Yup, took the van to a track last week. First time on a track with ANY vehicle for me. The local Nelson Ledges Raceway hosted an SCCA Track Night in America, and I felt obligated to sign up (especially since my region was organizing it). It wasn't easy. As always, questions about the van's eligibility came in to factor. It does make the height vs. width rule...barely. After a few weeks of e-mails and phone calls, I got the final blessing from officials.
Prep was simple. I wrote about it a while ago overthinking how much work I actually have to put in to the van for this. I swapped the brake fluid for DOT4, tires are high performance all seasons from Pirelli, and brakes were a carbon ceramic Powerstop set. Checked all vital fluids before I headed out.
I definitely stood out. As you can see in the photo, Mustangs ranging from Ecoboost all the way to Shelby GT350 were out there. Couple of Camaros, lots of Miatas of various generations, even a C8 Corvette made an appearance. I may have had a power advantage over the Miatas, but definitely had the worst power/weight ratio out of all entrants.
I was in the novice group, so I had to do a pace lap before my runs. I found it quite helpful learning the lines and seeing how the van actually held in corners. What worried me, was the fact I was going about 85-90% just to keep up with the pace line. I practiced my point by's in the paddock because I felt I'd be doing a lot of that this afternoon.
Here's a playlist of the runs below; battery died halfway through the third run.
Oh man this was fun! I was shocked how well the van took corners. Watching the videos above, you can see me catching up to some vehicles with double the cylinders and power. They'd kill me on the straights, but I would always catch up through the corners. The highest speed I saw on the back straight was 94, and it took forever to get there.
After the first session, I was given the special direction to use my turn signals to let vehicle pass. I guess folks couldn't see my point by's from the van. The best part of this whole day, was that I made it home in one piece. I had a little scare in the last session. I noticed a loss of power above 5,000 RPM. My first thought was I was cooking the transmission. I let the instructor know, and he informed me that I may be starving the fuel pump. He drove a Focus ST, and the fuel tanks are similar in orientation. I was relieved finding that out. But in the end, I took the van to a track, passed a few vehicles, and now am addicted to more motorsports.
*I'm trying to get a hold of the three photographers who were there. Sorry I didn't take more photos!