Current Focus – GT4 2020

Over the past couple weeks I have been working on building a GT4 program with Danny Soufi for the 2020 season. We plan to run gt4america with support from Gradient Racing. I have been working together with Danny, Ashley, and many others on getting on sponsorship program together, thus far we have had really positive feedback. I can see a couple deals on the horizon, that will allow us to run a successful season. The sponsorship program we are structuring is unique in that we are including back-end marketing analytics integration with Segment. It is a ton of work, and challenging to keep everything balanced, with my day job, training routine, and family commitments. I am using HubSpot to keep track of all the deals, leads, set tasks, and follow-ups, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator to find, and interact with prospects.

I have also been continuing work on the startup, recently visited Detroit, and attended the excellent IPG local open house, was able to interact with their customers, and partners, and garner their support for my endeavors of commercializing. Very exciting to have them onboard as a partner, looking forward to our next steps.

The next race that I am preparing for is a little far away Road America over Labor Day, I was sitting first nationally in GTB1 after Mid-Ohio, but have slipped down to 3rd having not participated at Watkins Glen, and will likely drop back further with VIR this weekend. Going to stay focused on my training program, and preparation routine, the goal is to take the Triple Trofeo.

After Action Report – Mid-Ohio

Overview: A clean sweep, took P1 in class all weekend, set the GTB1 track record, and won the worker’s choice award! I continued my approach of working with professional coaches, and was able to work with the exceptionally talented Tom O’Gorman.

Goals and objectives: My goal was to be consistent, and adaptable, and take what the track would give me. I knew I had a couple areas to work on from my time spent in iRacing.

Analysis of outcomes: Mid-Ohio is a fun track, with great flow, and cool technical section. Tom was able to help me find a lot of time through turns 4, and 9. We spent time reviewing video, taking notes, and then by the last practice session pulled data, and started making fine tuned adjustments to my braking, and turn-in. He gave me some incredibly thoughtful, and actionable feedback, that will help me regardless of the track.

Analysis of the performance shown on critical tasks: Flew in on Thursday, got the car, garage, registration, and tech inspection sorted. On Friday we had the practice sessions, and fun race. It rained on Friday afternoon, so we opted to skip the practice starts, as it is a high-risk, zero reward session. Saturday morning was qualifying, I was able to secure the pole position with the fastest lap running at a 1:32.0. I was able to lead race 1 from green to checker, and got really comfortable working my way through lap traffic, and was able to keep consistent lap times throughout. Race 2 I started on the pole again, and led again from start to finish, was able to get more experience working through traffic, and focus on my goals in Turn 4, and Turn 9.

Sunday morning it was dry, and cool, the perfect time to go for a lap record! We stuck with a set of scrubs that around 6-7 heat cycles. Went out with a little extra tire pressure so they would come in fast, and on the third lap, I put down a flyer, coming in at 1:31, nearly half a second faster than the previous lap record. The 75-minute Enduro race was later in the day, so I opted to go back to the hotel, and rest up. We needed to execute a perfect pit-stop, with fueling to maintain our position, with just me, and Brendon from Gradient. It went off flawlessly, the official even said “like a fine-tuned machine” My tires got better throughout, my lap times were consistent, and went down over the course of the race, and I finished in P1 at the checker.

Summary: I really had an incredible experience working with Tom, he went above, and beyond sending me personalized preparation materials. He gave me actionable, and measurable feedback, took the time to get into the data to help me fine tune, and then wrote up a very thoughtful set of notes. I used iRacing extensively to prepare, and attended the David Murry webinar. I stuck with my process, watching video, taking notes, comparing telemetry after the day, picking small specific, and measurable goals, that supported my outcomes. A highlight of the weekend was to work with the amazing Brendon Poulin from Gradient Racing, he is very professional, experienced, and was an immense help both in the car, and out.

Recommendations: I need to get more confident putting the power down, consistently as I track out, particularly in Turn 1, I need to work on faster hands, and being more decisive on turn-in.

What’s the crack

At the end of April when I got back from Road Atlanta, I put the finishing touches on my application for the Department of Transportation Small Business Innovation Research program. I focused on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Automated Driving Systems (ADS) Test Data Interface. I have not revealed too much about what I have been working on but this may give you an idea. The SBIR program provides a Phase I grant of up to $150,000 to produce research, and a report on the topic, and opens the opportunity to pursue commercialization funding under Phase II of up to $500,000. Since I am attempting to bootstrap this is very attractive

I am continuing work on the development of a Vehicle Dynamic Simulation environment, having a discussion with Doug Milliken, I was able to get tire test data directly from Pirelli, which is an excellent development. I am in talks with IPG for large-scale testing, and was able to join MatLab Startup Program. Everything is moving in the right direction.

In other news, I am getting ready for Mid-Ohio, in a couple weeks this will be the second race for the Pirelli Triple Trofeo. I am planning to work with Tom O’Gorman while there so I can pick up the track quickly. Spending lots of time in iRacing, and going to participate in the David Murry webinar this coming week. Some really exciting news is that I am currently running 3rd in GTB1 nationally, which is pretty awesome!

