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With sprint season over, it was time to turn to the 2 hour and 8 hour endurance fall race, a part of the Festival of Endurance that is held each year to end the ICSCC season locally.

With the Track Attack #209 done for the year (separate blog post on that to follow), we decided to campaign the Track Attack #226 sister car, which belongs to our Architect, Manu Yareshimi!  This car is bad @$$ and one of the best prepared PRO3 cars in existence.  Manu purchased it from a solid driver and even better person, James Colborn and has been using it in his first year of club racing.

After obtaining his competition license, he experienced the joy of ‘shifting’ his engine and it was down for a couple of months, being rebuilt and readied for the endurance race.

The plan was to campaign the #226 in the 2 Hour race (with Manu and I [Gama Aguilar] co-driving) and the 8 Hour race (with Manu and two other guest drivers).  Further, I would drive a Spec E46 car for the first time, partnering with Grip Racing to drive the Red Bull #95 in the 8 hour endurance race.  I would be co-driving with two other drivers (Rob Dunn and Chuck Hurley).  I have been looking forward to this opportunity as we’ll likely make the move to Spec E46 in 2017 with a build starting in 2016.

Saturday AM Practice

As Saturday of the race approached, the weather forecasted shifted from sunny to rain, to partly cloud and back to rain several times.  By Friday night, it was expected that in the wee hours of Saturday AM showers would hit Portland but then stay dry and cloudy until around 8pm PST that evening, right around the last hour of the 8 hour race.  The rain came through and that morning it was cool, wet on the track and even more wet on the grass.

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I went out first in the Spec E46 on rain tires and upon hitting the first straight away, realized that my 5’6″ frame could operate the car BUT my arms were just barely not long enough to easily shift into 5th gear.  FTML!  After 15 minutes of getting used to the car, how careful you had to be on throttle application and initiating the brakes, I came back in to let Chuck and Rob have a go.

Then it was time to get a few minutes into the #226 PRO3 car as the 2 hour race would start within 20 minutes of practice concluding.  Unfortunately, the ice rink like conditions got the best of Manu and he went off track.  We spent the remaining time making repairs and my first time in the car would be when I would go in for the closing stint of the 2 hour race.

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2 Hour Race

Manu started the race and though we had a good qualifying position, it was still damp and we were going out in dry tires (Toyo RR’s) so we gave him guidance to just slowly warm up, get into a groove and not worry about fighting for position.  Just drive.  That’s exactly what he did and it was great!  He did go down one lap but he steadily improved and kept the car on track as the surface dried.

The first hour came and went fast and next thing you know, it was my turn to jump in the car for the 2nd hour.  Right as we were prepping the pit area for the car to arrive, we saw big plume of tire smoke at pit entry and unfortunately Manu came in a little hot and locked up the front left tire (the most important tire).  No matter, he came in, we did the driver change, refueled and got me going on track.

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Immediately as I came on track I merged right in front of the lead car.  We had un-lapped ourselves in the pit stop but now I had my work cut out for me to keep him behind me and ideally try to go all the way around the track and get the position back.  Turns out, our competitor was on his A-game and even though I had performed much better against him in the past at PIR, in the #209 PRO3 car – it was not to be.

I battled with him the entire race, gaining distance against him but only to catch slower traffic and have him catch right up.  About half way through the stint, I realized I wouldn’t be able to really pull away and catch him, so the goal was to just put down clean laps and focus forward.  All was going to plan until the last 5 minutes of the race.  The lock up earlier caused a slight flat spot and throughout the race, I could tell if I didn’t baby the tire on certain turns, it would chirp and tug.  Then all of a sudden, it got worse and that gave our competition all it needed to put the pressure on.

The last 3-4 laps were extremely tough – I had to be extra gentle on the tire, especially in turn 12 (last turn before the main straight), giving our competition a run.  Luckily the #226 engine (with a new head assembly) is stout and a great brake setup, so was able to hold him off in the braking zone for turn 1.

We ended up finishing in 2nd, putting down the fastest lap of the race for ME2 and having a blast.  Every single second of every single lap in that 2nd hour stint was with a strong competitor on my back, working our way through traffic or having much faster cars blowing past.

We’ll cover 8 hour in a second post.  In the meantime, thanks to Austin from Flying Bye Photo for being a driving force behind the enduro and for the awesome pictures!

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The 7th weekend in the ICSCC schedule was this past weekend and it was also the 9th race of the year in the PRO3 championship.  This is an annual event held at Portland International Raceways, using the chicane configuration of the 1.97 mile circuit.  PIR is an awesome track, that is quite different than the rest of the pacific northwest tracks.  It is more short, little to no elevation changes and pretty smooth track surface.  It doesn’t use up tires or brakes much and is known for being easy to get to 90% of an optimal lap time but that last 10% is really, really tough to get through.  You have to really be precise and consistent.

