Let me just jump right in, I struggled with many different intros to this article. In the end all I wanted to get across was how amazing of a weekend I had with my friends, and how awesome it was to share everyones highs and lows. It was truly the most fun I have had at any motorsport event that I have participated in. I wasn’t able to achieve the times I was looking for and I was disappointed in that, but all that means is ill be even more excited to go back and try to best my time. Please enjoy my “chapter” style blog post, highlighting the events for each individual person.
Chapter 1: The single cam that couldn’t.
Saturday morning: There are many things to do, registration, tech, and drivers meeting. All of which are incredibly difficult at PCA events. Well I guess registration is actually pretty easy, but the next thing you had to do was tech. For Porsche Club events they actually have a local Las Vegas performance shop handle the tech inspection for every car. Where they have some self appointed official race car inspector check over every car with more scrutiny than NASA would inspect a space shuttle. The simple fact that We mostly had Hondas, and I specifically had a civic, meant I was like any middle eastern at a TSA check point. Yup, I was going to get looked at more carefully than any of the other expensive nice car there. So when I made it to the front of the line, I was met by a gentleman that had to make sure my helmet was acceptable and that it met all requirements. He takes my helmet and begins to dig inside the padding to ensure that its a certified helmet, its not good enough for him that there is a SNELL 2010 sticker on the back. No he has to dig inside the helmet padding to ensure that I don’t have a fake hemet. How insulting is that, im genuinely offended and appalled that he would think I would have a fake helmet. I wanted to ask him, Is it because I have a Civic? (but I didn’t want to make it worse for myself) Then he has to nerve to say “OH, there it is. I wasn’t seeing it.” GTFO. Next I’m met by the actual tech inspector, Im on my best behavior as you would be if the police pulled you over. “yes sir” “no sir” “please” and “thank you” He asks me to open my hood, I happily pop it and expecting an easy pass begin to open it. While im opening it he’s inspecting the tires, wheels, and brakes. For a little longer than a moment I notice that he gets fixated on my front wheel, thinking he’s impressed that my crappy little civic has calipers that say “NSX” on them… Nope he could careless, all he’s concerned with is that fact that my pads are a little low. He states that they are at 40% and thats too low, it’s “unsafe.” I begin to argue with him and tell him that it would be fine, my car only has 100 hp and its probably the lightest car out there other than the radical race cars. He looks at me with a disgusted look, and at this point im thinking that my day is done before it even started. Annoyed he just says “Im not going to argue, just come back at lunch to get them re inspected” Happily I agree, and say oh yes sir, I’ll for sure be back to have you inspect my brakes. SIKE, I never went back and you don’t have to tech the second day so I wasn’t worried about it. Now yes I understand why they are like this… We are talking big money cars and they don’t want my crappy civic crashing into them, they don’t want there insurance to go up for the track events they put on if there are incidents, and I guess there is some safety concern involved too… But hey, don’t sign up if you not ready to completely write off your car.
After you make it through tech, there is a drivers meeting to sit through that is lead by the most condescending, degrading person you will have ever meet. The whole entire thing consists of about an hour of going through really redundant stuff (if you have done track days previously) The way this guy talks to Adult grown ass men, it blows me away that someone doesn’t knock his ass out. If they did though, they would just get banned and not be allowed to ever do a PCA event again. So pretty much we all have to sit there and get scalded about safety, how to properly enter and exit the track, what all the flags mean (which at PCA event is a little different than other sanctioning bodies) all while he manages to brag about all the race car driving he has done in 80+ tracks all over the world, and how he has seen it all. At this point he begins to randomly ask people questions about what he had talked about, and if you don’t know it and you are in a higher run group he will pull you out of that run group and place in his HPDE school that he runs both days. As you sit there laughing extra loud at his stupid jokes, clapping exuberantly for all of his shout outs and appreciations, and repeating with conviction the words he’s asking you to say, only to hope that he won’t call on you since you are “participating” you can’t help but be reminded of when you were in elementary school. It ends, and you are now free. There may not be tech the second day, but you can bet that there is for damn sure another drivers meeting where we go through the same shit all over again.
