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2006 Racing Year in Review

The first season with my new, more powerful, more "race car-ish" car. A rebuilding season, of a sort, but mainly an opportunity to play with the M3 and have fun racing again. Or so I thought.

Looking back at 2006

Yes, 2006, the race season that pretty much wasn't. Although I'd bought the M3 chassis in July 2005, it wasn't ready for its first track test until March of this year... which didn't go so well. It turns out that someone (probably whoever painted the engine bay before I bought it) had mis-plumbed the hard lines for the ABS pump. Normal braking wasn't a problem, but braking hard enough to trigger ABS—as I did when braking hard for Turn 2 at Pacific Raceways that day—caused the braking force meant for the front wheels to go to the rear, and for the left side to go to the right. Instant rear brake lockup and the car turned hard right into a dirt berm.

Many thousands of dollars and lots of time later, the car was finally ready for it's first race in early September. That didn't go so well, either, but I always knew its first track session was going to expose a lot of bugs. It's just too bad it had to be during a race week-end, especially one I had to tow to, because there were enough issues that I turned around and headed home Saturday evening.

The car was squared away and ready to go in time for the last race of the season, at my home track, and with the added benefit of having family, friends, and Colin available for support. This latter factor was especially important as I had splitter issues (again), electrical issues (again), and some other little items crop up. This time, though, I was finally able to get out and run the car the way I wanted to. Even taking things a bit easy, I had a lot of fun, had a couple of good races, and concluded, more than ever, that this car is going to rock once I get get more comfortable and confident in it. :)

Unfortunately, all the money spent developing and fixing the M3 meant that I didn't have any cash left over for running the Cascade enduro in October. It's so much fun, though, that I went down anyway to act as refueller for Eric's team. Of course, without me driving the car, they were able to exceed anyone's expectations and finish second in class and second overall. (I like to think it was all down to the lightning-quick refueling stops.)

Looking forward to 2007

Because of the limited amount of running I was able to do, I'm looking at the 2007 season much as I did for 2006:

As you might expect, I'm extremely excited about 2006. Not so much in any expectation of results as in anticipation of playing with, getting used to, and competing with the new car. In fact, 2006 is really all about playing with the M3 and recapturing the fun that I seem to have lost over a couple years of stressing out over the non-driving aspects of racing. [...] In addition to all the fun I hope to have with the M3, Eric and I will be competing in the first-ever (first of many, one hopes) running of the "Four Hours of Pacific Raceways" enduro put on by IRDC as part of the new Northwest Endurance Racing Series (NWERS).

The main differences to 2006's plan revolve around enduros: The Cascade enduro (which I will drive in again) takes place in March 2007, while I'm hoping to run the M3 in the IRDC 4-hour in October. Since the 4-hour has a P0 class for the biggest-bore cars in Cascade's P1 class, I'm thinking the M3 will be very competetive in IRDC's P1 class.

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