Gama 3

Typically, it’s a really scenic and fan friendly circuit with great views of Mt. Hood in the background of pictures and big blue skies.  However, this past weekend, with all the forest fires going on in Oregon, Washington and California, there was a good amount of smoke in the air.  Going into the weekend, we felt really good after a 4th place finish at the Car Tender Challenge at Pacific Raceways.  We did regular maintenance on the car, put fresh front brake pads (Performance Friction) and felt good about the Toyo RR’s that only had 5 heat cycles on them from the last race.

Friday Test and Tune

Each race weekend, there is an Test and Tune, sometimes mixed with HPDE type drivers.  For this past Test and Tune, we were focused on getting the tire pressures dialed in as we would have similar weather each day, getting used to a hard mounted seat (got rid of the slider that had a bit too much slop) and as always, doing testing on Track Attack updates that are under development.

Overall, the day went really well with progress each session.  By the 3rd session, we were easily putting down lap times near personal bests and felt confident about being able to get into the 1:30.xxx mark.  On the last session, we did find out the hard way the importance of knowing where your fuel pickup is located and how the orientation of the track impacts when you run out of gas.  :)

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Saturday Qualifying and 1 Hour Mini-Enduro

We had an AM practice, afternoon qualifying session 1 for the main Group 1 race, qualifying for the Saturday mini-enduro and the mini-enduro itself.  Practice went pretty well but just not able to put a full lap together, getting to 1:31.1xx mark.  So close!  In the mini-enduro qualifying, we had a solid showing with the temperatures rising and qualified 2nd in ME2 class.

The afternoon qualifying for the Group 1 race was quite eventful.  We made a big effort to get on grid early and make sure we were turning laps with some of the big hitters in the series to catch some drafts and try to learn some things.  This plan was working well as we got behind Chris Hart, the current PRO3 series points leader but as we approached the last turn on the out-lap, went to brakes and the pedal went to the floor.  As the car went off-track, was fortunate enough to catch the car, pump the brakes and get some pressure back.  A little frazzled, got the car back on track and tested the brakes – all good.  A bit perplexed, we carried on getting a flying start to the next lap but as we got past turn 7, black flags started waving and into the hot-pits we went.  Turns out several cars were crossing the blend line, resulting in black flag session for a reprimand.

A few minutes later, we got started again but we only had time for 4 or 5 laps and there was traffic everywhere.  Came away with a disappointing 1:32.1xx.

Gama 2

So we shifted focus to the mini-Enduro, estimating the necessary fuel and thinking through pit stop strategy.  We decided that I would start the race and pit about mid-way through the pit-window, handing the car over to Cody Smith of Code Red Racing and the 2013 PRO3 Series Champion.

Coming around for the green flag, we got a good start and was leading after the 1st lap. Started building a gap but traffic that was slow in the corners and fast in the straights held me up and Kevin Doyle from KD Motorsports took full advantage. He was on me and in my mirrors for the next 8 or so laps until when I went in too hot into turn 1, went sideways and decided to take the safe route out.  Ended up falling back about 8-10 seconds.

5 or 6 laps later, I handed the car over to Cody but during the pit stop, we couldn’t get the lap belt adjusted quickly enough so we lost a bunch of time, going down a lap. Cody still put down some awesome laps, putting pressure on the Bastos theme PRO3 car of Bruce Humberstone, eventually passing him. We ended up 4th in ME2 but still had a great time.  Watch the full race here on Trackattackapp.com.  

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37 laps, 1 hour, 2 drivers and 4th place.

Sunday Group 1 Qualifying and Group 1 Race

Sunday morning, we had plenty of time to plan and attack in qualifying to improve in the grid.  Despite knowing that I had to tap the brakes a couple of times before the braking zones, I just didn’t have confidence of having the brakes reliably there going into turn 12 and I ended up going through turn 10, 11 and 12 slower than normal.  Ended up with a 1:31.285 – an improvement from Saturday but not the 1:30.5xx we knew the car was capable of and we were shooting for.  So we started the race 24th overall and 11th in PRO3.

Right after the qualifying, we took off the wheels to inspect everything and see if we could find a way to improve the pad knock-back.  We found that the passenger front locking collar on the coilover had come loose, resulting in movement that was equal to a bad wheel bearing.  We tightened it up and decided to do some testing during lunch time race car rides with kids.  Thankfully, w had that extra track time and determined that the issue persisted so we sourced a new set of calipers from Advanced Auto Fabrications (AAF Spokane, WA) and swapped them in.

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During the warm up lap for the race, I drove on the curbing hard to see if we had fixed the issue and thankfully, we had!

