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Old 04-16-2013, 03:31 PM   #1
sb_600
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Chump Car: Watkin's Glen 2013

Last week, Chris and I found out about an opportunity to rent a BMW 318i for the Chump Car race at Watkin's Glen. It wasn't in the budget, and it was expensive, but it was a GOOD deal because they had two drivers back out, and it was last minute.

So, we went for it!

Friday: 5 hour practice session
Saturday; 7.5 hour endurance race 1
Sunday: 7.5 hour endurance race 2

Chris made a trip to Perry Performance on Wednesday, and Carl hooked him up with a suit, socks, balaclava, and a HANS device. We were all set to go! Plus, Carl had booked an extra room, so we had a place to stay at the Seneca lodge!

Thursday after work, he came to pick me up and we headed out. The trip was long and BORING, but we made it there in decent time, and we were pumped for the weekend. Carl met up with us about 30 minutes later, and we had a couple beers at the Seneca Lodge bar before calling it a night - they have GREAT local homebrew.

Friday:

Friday morning we wake up to a COLD, WET, miserable day. We make our way to the track for 8am where we meet up with Open Road Motorsports. We are introduced to "Blanche" who was to be our ride for the weekend. It's a "stock" 98 BMW 318i, with Dunlop Direzza DII tires. They were going to be running "Buzz" - a 1992 BMW 325i, similarly equipped. Our team consisted of 3 "experienced" lappers but our fourth was the only one who had wheel-to-wheel experience. The other team consisted of 4 VERY experienced road racers.



After a bit of prep/setup, the cars were ready to go for practice. We get on the track, and it's cold and rainy. I was the second driver - I get strapped in, barely knowing the configuration, having to get used to people passing everywhere, in a new car, on new tires.... holy crap.






The first lap went ok. I was told to brake early for corner 1 (at the 400 marker) until i got a good feel for the car, so that's what I did. Well, turns out there was standing water exactly there, the car locked up, and I thought I was going to go off! OMG. I was in WAY over my head.

I took a breath, kept going, and the rest of the practice went well. We each did 2 30 minute stints, and were all comfortable with the track layout, and relatively comfortable with the car. People were really courteous on Friday, so we had high hopes for the weekend. Obviously, we went back to the bar Friday night. Good times.




Saturday:
Saturday, breakfast was being served at 7:15, driver's meeting at 8, and the track was to go green at 9am. We had a DELICIOUS breakfast, got ourselves sorted out on pit wall, strapped our first driver in the car, and we were good to go!

Our car was capable of doing about 3hours on a tank of gas, but since we had to do 3 driver changes, we opted to fuel at the same time (so every 1.75-2 hours). Every time you fuelled you needed to stop for a minimum of 5 minutes. While this may not have been the "best" race strategy, it worked, and helped ensure equal track time.

I was the second driver in the car. It was drizzling for the first session, and that carried over into mine. I get in, and in the first lap I notice the car intermittently shut off and the restart. I call it in over the radio and they tell me to keep going as long as the temps are good. Cool.

A few laps later it does it again, and then again.... crap... then finally, it gave out and didn't restart. Pull off the track, and wait for the tow truck. They get me to the pits, we start checking stuff - loose ground. I'm back out in less than 10 min from the time it shut off – not bad!
The rest of my session goes really well – the car was awesome, and I got it down to a 2:36.X. I was pretty happy with that, considering it was my first time driving under race conditions. Turns out the courtesy we saw on Friday didn’t translate to Saturday. Only disappointment is there was a big crash which caused a red flag for about 20 min, so I lost that driving time in my session - Oh well!
Chris gets in the car and does equally well – gets down in the 2:36s as well. But when our 4th, experienced driver gets in... whoa – nails a 2:32 – cool now we have a target for Sunday! The car finishes the day with no more issues. We finished 27th out of 94 (yup, 94 cars!!!), and Buzz finishes 5th! We do a nut a bolt check, have dinner, and yup – head back to the bar!



Sunday:
Sunday start was similar to Saturday – 7:15 breakfast, 8am drivers meeting, 9am start. Same driver order, since it went so well. Also, we had planned on changing tires, but they looked so good, we kept them! Weather was a bit better – still cold, but not as much, and it wasn’t raining anymore. By the end of the day, the sun even came out.
First driver does well – gets to the 2:36s, I get in, drive as best I can, get a 2:31 – SWEET! Chris gets in, gets a 2:32, bam – Red flag. A miata went off in turn 1 – driver unconscious, MEDIVAC on its way (he was OK in the end – it was just a precaution). They pull everyone around to the front straight: all drivers out of the cars – doing a meeting at the start/finish line (if it was not for the circumstances, would have been really cool). About 20min or so later, race goes green – Chris finishes his session and we put the last driver in – 2:29s!!!! We ended up in 23rd that race. It was EPIC.



Overall (or if TL;DNR):
The experience was unreal. I would do this again in a heartbeat. The gentleman’s racing is awesome, don’t get me wrong, but this is on a whole different level. The car needed more power, but it was a blast to drive, and you could outdrive most cars by late braking and carrying more speed in the corners. Absolutely EPIC.



