go.

Getting near my braking point. My mind is processing a large black blob sitting on the chicane entrance berm.

I turn towards the entrance berm but aim a little right and brake hard. I now know where they were taking the tire stack. Right where I had planned to drive! Too many cars must have been cutting the berm.

This new heading means I will have too much speed coming into the chicane. With a limited number of options, I decide to cut inside the exit berm. This bangs the front of the car into the air and dirt flies as the nose comes back down. I bounce back on the track and put my foot back in it.

The bad battery smell is unmistakable. Through turn 9, then put my hand up. No one behind me. I pull into pit lane and move my other hand to the fire bottle release.

I roll to a stop, unbuckle and jump out. We open the hood and trunk. No fire but a bad smell. Our weekend is done.

Visiting Redheads

We leave the car on pit lane to air out as long as possible. I climb back in and drive slowly back to our trailer. Two red headed cranes wait for us. The silent Imp backing in does not frighten them.

The cranes remind me that what we are doing isn't suppose to be easy but it might be worth doing.



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March 26, 2005
March, 2005 Sum-Up


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