MotoIQ Pacific Tuner Car Championship presented by Motul, Round 1 & 2, Willow Springs International Raceway
The first MotoIQ Pacific Tuner Car Championship presented by Motul was an interesting start to my 2015 wheel to wheel race season. The combination of scrambling to get Project Civic EF ready enough to race(If you missed Part 3 of Project EF, check it out here), the predicted rainy weather in the forecast, and new unproven setup changes put a significant amount of stress on my shoulders. The added factor of being on a provisional race license and rookie status with the sanctioning body NASA (find out more about how to get your race license with NASA) left me in a mindset of “Finish without incident” above all else. The more positive aspects going into the opening rounds was that the competitors in the field mostly consists of friends so the likely hood of a bonehead maneuver causing contact or a wreck was lower, and Willow Springs International Raceway is my favorite local track.
The imminent rain for the weekend deterred some competitors from showing up, as well as car builds not getting completed in time. This left Martin Gonzales in MotoIQ Project Infiniti G20, Justin Taylor in the Rockstar Garage Honda S2000, and myself to brave the wet, cold weather and slick track surface. To all of the competitors and crew's surprise though, the Saturday morning's warm-up and qualifying sessions were dry and partly sunny. Such conditions gave us hope for dry racing later in the day.
Justin Taylor hit the ground running during the warm up session not only lapping at a solid pace on heat cycled tires, but also keeping his line smooth and clean despite the cold surface temp. The Rockstar Garage S2000 was relatively unchanged setup wise from last year, so getting into a quick rhythm wasn't difficult.
Minor setting adjustments between warm-up and qualifying was all Justin and his crew needed to do for the S2000 to run at potential. The new 2015 MotoIQ Pacific Tuner Car Championship presented by Motul number decals look quite sharp. The additions of Motovicity Distribution
and ARP Racing Products
as series sponsors really complete the package.
Justin navigating race group “A” traffic with the goal of a respectable qualifying time. His wheel to wheel experience paid dividends by getting around the mixed field of cars for clean laps.
The hard work paid off for Justin Taylor as he secured pole position and “Motovicity Top Qualifier” for Saturday's race day at a lap time of 1.35:724.
The warm-up session for myself was exactly that. So many aspects of the car's setup had been changed since the Buttonwillow test day in Part 2
, and I never had Project EF on “Big willow”. Taking it easy ended up being a huge deal since half way through the session, my right front upper camber arm slipped and I lost all static negative camber sending me off the exit of turn 1.
Seeing as how the EF's alignment was adjusted shortly before the race weekend, I ruled the slippage under a lack of sufficient torque on the bolts. But alas, after we readjusted the camber setting and verified proper torque spec, my qualifying session was hosed by the camber arm slipping in the exact same manner.