Laguna Seca, November 24, 1999

Laguna Seca video page

Needless to say, I had a blast. Mike was there, and so was a sexy black S2000.

ready to rumble!

They were about 50 or so cars. Plenty of MR2s, since this was a MR2 club event. Four ITRs, a couple FD RX7s, a NSX, many Miatas, a new Cougar, a Neon, and some other cars. John Van Nghiem was there with his JDM ITR equipped EG. He even has the ultra-rare-in-the-US 4-bolt ITR wheels.

Amazing to me, was how much a simple GSR/Civic kickass over so many cars on the track I kept passing cars all day long, many like they were Geo Metros.

Patrick (MR2 club track organizer) laid out three run groups with fast cars and experienced drivers in R1, the in-between combos in R2, and the new drivers and street tired cars in R3. Me and Mike were in R3. It was quickly obvious that, this was a mistake. Our Civics were easy to push hard. They are forgiving, not spin prone and have an excellent power to weight ratio. But the superiority of my power to weight ratio was impressive even to me. Coming out of turn 11 onto the front straight and spanking a loudly spooling MR2T was joyous every single time. I think Mike and I were starting to piss some people off. R3 also had some Miatas, a Volvo S-something with big tires, a new Cougar [don't laugh, he new the line, and showed me a faster line through 6.] and some other stuff.

We went out in 20-25 minutes run groups. I got out on the track 4 times in my EG, rode along in a mega-fast Kumho shod MR2T, and rode along with Kit in his off-the-showroom-floor-1000- mile S2000 in his last run group. Yes, I rode in the S2000 for about 20 minutes of back to back laps. He drove it hard and I loved it! Oh, and did I tell you that Jeff's MR2T blows flames?

I have to admit I was a bit lazy and conservative. I must have pushed only 8-9/10ths in the corners and rarely pushed the brakes more than 8/10ths. I didn't have to....

...until my third time out on the track. After passing the handful of slower cars, I set my sights on a black Miata with a HardDog Race rollbar, plenty of negative camber and obviously some very sticky tires. I started to reel him in, but he must of caught site of me in the rear view, cause he really turned up the heat. He started diving into the turns, and braking a full marker later than I dared too. I had enough power to keep him in sight, but he knew I was there and was not going to let me get him easy. Now I know he was pushing it, because the closer I got, the more often he would smoke a tire under braking. Funny thing is, the harder he tried, the more I watched his line, dived deeper myself and stuck with him. But, through the corkscrew he really had me. From turn 7 to 9 he would just jump, like he was cheating with a StarTrek-spec transporter. I had to nail 10 and 11, and spank it down the front straight to keep him from getting away. I gave too much away on the straight though, because throughout the day I could not keep my foot planted over the hill and as deep as I should have at the end of the front straight. I was only hitting about 100 mph, instead of the 110-115 I should have been seeing. On the other hand, I was getting better and better at working turns 2,3 and 4 so that my speeds entering turn 5 was close to 100 mph, with a peak of about 99 mph. This is comparable to what the s2000 was hitting when I was riding along. Anyways, I never caught the Miata, and it is an absolute shame that I did not get that run on video, because it was some damn good stuff.

Mike and I were so evenly matched that we never got close to each other except the one time we started at the same time. I strapped the video camera in my car. I followed him for one warm up lap, and then he started to turn up the pace. I was enjoying watching Mike's car and the way the suspension moved. He could just lift the inside rear wheel on certain corners. Then on turn 10, he really lifted the wheel. I realized he was a bit outta shape, but looked like he was still in control. Then all of a sudden I realized I was going the same speed as him and taking the same line. Oh SH*T!! Before I realized I was paying more attention to Mike than my own driving, it was too late! Did a slow, pathetic 90 degree spin and Mike was gone. I tried to catch him, but there was no hope in the time we had left.

And that was the end of the day. And what a long day it was!

Thanks to Patrick, Jeff, IMOC, Kit, Mike, John, and everyone else.

I can't wait for the next event!


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