PR. Heading into my second LMP3 race weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, I was excited to drive at Barber for the first time outside of SIM practice. We arrived at the track Thursday morning for three practice sessions, preparing for practice & qualifying on Friday and the IMSA Prototype Challenge race on Saturday.
After Sebring, I was eager to improve the results and show my true potential after the unfortunate mechanical issue that occurred. Even though there were things I could not control (the mechanical issues - see earlier blog), I focused on my own performance, reviewing my data and looking for things to adjust at the new track.
One of the most significant things I noticed at Barber, as it was my first time, is how the track is extremely fast. It was a matter of getting up to speed and constantly adjusting as the car was not balanced. We dealt with low speed understeer and high speed oversteer. Throughout the sessions we focused primarily on understeer, which, would in turn result in unforeseen obstacles during the race.
My teammate immediately noticed that the car was looser during the beginning of his stint. I drove the second half of the 75 minute race, and by that time the track had gotten much hotter. This was a concern because during setup and practice was focused towards the front of the car, less on the rear. As I was driving, my ability to push harder was limited due to the instability of the car. We were running in fourth at the time, so I knew that I needed to consistent and finish as strong as I was able to given the outside circumstances.
With the race having two classes of cars, there was a lot of traffic which made for exciting overtaking of other cars. It was critical that I took into consideration the class differences as I'd approach other cars, making sure to cautiously overtake them while staying close to the other cars in my class.
I accomplished my primary goal: to run a full stint under green, keeping my driving consistent with the changing variables of the track, car performance and traffic.
This weekend consisted of new challenges, variables and consideration and I'm happy with the way that I approached them. The experience and learning opportunities, along with the data, will be a critical part of my preparation for my next LMP3 weekend.