So there I was, just zooming along, and this happened…

Well, back in August, things were going swimmingly well. I had done several track days in 2016, car was well sorted (I thought), I was getting more confident and faster. That’s how one always feels, I hear, right before the bottom drops out.

Happened about 5 laps into the first session of the first day of a two-day track weekend at VIR. Oof. Car was feeling a little squirrelly and I was trying to figure it out. I felt like I was driving well off my normal pace, but back end of the car came around when I turned in on a high speed sweeper… and before I could correct or even go “two feet in,” the car had assumed a new trajectory and I was just along for the ride, into the Armco on the inside of “Hog Pen.”

Sadly, I my video recording didn’t start properly that session, so I didn’t have much to analyze. I KNOW I had the car set up VERY loose… but I had the same settings for two days at CMP a month earlier, with no issues. Months later, when I was rebuilding the car, I found that one of my inner CV joints had failed… either in the crash, or before. I’m thinking before, and that was what I was feeling with the car, prior to the crash. And that would explain why my usual car control skills didn’t do what they usually do…

So, broke my car. And I bought VIR $1200 worth of new guard rail. But I was able to spot my newly painted guardrail on the TV the next weekend when the pros raced at VIR. So that was cool, I guess.

It’s OK. It’s what I built the car for… going fast, and crashing into things. And it’s fixable. Never was built to be a show car.

Anyway, I let the car sit for about 5 months, because I just couldn’t get in the right frame of mind to work on it. Then, I finally did.

Left engine/bumper frame rail was mushed. So I replaced it.

Gave me an opportunity to learn some new skills, and improve my welding technique.

Got things pretty well patched up. Straightened out the mushed bonnet to “good enough” and re-used my spare partially screwed up bumper cover. I decided to switch to an Aero grille instead of spending $$$ on buying and painting a new slatted grille and related trim. I like the way it looks. Kept a little Armco Green paint for street cred.

I’ve been driving, and rebuilding my confidence in myself and the car. I had been testing much stiffer springs. While it would actually work on the track (and did at CMP last summer), it’s too stiff for bumpy roads. Every bump is a car control event waiting to happen. So I’ve backed way off on the sway rate, and I’m backing off a bit on the spring rate. I think the new setup will be about perfect.

Really happy to have the car back on the road for the spring.