Great couple of days at VIR with Trackdaze, driving solo, hanging out with my buddy Mark Dissen. Still getting the hang of the car, and remembering how to drive fast. Made tons of progress in two days; cut my lap time by over 10 seconds. Still probably have 10 to go, as the car is setup now. But I’ll probably have MOAR POWAH next time I go there.

It was mostly due to my awesome new shoes.
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Here’s the best lap of the two days – my last full lap in session 2 yesterday. I set four personal bests in the last four laps of that session… culminating in this 2:23 lap.

And here’s what happened immediately following the end of that lap…

I was going almost 130mph when I started braking, so I wasn’t doing much less than that when I upset the car and went into the slide. I slid a LONNNNNNNG way. Epic skid marks.

Pro tip: Get mostly done with your threshold braking before taking a hand off the wheel to downshift. I will NOT make that error again. Got lucky.

My car looked like some prankster spread an entire bale of straw in it.
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Click the image to open in full size.

Immediately went to the race shop and bought this:
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Click the image to open in full size.

I feel much less likely to die an early death, when sitting in that seat.
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OMP HTE-R XL (big boy size). Their nicest fiberglass shell seat. I had been looking at halo seats recently, and had got in the TMI shop at VIR Monday and tried out different seats. As soon as I sat in this seat, I knew it would be mine, it was just a matter of time. Well, nothing drives urgency in purchasing safety gear, like sliding sideways at over 100mph.

I’ll probably continue to use the Corbeaus for the street, and just put this seat in when going to the track. But I might leave it in and get a matching non-halo OMP WRC-R XL for the passenger side (which I could swap to the driver side when driving lots on the street, like at MOTD).

Took it easy for half of the next session, then loaded up and headed home, while still in one piece.

It was a great couple of days. The car handles very, very well and is very, very fast. I need to tweak a few things on the alignment and suspension, adjust my splitter a bit, reduce my rear brake bias… but the car is almost perfect.

Odds and Ends

Modified my old cargo platform (that was setup for my hidden MiniDoMore hitch) to work with the MiniFini hitch. Just had to cut down the shaft and re-drill it. Perfect now!

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Ready to haul more gear to MOTD.

Finished modifying and installing the rear interior panels. Not going for show-car pretty this time, just want something to protect the speakers and look better than bare sheet metal if someone sneaks a peek back there. The back will always be covered by the tonneau, anyway.

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Found another one of my missing tow hooks, and dipped it to match the front one. Since one of my Rennlines was damaged beyond repair, and I can’t find my other one…

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I realized today, I’m the Imelda Marcos of car shoes. I currently have 19 tires for the GPR in my garage…

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  • Four Star Specs on the car
  • Four NT01s on the track wheels
  • Four new NT01s for when I need them
  • Four Michelin all seasons on the GP 18″ wheels
  • Two almost-new Star Specs from the wrecked car
  • A donut spare

And I have a new project… extreme makeover of my workshop / garage.

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I built this about 10 years ago as a sculpture studio. It’s been a few years since I’ve used it for that. It’s my general purpose workshop now, and I could just barely squeeze the MINI in there to park before the manual conversion and all the extra parts and tools started taking over.

I think I have a plan to retain enough workbench and tool space, and get the lift in there setup for the MINI, with more parking space. So I can just roll in and put it on the lift any time, and free the other garage for the two primary cars, which will make the wife happier. Will be nice to have the lift setup all the time. I can move it back into the other garage easily enough if I need to work on one of the larger cars.

Finally, the right end links

Got my custom length Whiteline front end links, so I had a little fun with cinder blocks.

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Easiest way to adjust the swaybar end links I’ve found. Lowered the car on the lift until the weight of the front wheels was fully on the blocks, with the lift a few mm below the jack pads. Adjust end link length until no load on swaybar. Lift car, move blocks to the back tires, lower and repeat. Then raise the car back up and lock down all the locknuts. Done. Super fast and easy.

And the car rides MUCH better with the pre-load gone. Noticeably less harsh. Huge improvement.

No, I wouldn’t trust my life just to blocks stacked that way. The lift had my back.

Jack goes HERE, you idiot

tTo make it easier to hit the jack points. I got tired of having to look under the car to be sure every time, and still almost missing them… Was looking for basic red arrows, then found these on eBay. Perfect.

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Click the image to open in full size.

These and a couple of VIR track outlines are the only non-OEM vinyl on my car.