OCA was at Summit Point raceway in West Virginia this past weekend for the annual Geoff Atkinson memorial race. For those of you who did not know him, Geoff was a very active memeber of the NJ BMW CCA community, and a hell of a nice guy. He was an excellent driver, good friend, and all around awesome guy. Sadly Geoff passed away a few years ago from Brain cancer. His wife Jebb spread his ashes at Watkin Glen raceway a few years ago. There was not a person with a dry eye when she did that, we were all crying. I have very fond memories of Geoff, as he gave me a lot of input on my driving. Actually, he taught me the insane line that I use through the bus stop that generally terrifies anyone in the car. Anyway, I miss you Geoff!
It was a 100+ degree weekend. This kind of heat is tough on people, and cars alike. Just walking arond the paddock, you were covered in sweat. Many, many cars in the DE as well as the race were having over heating issues just from the ambiant temperatures being so high. In fact a friend of ours who races a E92 M3 became so hot, that the dashboard had "christmas tree syndrome" (every warning light was on!). OCA had several customer cars running this weekend, so we were there to support them.
In the club race, our customer, and friend Rob M was racing his C-Modified E30. We built a ground up motor for Rob, and I can tell you from personally driving the car, it is a total rocket. We also recently did the setup work on the car, as well as installed our prototype electric power steering pump kit on the car. Rob's feedback was "I was shocked at how much I was fighting the car before--- And now she is a breeze to drive!" Rob did a great job this weekend, as he set personal best lap times on both Saturday and Sunday. He also took a overall 6th place out of 36 cars on Saturday, and on Sunday he upped the "heat" by taking 5th overall, and 2nd in class! (Go Rob!) His car ran flawlessly all weekend!
In the DE side, we had several customers driving their cars.. Including a few E36s, 135i, Subarus, etc. Several of these customers thanked us for setting up their cars, as they handled better than they ever had before. All of our DE cars ran flawlessly all weekend!
We also ran the OCA purple IP car all weekend in the instructor group. The purple car showed a lot of new cars that the E36 is still an amazing platform for race track usage! I had several students this weekend. At one point, I even had 2 Advanced students at the same time! Talk about multi-tasking! :) One of my A-students had a new Subaru STI-- The thing that really surprised me is that he needed to be gentle on the car on the front straight.. If he stayed on the throttle, the car's temp would start to rise. So he babied the car on the front straight, and then drove hard in the curvy sections. My other A student had a C6 corvette. Antoher really fast car. Unfortunately the vette as well ran into heat issues, and started complaining about the heat. I had another beginner student with a C7 vette. OMG was this car fast! Chevy has done a really nice job with this latest iteration of the vette. My intermediate student had a... Wait for it... How does the nursury rhyme go? The last one just felt right... Yes, he had a legendary E36 M3 race car. Very well set up, and he was a really fast driver to boot!
Seems like when someone breaks down now at the track, they are told "Go and find Mo, he will help you.." This weekend was no different, as I spent time helping folks who had car issues. No problem, as I enjoy helping folks. The other funny thing was that all weekend long I would walk back to my trailer, and find several folks standing inside talking, and enjoying the A/C in my trailer. If you are around at the track event, look for the OCA trailer, and please come by and say hello. If you need help with your car, please feel free to ask for help as well!
All in All, a really hot, sweaty weekend, but great fun to spend time with my track family. Sounds like a line, but you start to go to the track for the cars, but it's the people, and friendships that really keep you coming back! I am very thankful for all of the friends that I have had the honor and the pleasure to spend time with at the track.
Until next time my friends, may your apex speeds live up to your dreams!