Thanks to Reid Morris on the headset, I got a great start and was able to pass a handful of cars right away. By mid-way through the first lap, it became a battle with four other PRO3 cars. About a third of the way in, the #191 made a good move in turn 7 and got in front of me. Very quickly there after, I started feeling what felt like brake fade, usually going into a braking zone as I got closer to the #191. I thought the brake problems were continuing but then I saw the fuel spilling out of his car in left hand turns and realized I was too close, losing grip and getting it all over my windshield.

I decided to back off a little and see if I can get a run somewhere but a couple laps later he got the meatball and I was able to move forward to resume the chase after the Bastos #114. Early on I got close behind him but just not close enough or the right run to make an overtake stick, so I decided to stick to his rear as long as I could and see if he would give me an opening. It came with 3 or 4 laps left in the race as he got a little sideways in a couple of turns and then we hit the oil that a Datsun 510 put down on the track. I saw him wiggle, held off on full throttle until we got past it and got around him. After that, I just focused on putting down clean laps and not letting the yellow flags and traffic give up the gap I built (I almost overtook the Watson’s PRO3 car under yellow in the second to last lap, or so because I didn’t see the yellow until the last second – sorry Dave!!).

Overall, awesome race and we made the most of what we had going into the race and finished 5th. Was able to crack 1.30.xxx for the first time on Saturday during the mini-Enduro and feel confident that we could have done it during qualifying if we would have put the new calipers in earlier but it is what it is. Watch the full race here.  

Started 11th, Finished 5th!

Started 11th, Finished 5th!

Up next is the last round of the PRO3 championship at The Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, WA.  We’re shooting to make some improvements to the car, freshen it up and do some testing and coaching before the race weekend.

Lastly, enjoy some awesome photos taken by Austin from Flying Bye Photography – thanks Austin!

 

Track Attack is excited to announce the availability of a new contingency program for all competitive racers, in any class, any sanctioning body and any region.

The goal of the program is simple – help racers offset the cost of racing competitively when you use Track Attack and most importantly, share your sessions!

This program will work for all types of competitive racing:

  • Road Racing
  • Oval racing
  • Rally
  • Rally cross
  • Auto cross
  • Drag racing
  • Drifting
  • Hill Climbs

 

The payouts are offered for podium finishes and pole positions.  Note, this is cash money!  Not credits that you can only use in any one location but straight up cash!

 Payout for Regional Competitions

1st Place: $25 USD

2nd Place: $15 USD

3rd Place: $5 USD

Qualifying Pole Position: $25 USD

Payout for National & Championship Competitions

1st Place: $100 USD

2nd Place: $75 USD

3rd Place: $50 USD

Qualifying Pole Position: $100 USD

 Eligibility

  1. Must have purchased Track Attack PRO on Android, iOS or Windows Phone.
  2. Payout is through Paypal only and thus available only in countries where PayPal is available as a service.
  3. User must successfully fill out and submit the redemption form within 30 days of the motorsport event.
  4. All motorsports that Track Attack supports are eligible.
  5. Event must be a formal, sanctioned event by a recognized governing body (i.e. NASA, SCCA, FIA, ICSCC, etc…)
  6. All events with at least 5 competitors in a given class or 15 or more total competitors in a multi-class race.
  7. Only one claim eligible per race weekend with the exception of Pole Position.

 How to get started:

  1. Download Track Attack for your iPhone, Android or Windows Phone
  2. Create an account
  3. Race, use Track Attack and perform well
  4. Share your sessions online
  5. Submit a redemption form

 

That’s it!

See this video on how to submit a redemption form.

Tell us what you think by submitting comments or suggestions on our Facebook page or sending email to trackattacksupport@9104studios.com

Tell your friends and other racers! The more competitors we have, the better and we’ll look to improve the program.

Check out our other how-to videos so you know exactly how to use Track Attack when competing.

Thanks in advance for the support and good luck out there!

 

Track Attack – bring you pro level technology, to make you a better driver!

Today, January 16th, 2015 we released the 1.1.10 build of Track Attack for Android.  The scope of what’s included is very similar to the Windows Phone 2.2 update, where the focus is to make it much easier to find your tracks, create sessions and get to your favorite sessions.  Here’s what’s included:

New Features

1. Enhanced Track Database Functionality

There is a new Track Database Page on the first level navigation.  Here you can start exploring all of the tracks on the official track database and update the locally stored track database.  Each track has it’s own profile page, where you can see the start/finish coordinates, a map preview of the track, the ability to designate it as a favorite track, drive it immediately or pin to the start screen.  More on this below.  We are super excited about this functionality and looking forward to rolling out more features on this over the next few months.

 

Track Attack comes pre-installed with the full official track database but by synchronizing with the server, you get access to all user-created tracks as well.

