The 2017 Miata Challenge season started with Silesia Ring and ended there as well.
That gave us a good chance to compare, what yet another 6 months of racing gave us.
Silesia Ring surroundings changed, for starters.
When we were there in April, it was still a construction site as far as the buildings were concerned. Now we were welcomed by a warm conference room, toilets and stuff.
Before it looked like this
Now it looks like this
You can see some difference…
And to think that just 2 or 3 years ago we thought that the amount of places to race is on the sharply declining rate.
It was, but at the same time – fortunately – we were wrong.
Since then – couple of new places opened up.
Day began as always.
Wake up at 4, meet a couple of friends on the gas station, drive 350 kilometers just to arrive on time.
Warm welcomes, faces you know, faces you don’t know (yet), register, give some hi5, think about which tire set you are going to put on (since there is a MX-5 friend who has a van capable of hauling several tire sets for the price of the fuel split and there is another MX-5 friend willing to drive it to, and from location) and you are all set.
The trackday starts.
For me, it was the first with a new engine (VVT one), upgraded with ECU Master EMU engine management computer and ITB (Individual Throttle Body) intake.
Did it feel like a completely new car?
But it did feel like a different car.
Along the way the flywheel has also been lightened, couple of minor changes happened and I chose used Federal FZ-201 as my main setup.
The funny thing was that, since the first event took place in the spring, and last in the early fall, the conditions were pretty much similar.
Temperature was around 10 degrees and there was some dampness on the track in the beginning of the day.
Main difference was that this time there was a significant wind chill factor. But besides that, it was like a perfect closure for the 2017 season.
Previously I wrote, that Silesia Ring is the safest track in Poland.
But as you close to the edge of your and your car’s abilities, it can show you that even a safety trap can be a thing to roll you over.
It didn’t happen, but it was a really close shave for Harry. He ended up taking out pieces of gravel out of most unexpected place, after getting into the trap sideways and doing 45 degrees roll up.
Besides that, main victims were: gear box, tires, and, most noticeably – brake pads.
We killed quite a lot of them and again
Who has the spare brake pads?
question was most often heard in the paddock.
I have asked myself. And immediately got help from Flatline – he gave me his spare brake pads.
This is what I love about our community.
No one is left behind.
Last session started at sunset and was one the most epic one I took part of.
Reminded me of Le Mans 24h of some kind, when I was going full throttle down (or up?) the longest straight of the track, wondering for the 50th time, how to attack this 180 degrees turn.
Supposively it looked even more epic from the outside, when you could see disc brakes go orange, spitting some sparks of the brake pads being obliterated into the smithereens. No one took the pictures though at that time.
But there is a movie of the whole day!
Personally, I have managed to improve my best lap time around 2 seconds. Not so great, when you consider a newer and better engine (rating around 160HP) and pretty good tires and being beaten by 1.6 this year’s rookie (Bronek, kudos).
Cause even if I have managed to improve my time by 2 seconds a lap, with a help of stronger engine probably, others managed to do it faster, and despite my improvement – I was 13th in my class.
2 or 3 positions lower then during spring edition.
Got to spend some winter time doing some simracing… That is one of my New Year’s resolutions…
All in all, it was one of the best rounds so far.
I clocked around 150 kilometers on trackand an extra few kilometers above while flying DJI Spark drone.
As far as the official results…
They weren’t so obvious, maybe with the exception of the Turbo Group, and the fight was carried up to the end minutes of the trackday.
Finally Dr. Kokon had to acknowledge USUL’s supremacy in the Group 1 and Ignacy had to give way to Qbatron for the third place (but it was a close shave).
In most attended Group 2 Tiburon was first, Dżunior second, and the third place went to Matpilch, who had a chance to do only 2 sessions before his transmission gave up, and still managed to do 3 hot laps fast enough to get the 3 place.
Group 3 (Forced Induction) saw Himber being faster than Czester, while Jerzj closely followed them.
If I was to summarize what was the biggest progress in 2017 Miata Challenge season, I would say that it was the mindset.
We have moved away from carting tracks, reorganized the usual places like Ułęż, Biała Podlaska, Debrzno to be something like a real circuit, but most noticeable change was in the organization of sessions.
Instead of doing one lap at the time, we went for Tor Poznań/Silesia Ring like 15-20 minutes sessions, resulting in 3-4 timed laps.
It gives us a chance to get the flow, heat up the tires, test some ideas right at the spot.
What about 2018?
Well, I really do hope, that the MC Spec Miata will be announced. There are some different ideas about it, but in order to get more attention, I think it would be good to do it soon.
Some communication skills need an improvement too, as well as score table.
I personally need to improve my video editing skills. The Biała Podlaska video is still pending.
And last but not least – Miata Challenge needs major sponsorship.
This time I didn’t have a chance to do many pictures, so the gallery is very limited, but…
There is also Flatline’s set of pictures
See you next year!