Last Sunday the Grand American Road Racing Association held round three of their championship at California Speedway in Fontana, California. As usual, I was driving a Porsche GT3 Cup car in the GT class for TPC Racing. My co-driver for the rest of the season is Manuel Matos.
PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING
We had been struggling with handling issues at the first two rounds and were really looking forward to this round because there was a full test day on the Thursday prior to the race.
On Thursday morning when I was driving from the hotel to the track my rental car was rocking back and forth on the overpass because of the wind. When I got to the track I learned that all sessions had been postponed due to the Santa Ana winds. Apparently, this is not an unusual occurrence at California Speedway, but it was new to me. Eventually, the entire test day was cancelled as the winds kept up into the afternoon. This gave us a lot of free time to discuss the car with our engineer, which was nice, but not as good as actually testing.
We finally got started on Friday morning. We started off with an hour and twenty minute session. I went out first. We had started with a fairly soft setup, but still stiffer than what we had run at the previous round. The car was compliant, as expected, but not very responsive and we decided to go stiffer for the next session.
We had another hour Friday afternoon, and in spite of the increase in spring rate we continued to have the same problem. We were still way off the pace in terms of lap time, but the car was definitely better than it was in the morning session, so we decided to continue to increase the spring rate.