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4 man GTS-3 Knife Fight at TWS


dillehayd

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NASA held the Lone Star Cup round 3 races at Texas World Speedway last weekend and the GTS-3 field was smaller than usual but very competitive all weekend. Although the FMJ Motorsports #28 Bimmerworld/Ground Control BMW was run in August of last year for a shake down, this race weekend was my first true effort at racing the car with the goal of actually competing and came after an 8 month layoff for spinal surgery. James, Rob, and Jason at Bimmerworld were all invaluable in helping me get the car prepped. Jay at Ground Control and Mike at Advance Design did a magnificent job in putting together a suspension package that corners better than I ever imagined it could while making setup at the track a breeze. All 3 companies more than earned my sincere gratitude for their obvious expertise and their not-so-obvious patience.

 

The weekend included 2 sprints on Saturday, 1 sprint and a 4-hour enduro on Sunday. 3 of the regular GTS-3 guys were either broken, sick, or still building and didn't make it, so the field was 5 cars (we have 2 more cars on the way as well!). Of the 5, 4 were extremely competitive in the sprints. Everyone drove hard, clean races that show just how well NASA's 13/13 and passing rules work in GTS. The 2nd race, which was shortened by 5 minutes due to a problem in another race group, featured a 4 car fight at the front. The 1st three cars all occupied 1st, 2nd, and 3rd at some point during the race, most more than once. I had a camera in the car for the Saturday Sprints (Race 1 and 2) and got some really good video of my fights with BJ Farmer, Martin Cain, Jacy L in Martin Cain's car, and Manny G.

 

Here are videos of Race 2. The first link is the high quality video which is 160MB, the second is low quality and 40MB. As you'll see, at 12.0lbs/1hp my car doesn't do well on starts. I have a pretty nice run into the 1st corner though! Watch turn 3 for one of the most amazing out-braking moves I've ever seen, in the car or out. (I wonder how he did that?) BJ, in the blue E36M3 started on class pole, myself 2nd, Martin Cain 3rd in the red white and blue E46M3, and Manny G. 4th in the gold E46M3. The race was shortened by an AI incident that took a while to clear in a previous session and turned into a frantic 5 lap shootout.

 

The camera moved on the mount but caught all of the good action! A big thanks to BJ for racing clean all day. He made it hard, but he never chopped me when I had position. The camera missed the tightest spot...when I passed him in T3, we were side by side so close that if I didn't have the small DTM mirrors on the car, we would have been in contact continuously from the apex of 3 to the braking zone for 4! He made a great save as well at 14. The camera's move actually made for a better look at his mad tight drifting skillz. Watch the mirror as well. You'll see that although he never got by, Martin was hounding the pack the whole time. 1 mistake could easily have given Martin the win!

 

High Quality Video, 160MB

http://fmjmotorsports.com/video/NASA%20TWS%204-19-08%20Race%202%20highquality.wmv

 

Low Quality Video, 40MB

http://fmjmotorsports.com/video/NASA%20TWS%20APRIL%20RACE%202%20lowquality.wmv

 

In the 4 hour enduro on Sunday, the FMJ Motorsports car ran really well. Scott Riley took the 1st stint and did an admirable job of preserving the car, keeping out of trouble, and laying down consistent laps. Just short of the 2 hour mark, we were near the front of the field and Scott brought the car in for fuel, a single tire change, and for me to get in. Because we were about 5 minutes short of 2 hours, it was evident that we would need a 5 gallon fill near the end of the race to make the distance. Simply put, the field did a really good job of staying out of trouble and there was none of the carnage and double yellows often found in long enduros with a wide variety of makes and speeds.

 

During our planned pit, we had a fuel issue and spilled about half a pint of fuel. This was enough to win us a 2 minute stop and go with a pit lane speed limit of 25mph. At that point, I decided to drive the wheels off the car. My decision to do so payed off and I was able to pass every single car in the field at least once, most more than once. With 15 minutes to go, we were in a position to win the overall but were in need of a 3 gallon splash of fuel.

 

When I came in for fuel, we had a slow stop and spilled again. This time the amount was much smaller and the NASA observer didn't think it warranted a penalty. He was overridden by another official and we won yet another stop and go of 2 minutes. When I left the penalty box, I came out on track directly behind Jacy Legault driving the #3 GTS-3 car owned by Martin Cain. I did my best, but a blown upshift on the front straight while drafting less than 3" from the #3 bumper at 125mph killed my best chance to make a pass. Jacy did a good job of driving defensively the rest of the final lap and I finished with my bumper literally under his rear wing. After 4 hours, the three GTS-3 cars in the enduro finished within 8 seconds of each other with me 0.17 seconds behind the #3.

 

I'd like to thank Joseph Lammers, Steve Medina, and Sean Garrity (all current or future GTS-3 drivers) for crewing for us. They did the best possible job with the tools I gave them and I really can't thank them enough for spending hours and hours at the pit wall helping me. I'd also like to thank James Clay and Jason Marks, the wizards at Bimmerworld, for helping me get enough fuel into the car to make a 1 stop 4 hour race concept a possibility. Had we been able to fuel the car as anticipated, it would have worked!

 

Thanks again to all the guys I raced with this weekend. After a long layoff, it was an absolutely fantastic weekend that proved Bimmerworld and Ground Control really know how to setup a car and that old dogs really can learn new tricks!

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