8-Legs Racing at Calabogie (Ted Powell Race weekend)
What an awesome weekend. As some of you know, Chris and I have been working for 8 Legs Racing for a few years now, and as a thank you, they signed us all up to participate in the GT Sprints/Challenge last weekend at Calabogie.
We wanted to do the test day for a few reasons:
1. The e36 hadn’t run in over a year.
2. Chris and I had never driven #710 (yellow e46)
3. Chris had never driven #411 (red e36)
4. Arek hasn’t driven all year and wanted seat time
5. Eric ran 2 laps at ICAR this year..
We had planned an internal tournament for 8-Legs Racing: We’d each drive specific cars for GT Challenge, but for the sprints, we’d bounce from car-to-car-to-car, and whoever got the fastest cumulative time (by adding your fastest lap in each car) would win! The two e46s are in GT2 for the sprints, and the e36 is GT3. All the cars are running in the same class for GT Challenge – in GS.
Test day! Roll the cars out on Friday morning, fire them up to warm them up....
#747 (black/orange e46) decides to self destruct: The plastic timing chain guides destroyed themselves. Sweet – good start to a weekend.
So we register the two other cars and start alternating drivers in each session, while the other guys slowly (VERY slowly) start taking the front end of 747 off and pulling the motor apart. First session out is Chris and Arek. So far so good. Arek comes in and says Shawn – take the yellow car out next session. Ok – that’s the car I’m most intimidated by, but at the same time most excited about driving - Cool.
Oh and by the way, it’s very tail happy at high speed.
High speed?!?! Umm... alright... I guess....
So next session out, I take the yellow car out. HOLY CRAP. That thing is awesome. The pedals: perfect. Balance: ok not so perfect but manageable. Sound: insane. Feel: ridiculous. I love that car.
My car feels like a boat compared to that thing. It’s raw, solid, uncensored. A screaming banshee waiting to rip you apart. But at the same time, it WANTS to carry you to P1. So freaking cool. And the sound – OMG. You may have seen my sprint video – that whine sounds like you’re in a jet fighter (not that I’ve ever been in one but yeah). You can better hear the engine RPM in the driver seat, so between that and the drivetrain whine, it’s a symphony of adrenaline resonating in your helmet.
The practice day finishes off well – The best time so far in #710 is a 2:20.1 (wow, slow considering it ran a 2:14 in CTCC last year). The track feels slow – or maybe it’s just the tires we’re running – or maybe we just suck lol.
Friday night we finish pulling 747 apart, fish all the plastic bits out of the oil pan, and bolt it back up. Ready for tech tomorrow!
#411 passed tech Friday night, so that’s all good. The yellow car is being teched first this morning. So far so good. We’re told to start the car to make sure the kill switch works. Start the car – see, it works! A passerby stops and points at the car with wide eyes... uh oh. I get out: it decided to puke all its oil. In the tech area. Yeah that looks good. :(
Turns out it was coming from the oil filter – it wasn’t tight enough and the cold morning start caused the gasket to blow out. Phew – could have been a lot worse! Replace the filter, clean her up – she’s good to go! Glad we got here early! 747 goes to tech after that – good to go as well! Then we go to swap tires on #710 to try and get more grip in the back – what’s that – feels like a loose wheel bearing. Crap – Chris and I are about to go out – Arek – fix it!
First session out is GT Challenge practice. We had previously decided that Chris and I were going to share #411 (red e36), Arek was going to drive #710 (yellow e46), and Eric was going to drive #747 (black/orange e46). Since qualifying was 40min, we decided to split that as well. Chris went out first in quali, and got an awesome time: 2:19.1. I wasn’t able to beat that, so he was going to start the race, and I would finish it. We’re sitting P7 in quali overall, just in front of Arek (2:20.0) and 3 spots ahead of Eric (2:20.5) – Yup apparently Arek got out there in #710 – turns out the axle nut was loose so he just torqued it down and it tightened up!
Next session is practice for GT sprints. I was driving #747, Chris was driving #411 and Eric was driving #710. #747 had garbage tires on the front – it was terrible – the car WOULD NOT turn in. Sucks. I only managed to get a 2:22.8, whereas Chris got a 2:20.3, and Eric got a 2:20.8 – I’m already 2 seconds back :(
Next session after that – GT Challenge race! There’s a mandatory pit stop of 1min between the 20minute and 40 minute marks. That’s when Chris and I would do our driver change. We figured if there was a full-course yellow, he’d come in, or he’d come in at the 30 minute mark. Green flag – go! Chris is killing it – Arek gets in front of the start in #710, it’s all good – he can’t keep the power down – Chris keeps getting better launches out of T20 but can’t out-power him on the front straight. Arek points him by after a few laps on the outside of rocky road, going into 5 – BRAKE BRAKE! Drop 2 wheels off on the outside – GO GO GO! gets him on the exit and holds it – good job bro!
Arek comes it at 18min – what’s up? Still no rear grip - check the rear wheel bearing – it feels loose! I jack the car up – nope, it’s tight – get back out there!
