Track Day Recollection: Sonoma & TT3

Hey there Guys and Gals and welcome to todays edition of TDR!

I know we haven’t given you any updates lately, and there is good reason for that, but we had to come back and give you all the latest TDR from our last event with NASA Nor Cal. This event was special in more than one way: It was special because this event brought us the season open with NASA Nor Cal at Sonoma; It was special because this was our first time officially competing in TT3 and; It was special because this was the first time Frank’s Mom and Step-Dad had come to watch him compete since he started driving back in 2016!

Although the NASA season officially started back in February at Thunderhill, Sonoma is home and this first event back for the 2021 season was the most important for us. We started off 2021 with a clean slate since we had completely stripped the Mare of her Livery and planned to run her bare since the new FJD Performance Mk II Livery was in the works. More to come on that VERY soon.

Before the March event we had moved to a new spot in Pleasanton, so we had a lot of house keeping to do before we got all prepared for race day. Everything was in different places when it came to the car, tools, water, food, chairs, tents and all the other accessories that accompany one for a weekend at the track. In fact, things were so unorganized that we almost decided not run the event due to the VP Racing Fuels Octane Booster being misplaced! It was absolutely a drama queen moment for us here… ahem… Luckily! AutoZone actually sells the octane booster at their stores for about 25 bucks, so crisis averted on the Friday before the event lol. Of course a couple weeks after the event we found our missing stock…

Typical. Oh well!

Fast forward to Saturday morning with a little drive up 680 followed by a quick zip down 80 and finishing off with a welcoming gate at Sonoma Raceway, we were ready to waste some gas and tire life running around that 2.52 mile road course that we call home. After getting set up at the track near turn 1, and finishing off the drivers meeting, we geared up and headed out.

A couple weeks before the event we upgraded the front coils from 375LB springs to 425LB and FINALLY refreshed those 10+ year old OEM spec KYB shocks and replaced them with some single adjustable Koni shocks. Why we waited this long to upgrade, we will never know. Since the suspension set up was a bit different than what we ran in the past, this first session was all about recon. We rather quickly found ourselves understeering at turns 4, 7/7A and 11 because the rears weren’t tight enough for us. A quick text with Sal to confirm our suspicions after the 1st session followed by a quick knob turn resulted in the stiffening of the rebound in back and we were set for session 2. The stiffer rears helped the car to turn as the rear was now more prone to sliding out and giving us predictable oversteer in turns 7/7A and 11.

Before heading off track to prep for the 2nd session, Frank’s parents were able to catch the last couple minutes of him running around the tarmac and greeted him to a warm welcome once the TT drivers meeting was adjourned. It was a big moment to have his parents there and see them talk in such high praise about his passion. It was a long time in the making and it felt that much more amazing when he set his new PB on the track with his family over the bridge watching him rip around that 2.52 mile racetrack. The same racetrack where his Step-Dad used to drag race his supercharged 98 GT. This was a full circle moment for Frank and the FJD Performance crew.

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