Friday, March 31, 2006

Great Weather, a Cool Second Job, and an Upcoming Race

My God, this weather is spectacular. It's 60 every day, bright and sunny. Absolutely gorgeous. Real ragtop weather. The sin of it is, I don't have one, but the Skyline is nice with the windows down. I'm wondering if I can get a sunroof installed.

I got an interesting call the other day. The State Police were looking for a guy to teach their people how to drive cars very fast on the highway while keeping reasonably safe. In particular, they want someone that can show them how to handle the powerful pursuit cars. Here in America, state police typically use Camaros--big, beefy coupes with V8 engines. These babies wear Z28 bodies (the low-power version style, the Z28's engine "only" makes 260-some-odd hp) but pack secretly-modified SS engines and trick suspensions. Basically, I think it amounts to an ECU reflash combined with an OEM performance intake and exhaust. But they're seriously powerful, and can travel in excess of 180mph.

Problem is, very few recruits have ever driven a car that powerful, and even fewer have ever crossed the trible-digit line.

So, after my delightful little attempted carjacking incident--I'm still laughing at that poor bastard that thought he could rip me for the CLK--they flipped back through the Rolodex and dialed my number. I've got the Class A international license, which basically means I'm permitted to race JGTC, DTM, and extreme rally events like Dakar, I've graduated from half a dozen racing schools and two advanced street driving schools, and I like to think of myself as pretty good behind the wheel of anything with four rubbers. To their mind, that makes me uniquely suited to teaching the basics of driving really goddamn fast. Also, they saw me put that CLK sideways at 170 and slide it around a semi in maniacal attempts to toss the carjacker around the CLK's cockpit.

Long story short, they interviewed me, conducted a background check, and offered me the job the day after the interview (part of which involved me intentionally putting a Camaro pursuit car into a spin, rotating it 1080 degrees/three times all the way around, and then magically breaking the spin, pulling a hairpin, and stopping). Naturally, I took it. The money's good, it's fun, and I'm doing my civic duty. Also, the cars are not half bad. The guys are a lot of fun, too.

But...I got that bloody race Saturday. The 350Z-R is set and prepped, fully dialed-in, and I already turned five or six really hot laps in the thing. I'm certain I can finish in the top five, and I think I stand a good chance of winning. Better than even. I'm going to intentionally throw the qualifying laps so I can start three or four cars back from pole (I'm qualifying dead last, so I'll know exactly what time I need). I like that position because it'll let me draft and pass on the first two laps and then draft the leader on the final straight by Lap 3, which should put enough space in between me and him that he won't be able to draft me on Lap 4. After that, it's just a matter of maintaining the split time, not pushing the car too hard, and pitting in a lap after my nearest competitor, using the one-lap gap to squeeze one more really strong run to open enough space so that I don't lose the lead.

And yeah, I know it's dumb to be printing my strategy on the internet, but what's it going to change? Not like the competition is professional, and thus likely to know how to keep me from doing all that.

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