I am working on putting together a GT4 program with Danny Soufi for 2020 to run in the SRO GT4 America. It will be a lot of work, trying to figure out how to get a bunch of sponsors onboard to help us fund the program, and working out how to get the car, looking at the 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport,

After Action Report – COTA

Overview: Very successful weekend, two podiums, and a track record! Gradient Racing is making a big difference, I am able to focus on my learning.

Goals and objectives: My goal for the weekend was to learn, progress, test my fitness, and prove to myself that I am capable of running at the top of the field.

Analysis of outcomes: Really happy to be at my home track, made me feel very relaxed. Armed with the Advanced AIM workshop materials , and the process-based approach to breaking down my goals, from the work with David Murry at Sebring, I was able to work achieve some excellent outcomes. I used my video to come up with areas of improvement, and then used a couple user profiles to quickly analyze my data, and understand what needed to change. This approach coupled with time spent in iRacing allowed me to develop a game plan for setting the track record.

Analysis of the performance shown on critical tasks: This weekend consisted of practice sessions, warm-up sessions, and dedicated qualifying sessions, along with two sprint races, and a 60-minute enduro. My tire strategy was to run the scrubs, during practices, and warm-ups, and then in practice session 3 run the stickers, to see where I was compared to the field. The starts were critical in the race, and I wanted to make sure I secured as high of a starting position as possible, this worked in both of the races, more so in race 2 where I got a really great run up the outside. The start in race 1 forced me to the inside, and put me over the turtle in Turn 1 which broke the mounts on my exhaust, where mid-race it fell off completely in Turn 2, it got VERY LOUD.

Sunday morning I felt very confident, and decided to use another set of stickers to try and get on pole for the Enduro, the warm-up session was a bit damp, and cold. In qualifying I felt determined, a 981-based GTB1 car took the 4 year-old record on Friday at 2:22.4. We tried a tire strategy, running with a bit more pressure to have them come in faster, I was able to get close with a 2:23, I then came in to take out a couple pounds, and ultimately was able to achieve a 2:22.1. Based on the data analysis, I knew that I was capable of this accomplishment.

Summary: I was able to accomplish my goals of getting on the podium, and setting the track record. My investment in my fitness level was excellent (thank you Phil Gephart) applying the process that I learned from working with David Murry, and the advanced data analysis techniques, and tools learned from Roger Caddell, really helped me to excel. Based on the learning from Sebring, I am stocking a fully spares kit, including rotors, pads, axle shafts, wheel studs, etc…

Recommendations: During practice, and warm-up we need to do multiple drive through timings to make sure we can execute our pit stops successfully, without penalty. I need to rework my braking technique slightly to help with the ice pedal/lock-up in the heavy braking zones, or potentially investigate a newer brake servo that doesn’t not suffer from this issue.

After Action Report – Sebring

Overview: Sebring was incredible, the track is amazing, Gradient Racing is super professional, and David Murry went above, and beyond!

Goals and objectives: My goal for the weekend was to learn, progress, test my fitness, and prove to myself that I am capable of running in the top 5.

Analysis of outcomes: I was so happy to have worked with David Murry during the Test, and Tune day. He helped me work through the track, strategy, and confidence. He checked in over the course of the weekend, to see how things were going, debriefed with me on Saturday, and sent me a nice note on Sunday evening, what a professional, above, and beyond. I look forward to working with him again at Road Atlanta.

Analysis of the performance shown on critical tasks: I decided to run scrubbed tires for the practice sessions, which were about 2 seconds off the pace of the top 5, and around 4 seconds behind the top 2. The third practice session of the day served as qualifying, and my times set me up mid-pack, starting around P20. We decided to replace brake pads for the warm-up session, the replacement pads that I had in my spares kit, were a different manufacturer/compound (StopTech, rather than Pagid). We had a conversation about running stickers, or scrubs during the warm-up, and decided on just changing one thing at a time, going with just the new pads, and keeping the scrubs.

The car ran great during the warm-up session so we threw on the stickers for the first sprint race. At that point the car became erratic after the tires came in, I was not able to brake, or accelerate and the gearbox was not shifting correctly. I was able to finish but, lost 14 positions. Before the second sprint I checked with the experts Philip Surprenant and Andy Rivard (thank you both!) looked for Pagid pads that we replaced (sizes for the Trophy Kit were not available at the track), we cleaned off the wheel speed sensors, and torqued the center nuts. I ended up running the second race on scrubs, starting in P37. I was able to work my way up the field to P18, which put me into the top 10 in class.

We had a warmup before the Enduro on Sunday, and ran the new pads, with the new tires, and had no issues. I was able to put down the fastest lap overall during the warm-up session. For the Enduro the officials take the best lap time. between the two sprint races to set your position, I was able to start P18 overall. I immediately started working up the field, and ultimately ended up running P5, and 3rd in class. I was shunted in the right rear, which bent my outer, and broke 3 wheel studs.

Summary: I was able to accomplish my goals, of learning the track, my fitness level was excellent (thank you Phil Gephart) worked with a professional driver David Murry, and after some trouble in the sprint races, was able to achieve my goal of running in the top 5, during the Enduro.

Recommendations: Getting the right spares kit is crucial, changing pad manufacturer, and compound prior to the first sprint was a costly mistake, I need to stick with the same components throughout the weekend, and need to stock extra wheel studs with my spares. Post session work needs to include cleaning wheel speed sensors, and torque center nuts. Running stickers for the practice session will set me up to run in the front of the field.