4/30/16 – 5/1/16 California CAM Challenge

This past weekend we competed in the SCCA California CAM Challenge, hosted at Autoclub Speedway, in Fontana, CA. The CAM Challenge is a relatively new event for SCCA autocross, and was our first experience with National-level competition. Saturday consists of a day of in-class competition, with three-run morning and afternoon sessions giving drivers many runs to reach perfection. Best times were combined between the two sessions to establish class rankings and trophies. Sunday starts with a morning session for each class, where the top sixteen of each class are entered into a forty-eight car bracket for shootout racing.

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Saturday started wet and ended dry. The course was fast and a lot of fun. Our morning runs were extremely wet, and traction was just a dream for us on our worn Bridgestone RE-71R’s. Our fastest time came on our third run, with a competitive 66.476, but a cone strike increased our time to a 68.476. For comparison, the fastest time was a 63.684 and the slowest a 87.938. The weather cleared up for our work session, allowing the CAM-T and CAM-S cars to run much faster with the additional grip.

The afternoon was dry with a lot of cloud cover. Angry clouds rolled overhead, but only provided a very light sprinkling at the end of our session. Our second run ended up being our fastest run, with a clean 61.560. Again for comparison, fastest was 58.598, with slowest coming in at 70.061. The dry tarmac really sped up the competition. Total time for us was 130.036, placing us in eight out of seventeen. Our work session was dry with just a bit of drizzle at the end, giving a few Corvettes in CAM-S a slippery final run.

Winning the CAM-C crown for the day was BTM-AutoSport‘s Brett Madsen, taking fastest in both sessions with a total time of 122.282. His Modzilla beat out Greg Nelson’s 2015 Camaro with a 124.319, and Raleigh Boreen’s loud and hard to miss yellow 1998 Mustang Cobra with a 125.140.

In the other classes, twenty-five classics shredded tires in CAM-T, with Mary Pozzi and her 73 Camaro running away with the crown, putting down a fast 117.158 overall, followed up by Mike Trenke in a cool 1982 Four-Eyed Fox Mustang at 119.732, and Jake Rozelle rounding out the podium in his 69 Camaro with a 121.499. CAM-S, hereby known as the Corvette class; was snagged by Steve Abbott in a C5 Z06 with a 116.481, local favorite Tom Kamman in a very similar C5 Z06 with a 118.983, and Randy Gonzalez in a C6 Grand Sport with a 119.274. Sixteen cars competed in CAM-S.

Our fastest runs of Saturday, in video format, below.

Going into Sunday, we started similar to Saturday, but an hour earlier at 8:00 am. We managed to whittle our time down to 61.465. Brett again led the charge with a blazing 57.972, while slowest was  72.211. After CAM-T and CAM-S had their fun, we met at the timing trailer and got the plan for the rest of the day. Each class was placed into a bracket shootout of 16 cars total. Fastest versus slowest, 2nd fastest versus second slowest, and so on. Then, the top of each class went head-to-head, based on their PAX-adjusted time.

We were placed into grid according to our results from the morning, and had two runs to beat our competitor. Once those initial runs were completed, we went to single runs run hot, keeping the tires warm and the competition fierce. We easily advanced to the second round, beating out a 2014 Camaro ZL1 convertible. Our second round, we faced down Chris Darquea in his similarly equipped 2006 Mustang GT. We got unlucky with a cone strike, but so did he. We lost by a hair to his 63.487, versus our 63.504. The rest of the competition was quite exciting, with Brett Madsen taking home first for CAM-C  in the BTM-AutoSport Modzilla, with a 58.259. His PAX time computed to a 49.425, while Steve Abbott took second with a 49.488, and Mike Trenkle rounded out the trio with 50.061.

Our fastest morning run, followed by our CAM Challenge runs, in video, below.

We really enjoyed the format and the level of competition presented by the 2016 SCCA California CAM Challenge. We learned a lot, made a lot of new friends, and are already making plans to up our game for the 2017 Challenge!

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3/20/16 CSCC SCCA CAM-C Writeup

This weekend we ran with the California Sports Car Club region at El Toro MCAS in Irvine, CA. This was a new venue for us and we loved it. Located a mere 25 minutes from SRW Headquarters, the commute was easy, the weather was great, and the course was awesome! Getting to the track was a little confusing, but luckily we followed in a few other competitors. We worked in the first group and worked third, allowing for a much shorter day than our previous SDR adventures.

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The course itself is run on the retired airfield, with grid and paddock being setup on the adjoining runways. CSCC has large banners and abundant signage; making registration, tech, and getting into grid a clear and simple process. We pre-registered online, which gave us a look at the entry list beforehand. 9 cars were on the list, with one more being added day-of. The final entry list, not counting the Stealth Bomber, was as follows:

  • 1999 Roush Mustang
  • 2010 Camaro
  • 2006 Mustang GT
  • 2008 Mustang Bullitt
  • 1990 Mustang
  • 2015 Camaro
  • 2001 Roush Mustang
  • 2003 Mustang GT
  • 2012 Mustang GT

The most exciting entrant was the 1999 Roush Mustang, BTM-Autosport‘s Modzilla. Fresh out of the garage in CAM-C configuration, this beast came ready to fight with super-wide Jongbloed Racing wheels and fresh BFGoodrich g-Force Rival-S tires.

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The field was large and competition was hot. The course was Nationals-level good, with a fantastic choose-your-line corner and a lot of learning experiences. An exciting moment occurred when a C6 Corvette went off-course and performed some involuntary body work via wooden directional marker. In CAM-C, Modzilla stole first with a blazing 66.876, the 2010 Camaro grabbed second with a 68.902, and the Stealth Bomber rounded out the podium with a 69.941. The rest of the field couldn’t manage to break into the 60’s with times ranging between 71.403 and 82.408. The entire results list can be found here. Did we mention CSCC features live scoring? The tech used by this region was a great benefit, something sorely lacking at SDR.

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We used this event to dial-in our tire pressure game and test some experimental aero work. Results were great and taught us a lot about car setup. Overall the experience was great and we can’t wait to return to El Toro with CSCC.

Beginning

When we first picked up up the Stealth Bomber in April of 2015, it was in a complete state of #becauseracecar. With a custom bolt-in cage, Corbeau race seats, MOMO suede wheel, Nitto NT-01”s, and 6-point harnesses; it wasn’t exactly a daily driver. We promptly entered the car in the next SCCA SOLO Championship event (a whole week later – we don”t waste time).

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Not knowing the setup of the car and having only driven at an autocross twice, we enlisted Brett from BTM-Autosport to co-drive and give us pointers on the setup. To put it simply, we dominated. As the first car out in the ESP class, we put down a blistering time, with Brett nudging us out of first place by 1.28 seconds – in our own car. We loved the way it drove, the car earned its Stealth Bomber nickname, and a racing addiction was born.

At the time of writing, the Bomber is a daily. Luckily the previous owner kept a collection of stock parts (filling an entire van when we picked up the car) which allowed the car to return to what we have dubbed #becausestealthracecar. The stock front seats went in, the cage came out, the harness unbuckled, and the stock wheel was reinstalled. Life with a S197 had just begun!