The parts were shipped to Austin and he bravely drove the Miata the final 45 minute trip of terrifying, clutch slipping fun through LA traffic. Road Race Engineering wasted no time, getting it on the lift, while he was still there, and started swapping the clutch and flywheel combo. It was right about this time, a few days before my flight, when something interesting happened. Turned out, I wasn’t needed to drive the Evo at Super Lap Battle after all. Jeff Westphal had become available and was ready to rock and roll.
Hmm. Quite interesting. Now what to do? Screw it, there’s a Miata in LA with a killer set of Nitto tires and a brand new Exedy clutch and flywheel, I’ll still fly out early, burn money on the practice day, drive the hell out of the Miata at North America’s greatest Time Attack track and then cruise back home across some of the best roads in the country!
Flying into LA, it was exciting to know my Mia… err… my fiancée’s Miata would be waiting for me. After picking up the old girl, I hopped on the freeway headed north and made it to Buttonwillow with just enough time to get 8 hours of sleep in before hitting the track. The next day was spent putting in laps, taking people out in the Miata, letting buddies drive it, sliding and scaring friends. It was lovely. My best lap time was a 2:18.53. The Miata really became a treat to drive on track. Drifting effortlessly over the high speed turns, putting in good times consistently, lap after lap. The quickest lap was also my last lap. I had gotten steadily faster and faster with each trip around the circuit. The more I drove, the more I learned the track, which is exactly what I had hoped for. I did end up turning 2 shakedown laps in the Evo, just to get things prepped for Jeff, but never pushed hard. The crazy thing is, the Evo, with the right driver, is capable of lapping over 40 seconds faster at Buttonwillow. Count to 40 right now and realize how ridiculous that is.