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.