Track Attack comes pre-installed with the full official track database but by synchronizing with the server, you get access to all user-created tracks as well.

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See details for each track, mark it as a favorite or go drive it from this screen.

 

2. Enhanced Session History Functionality

You will also see that we’ve created the ability for you to designate sessions as ‘favorites’ which then can be brought up in a view specific to favorite sessions.

 

Notice the new heart at the bottom of the screen, here you can designate a session as favorite.

Notice the new heart at the bottom of the screen, here you can designate a session as favorite.

After the session has been designated as a favorite.

After the session has been designated as a favorite.

This is the history page but with the heart at the bottom selected, which shows just your favorite sessions.

This is the history page but with the heart at the bottom selected, which shows just your favorite sessions.

 

3. Get going fast with Track Attack Widgets

Create Tracks Widgets to your Home Screen: We know how stressful it can be on a track day or a race when you’re waiting for your session to come up and next thing you know, you need to be on pre-grid, strapped in and ready to go.  Even the few extra seconds it takes to have the GPS engine turn on, find the tracks around you and hit start can feel like an eternity.  With the the widget functionality in Android, you can create a track specific widget to get recording your session fast.

Note: We’ve made changes to memory management to enable this feature.  Moving forward, the core of Track Attack will install on the phone’s main memory and a separate folder will be installed in your SD card (if installed) to store session videos and data.  This will enable the widgets.  If you manually move all of Track Attack to be stored on the external SD card, Widgets will not be available.

Step 1: Go into the widgets menu in Android and find the Track Attack Track Tile

Step 1: Go into the widgets menu in Android and find the Track Attack Track Tile

Identify your favorite and regular tracks as favorites!

Step 2: Find your desired track and select it

The Tile will be created with the track name - simply select it and the app will go directly to the record session screen of that specific track

The Tile will be created with the track name – simply select it and the app will go directly to the record session screen of that specific track

 

Widgets for Favorite Sessions: Almost as stressful is when friends want to see some of your on track greatness and you need to get into the app, go to your sessions, find the fastest lap and then bring up that personal best lap time session.  Now you can also create session or the specific session to your home screen so you can instantly start watching!

Step 1: As in the picture above for creating a Track Tile, go into the Widgets options of Android and find the Track Attack Session tile.

Step 2: Place it somewhere in an available space and then the following steps and screens will come up:

Step 3: Select the Session you want to create a widget for - note, I have the favorites view enabled.

Step 3: Select the Session you want to create a widget for – note, I have the favorites view enabled.

Step 4: Select a specific lap (optional)

Step 4: Select a specific lap (optional)

Done!  The widget is created and when you select it, it will launch Track Attack and go directly to that session.

Done! The widget is created and when you select it, it will launch Track Attack and go directly to that session.

 

Folders on the Start Screen: Another really cool thing is the ability to use one of your available panes for all your tracks or favorite sessions.  .  For example below, I’ve a pane with all of my usual tracks, so with one click I can get going on the track.  I can imagine creating a folder with all of your personal best fastest laps or the races from each race weekend of the year.  Each phone platform has some really cool differentiators and this is one of the things that makes Android cool and similar to Windows Phone!

Use a pane to hold all of your regular race tracks!

Use a pane to hold all of your regular race tracks!

 4. Bug Fixes

We took care of all bugs that came through since the last update through our analytics.  As of now, there are no known bugs but that rarely stays the same for a while – stuff happens and crashes occur.  Let us know if you run into issues!

 

 

Yesterday, January 10, 2015 we released Track Attack 2.2 for Windows Phone.  It’s currently in the review process but should go through in the next 24-48 hours.  Here’s what’s included:

New Features

1. Enhanced Track Database Functionality

There is a new Track Database Page on the first level navigation.  Here you can start exploring all of the tracks on the official track database and update the locally stored track database.  Each track has it’s own profile page, where you can see the start/finish coordinates, a map preview of the track, the ability to designate it as a favorite track, drive it immediately or pin to the start screen.  More on this below.  We are super excited about this functionality and looking forward to rolling out more features on this over the next few months.

 

See the full Track Database and Update the database!

See the full Track Database and Update the database!

See the detailed Track Profile, add them to your favorites, pin them to Start or drive them right from this screen

See the detailed Track Profile, add them to your favorites, pin them to Start or drive them right from this screen

Add them as a favorite track!

Add them as a favorite track!

 

2. Enhanced Session History Functionality

You will also see that we’ve re-arranged the History page:

  • All Sessions: This is the familiar view you’ve had in the past where it shows all of your sessions, sorted by default with your most recent sessions first and now we’ve included the ability to change the sorting from descending to ascending.  Here you can also still synchronize your sessions with the sessions on your online profile.
  • Favorite Sessions: Now you can go into a individual sessions and designate them as favorite sessions and those will show up in this section.
  • By Track: Sometimes you just want to see your highlights and in this view, we show your top 5 lap times by track driven.

