Race Report: Laguna Seca

I just got back from the Lucky Dog Racing League event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. In this first part I’ll tell some of the story and next week I’ll present some more video and telemetry.

LDRL is a great racing series. Fees are rock-bottom at $250 per driver for a 2-day event. I was lucky enough to get a 6 person team entry that was being auctioned at the Derric’s Day charity event held by Hooked on Driving. I also had an item in that auction: free race with Triple Apex Racing (my team). The guy who won that, Danny, came to race at this event. So that made for a tidy story. Danny’s track car is 911 GT3 RS, and you can see that from his telemetry (more on that next week). This was his first race, and he was fantastic.

In addition to me and Danny, there was Thomas (my first racing buddy and a pro mechanic), Sunil (another HoD coach), Margaret (Spec Miata and 25hr veteran), Matt (International rally driver from Ireland), and Kevin. If you’re counting, that’s 7, not 6. We adopted Kevin when the car he was supposed to drive blew a head gasket. One cannot fly from Seattle with the intention of racing at MRLS for the first time and not actually do it!

This was one of the best teams I’ve ever accidentally on purposed assembled. Everyone was fast and clean. We only had one incident. A pink RX7 thought it should steal an apex and the little blue Yaris ended up with minor bruises from the rear bumper to the front quarter panel. Just body work. Still, it hurts. There’s an old saying that you shouldn’t put the car on track unless you’re willing to throw it off a cliff. Despite being a cheap car, I’m not entirely sure I am willing to do that. Does that mean I don’t want to race it? I don’t exactly know. It’s hard to put a lot of work into a racecar and then see it dented. I’ll have to see how I feel tomorrow, next week, or next month.

There’s always some mechanical issue every race. This time was no different. The window net fitting came loose and is lost somewhere. Thomas’ idea was to strap a 15 mm socket to the cage. Worked so well I may keep it that way permanently!

It turned out that I only drove about 7 laps. I was scheduled to drive last. An unfortunate incident with a stinging insect sent me to the ambulance (depending on the species, they can kill me in 30 min). Turns out I was okay, but I told the team I wasn’t driving after triple dosing antihistamines and being anxious about death by insect. But I felt better later and decided I wanted to take the last 20 min of the race. Here’s my fast lap. It’s a little sloppy in places but it was the fast time of the day.

Wait, what happened to part 2?

This was supposed to be a 2 part report, but I changed my mind and the telemetry analysis will go into other posts.

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