Oh, and the trophies are cool too:


Here’s a video of some of the best moments:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzmGT30ihAQ

0:00-9:26: good battle with an e36 325is, and general traffic
9:27-12:26: battle with an orange miata, get forced to do some agricultural work at the top of the esses (kind of a WHOA moment), and an outside line in the carousel – anything to make the passes happen!
12:27-13:30: 4-wide into turn one – I’m on the outside.... oh and that red BMW is back!
13:31-end: general good traffic, and a good feel of what the race was – good battle with ford contour as well!
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1992 BMW 325i (CHUMPCAR #296 - Metric Homes Racing)
1992 3.0L M52 325i (ex-daily driver - track car only)
2002 330Ci (ex-daily driver - sold!)


Last edited by sb_600; 04-16-2013 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:14 PM   #2
cormier
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Sounds like a super fun time dude! Congrats on the time and finish position -- wicked predator trophy!
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:59 PM   #3
sb_600
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Thanks man yeah it was absolutely a blast.

Got a few more pics here:

http://s1342.photobucket.com/user/sb...%20Glen%202013
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2002 330Ci (ex-daily driver - sold!)

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Old 04-16-2013, 07:37 PM   #4
Gleb
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Around 4:10 you passed a black E30 (I think it's my maiden race car, a.k.a. Blackie).
You did good. What's the tire of choice in CHUMP?
Hope to do it this year too.
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:51 PM   #5
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Great driving, but watching you get out-dragged by a mk1 jetta, miata and saturn was too much, I wanted to cry.
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:58 PM   #6
sb_600
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gleb View Post
Around 4:10 you passed a black E30 (I think it's my maiden race car, a.k.a. Blackie).
You did good. What's the tire of choice in CHUMP?
Hope to do it this year too.
Awesome! Teams are running all sort of different stuff- just has to be 200 or more treadwear. We were running the new direzzas and they were actually pretty good!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigD View Post
Great driving, but watching you get out-dragged by a mk1 jetta, miata and saturn was too much, I wanted to cry.
Yeah, it was pretty disheartening to get "out powered" by those cars- but the e36s are so restricted on what's allowed/not... We basically have to run stock weight whereas they can cut as much as they want
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1992 3.0L M52 325i (ex-daily driver - track car only)
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:00 PM   #7
Gleb
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Didn't they change the rule to 180 wear for this year? That's why I was asking, wanted to see if anyone ran anything new.
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:02 PM   #8
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Looks like fun ;-)
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:58 PM   #9
sb_600
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gleb View Post
Didn't they change the rule to 180 wear for this year? That's why I was asking, wanted to see if anyone ran anything new.
Oh... honestly I'm not intimately familiar with the series - just did the arrive-and-drive this time

Quote:
Originally Posted by BmW1819 View Post
Looks like fun ;-)
Thanks! Yeah it was a blast.
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:27 PM   #10
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Jealous
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Old 04-16-2013, 11:49 PM   #11
craz azn
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Awesome result!! Glad you guys had fun! I wish I could have came by and at least had a chance to say hi, the car/team I was with could have used a bit of organization... thus me doing a lot more work than I'd had envisioned *sigh*

Are you guys planning on doing the Shannonville and/or Calabogie race?
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:55 AM   #12
sb_600
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Thanks guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by craz azn View Post
Awesome result!! Glad you guys had fun! I wish I could have came by and at least had a chance to say hi, the car/team I was with could have used a bit of organization... thus me doing a lot more work than I'd had envisioned *sigh*

Are you guys planning on doing the Shannonville and/or Calabogie race?
naw, this was a one-shot deal for this year - it's pretty expensive and I'm supposed be "saving up" for the house.... I think we're going to look at buying a car this fall though and prepping it for next year - even if we only do a few events, it's incredible, and worth it!
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Old 04-17-2013, 01:36 AM   #13
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Looks awesome! Can't wait till I have the chance to do it.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:02 AM   #14
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Very cool. Would love to do this. I've never done any wheel to wheel and seems like this would be a great way to get into it.

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Old 04-17-2013, 10:07 AM   #15
nonlocal
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From the rules at http://www.chumpcar.com/downloads/chumpcar-rules.pdf

"2.2.5. EC-cars must race on tires rated at 190 treadwear or higher. (180 treadwear tires are approved after 1 July 2013.) "

and

"4.7.1.1. Tires: Tire selection is open, so long as the tire is DOT legal and the treadwear is rated at 190 or higher.
4.7.1.1.1. Effective 1 July 2013 -- The minimum treadwear (TW) rating for all tires
used in the Optima Batteries / ChumpCar World Series’ road racing events
shall be 180 treadwear. (The previous minimum rating was 190.)"

So it would appear 190 now, 180 in July.

Great write-up, looks like a ton of fun, thanks for taking the time to share your experiences, photos, and video OP...


(edit: EC-Cars are "Exception Class" -- cars with value or performance outside the rules of the championship but allowed to race anyway.)
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