At 29min I flag Chris to come in next lap. Start the timer as he stops in pit lane, he gets out, I loosen the belts (LOL), and hop in, get strapped in, put on my gloves, Chris yells GO – I say wait – what’s our time. You’re good... NOW! Sweet – we nailed that change. I’m all excited/nervous – mess up my shifting going into corner 2 lol... NBD – keep going!!! The race was awesome – I missed all the exciting stuff at the start though – the field was pretty spread out so it felt like a quali session. Fun nonetheless – I was pushing hard! I caught myself backing off a couple laps but I just had to keep fighting!
So excited when it was over – I had no idea where we finished. P3! What? AWESOME! Chris and I are stoked!
One more session to go – GT Sprint Race 1! I’m driving 411, Eric is driving 747 and Arek is driving 710. This is my first race start EVER. We’re starting from the back of the grid because we qualified in different cars. Breathe, focus, green flag – GO GO GO! I pin it to try and stick behind Arek – Can’t do it – he’s weaving/splitting traffic like it’s a joke. Whoa! He makes gaps where they didn’t exist! I try and follow him in but those gaps disappear as soon as he’s through. I make it through T1, T2, T3, T4, rocky road – go to the inside, wait, wait.. brake! There’s a car beside me but i’m 100% lined up with him on the inside so for sure I’ve got the line. Wait – he’s turning in – oh crap, go to the grass! I drop 2 wheels on the grass, but as i hit the rumble strip the back end comes out – bump! Oops!!!! Oh well, keep going – the other guy didn’t wreck – cool! Go go go! I slowly work my way up the pack – it’s going awesome. Finally I start seeing some GT3 guys – sweet! These passes are for position! Almost done the race, then full course yellow as I’m going through the quarry. Ok, lift a bit but not much – Arek is right in front! I’m going down the front straight then I see the Last Lap board.. aww man. Right after that, a safety truck pulls out of pit lane – ok he must be going into turn 1. NOPE – shoots across the track to T9. WTF! I literally have to SLAM on the brakes and swerve to avoid him. WTF was that?!? Did I do something wrong? The next few corners I’m shaking – maybe I should have slowed down more?
As we get past temptation we start seeing debris – body parts everwhere – turns out Marc Steenbakkers got pushed into a wall over the crest, then flipped end-over-end-over-end all the way down the hill, to land on his roof at the bottom in T10. Holy – it looks bad. Right after the incident they red flag the race, and we stop on the front straight (as instructed). Shortly after we go into the pits, and the race is over.
Turns out Marc is ok – he walked from the wreck. Whoa! That car is a mess though. Also, I finished P3 in GT3! Sweet! After the race, a guy comes up to me and says “did you poop your pants out there?” LOL turns out he was behind me when the safety car came out – I’m glad to get confirmation that it was nuts, and that I didn’t do anything wrong.
Here's Arek's in-car:
The cars are good – we go have dinner with the MCO folk, and pack it in for an early night.
Race 2: Chris is driving #710, Arek is driving #747 and Eric is driving #411. The race goes well – no incidents, all the cars finish – sweet! One more race to go!
Race 3: I’m driving #710, Chris is driving #747, and Arek is driving #411. This one is for all the marbles. I need to run a 2.19.9 to not finish last in our mini-tournament, Chris basically just has to get a time to win. He killed it in all the cars.
I’m on the inside on the start – green flag – GO GO GO ! I get squeezed going into T1 – ok, go go go! I see a spot on the outside of T2 against the wall – GAS – go for it – oh crap – BRAKE BRAKE!!! The guy in front saw the same hole – I barely am able to keep it off the wall, and off him – push, push – we’re racin’!!! Chris is right behind me – crap he won’t give me a break! Just keep him back, go go go! Still having the same corner exit issues – Chris gets a way better launch coming out of T20 – we’re drag racing up the front straight... He’s not lifting, I’m not lifting – braking zone- he’s still not lifting!!! Ugh, off the gas, let him in front.... WHAT!!! He checked up too – oh crap, I can’t turn in – don’t lift now Shawn you’ll sping..... eeeeeeee, phew – I tuck in behind him – whoa – that was way to close. Turns out chris misshifted at the same time as I lifted LOL.... hooollleeeyyy!
I try and stay behind him, but he’s clearly got better corner exit – he’s got me for sure and there’s no getting him back... wait – what’s going on – no power going into the quarry – he’s pulling off.. that sucks :( - he snapped the throttle cable :(. I’ve still got a race to run! Go go go!
After passing the other red BMW (e90), I’m pretty much all alone on track – I slowly see myself starting to catch the front-runners, but as my tires deteriorate, I can’t keep up the pace, and I finish 4th overall, and P3 in GT2. Arek gets a P3 in GT3 as well!
What an awesome weekend – so much fun, and so generous of Arek and Eric for letting us do this. Can’t wait for Tremblant in a few weeks, where we get to do it all over again :)
Big Congrats to Chris as well for winning the 8-Legs tournament and posting the fastest cumulative time of the weekend !!!
Thats awesome!! Congrats you guys for getting behind the wheel and doing such a good job! Mad jealous! I wish I could work on a team that appreciates the hard work of a crew!
Thanks Rudy :) it was a blast for sure!
See u guys this weekend at mosport
Thanks - see you there!
Ill come say hi
I was watching your cars all weekend sounded pretty good.
On another note, I thought that Conti tires are not allowed in the GTC, did they change that stupid rule?
Not sure about the GTC rules - we aren't in it for the points so they were fairly flexible with us...
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