On the second day, a new set of soft compound Advan slicks were mounted and Dai set off looking for and finding a clear track, yet his lap times did not improve with his fastest lap being in the 1:46.7 range. After viewing the data logs, the crew discovered that the car was losing boost which was traced to a crack in the exhaust manifold. The crack was fixed and Dai returned to the track. When there was clear track ahead Dai put the hammer down only to have 4th gear in the transmission immediately fail. Even with no 4th gear Dai ran a lap in the 1:47 range before he brought the car in early.
Even though the car had no 4th gear and 4th gear is used frequently around Buttonwillow, Dai decided that he could still have a chance at the record if he adjusted his driving. Dai left the car in 5th gear in many turns and floored the car very early, sometimes while still under braking for the corner entrance. This would give the turbo plenty of time to spool so he could be at full boost right after mid corner. He would then carefully slip the clutch to help get the engine into its powerband sooner. It was interesting that he could figure this out and apply it instantly on the fly. Dai also drove very aggressively and carried a lot of speed through the turns, he smoothly slid the car on the very limit of control and used every inch of the road with dust being kicked up at the exit of every high speed turn from the car's ground effects. The car was right on the edge of the pavement every time. It was very exciting to watch.
Dai really had to drive the car hard. In the last session the car was still leaking exhaust before the turbo losing boost pressure and the alternator had failed, leaving the engine in a low voltage situation to where it was running sour. Dai was still able to nurse the ailing car to a new record of 1:45.585, beating Rado's record and hopefully setting the mark high enough so it will stand for a while.
Spoon Sports USA has plans to keep improving the car. The team will look for a stronger dog shifted gearset which will allow for extended running at higher power levels. The ability to turn many laps is important in American Time Attack as dealing with traffic seems to be an issue. Further refinements to the front aerodynamics and suspension are in order. Improvements to the brake system to improve pedal effort and feel will also be addressed.
Spoon Sports USA will be back and will be faster in the future!