Mike Maier Inc Meets Circuit of the Americas
As we arrived at the track, the first order of business was to unload the cars, do the final registration and prep for the day. The order of events for us was the autocross, speed stop, design and engineering review and to round out the day we went on the road rally. All of this had to be done in 100+ degree heat and a ton of humidity.
As we embarked upon the autocross we knew it was going to be a lot of work. After the rebuild of Ol’ Blue we attended one autocross before leaving for Texas. It was to be expected that the set up was going to be off on the car, springs, bars and shock adjustments were going to be a given. After the first few runs the car was not great, but not bad at the same time. A severe case of understeer was present. We started to tune on the chassis but we were cut short by an odd brake pedal/master cylinder problem. The pedal was feeling strange, when all of a sudden the pedal went to the
floor. The culprit was a bent master cylinder pushrod which we replaced in haste on the grid. The new master went in and as the car went to line up to make the last run a second master pushrod bent. This ultimately ended our chances at the autocross. Old Blue finished second by about two tenths. Over lunch we took a closer look at things and it turned out not to be the quality of the master cylinders but an alignment problem with the way we had set up the balance bar. When we replaced the master again we made sure to reset the balance bar and hurried off to the next event.
The next event was the speed stop; this is basically is a drag race launch into some sort of a U turn, then through a gate or slalom ending in a stop box. Our first run out was a solid one. The brakes now were amazing and they weren’t even dialed in yet. We continued to progress with our set up and the times kept dropping. Finally we were in a heated battle with Jake Rozelle, Jake has been the force to be reckoned with, his Camaro is a wonderfully prepared beast and consistently fast. Every lap we would beat each other by thousandths. Between laps we kept making adjustments through spring rates and sway bars. This ultimately led Old Blue to the win by just a bit. Finishing up with the speed stop we had but minutes to make the design and engineering review so off we went.
Design and engineering went fairly smooth. Admitting this is not one of our current strong points, we have been focusing on performance first then looks. Making sure the interior looks factory is cool but fast on the track is number one for now. With the new wiring all the lights worked perfectly; gauges and horn were on point. This will be a point of interest for the future for sure. D&E delightfully treated us well and took interest in the engineering of our car and rewarded us with a 9th overall.
The road rally was a pleasant one, USCA was nice to us this time. A total distance of 24 miles in 100 plus weather was plenty. This is basically a road worthiness challenge to the cars to make sure that they are actually streetable.
Finishing up Saturday was welcoming to us. A long and hot day full of constant hustle. We definitely had little issues, but this is to be expected with so many new parts on the car. The other bonus was every change that was made was an improvement to the car and its performance. The car kept getting better and the times kept dropping.
Sunday morning came quick. The road course consumed this whole day. First cars were out at 8:30 am. Corrected temperature would be 108 degree’s. Put your big boy pants on for this one because it’s going to get dirty. First order of business is to get the car prepped and drivers meeting which was the typical pre-track talk, passing zones, flags, don’t crash and burn, use the whole track and big speeds. Got it! First session out is the observation lap. This is to familiarize yourself with the course. We come in and I can feel that the car is tight (understeer). I could also tell you that even after my studying the course I was even more confused with track direction. Upon our first session out Blue made it about half a lap and a bolt came out of the shift linkage leaving the car stuck in 4th. So now we have three sessions left. We repaired the car and make more chassis changes to free up the car even more and have another go at it. This time we had to start at the back of the grid due to not having a time in the previous session. Now we started working through the traffic, the blue car was starting to feel good. The track started to come to us and learning the course became easier as we went. The third session was now time to get after it. Before we went out we made a sway bar adjustment and we hooked up the Wilwood balance bar adjuster to tune the brakes on the course to speed things along. This followed up by a quick flush of the brake fluid, now was the time to get after it. On our second lap Old Blue laid down a time that put us ahead of Jake Rozelle. However this guy would not lay down, he was going to push as hard as possible to keep his position. We had one more session left and we made one final spring change to hopefully get us some more time. By this time it was peak heat, cars and people were dropping like flies. We get out on track and we dropped another second off the lap times ending us at 2:29.0, which was enough to leap frog us to first over all in GTV for the weekend. As the weekend finished up Old Blue had mixed it up with McLaren’s driven by a national champion, a Porsche GT3 RS and Z06 Corvettes.
As a first weekend out we consider this a huge victory for the MMi team. The car progressed all weekend and it no doubt is faster and it is only going to get better. We owe this success to our supporters and team members. It would not have happened without them.
Alameda Collision Repair
K&N Air Filters
Dynotech Drive shafts
Also, we need to thank all the people who helped at night in the shop. Coming by late seeing Mike looking worn and throwing in a hand was huge. Even the Texas contingent of MMi supporters showing up at the track and unconditionally lending a hand through brutal heat. Old friends of the family coming up with an oil cooler last minute made from an air conditioning condenser that saved our rear in the heat. Special thanks to Garret Ankeny from Currie enterprises to offer his help to make sure we had what we needed to be at the top of our game. Gary Mole did an amazing job on everything he touched. Most of all, our fearless leader Brianne guided us through the battle with great poise. Thank you to all. Our little shop lives from your support and friendship. We look forward to the next meet.