Heading into this weekends event I was hoping to do a 2:55 lap. It all seemed like an easy feat, I had just come off my PB of 1:33 at streets and the 4 door was feeling great. The last time I was a Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in my EG I managed a 2:40, and our Buddy (john) managed to get a 2:52 in his SOHC non Vtec CRX so I was feeling pretty
cocky ehh, confident… Sadly though tings didn’t go as I hoped. To start, since the event is considered “HPDE” there was no transponders for timing because they don’t want anyone “racing”. Being that Patrick and I were in different run groups I was able to borrow his AIM when it was my turn to head out. Our run group which consisted of every car having at least triple my horsepower was a shit show. There was people everywhere and despite the track being 3.4 miles in length there still managed to always be someone in my way. Getting a clean hot lap was going to be a challenge for sure. After managing a few clean laps I came into the pits eagerly waiting to see AIM that I had stuck to the seat rail (since Patrick forgot his mount on the first day) It read 3:05, 3:06, and 3:08. My heart instantly sunk and I was incredibly disappointed that all I was able to muster up was a 3:05. I thought there must have been some mistake, It was a full 10 seconds that I needed to shave just to be able to get down to the time I had set for myself, that I had thought was a conservative time. Not to mention that I really wanted to beat John’s 2:52 lap time, and that I had only set what I thought was a reasonable time of 2:55 just to not sound too confident with how easily I would break through Johns 2:52.
Boy oh BOY… How was I going to come up with 10 seconds, Fuck that! At this point I just wanted to at least sub 3. I opted to not use the AIM for the rest of that day, and instead I would just have fun messing around with Ever in his NSX since he and I were in the same run group. This being Evers first time back at the track in about 4 years he had some cobwebs to dust off, and I figured that playing around with him would be as good for him as it would for me. As we dueled back and forth I was also working on driving lines and figuring out how to get faster around the track. There were places on the track where I could shake Ever but the shear power of the NSX was able to eat me alive on the tracks 4 large straights. Yes this track is a very long, and caters to cars with higher power. That still didn’t change the fact that John was able to get a 2:52 in his CRX that had less power than my car, there was no way to justify anything. I was just clearly not as fast as I had thought I was, and this was a tough pill to swallow. For the rest of Saturday I just continued to focus on braking later, and carrying speed smoothly through the turns. I still managed to make the most of the day, and I was very happy with the amount of cars I was easily passing despite my low power. Honestly there can’t be a bad day when you are out on track driving to the absolute limit of you ability, and pushing through mental barriers continuing to improve as a driver. Every time you are out on a track you are going to learn something. This time around I leaned that I’m not nearly as fast as I thought I was. This was very humbling and really opened my eyes to how much more I still have to learn. Day one was over, despite my humbling experience… I still had so much fun, and couldn’t wait for Sunday.
Sunday morning came, we got out to the track a littler early because I had some things I wanted to do to my car. I had new rear brake pads to install, previously I was using auto zone rear pads and I wanted to upgrade to a more track oriented pad just to see if it would make a difference. I had bought some new spark plugs the night before and wanted to install them. Finally rotate my tires front to back just to get as even wear as possible out of them.
I went with Hawk HP+ for the rear. which is the same as my fronts.
While the car was up on 4 jack stands and all the wheels were off for rotation, I decided to re bleed the brake system.
New spark plugs in.
All put back together and ready for day 2!
I started out day 2 without the AIM, I just wanted to properly bed in the new rear pads, and see if everything was still good with the car. It’s always a bad idea to do major changes to you car and then go back out at 10/10 assuming your car will act the same. Day 2 also meant that the HPDE school was now going to be out on track and was sharing track time with our group. This meant that now there was at least 40 cars on track and 15 of them had no idea what they were doing. All the HPDE school cars were given a “yellow” sticker to put on the back of their car so we could identify them on track and not spook them. Despite the increased number of cars I was able to find some open track pretty easily, and continued to push myself harder each lap. After lunch I felt like I was ready for the AIM again, Patrick had brought his mount for it today and feeling like I was driving at my best. I took to the track, I pushed harder and braked later than I had done before, I was jumping curbs and perfectly downshifting. As I crossed the magnetic sensor which marked the end of a lap I was sure I had done a sub 3… NOPE! all I managed to get was a 3:03, Below is a video of the lap.
