A couple of notes about yesterdays race at Thunder Alley. As I wrote yesterday, I managed to TQ, but then had a bit of a brain fade moment in the main and finished 3rd. I thought I would give you my thoughts on the setup that made this performance possible, and the reasons for me blowing out in the main.
I have posted my setup here. The two main things that I changed at Thunder Alley that made the car really good, were the rear swaybar up to 2.6mm, and the front pistons to 7 hole 1.2mm from 5 hole 1.4mm.
The thicker rear swaybar made the car go through the sweepers much better, and stopped it from getting out of shape when accelerating out of corners into jumps. I was able to drive more aggressively without losing control.
I changed the front pistons due to the bumpy surface. The 5 hole pistons are really good on most tracks, but if the racing line gets bumpy, they make the car a bit unpredictable. You will find that you are correcting the direction of the car a lot. Changing to the 7 hole pistons will be better in these conditions, as the car will be more neutral and more easily for where you want it to go. I ran 32.5wt in the 5 hole, and 27.5 in the 7 hole pistons. Both flat pistons.
In qualifying my car was really good, and I was driving comfortably and with some more confidence than normal. This showed as my pace was good, and I was able to push even more, and lower my lap times when needed. A track like Thunder Alley is very different from anything we have in Europe, and it requires a very different sort of focus and driving style in my opinion, so I was quite frankly a bit surprised at my pace. One thing I was focusing on was to be more aggressive, and be harder on the gas exiting corners, as well as when landing jumps, as I have written on here before. Maybe the focus on these details is beginning to pay off.
What I need to practice more for US races, is racing at night. The mains are always at night, and I’m not very good under the lights. Everything seems to happen so much faster, and I’m not as calm as in the daytime. Also, in the mains the intensity is different than in qualifying. Everyone is pushing 100% and you are driving in traffic, trying to pass the car ahead, and defending from the car behind. I need to be more assertive in these conditions and feel like I belong up there. I need to drive with confidence, and not be too careful, and the results will be better. The best way to gain confidence for me, is to practice even more with the setup that I am running now, to become more confident with the car, and also do more of these races where I can be racing at the front. This will stop those blackout moments where everything goes wrong for a lap or two, which happened to me at this race! You can’t afford any bad moments like that if you want to win.