MPTCC Round 2: Willow Springs International Raceway
By Martin Gonzales
Only two races into the 2013 MotoIQ Pacific Tuner Car Championship season and we already had a close battle for championship positions. No doubt Edik Stepanyan in the M-Factory Acura Integra had a solid grasp on first place after winning both races at Autoclub Speedway, but there was a fight for third place going on between Michele Abbate in the Scion Racing Scion tC and Steve Rockwood in the MotoIQ Project Infiniti G20 Racecar! Justin Taylor was only six points behind first and after watching Edik's taillights the first two rounds, he was ready to put the Rockstar Garage Honda S2000 in the top podium spot.
Willow Springs International Raceway has been around since the early 50's and truly deserves its name, “The Fastest Road in the West”. With two large straightaways that are connected by two sweeping long turns, which is more like a long U-turn, drivers must ensure good exit speeds in order to not lose much ground. Some say this is a horsepower track, but in a series regulated by a weight to power ratio, driver skill is the ultimate equalizer.
You're all used to reading Justin's MPTCC reports, but our official MPTCC reporter had a previous professional engagement to attend. So for this round you'll get the report from the eyes of a team member and MPTCC official, yours truly.
|There were a few close battles between Steve and Justin at Autoclub Speedway during races 1 and 2, but the Honda S2000 was always able to pull away from the Infiniti G20.|
Saturday's events started with some testing during the practice session. Some of the teams had made some significant changes to their cars and were trying new set ups. For starters, Michele Abbate's Scion tC had received a heart transplant in the form of a newer engine. The old engine had seen its fair share of flung rocker arms and ignition issues the previous season, so it was definitely time to do some preventative replacement.
The MotoIQ G20 also had a few new tricks up its sleeve, it debuted a new aero package consisting of a custom APR front splitter and APR GT-250 rear wing. With the G20's brick like aerodynamics, any additions in the aero department would be a huge leap forward in its development. The experienced team-family members of the M-Factory Acura Integra team had repeatedly suggested we add some aero to the car, but y'all know how it is. Time is money, and we're broke!
|MotoIQ Project Infiniti G20 Racecar looking and handling more like a proper race car rather than your Mom's grocery getter. Would the additions be enough to keep up with the rest of the field?|
As if adding aero to the car wasn't a big enough variable, we decided to try out a brand new set of tires too! If you recall the past race, Project Infiniti G20 Racecar was sporting Toyo's tried and true Proxes RA1s. For this, and the remainder of the season, we will be using/testing Toyo's new Proxes RRs in the 225/50/15 flavor.
With two huge variables in the mix we decided to tackle tire pressure adjustments first. After a few hot laps Steve brought the car in to the hot-pits and we dialed in our tire pressures. With that out of the way, we could concentrate on adjusting our rear wing for that perfect balance of downforce and drag. More details to come in future in-depth articles on the aero additions, but for now we can tell you that we found the wing to work best for us at its flattest setting.
|Michelle and the team at Scion Racing/Dynamic Autosports decided to have the tC go out in practice on street tires to not only conserve tires, but also see how their lap times compared. At the last round Michele was having problems making her Hankook Z214s (C71 compound) last the entire race. You would think race tires would always be faster, but sometimes slower and consistent is faster in a long race.|