 

New History Page

New History Page

All Sessions - same as before

All Sessions – same as before

See just your favorite sessions

See just your favorite sessions

See your favorite laps!

See your favorite laps!

 

3. Get going fast with Pin to Start

Pin Tracks to Start: We know how stressful it can be on a track day or a race when you’re waiting for your session to come up and next thing you know, you need to be on pre-grid, strapped in and ready to go.  Even the few extra seconds it takes to have the GPS engine turn on, find the tracks around you and hit start can feel like an eternity.  With the ability to pin race tracks to the start menu, now you can simply select your track and get driving.

Pin tracks to start!

Pin tracks to start!

Pin all your regular tracks to Start!

Pin all your regular tracks to Start!

Pin Favorite Sessions and Laps To Start: Almost as stressful is when friends want to see some of your on track greatness and you need to get into the app, go to your sessions, find the fastest lap and then bring up that personal best lap time session.  Now you can pin that session or that specific lap to your Start screen so you can instantly start watching!

Pin a specific Session to Start

Pin a specific Session to Start

Pin a specific lap to Start

Pin a specific lap to Start

Folders on the Start Screen: Another really cool thing (if you have an 8.1 Update 1+ Windows Phone) is the ability to create folders on the Start screen.  For example below, I’ve created a folder with all of my usual tracks, so with one click I can get going on the track.  I can imagine creating a folder with all of your personal best fastest laps or the races from each race weekend of the year.  Each phone platform has some really cool differentiators and this is one of the things that makes Windows Phone an awesome platform!

Create folders for your regular tracks, personal best laps or sessions!

Create folders for your regular tracks, personal best laps or sessions!

 4. Critical Bug Fix

Users of Track Attack with an external GPS device might have experienced some weird errors like the screenshots below.  The root of the issue is that while these external GPS devices provide sampling at 5 and 10Hz, which is great!  It also comes with bad data at some times, primarily speed values of NaN and “infiniti”.  When and how often these values are provided in inconsistent but Track Attack was not effectively managing these bad values when recording or playing back sessions that had those values in the data file.  In 2.2 we’ve fixed this issue and made sure Track Attack is rock solid when using external GPS sensors.

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NAN Speed values causing bugs

 

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This is the result of a session which collected a NAN or infinity value in the GPS data – unfortunately, the session is completely lost.

 

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If a session successfully recorded with a bad GPS value, you would have gotten this error. With the fix, the session will play back correctly.

 

2014 on the racing front was a great year, with a lot of highs and a few lows but all in all, a great year.  After an eventful end to 2013, the focus moved from competitive time trials in a relatively high horsepower car (NASA TT3 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 9) to the world of competitive spec racing. Why the shift?  Having the ability to start a fresh, I wanted to focus on becoming the absolute best driver I could be in one year.  This would encompass a number of activities but when it came to deciding on the car to drive, it came down to one make and model, a BMW E30 race car.  The E30 is an iconic car across the world but here in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, one of the largest and most competitive club racing classes exists – the PRO3 racing class.  This is essentially a spec class (with the pro’s and con’s associated with any spec class) with over 70 known built race cars, 16 races over 12 or so race weekends and each race weekend having between 25-45 PRO3 cars on the grid, in a multi-class field as part of the International Conference of Sports Car Clubs (ICSCC). What’s a blog post without some cool videos?  Here’s an awesome documentary put out on the E30 car and PRO3 racing is featured about halfway.

Here was the plan for 2014 on the driver development front:

  1. Earn a full competition license for wheel to wheel racing.
  2. Drive a full schedule of NASA TTC events (more available track time to focus on my driving versus congested practice and qualifying for a race).
  3. Compliment NASA TTC with 5-7 PRO3 race weekends.
  4. Go Kart during the winter (indoor) and in between race weekends (Summer) in the respective racing leagues.
  5. Train for a half marathon in preparation for an 8 hour endurance race at the end of the season.
  6. Get within 3 seconds of the top 5 drivers at each race track.

So, how’d it go?

Earn a Full Competition License for Wheel to Wheel Racing

Mission accomplished!  In 2013, I completed a 2 day racing school and 2 of the 3 required races to obtain a full racing license with ICSCC (I could have gotten a NASA or SCCA license in 2013 but that’s a story for another post) and would have completed by 3rd race but the spectacular end to the 2013 season stopped me from being able to race the final race of the season.  So in April of 2014, I completed 3rd and final required race and a couple months later (due to additional volunteer working requirements), I finally got my license.  Here is the video of my final race where I started second from last as the licensing director staged us in a reverse qualifying order.

Check out the full race at the link above!