Yes, I went home that day not being able to sub 3. It was disappointing, but I know that John is not from another planet and eventually I will get as fast as him. A lot of people asked me why I didn’t take the EG, It was for this very reason… You see the EG has so much power that its pretty easy to get a fast lap. The 4 door was going to teach me more since it was an underpowered car, and I know that when I eventually get faster with it I will be a better driver because I was able to make a slower car fast.
I have now done 4 track days, 2 at streets, and 2 at SMMR with these Nankang ns-2r tires. They are only at about half or maybe 60% tread left, I couldn’t be happier with how they are wearing. (remember though my car is way down on power, if I had a higher horsepower car they would be wearing faster. Any tire would for that matter)
Chapter 2: Dusting off the cobwebs
Ever purchased his NSX a little more than 4 years ago, when he first go his car he did a few PCA events at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch. Soon after, he had to hang up the keys for a few years while he pursued a career in tattooing. As the title states he was quite literally dusting the cobwebs off both his car, and himself. About a month ago when ever decided he was going to do this event, we both instantly started talking crap to each other about who was going to be fastest. I was quite confident that I was going to be able to beat Ever and his NSX around the track. I figured that it had been a while since he was out on track so I would have an advantage despite the power difference, and my driving skill would prevail. As you read above none of this was true and Ever was instantly faster than me just due to my lack of power. Ever started Saturday not even using his AIM, his goal was just to get comfortable and back into the swing of things. Later on Saturday afternoon he decide to use the AIM, and was only managing to get times in the 3:03/3:02 area. That night on the drive home (we all piled in the truck) we discussed the track, what turns he was having a hard time on, and what turns he felt good on. We discussed which were the best lines and what gear he should be in on certain areas.
Sunday morning came and he was hoping to sub 3 and actually get to the 2:55’s. It was a bold goal, and to actually cut 8 seconds form your lap time was quite an accomplishment. I had my doubts, but I knew the car was capable of it. All Saturday his car performed flawlessly with out issue, and Sunday was no different. Honestly what would you expect from a car that was made for this, has only 50k miles, and lots of performance upgrades. So his first session out for the day was a cluster fuck purely because they had merged both groups into one. He even pulled off into the hot pit to have the flagger try and put some space between him and the other cars, but there were just too many. His second session out that day he managed to go past his original goal of a 2:55 and get a 2:53! He was feeling on top of the world, he managed to actually shave 10 seconds off his time all by making small improvements to certain areas on the track where he was having issues previously. When he came in from that session he had mentioned that he was starting to get some brake fade issues, which was a good thing because that meant he was pushing harder and harder. It wasn’t major brake fade, but just enough to notice his pedal feel be a little different, he also only is using HP+ pads which might not be the best for a car thats as fast as his on such a big track. This will be something we will be looking into before we the next event he does, maybe stepping up to a Carbotech XP10, Winmax W4, or Hawk DTC.
It was lunch time, We piled into my 4 door, and headed into town for some food.
Boy we need to work on better shots of us in the car!
Anyway, we got back to the track and Ever was now setting his sights on a 2:50. First session after lunch he managed to get another 2:53 despite some traffic.
