I had the opportunity to participate in a private test day at Texas World Speedway (TWS) to gain some experience on the track ahead of the NASA Texas weekend there later this month. The private test included just 5 cars and we had the track to ourselves for 5 hours - it was a great opportunity to get a ton of seat time and test my limits.
I installed Harry's Laptimer on my phone to help me get a rough idea of lap times. I was the slowest car of our group and, unfortunately, too slow to really follow either of the Miata's that was with us. I managed a lap time of 2 minutes and 10 seconds by the end of the first two stints - that's a long way back from the Spec Miata race pace..
Knowing that I needed to find more time, I tried to push a little harder. Shortly thereafter, I ran out of talent. I (incorrectly) tried to go faster into the turns when I should have been looking to go faster leaving them. I waited too late to brake for Turn 13. With the track running out, I decided to turn in, but the back of the car didn't want to follow and I spun. The car slid into the grass and, on its way back to the track, the inside of the front right wheel clobbered the backside of a curb.
It pulled the wheel out of alignment (too much negative camber), which we fixed as best we could at the track. I was able to complete the day, but with an odd clunk during transitions between turns. It wasn't until the car was back at home in the garage that we noticed that the anti-roll bar mounting tab on the front left lower control arm had broken.
Fortunately, these Miata's are fairly simple mechanically. With some guidance, I was able to swap the front left lower control arm. Since the front right took the impact, it will be swapped too - just in case. All that's left is another alignment!
NASA Texas will be at TWS on April 22-24, 2016. I hope to have the GoPro mounting location improved and the video linked to Harry's Laptimer for the next weekend recap!
Bryan Bursey, driver, founded Underbite Racing in 2015.