Check out the full race at the link above!

 Drive a Full Schedule of NASA Time Trials (TTC Class) Events

Though I shifted my focus to wheel to wheel racing, getting quality track time was also critical.  I love NASA and the NASA Northwest crew.  They put on a really good program which lets prospective racers or just drivers, experience and be around everything from their first time on the track, competitive time trials and even full on wheel to wheel racing.  A person can see the progression in person and it feels less daunting to move through the ranks.  I believe that because of this, the atmosphere is a lot more relaxed, there is a good amount of drivers but not too crowded and therefore, you get real quality track time.  I ended up doing all NASA Northwest weekends except the last one of the year at Portland (more on that below).  Each weekend prove valuable for working on my driving but also on-track testing of Track Attack builds.  Here are a few highlights from the year:

Big improvements in personal best lap times:

After the first race in April, we had the first NASA event at PIR (same track) but using the chicane configuration.  Once that first race was over, I had a ton of things I knew I could do better in but just wanted more track time to be able to implement.  So with the pro’s I listed above about NASA events, I made the most of them and dropped substantial time off my personal best lap times (in a PRO3 car the year prior that I had rented, in the low-1:38’s) hitting a solid 1:34.949 (not super fast but a huge improvement).

Fastest lap in 2013 - Right Click and Open in New Window

Fastest lap in 2013 – Right Click and Open in New Window

2014 Fastest Lap with NASA Northwest - Right Click and Open Link in New Window

2014 Fastest Lap with NASA Northwest – Right Click and Open Link in New Window

 

At some point, power matters:

In a mostly spec class, every detail makes a difference and I learned a year earlier than I had wanted that power is more than a detail.  The PRO3 car I purchased was built several years ago and while it was well set up, the engine pretty much original and tired.  The head had been replaced and ‘built’ but the bottom end was original with 230k+ miles (the odometer stopped working well before I had the car and it read 230k).  I knew I was going to be down on power from the get go but I was ok with that as long as the engine lasted the whole season.  It was not meant to be.  First, at the PIR NASA event above, we dyno’ed the car on a NASA standardized dyno (the one dyno used for all official dyno pulls to determine if a car is legal in class) and it put down 148whp – about 16whp below what a front running Spec E30 car puts down and between 30-40whp below what a front running PRO3 car puts down.  Disappointing but it at least provided perspective on what to expect. Second and finally, at the following month’s June NASA Northwest event at the Ridge Motorsports Park the engine decided it had enough.  After a day of testing on Friday which went well (made some progress on goals – a 2.5 second improvement from a year prior in a much more powerful PRO3 car I rented for a day), on the third session of a beautiful Saturday June afternoon, a rod decided it need to see the world.

End of the last lap, engine blows up - Right Click and Open in New Window

End of the last lap, engine blows up – Right Click and Open in New Window

After that weekend, it was time to make some expensive decisions.  Call it a year and start building a front running PRO3 engine or find a backup engine to get through the season?  Like all motorsport related decisions usually go, I went down the most expensive path – both.  Kind of.  I was able to find a decent running street engine that while it had wonky compression, put down a decent amount of power and was readily available.  I also gave a green light to start a front running engine build from Advanced Auto Fabrications in Spokane, WA – a shop that builds and maintains some of the best PRO3 cars around.  The engine would not be ready until the winter so it would be a 2015 investment.

2014 Sovren Historics featuring PRO3 Racing

Part of the reason I bought someone’s back up engine was to salvage the season but another reason was that PRO3 had been asked to be the featured racing class at SOVREN’s 2014 Historics event on 4th of July weekend.  3 days of racing all day long and 20k+ spectators watching some awesome racing and incredible vintage show cars.  I was able to get the new (to me) engine installed and ready to go with only a week to spare before the event.  Not only was it really fun racing the whole weekend but the lap times continued to tumble!  Below is the last race of the weekend, a shorter sprint race where positions were determined by the finishing position the previous day.  With 30+ cars in the field, I ended up just outside of the Top 10 at the end of the weekend.

Almost got them!  Right Click and Open New Link in New Window

Almost got them! Right Click and Open New Link in New Window

I learned a ton during that weekend in terms of my driving, the difference of a stronger engine and the right final drive ratio and tires, can make.  I left that weekend wanting more time on the track to be able to make the changes I wanted in my driving but not having to worry about other cars to protect a position or simply having too much traffic.

Personal Bests!!

With half the season gone, improvement really started happening at a quick pace, which was awesome!  I was able to make massive improvements on my personal bests at the three of the four major race tracks in the northwest.  Wasn’t able to make it out to Oregon Raceway Park this past year, despite it being one of my favorite tracks.