On his last session of the weekend he went out with the taste of blood in his mouth. Being the last session of the weekend not too many people have stuck around, and others are busy packing up. The last session of the day usually ends up being the least crowded and if he was going to be able to get a 2:50 now was going to be the best chance he would have. He went out and tried his hardest, getting a 2:56, 2:53, then a 2:50 achieving his goal! The predictive on the next lap said it was 2:49 but he had run into traffic. What a way to end a great weekend of “dusting off the cobwebs” He managed to lower his time by 13 seconds which is amazing. Yes there is something to be said about just learning the track and how that will improve your time, but for him it wasn’t so much as learning the track (he had been on it multiple times before) it was more about braking later, and being in the correct gear exiting corners. Im super proud of him for getting a very respectable time for that track, and im even more excited that he’s addicted to tracking and the desire for faster lap times. Its easy to learn, but impossible to master and even as I type this he is texting me about 2 piece rotors and brake pads that he should get. It truly doesn’t matter how fast or slow your car is, there is no replacing the feeling you get from improving your times. This is because you have factual proof that you have improved as a driver and there can be no greater feeling.
Chapter 3: The first timer.
Nates adventure starts the Friday prior to the event, where we officially welcomed him into the club by plastering a windshield banner on his car. His adventure actually started about a year ago when he originally purchased this car, and began the transformation from neglected cheaply done car, to a full track ready/reliable one. Nate and I have been friends for 5 years now, what started off as a friendship that was centered around motorcycles has blossomed into his new found love of Hondas. From barley knowing much about Hondas to participating in his first track event this last weekend, he has made great strides in his automotive knowledge and I’m very proud see how far he has come. If you’ve been around the blog for a while now, you will know that his car is no stranger to it. If are new here, you can see the how to’s of just about everything we have done to his car since the day he got it, right here on the blog.
The way that PCA events work are, if you have no prior experience they will make it mandatory that you take the 2 day HPDE school that they offer. The school its self is free and spends the first few hours of Saturday in a classroom explaining many basics things such as, apex’s, braking, percentage of throttle and brake into and out of turns, limitations of grip, trail braking, proper hand and steering wheel placement, looking thru corners, target fixation, and many other things you would learn about that pertain to track driving. From there the class moves out to a skid pad area where they wet it down and have you experience the loss of grip feeling, different brake pressure, and how to maximize grip in the wet. They then move to a dry skid pad and work on panic braking, and slalom thru cones. After lunch their individually assigned instructors will take them out on track for the first time and drive their cars for them, showing them proper lines and how to enter/exit the track. They end Saturday being able to finally sit behind the wheel and go out on track, yet the instructor will remain in the car with them through the whole weekend.
Nate ended Saturday loving the whole experience, he got lucky and got a really cool instructor that was able to teach him a lot.
Sunday was going to be the most fun for him. Unlike Saturday he would get all day full sessions on the track, no classrooms, and no skid pad. It was also going to be cool because his group was merging with our group and we would be sharing the track together at the same time. He still had his instructor with him throughout the whole day as well, but he was driving the whole day and as he improved his instructor also began to teach him more and more.
To start off Sunday morning he also rotated his tires front to back, like me to help aid in more even tire wear.
He was all set. there was no timing of his laps as he was under instruction all day both days. The next PCA event though he will be able to move up a group and be solo on track.
Despite the instructor being in his car he was able to rip around the track, and really feel what its like to take your car to the limits in a controlled environment.
He wasn’t having over heating issues, but like myself he chooses to spray water on the radiator as soon as he comes in to help aid in cooling.
The whole entire experience was very eye opening for him, and he can now say that he truly understands the difference between “spirited driving” around town and actually tracking your car. For people who do upgrades to their cars, and then justify them by saying they drive hard on the street, yet have never taken their cars on an actual track. They truly don’t know the difference between street and track, and how much more demanding it can actually be on your car. Also how silly they look having a “track inspired car” that never sees a track. Im glad Nate can relate to this and can now speak from experience about what it’s actually like on a track.
Chapter 4: Old dog, new tricks.
Patrick is no stranger to tracking, he is though primarily a FF guy. He purchased this S2000 almost a year ago and has managed to squeeze a few track events in between blowing his engine, swapping suspension, swapping trans, swapping wheels/tires, and just over all fixing issues on his car. In his Integra he PB’d with a 2:41 on this track layout. He had set his goals at a 2:46 for the S2000, being the S2000 is on street tires and is currently his daily driver. His Integra however is far from stock, R compound 225 tires, gutted to the max, 15X9/15X8, JRZ’s, roll bar, straight piped, total “race” car.
