After a week of blistering heat, and the sun beating down upon those who dared venture out into its rays; the Saturday that followed was different. Not the opposite, as that would be cloudy, with freezing temperatures and frozen precipitation falling and accumulating everywhere. No, this was different. It was colder, but not cold. It was cloudy, but there were glimpses of blue sky. There wasn’t frozen precipitation gathering on the track, but there were “showers in the area.” At least that’s what my phone told me as I was trudging back to my car to get my rain gear, in the midst of a sudden, intense shower. But while I was playing chicken with the weather behind the armco, on the tarmac were drivers dueling the clock.
After months of being behind the wheel of Paul Mitchell, and in the garage working on his car, Todd Green finally got the blue car race ready. And it was quite the debut. He took home a pair of wins on the day, but for our purposes we’ll focus on the 1:45.34 lap time that secured his TTE win. I’m not sure what he’s done exhaust wise, but the car sounds rowdy! So much so that I was caught off guard when he came down the back straight.
Jeb Brown was out and about in his Miata, when he wasn’t instructing. Between imparting knowledge and trying to stay dry, Jeb managed to lay down a 1:54.032 in TTD. That was good enough to hand Trever Pope his second place finish in the last six race days.
I noticed a gorgeous, gray 911 as I was walking through the Day Garages. The golden class and number stickers leaped off the paint, and the car stood out amongst the BRZs and 3 Series that sought shelter in the garage with it. I knew I had to keep an eye out for the car when it was on track, and good thing I did. Joe Evers drove the widow maker to a win in TTC, laying down a best time of 1:49.2.
For the second time in… well ever, we had an Aerial Atom running competitive laps. Very competitive laps. Steve Marx came out of nowhere, and drove his high downforce jungle jim to a win in TTB. How fast can some tubing with a motor strapped to it move? His best lap on the sub-par day (weather wise) was 1:43.389. Not bad for something that is completely, and utterly insane.
It was a battle of the BRZs in TT3, as has been the norm for the majority of the season. Despite there being what would appear to be better cars in the class, it’s been Mike and Andy dueling for the top two spots all season. This day saw a third competitor cut into their dance. Despite his best efforts, James Pasquier couldn’t out run Andy, who put up a 1:39.227 in the ever changing conditions.
In his usual fashion, Alex managed to elude me all day. He eluded me everywhere, except when he was on track. Despite all of the witchcraft happening under the hood of the Focus of Doom, he could not escape my lens. I managed to catch him as he was on his way to a win in TT2. His best time of the day was a staggering 1:35.303. Amazing, considering that he’s in a home-brewed, front wheel drive, big turbo Focus. To put that into perspective: he was faster than a Noble, a Porsche Cayman GT4 Club Sport, several 911’s, and Wade Hall’s Mustang which puts down enough power to alter the Earth’s rotation.
Front wheel drive has certain advantages in adverse conditions. Having the weight of the engine over the driven wheels helps to keep the rubber on the tarmac, and not sliding across the water on top of it. It has some disadvantages too (understeer, having the driven wheels also doing the braking AND steering), but like Alex and his Focus, Zack Serna has tamed those disadvantages. He took his supercharged, K series powered Civic hatchback to brave new heights and set a time of 1:40.995. It held up to the rain, the wind, and the charging Noble of Kam Urquhart.
Speaking of Porsche Caymans, one was atop the TTU ladder. I say “one” because there were two running in the same group. Both sported prime numbers, and both were white. According to the results on My Laps (what I’m going off of, because that’s all I’ve got at the moment) the #11 car was the winner, laying down a 1:36.963. This is where things get tricky. Greg Warnock is on the list as the winner, driving the #11 car. As you can see in the photo above, Jeff Kearl drives the #11. Greg has the #07, and in a weird twist is also third in TTU (in the #07 car). Now, they could’ve very easily hopped in the other’s car. Or there could be some other mix up, I don’t know. Either way, one of them won and the other came in third, with Wade Hall sandwiched in the middle.
And there it is, a comprehensive and wordy review of Saturday’s TT action. We’ll be back with Thunder and Lightning coverage, and a gallery of some of the rooster tails that were kicked up as the rains were falling, later this week.