Decisions for 2020 – Back to Basics

The plan for 2020 is to get a lot more track time. I need to work on my technique. Over the last two years with my GTB1, I have only been driving practice sessions, and races. I am looking to see if I can find the holy grail, a completely race ready car that is streetable, probably too much to ask. I want to be able to drive down to Harris Hill, COTA, Driveway, MSR Houston, or Cresson do DE’s or work with an instructor, then drop off the car to do an arrive/drive for long distance races. I want something that has a clear class definition with all of the sanctioning bodies (SCCA, NASA, WRL, AER). Additionally, I am interested in learning the racecraft associated with running in a Spec class. The GTB1 class I have been running with in PCA is a modified class, and can feel a bit like an arms race.

So far my research has led me to two possible choices, which have similar price points, and are philosophically aligned to my goals: Spec MX-5, and Spec E46. Both have reasonable price points both in terms of the up-front cost, and TCO. Both are well defined, with lots of cars on the market. So part of the decision will be build vs buy. I am leaning toward my previous approach which was to buy something proven.

Along side the desire to go Spec racing, and have a streetable track car, I am also going to pursue renting a seat in a couple different classes within the SRO, or possibly even the upcoming Creventic 24hour race here in Austin. There seem to be a number of seats available in TC, TCR, or GT4 cars. I am interested in learning how to drive a touring car, there might be a good opportunity for this, more to come on this topic at a later date.

The GT4 program that Danny, and I were planning is not going to happen, we could not close the funding gap, which was significant. Here are a few stats on what we were able to accomplish between Jun, and Oct of this year. We prospected over 125 opportunities, of that number we disqualified 35 (with the goal of: “get to no, fast”). We closed contracts with 10 partners, and have an additional 3 contracts pending, we progressed 17 deals into contract/negotiation, and built a number of very strong partnerships along the way. These partnership will bear fruit over the course of 2020.

Our goal was a 1-2% conversation rate on 1000 opportunities, at just slightly over 10% of the total opportunities prospected our conversion rate was 12.5%, not too bad. The real challenge was prioritization. I have a full-time job, a start-up, a family, racing, and my health. Adding the sponsorship/partnership activity on top of all that was very challenging from a time management perspective. I am happy with what we accomplished, and learned a lot about the business side of motorsports. I plan to continue down a more focused path for 2020.

PCA License Requirements

Had a very successful trip down to MSR Houston, got to learn a new track meet some great people, see some cool cars, and complete all of the requirements for my PCA license. Now, I need to put in my application, and figure out how to get a car. I hope to rent, not ready to buy yet (my mind keeps changing)  I would need to sell both of my cars (the CaymanR, and the 911) to get into the race car that I want. I need to decide pretty soon, I already signed up for the Club Race at COTA in March where I will do the Club Racing School, and my Rookie Race.

Here is a cool shot of the Red Run Group from this weekend.

I did the arrive and drive with the guys at winding road, and they brought a really amazing setup, the guys were super nice, and very helpful, really great service, I am sure that I will use it again, already figuring out what I will need for March.
And a nice shot of my car in the rain (it rained a bunch, and the track was pretty wet) made for some great learning, it was like a giant skid pad.
Here is a video from the day, was able to put down a 1:52.
 

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Car Transportation – Part1

Such a big topic, how to move the car from one place to the next, lots of options. I am going to outline my plan for exploring the various options: buy a truck (what kind of truck, what is the best tow vehicle) and trailer (what kind of trailer open/closed, steel/aluminum), use some type of service like a car hauler, or through an arrive and drive program.

Almost all of the research that I have done on tow vehicles point to a diesel Hemi as the way to go for a reliable solution to towing pretty much anything. This is where personal preference, budget, and other factors come into play. Right now I do not have a car capable of the towing capacity needed for my car, or possible future trailer. My budget will not allow for a dedicated towing vehicle so if I decide to go down this route, I will need something that can serve as a daily driver as well. Which is steering me more toward a gas, rather than diesel truck, or possibly an SUV. For options around trailers, an open steel trailer is the most economical but will weigh more, and may play a factor in tow vehicle selection, a open aluminum trailer is the next best option as it is lighter and would not require as much towing capacity. Depending on space and storage options, an enclosed trailer seems to be the best options but, storage (where to park it when not used), weight, and cost become the primary factors. The above are examples of what I found on racingjunk.com

The next option would be to find a dedicated car hauling service, the above is one provider unitedroutes.com you would contract with them directly, and are typically charged for a per mile fee. I have been quoted anywhere between $1.50/mile to $0.80/mile, there is generally a nominal load/unload fee as well. I have not explored this option too deeply but may look into it further as things progress.

The current solution I am exploring will be an arrive, and drive it includes the per mile fee, and the load/unload fee but is also bundled with a crew per day cost. I am going to try this out next weekend with Winding Road for a trip down to Houston for an LSR DE. As I am not fully committed with a full blown race car, this allows me to explore multiple options, before committing to purchasing a car transportation solution.

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Racing License – Part2

Working on getting everything together for a PCA Rookie Racing License (read up on part1), quite a few prerequisites: at least 12 days of DE, race school, or equivalent events, complete medical forms, certificate of experience, and ability from a PCA Region Chief Driving Instructor (which I have to complete). To get my certificate of experience, and ability I am going to head down to Houston for an LSR DE. I am going to use Winding Road to help me transport the car, and an extra set of tires/wheels. To prepare for the drive check, I am going to work with Courtney ahead of time, to make sure I get everything ready to be clearly demonstrated. I am nervous, and excited to drive a new track, and get this level of scrutiny, and feedback. From there I am going to submit all of my paperwork, and wait anxiously for three weeks, wish me luck.

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