Pacific Raceways July 19, 2014 – 1:39.927

Taking the lessons I had learned from 3 days of hard racing two weeks prior, I put them to good use and squeezed out another almost 2 seconds from my personal best times.

1:39.927 - Right Click and Open in New Window

1:39.927 – Right Click and Open in New Window

 

Portland International Raceway – August 10, 2014 – 1:31.898

A month later I headed back to Portland with an ambitious goal of improving my fastest lap and cracking the top 10 in a dry weather race with PRO3.  The latter didn’t happen but I did improve my best times by another 3 seconds.  Two big differences – first was that I was driving with a new (to me) engine with ~10-15 whp more than the original engine.  Also, I had studied a lot of video and data from some of the front running drivers who had shared data.  My only goals were to have the same or slightly later braking points and carry the same speed as them through each corner.  In the end, due to having much less power than them still, I was able to brake at the same or later positions easily and in about half the corners, carry the same or more speed.  My last race of the weekend ended too early due to pushing too hard after getting bumped off the track on lap 1.  Lessons learned but still a was a blast!

1:31.898 - Right Click and Open in New Window

1:31.898 – Right Click and Open in New Window

 The Ridge Motorsports Park – September 21, 2014 – 2:00.393

Last time at The Ridge for the year and I went for broke.  With the engine developing a slight hesitation around 6k RPM’s in each gear, I knew I would have to push super hard to get some good lap times and perform well in the races.  Specifically at the Ridge, there are two somewhat significant up hills where being down on torque to other cars is a big disadvantage, so my goal was to carry as much speed as possible as I approached the hills.  All in all, it paid off in that I was able to improve my best lap time by 1.5 seconds from my last time out at the Ridge in August.

2:00.393 - Right Click and Open in New Window

2:00.393 – Right Click and Open in New Window

 How’d the rest of the plan go?

Go Kart all year long, indoor and outdoor:

This went mostly to plan.  I competed in the local K1 monthly racing league up until the car racing season started landing 3 podium finishes over the 6 months I raced.  Once summer arrived, I shifted to outdoor racing at Pacific Grand Prix, which is located right next to Pacific Raceways.  After a few months of the Amateur League racing, I finally got my first win and upgrade to Pro-Am.  Unfortunately in my first Pro-Am race I got taken out in the final race and resulted in some back issues that I’m still recovering from to this day.  I haven’t been back in a Kart but am hoping to be fully healed up by mid-January and karting as much as possible in the rain.

Train for a half marathon in preparation for an 8 Hour endurance race in October:

The training went well, as I did a 17 week training program, running almost 800 miles in 2014 and running a half marathon in just over 2 hours in September.  Unfortunately my day job created a conflict the weekend of the race so I was not able to do the Endurance race.

Get within 3 seconds of the top 5 drivers at each track:

Pacific Raceways – check!  The fastest times and near (or new) track records were in the mid 1:36.xxx. The Ridge Motorsports Park – close but not quite there!  I can’t seem to find the qualifying sheets but I believe the fastest laps this year were in the mid to low 1:56’s.  This puts me at about 4 seconds from the absolute fastest and possibly within the top 5 but I can’t confirm. Portland International Raceways – check!  1:29.2x was the fastest PRO3 lap time in August (and I believe the year) which puts my 1:31.898 just under 3 seconds away. Why does 3 seconds matter?  In a future post I’ll give more details on what’s going on with the car during the off-season beyond just the engine.  I think those changes will result in ~2 second improvements (maybe more in some tracks) alone and with improvements in my driving, I think that will at least put me in striking distance with the front of the pack.  We’ll see.

Wrapping up

2014 was a tough but great year for me personally on the driving front.  A lot of highs, some lows and it wasn’t cheap but it was worth it.  We’ll see what 2015 has in the cards but I’m coming back guns a blazing and I hope you all are too!  Here is to 2015!

Getting more than a facelift for 2015

Getting more than a facelift for 2015

 

Earlier this week we released Track Attack Lite for iOS and it marks one of the last steps into a shift to what we think is a better model for our users: try before you buy.

Track Attack is focused on bringing functionality and experiences that can only be achieved with $1,000+ worth of hardware and software.  In doing so we have to overcome hurdles in pushing smartphones to use most of their sensors, network connections and a good chunk of their horsepower.  Sometimes a user’s device simply won’t run Track Attack well and we don’t want someone to pay money for something that can’t immediately use.

We also have to overcome believability hurdles with potential customers; can we actually pull these type of experiences off with just a smartphone and for such a low cost?

Try Before You Buy

This is why we are now going to universally have Track Attack and all future versions/SKU’s of Track Attack be free to download, try it out for three full functional sessions and then upgrade to the different levels of Track Attack.  Each platform has different regulations around what can be submitted as a Free app and with Apple’s case, we’ll have only one SKU initially, PRO – the full function version of Track Attack.  After a user uses up their 3 free trial sessions, they will still be able to record GPS based sessions and build their driver profile, without video.

