Sunday, April 02, 2006

Hooray to Me for Not Dying!

Well...that was fun. Deeply unsatisfying, but fun.

My little plan to draft the leader by the third or fourth lap failed miserably. I wound up entering the last straight (which is a really, really long one...we're talking Fuji's straight long) with three guys in front of me: The M3, the GTO, the Audi, and the G35. Not because I was turning crappy times, but because I underestimated their ability to block me. And really, not their ability as much as their aggressiveness in doing so. I mean, they were reckless about it. Bloody amateurs.

But here's the magic of such a situation: If you exit the final turn, a hairpin, just right, you can slipstream the tail car, the M3. Everyone has big fat-assed GT wings on their car, so the envelope for doing that is just enormous. From there, I screamed past the poor bastard and slipped into the GTO's air pocket, and then repeated the process with the M3 and the G35. I hit the drivetrain's top speed about halfway through, levelled the throttle, and just ran away.

From there, I built up my lead to what I consider to be healthy breathing room, about five and a half seconds. I suppose I could have worked up a wider margin, but I was trying hard to conserve both my tires and my fuel so I wouldn't have to pit in and get caught in the middle of the pack while the leaders ran away from me. The closest four cars pitted in on Lap 25, and that allowed me to turn in a burning-hot lap before popping in myself. My Pit Crew of Spectacular Talent managed to fuck up pretty badly, which completely killed my lead (I figure that I should have been out of there eight and a half seconds earlier...okay, so it wasn't a total fuck up, but it was a bad pit), and that forced me to nose out onto the track behind the G35, with the Audi S4 in a comfortable lead.

You remember. The Money Pit Audi S4. Turns out they bought a truly skilled pit crew in addition to the titanium-forged everything and all those RS6 parts.

But it was cool. I was back in the lead by Lap 30, and feeling very comfortable by 35. By the time 40 rolled around, I'd forgotten it was a race. Split time? Seven seconds. Not a whole lot, but it was only a 40-lap race, and I'm always willing to take a one-second lead over a ten-second lead that disappears when I break a gear, blow a damper, or burn out my l-s differential in the final lap. Also, I don't know if we have the money to buy a new differential if this one breaks. And I'm almost certain my boss isn't going to buy us a new engine if we kill this one before the season is over.

Enter victory lap, champaign, obligatory girls hired off a website for an escort service. You know, I kinda miss the ultra-annoying ass-kissing Japanese umbrella girls. At least they were, well, professionally sleazy. If I had my way, the winner would just get a beer. Fake-ass trophies are just dumb, and it's pretty silly to have a couple glammed-up girls do photo-op kisses on the cheek when so many women are involved with autosports now, and so many drivers are married.

Still, it felt good. I found that I still hate that flame-retardent gel. Stuff is still cold as shit. It was 75 today, and I was shivering out on the tarmac. The Nomex undergarmet still itches and scratches, and the car is still hot as hell. On the plus side, my legs can take two hours of 1g+ turns, which I was kinda worried about. And it was actually pretty refreshing to have a crowd just give a little cheer, as opposed to the unadulterated adoration the Japanese lavish on their drivers. I dunno...it just seems so much more sincere when they only give you a little, and no more or less than everyone else. I mean, I always just look at anything I hear from the grandstands as the spectators showing their appreciation for my gift of dragging my ass out of bed at four in the morning so I can have my ears drilled on by an unmuffled exhaust by nine.

Yeah. I was up at 4 AM Saturday, and it is now 6 AM Sunday. I have not slept in 26 hours. Well, only 25. Daylight Savings Time.

Lisa was very cool about everything. She was worried, but only the natural kind of worried. Not hyperventilating. I had already sat her down and talked with her about it. I'm going to tell you all the same thing I told her. Racing--and by which I mean, racing professionally--is like crossing the street. Every time you do it, you're putting your life in the occasionally-buttery fingers of complete strangers and, worse, random chance. You're trusting that they're going to be safe, skilled, and responsible drivers. And you're trusting that you've taken as much of the process out of the realm of random chance as you possibly can. A guy crossing the street looks both ways. I inspect my car, from top to bottom and inside to out, no less than a dozen times myself, in addition to all the other people that look at it.

And yeah, racing's dangerous as hell. And I hear some people get hit by geriatric Cadillac drivers while they're crossing the street.

First real race after the accident. Next stop? Hit a more serious circuit after this rather short season is up. I've got a professional vendetta against Toyota and TRD Sports. And yeah...returning to "real racing" means I lose my fucked-up-driver money. Oh, well. Some things are worth it. Revenge is one. Racing's the other.

2 Comments:

Blogger Poll said...

Hello !

I like very much your blog !

Regards

5:28 AM  
Blogger OXEN said...

Cool to see you racing again.

And writing about it.

10:20 AM  

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