Hey there Guys and Gals and welcome to the last edition of TDR for 2021! This year brought a lot of changes for us here at FJD Performance: We started competing in NASA Time Trials; We started the year off with a clean slate, running The Mare bare in March; We unveiled our new 2021/2022 livery inspired by the 1966 No. 1 GT40 MKII and; We found ourselves finishing the year off seeing a return to Laguna Seca for a 105dB track almost 4 years exactly to the date! Oh! We also had a hell of a lot of new things happen on the home front (moved to a new home twice, got a puppy, got engaged), but you’re here for racecar stuff, so lets go!
To start off, we can’t continue without saying a huge Thank You to my Fiancé – Amber- for the best, early Christmas gift known to man! That gift being the track day we just completed with Trackmasters and the Nor Cal Shelby Club. We love you, Amber! XOXO
Anywho, we start off this event with many, many conversations back and forth between Amber and I about finances since we just moved, but eventually because of my good looks, charm and perfect linguistical skills… we were able to come to the agreement that we could run the event if it were a special present for xmas, so no boxes under the tree for Frank!
Before we moved to our new home I had ordered a set of AJ Hartman canards for The Mare since we are starting to dive more into aero for the upcoming season. The canards followed by a Boss Shinoda chin splitter helped to stiffen up the front bumper, since it is a bit flimsy, and there was most definitely a hand full of air getting under the car that, quite me-ly… we could do without! A legitimate splitter and some fender vents will also be finding their way on the car, but those have yet to be ordered (or made, wink wink) so no rush there just yet. With the addition of the splitter and canards the WOW! factor and the overall aggressiveness of the car really spiked for us. It’s a look we’ve never seen before, but always dreamed of for the car and the road down complete badass racecar-ness.
With the car all set, and ready for the track, we had to dial in the logistics of getting the car and all our gear there, so that was the most stressful and draining part of the week leading up to the track day. Luckily my brother Gavin was able to step up to the plate and he really help us out with team and crew support. So thank you, Gavin.
We wake up at 0500. As my alarm goes off Amber rolls over in bed asking for another 5 minutes of sleep. I politely tell her, hell no, its go time, get your ass up babe, we got shit to do! Strategically not drinking any alcohol the day before, and taking careful measures to not be overencumbered from eating Thanksgiving feasts at both Amber and my families houses, we get dressed and set out to meet up with my brother. By the time 0530 comes around we are off to the track, and after a long hour and a half drive we find ourselves rounding the corner being greeted by a sign that says Welcome to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Hello Old Friend, we meet again.
As we wait to sign in I take in the sights and smells of the racetrack as I reminisce of all the times I’ve been here in the past and have not been able to drive due to the strict sound limits that are imposed here. 90dB? Really? That’s like the sound of a Prius farting! But hey, whatever. Do you rich people. Not like it’s the racetracks fault for being loud. Maybe you shouldn’t have decided to build your house next to a racetrack, hmm? Maybe you’re not as smart as you think!? But… whatever… Rant over for this post.
As I pull up to sign in, my brakes squeal. Obviously, because racecar. The older gentleman handing me the clipboard smiles and says, Ahh, nothing like the sound of race brakes in the morning. This guy. He gets it. We sign in, pull up to find a spot to park, and funnily enough I see 2 cars that are familiar to me. They’re a GT350R and a Focus RS, but not any R and RS. These cars belong to my old Boss. I don’t hold any grudges, so I quickly reroute and park near them as I am legitimately happy to see them and to share the track with them again.
After attending the drivers meeting we set up, set out and suit up for our first out on track. The original schedule that we had for the run groups ended up being ass backwards, so instead of being the first to hit the track at 0900, we were pushed back to 1020. And to add insult to injury, we sat for 30 minutes before we even got on track because some Camaro owner decided to put their car in the wall in 4… After pulling out the remaining hairs on top of my head we finally set out for the first session of the day.
The session went smooth as could be until the last 5 or so minutes when I had mostly a full track to myself without worrying about passing or being passed. Shooting up and over the start/finish line and down into turns 1 through 3 we had a nice groove and a ZL1 ahead of us to keep an eye on. As I came up to turn 5 and got ready to ascend to 6, and the corkscrew, I felt the cars power cut off. Odd… an experience I have had before… Was the fuel sloshing around too much? No, I have nearly a full tank. Are my coils and coil packs acting up? They’re basically brand new, so that shouldn’t be the issue. Maybe something electrical? But why now? After I make it to the corkscrew it’s time to shoot down and head into turn 10, but before I can get there the car starts to cut out again before the power comes back. Thankfully this is the last full lap that I’m going all out for, so I can use this last lap as a cool down, especially since these intermittent issues are still present.
Once I park the car it’s time to take off the hood and see what I’m working with. After a couple minutes of looking around my eyes fixate on the positive battery terminal. It’s loose. Call off the dogs! Waldo has been located! This ended up being the issue and the remaining 3 sessions ended up being a blast. Gavin rode shotgun in the next session followed by his girlfriend Natalie, who by the way, looked terrified and whose soul left her body when I offered to give her a ride around the track. They both passed with flying colors.
The final session of the day I was joined by my fiancé, Amber. While the session was cut a bit short due to sunlight and needing to travel back home, this last session mimicked the first. When I say the session mimicked the first I mean I felt my most comfortable; I felt at home: I felt like there were no issues at all because my other half was there with me, going through exactly what I was. That’s a bond that very few can identify with, but those who know what I’m talking about, well… you know, you know?
My goal when setting out was to set a lap time around 1:46/47, and that open, problem lap in the first session ended up being the fastest lap not only in that session, but for the day overall. We set a official 1:47.934 lap time and put down a theoretical 1:46.304.