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Thread: PIR, a Viper, and the Turn 2 Tire Wall

  1. #1
    Member ID
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    La Habra, CA USA


    Sunday, Phoenix International Raceway - the third of a three day NASA
    Advanced Performance Driving School (called that for insurance reasons).
    I'm in a four car pack consisting of a RT/10 Viper on Hoosiers (first
    in the pack), a Baby Grand (Yamaha powered 1,200 lb mini-stock car on racing
    slicks), a E30 M3 (chipped and on Kumhos), and me in a Solo2 BSP 1970 240Z.

    At the start of the session I spent a couple laps getting past the BMW and three more getting past the Baby Grand. Both are really quick in the
    infield. I was able to stay with them in turns 2 thru 9 and then power past
    them on the oval. But the Viper is a different story.

    I was able to go deeper into turns 1 and 2 than the Viper and I could really
    push him hard through the rest of the infield. He could out accelerate me
    so I had to get my speed coming out of the corners and out brake him at the
    end of the oval and the short straight between 7 and 9. So that was my
    strategy for 6 laps. I never could quite get by him but I got my nose
    inside of him in a number of turns. I was definitely worrying him and he
    did almost spin coming out of 3. That was my chance but I hesitated 'cuz I
    didn't know where he would end up. He caught it and continued on.

    I got pinched behind a Pro7 Rx7 and the Baby Grand got by me. The Viper
    pulled out a couple car lengths. Onto the oval I passed the Baby Grand. At
    the end of the front straight I was about 110 - 115 mph.

    (BTW1... The entry to Turn 1 is tricky because you are coming down off the
    banking into the infield part of the road course. There's a pavement
    transition that unsettles the car so you have to go through there straight
    and on the throttle. After that transition you brake hard, downshift, and
    set up for Turn 2, which is a decreasing radius.)

    So... I brake checked at the end of the front straight and went through Turn
    1 at about 105 - 110. Squeezed on the brakes hard after the car settled
    and... Uh Oh! (you Z racers know the feeling)

    (BTW2... my car is setup for autocross so I'm not allowed, per the Street
    Prepared rules, to run brake cooling ducts. I do bleed and adjust the brakes
    after each session but they only last so long when the outside temp is 104
    degrees and you're chasing a 400hp Viper.)

    The car is pushing out (my tires were pretty hot at this point too) and I
    downshifted and braked with all I had. I was able to turn in a bit for Turn
    2 but I was way wide and the back end was starting to come around. I eased
    up on the brakes and added some throttle to settle the car but by then I was
    in the marbles. The car slid off the track and went through about 20' of
    dirt before bumping, completely sideways, into the tire wall at about 10

    Go into the accident routine: Shut the car off, look around inside and out
    for smoke/fire. Nothing. Give the corner worker a thumbs up. Start the
    car and check the gauges. Everything's OK. Point at the corner worker and
    he signals when its safe to go. Pull out and head back into the paddock.

    Well... the car is covered in dirt and every body panel on the right side is
    dented and scraped. It was a really nice, straight, and clean 1970 240Z.
    But, no real structural damage: door opens and closes fine, hood, door, and
    hatch gaps are the same, crossmembers are square, check camber and toe and
    they are OK, not a mark on the wheels or the bumpers, and the side marker
    lights are intact. I got off lucky. Maybe $1,000 worth of body and paint

    So, I clean the car up, bleed and adjust the brakes, and run the next
    session without a problem. I did stay away from the Viper though...

    John Coffey

  2. #2
    Admin Mike's Avatar
    Member ID
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Seattle, WA

    Red face

    Nice story (very well put together)!

    Too bad about the car. I'm sure you'll come up with something to make her look great again.

    I'm happy to see that the Z was able to keep up with the Viper. Now, that's a hell of a story.

    Mike Gholson
    1971 240z, Mikuni Carbs, Tokico 5-way Adjustable Struts, Ferarri Yellow, Stock Engine, 15x9 wheels w/50 series Falken tires, Currently being restored.

  3. #3
    Member ID
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Pleasanton, CA USA

    Thumbs up

    John: I enjoyed your story, but too bad about the Z. It must take BALLS to put a 70Z "on the line" in a track situation. Glad you and it came out more or less OK. I would love to have seen you climbing all over the rear of the Viper! OLD SCHOOL!

    Carl Stahlnecker
    72 240Z HLS30-55703 MFG 11/71
    All original except Bambi's Fender, Bumper, & Hood

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