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2008 Racing Year in Review

My sixth season of racing started well enough, quite well, but ended prematurely for reasons that had nothing to do with racing, or even me personally. Next year, unfortunately, looks worse.

Looking back at 2008

With the intention of running it as an enduro-suitability test in advance of the 12-hour race in the fall, Eric and I entered my M3 (as compared to our usual enduro ride, his Porsche 968) in the 4-hour enduro in early March. Although there were a few minor teething issues with the new fuel cell, and goodness knows I won't ever again start an endurance race on old tires, the car held up well in its first long race. Oh, yeah, and we won our class and the race overall, too!

The first sprint week-end of the season, at Pacific Raceways in May, was really a tale of what might have been: After starting well and running really strongly in the ITE race, a combination of a misunderstanding about the usable volume of the new cell and a slightly maladjusted fuel gauge meant that the engine started sputtering from fuel starvation a little more than halfway through the race. An aggressive system of coasting and high gear selections meant I lost a ton of positions, but I did make it to the checkered flag. I skipped the next couple of races in order to prepare the car for my first trip to the fast, desert track for a double week-end at Spokane in July. I did two ITE races, two SPM races, and a BMW Challenge race in two days, rather oddly finishing where I started in class for all 5 races and overall in 4 of the 5.

Due to financial concerns relating to the life of an independent IT consultant in a dodgy economy, my sprint season officially ended after Spokane. My season as a whole was expected to end then, as well, but I somehow got talked into buying a seat in Eric's 968 for the first-ever 12-hour enduro at Portland in October. I hadn't driven the track since it had been repaved and partially reprofiled, but 3 hours in the seat would give me plenty of time to get the hang of the "new" corners, especially the enormously-wide rendition of Turn 7. Unfortunately, though, and at my instigation, Eric and I swapped stints so that we could get the most out of his time in the car by running him in the daylight. I say "unfortunately" because doing so meant that all my time in the car would be in the dark... making it extremely difficult to even see the apex of Turn 7, much less figure it out in a meaningful way. Still and all, and despite our first real problems in 5 years of enduros, it was quite the event.

Looking forward to 2009

Next year (this year, by the time this is posted) is a desert as far as racing concerned. As in, none whatsoever. While this is exasperating for a number of reasons, what's making it worse is that it's the informal test season for a new ICSCC race class I'm helping to create. Assuming the racing between cars in the proposed class goes like we expect, and after any necessary tweaks to the proposed rule set are made, we'll submit it for consideration as a provisional class for 2010... when I might not be racing either. Stupid economy. :(

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