Thursday, June 4, 2009

altech gt-challenge ‘09, round 1

Race report from Cape Town.
by Pierre Martins

21 March 2009:

220309549 I was somewhat un-prepared for for this season’s GT Challenge. Hell, I didn't even know whether I wanted to race in this series or not, but after bit of persuasion from my buddy Mario I decided to hell with budgets, obligations and other monetary issues, let’s just do it. You only live once.

Because of my indecisiveness Mario had to pull out all stops to get the car ready and we barely made the transporter deadline to get the car to Cape Town. Sorry bud.

A new season and we’re going racing. Life is good.

We flew in on Thursday evening like a works team, got picked up from the airport and dropped off at a gazillion dollar house right on the beachfront arranged by the Flying Doctor. Yup, we did it like them rich people do. The house belongs to an Italian family who are big stake holders in FIAT and Ferrari. Right on the beach in Blauwberg Strand. What a place! The views and hospitality were over the top, to say the least.

Killarney Track impressions:

220309546 T'was my first time racing Killarney, so for all intentional purposes I was a rookie this weekend. So here’s a rookie review…

Pit straight = mental. Running close to the wall produced higher revs towards the end of the straight. Late braking became easier when you tear your eyes away from the braking zone to look through T1. The quickest line I found through T1 was to double apex the thing and use plenty curb on the exit. Made up plenty time there.

killa210309029 T2, I stuck it in deep on entry, turned the car and hoofed it through the apex, plenty wheel-spin and getting it sideways on the exit before bringing it slightly to the right for a good line through the kink. There were different lines through there, making it easy to experiment…

In T3 I saw the locals go in deep to get the power on early. I tried that a few times but it didn't really work in Fat Bully, so I opted for higher entry speed and picked a more traditional racing line to let slip-angle carry me towards the exit. There's a bump or two there that yanked and tugged the car about, but nothing serious enough to worry about.

Then came the fun part. For all intentional purposes they should change the name Malmsbury corner to "Mind-fuck" corner, because that's what this double right hander felt like. Most cars I raced against over-braked on entry. Stupid. There was good grip there and you could carry fantastic speed if you kept a smooth line with your right foot flat, but I kinda got the feeling that I’d bend the poor car badly had I put a wheel wrong…

The back straight was a no-brainer, you became a drag racer that's just done a rolling start. Things got a tad bumpy as you dropped into the braking zone for the final corner. I found a sweet entry line somewhere in the middle of the track and avoided most of the bumps in the braking zone, ran high up on the banking on entry, squared the corner off and dialled in three times more throttle input than I thought I needed to get the ass loose on the exit, but you could do different lines there too and they all seemed to work. Fantastic corner! You kinda slingshot outta there when you get it just right.

bully All in all I had a ball. Pedalled the wheels off the car and bullied GT3’s, 993RS’ and the like through the twisty bits, but lack of power let me down on the long straights. As for the people, everyone I met was very nice and friendly. Man, I could get used to Cape Town hospitality…

Fantastic weekend, to say the least. And the results? I can’t remember, really. I think I pulled two second places, or was it two thirds? Nah, I think it was two seconds… He-he-he.


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