Try before you buy!

Try before you buy!

IMG_0582

Upgrading is super easy

To record video, upload video, store unlimited amounts of video sessions online and share instantly simply upgrade to Track Attack PRO.

 

Upgrade to PRO to continue recording video

Upgrade to PRO to continue recording video

I bought Track Attack before Lite was available, what do I do now?

In the next 2-3 months, we will retire Track Attack only paid version and have only Track Attack Lite (then it will be renamed simply, Track Attack).  Before we retire Track Attack Paid Only, we will release an update that will include a functionality to identify all of the owners of that SKU in our database.  We will ask all of those users to make sure they upload all of their videos they want to keep and delete Track Attack.

They will then download Track Attack Lite and sign in to their account on Track Attack.  The app will confirm you are a paid account user and immediately unlock full feature functionality.  Further, users will be able to go to Session History and synchronize their session history online with their device.  From then on, you’ll be back up and running with all of our session history.

We expect to roll out this transition by the end of August and retire Track Attack Paid Only by the end of September 2014.

What else is new?

While the main change is big, we wanted to include some new cool functionality.  Keeping on the theme of making it as easy as possible for a new user to try Track Attack out, we also changed our initial app launch process.  Now users can simply download Track Attack and start using it immediately.  No need to register an account first.

 

Use Track Attack instantly and register an account later!

Use Track Attack instantly and register an account later!

In fact, users don’t need to register ever unless they want to upload their session videos or create a user-created track.  The trade-off is that all of the session data (lap times, GPS data and video) will be on the phone only and if anything happens to the phone, all the data is lost.  Translation – you still want to create an account!

You still want to register an account though - don't lose awesome footage like this!

You still want to register an account though – don’t lose awesome footage like this!

As always, let us know what you think and spread the word about Track Attack!  We have some great things planned and they will be even more awesome with a large and vibrant community of users!

Track Attack for Windows Phone Beta 3 Released

January 31, 2014

We’ve made a lot of progress over the past couple months to get the Windows Phone version of Track Attack on par with the Android and iOS versions.  Last week we released and the update was approved by the Windows Store for the latest beta.  Here is what is included:

  1.  Support for all the new Session Types – Road Racing, Oval Racing, Auto-Cross, Rally-Cross, Rally Stage, Hill Climb, Drag Racing and Fun Run!
  2. Ability to create new race tracks with all the new track and session types.
  3. Improved lap detection and timing engine.

We expect the next release in the next two weeks and it may even be the final beta and first commercial release.

Go and get Track Attack for Windows Phone here: http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/track-attack/d9fdee8e-92b0-44fe-aced-b7dc3691d49f

There’s different phones with different storage sizes and not all sessions are created equally.  So with Track Attack for iOS and Android, you have the option to record in three different video qualities.  As of this post (December 23, 2013), video quality settings are supported on iOS (iPhone) and Android versions of Track Attack, for the phones which support

Track Attack App GPS Lap Timer Android iOS Video Quality Settings

480p: Lowest video quality and will take up the smallest amount of storage on your device.  Generally, we’ve seen a 25 minute session take about 120MB’s of space (~10-12 song equivalent).  Think of this as standard TV definition.   Will look fine on your phone, ok on a web browser but not that great if you blow it up.

Track Attack App on Android - GPS lap timer and recorder on 480p video quality

Example Video: http://trackattackapp.com/?raceid=89e7a5ba-e8fa-4964-b26b-4e8e0a583625

720p: Think of this as DVD video quality.  Looks a lot better than standard definition and still doesn’t use a ton of storage on your device.  Expect a 25 minute session to take ~600MB’s on your phone.

Track Attack App recording in 720p

Example 720p Video: http://trackattackapp.com/?raceid=02845e47-bcf4-442b-9d3d-af3c6e6d288d

1080p: Boom!  High definition, well technically, for phones that support video quality above 720p, we make this the highest video quality available on the particular phone.  In most phones, this video will look amazing and have you wondering why you did or ever wanted to buy a GoPro camera.

Track Attack v2 on Android at Portland International Raceways

Example 1080p Video: http://trackattackapp.com/?raceid=09abf415-bc7e-425f-bb17-28c9d782d752

 

Get Track Attack at the App Store for iOS  (iPhone and iPad): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/track-attack/id563831509?ls=1&mt=8

Get Track Attack at the Google Play Store for Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.studios9104.trackattack

Get Track Attack BETA for Windows Phone: http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/track-attack/d9fdee8e-92b0-44fe-aced-b7dc3691d49f

Track Attack App – GPS Lap Timer, HD Video Recorder and Instant Sharing

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