He Came into this event with some better tires, upgraded to 2 piece GIRODISC rotors, and fresh Carbotech XP10 front pads.
His first sessions he was struggling with some brake fade issues, most likely due to just not being able to fully bed the pads in on the street on the way out to the track. This issue plagued him on and off for the rest of the day, but he managed to get through. Despite the intermittent brake issues he was able to pull out a 2:46 for Saturday.
Sunday morning came and he was feeling good.
He managed to PB on Sunday with a 2:44, and I’m sorry for lack of theatrical writing about his experience but there isn’t really much more to say. He struggled with some brake fade stuff on Saturday, Sunday the brake issue seemed to work its self out after he re-bled them. He had two offs, one due to braking issues, and the other one from some twitchiness that is common on the AP1 chassis. He was a little embarrassed about making a rookie mistake, but he managed to make light of it by making this comical clip of it.
Patricks lap times are very impressive, if you really think about what he’s achieved with street tires, and semi full interior. Realistically he’s only three seconds off his Integras PB a this track. He now has become total S2000 fanboy and is hoping get into the sub 2:40’s next time out (since the air temp will be much cooler). He’s already pretty much written off the Integra. It really begs the question, Why do we have obnoxiously loud, uncomfortable, R compound tire, stupid 90’s econo box cars when you can potentially be faster with a street tire, daily driving, quite exhaust having, stock motor s2000. Just look at his time in an S2000 with 255 street tires compared to Ever in his NSX with R compound 295 rear tires, kw suspension, and its a mid engine sports car co designed by Ayrton Senna. Of course Patrick has 30 or more track days under his belt than Ever does, but when Ever gets the NSX dialed in completely his times should rival the S2000. Not to take away anything from either one of them though.
Heres a video of his PB lap in the S2000
like the rest of us his car made it through the weekend with out any major issue and he was able to drive his car home just as it was able to drive to the track.
Chapter 5: The odd one.
I call him the odd one only because out of all of us he is the only one that doesn’t have a Honda. He has a E36 BMW, and has a true passion for BMW’s that only someone that enjoys working on them would have.
Ive only known Scott for about a year, in that year we have managed to do a few track events together, and he was Patricks and I’s night in shinning armor coming to pick us up in Barstow after Patrick blew his engine at Buttonwillow and the AAA tow would only get us that far. He’s a young, very enthusiastic about tracking his car, and improving as a driver. He came out to this event hoping to get a 2:50, and managed to leave Sunday with a 2:48. While a little upset that the S2000 platform proved to be a more dominant platform, and the little 2.0 four cylinder was actually managing to pull on him in the straights he still had a great time. Remember, its always a great time if you PB! It’s also worth noting that he is still on just shocks and springs, once he gets a full coilover setup the car will be much faster around the track.
He also had some brake bugs that were bothering him, so on Sunday morning he bled his brakes too.
I love the energy that he brings, and I can’t wait to do some more track events with him.
Chapter 6: The happy ending.
