Note to self: I’m no Josh Jacquot


I like to think of (Senior Road Test Editor) Josh as Edmunds’ “Drift King.”Unlike Josh, I lack skill and experience when it comes to driving a car sideways.At my fourth visit to Buttonwillow Raceway (Configuration #13 Clockwise) last Saturday, I was unable to catch my car in a slide—something Josh probably could have done while holding his kid in one arm and changing a diaper. Thankfully, my day didn’t end there as I was able to enjoy a full day at the track.

I spun in Turn 1, a.k.a. Sunrise, on the third lap of my first session.Setting the rear Koni strut inserts too stiff was what I believe did me in.Running at the track with Japanese STI springs (257 lb.-in. front/217 lb.-in.) and Koni adjustable strut inserts for the first time, I erred by setting the front and rear strut inserts to almost “full firm” states.I incorrectly assumed stiffer settings would be the optimal ones.In hindsight, I probably should’ve started with a “full soft” setup and stiffened the inserts up according to how things went on the track.

Some people said maybe my tire pressures were too high or my tires weren’t warm yet.The tire pressures were the same as what I usually run at the track. Regarding the tires not being up to temp yet, the Bridgestone Potenza RE-01R tires seem to produce my best laps on the second and third laps of each session.In addition, when I spun, I didn’t even enter the turn at a full clip.

As the car initially broke loose, I thought it would regain its composure with minimal steering correction.Once I realized the slide was becoming more pronounced, I cranked in some opposite lock, but it was “too little, too late.”I even laid into the gas hoping the power to the front wheels would pull the car out of the slide.Unsuccessful in my attempt, the car spun about 270 degrees without any major drama.

After the first session was over, I removed the rear seat from my car using a 12mm ratchet wrench to undo the two bolts for the lower seat and four for the seat back.Seat removal was necessary to access the top of the rear struts where adjustments could be made to the Koni strut inserts.I changed both of the rear Konis to a 50% firm setting hoping that would provide the car with more rear grip and thus, keep it from breaking away from me.

The car handled much better in the second session, but I never got fully comfortable with it.It was still a little too skittish in Turn One and slid more than I’d like exiting the right-hander while descending the hill out of Cotton Corners.To remedy the former situation, I softened the right rear a little bit more.I stiffened the left rear to try to reduce the slipping and sliding through the latter situation.

From that point on, I didn’t need to make any more adjustments to the car for the rest of the day.In the fourth session of the day, I turned a lap at 2:11.745, which was 0.470 sec. better than my previous personal best of 2:12.215 on April 29, 2007.I honestly don’t think there’s much left in the car (maybe a ½ sec at the most?), but wouldn’t mind if Chris or Josh would like to prove me wrong one day.

Full photo gallery here: http://s79.photobucket.com/albums/j121/USCTrojan4JC/03-29-2008%20Buttonwillow%20Raceway%20Track%20Day/?start=all

For your viewing pleasure, the in-car videos I recorded may be watched below.

Note: There’s a lot of wind noise because the organization running the track day required all windows to be down to minimize the amount of glass that would shatter in the event of a rollover.

Video of my first session at Buttonwillow Raceway Park on March 29, 2008. Because I had set the Koni strut inserts too stiff, the car was looser than what I’m accustomed to running on the track. As a result, I spun in Turn 1 at around 5:00 into the clip.

Best lap – 2:25.804

Video of my second session at Buttonwillow Raceway Park on March 29, 2008. In-between the first and second sessions, I removed the rear seat and softened both of the Koni rear strut inserts. Because of the number of cars, it was difficult to get a clean lap. I was glad I was able to get one in this session. I still wasn’t fully comfortable with the car in Turn 1 and Turn 5. In T1, the car wasn’t as stable as I’d like. In T5, the car was sliding too much, which slowed my exit out of that turn and into the “bus stop.”

Best lap – 2:12.917

Video of my third session at Buttonwillow Raceway Park on March 29, 2008. I was late getting onto the track because I got gas late. During the lunch break, I asked to transfer from the “regular” intermediate group to the fast intermediate group so I could get more clean laps. This was my first session with the quicker group. In an attempt to improve the car in Turns One and Five, I softened the right rear strut insert a little and stiffened the left rear strut insert. That was the last change I made to the car’s setup that day. :o) The lap time didn’t show I was happier with the setup, but I felt more comfortable pushing the car with the new settings.

My new friend, John Reynolds, who owns a 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STI and came to the track with a bunch of Mk IV R32 people (he used to own one), rode shotgun.

Best lap – 2:14.027

Video of my fourth session at Buttonwillow Raceway Park on March 29, 2008. This was my best session of the day as it provided a lot of clean laps. As a result, I was able to record a new personal best lap time.

Best lap – 2:11.745 (New personal best – previous PB was a 2:12.215 on 04/29/2007)

Video of my fifth session at Buttonwillow Raceway Park on March 29, 2008. I got held up by a few cars in this session. At the same time, it’s a good video of how “passing” works at an open track day. I was really suprised I turned a high 2:11.

Best lap – 2:11.879

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About USCTrojan4JC

God Follower, husband, father, USC Trojan alumnus, Mazda employee

4 responses to “Note to self: I’m no Josh Jacquot”

  1. scaryhairyjerry says :

    nope, jacob isn’t a lefty (yet). kids supposedly don’t differentiate their hands until after the one-year mark. so for now, he still could be! i would actually be happy if he’s a lefty since that would be different from us.

  2. Anonymous says :

    nice to see you racing on the track instead of illegally on the road.

  3. Space_Cowboy says :

    My dad’s okay. He has an ulcer and has to get treatment. Thanks for the concern.

  4. unikoimusic says :

    pretty nice driving loren
    glad you didn’t get hurt from that spin

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