Ive known Trevor for many years now, for the first half of our friendship we really didn’t do too much hanging out. Whenever we did hang out, it was a good time though. Trevor and I met through mutual friend, you see Trevor has had this ITR since I’ve lived in Vegas (2003) , he has always lived in the area around me so I would always see this PY ITR smashing around town, being all obnoxious, and making sure everywhere he went he was hitting VTEC! Some years later our mutual friend (who was Trevors co worker) told me that his co worker had a fast Honda, I didn’t believe it and I made my friend ask trevor about his car and it turned out to be “the guy” that had the PY ITR that I had been seeing around Vegas for the past few years. To briefly touch on a few things about Trevors life with out going into too much detail. many, many years ago he blew the motor in his Type r. He got a JDM long block from H motors online, while having to get his car illegally smogged, the shop got caught and his car was flagged as one of the cars that need to get refereed/inspected to be able to get reregistered again. Since he had a JDM block that wasn’t going to happen because the Vin didn’t match. In Vegas there is a license plate that you can get that requires no smog, but the car must be 20 cars old. Obviously his car wasn’t 20 years old so the car has literally sat in garages, at friends houses, and in storage just waiting to be 20 years old so he can get it registered. In that time Trevor and gone through some pretty heavy stuff, He’s a cancer survivor, he continues to somehow get stuck with lemon cars. He had a tacoma that would constantly have issues which he finally got rid of, after that he picked up a new 2018 civic SI and even that car had proceeded to give him issues that to this day have him in and out of the dealership all the time. Also in that time he’s had to move from house to house, and a few career changes in between. All the while still holding on to the love of his life, his PY ITR. He never lost sight of that car and while it had to be away from him for a little, he knew that letting go of this car was simply not an option. Maybe one day we can do a full write up on his TYPE R, but for now just listen to my little story about his adventure out Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch .
Trevor is no stranger to track events, years ago he was out here a PCA events at SMMR. Due to life events that transpired it pulled him away for quite some time. Because of PCA rules they felt that he should re do the HPDE school like Nate was doing. This was not a big deal for Trevor at all be because he still had to make sure the car was ready to go all out after sitting for 7+ years. He purchased new tires, brake pads, and just did some maintenance so ensure its reliability.
Trevor had a great time, and like everyone else that had to take a break from track events he has reignited his flame for tracking and can’t wait for more.
Despite the strictness of PCA events I will still continue to go to them just because the SMMR track and facilities are bar none. We also don’t get many “local” track events to Vegas (even though Pahrump is about 60 miles away) I may have some strong opinions about the way that PCA runs their events, but in the end I know why they do it all , and I know that I have to choice to attend them or not.
Below please enjoy some random photos:
This was our pit set up on Saturday morning. Scott, and Trevor hadn’t yet shown up.
I guess thats one way to use a wing, SMH. Filling out tech forums… are you guys serious.
The awesome visor sticker that Ever had made for our helmets.
Ive never really been one for trailering your car to events, and I even preach about how its cooler to say that you drove your car to the track, tracked it, and then drove it home. However, recently I been lucky enough to have my brothers truck at my house, and The other Pat has been letting me use his trailer. This won’t be an option for me much longer, as my brother will eventually take his truck back to Missouri, and once I finish getting Pats EG running he will be getting the trailer and taking his EG up to his home in Oregon. For now, I will enjoy the luxury of comfortably driving to track events and being worry free about how hard I’m being on the car and fear it breaking not being able to get home. Don’t worry though, I will return to my roots of packing it all into my car and driving to the events.
Unfortunately Trevors car was trailered to the event so he wasn’t able to make it in the final picture since his car was already on its way home when we took this picture, but he was there in spirit.
Thank so much for taking the time to read my random thoughts about our adventures in tracking our cars. It’s hard to capture everything thats going on while participating in events but I try my hardest to get it all. I hope that our stories will help motivate you to get out and track you car, it will not doubt be one of the best experiences of your automotive life. You don’t have to be a track god, and you will quickly find out that many people there are actually worse than you are. Don’t be intimidated by other peoples cars just because they look like race cars. Trust me they probably aren’t that fast, and its more embarrassing that your car looks relatively stock and you’re as fast if not faster than they are. YOU DON’T NEED ANYTHING CRAZY TO TRACK YOUR CAR! if its your first time honestly you aren’t going to be pushing it hard enough to over work any of the stock parts on the car, and if you do then at least you can justify upgrading your car.
If you have any questions about anything please don’t hesitate to ask. Comment below, email me at Billy@functiontheory.com, or DM my on Instagram @functiontheory.
Remember also there are plenty of write ups on pretty much everyones car that is above, with how to’s, and full build break downs of what is done to each car. It’s all on the blog, just go to the home page and scroll through many different posts on each page.