Back in the saddle again, and it wasn’t completely comfortable. The Mini ran great. There were 2 primary goals going into this event: first, shakedown the car and make sure we’ve sorted out the cooling issues; and second, shakedown the driver and see if he remembers how to drive the car.

As far as the cooling updates go, everything went perfect. The day started with a small thunderstorm that passed before the driver’s meeting. Once that passed we were gifted with a southern summer day. That is to say, it was freaking hot. The perfect day to test cooling. The Mini would warm up to a starting operating temp of 185 degrees, if you were to keep (normal) driving on roads it is stable there with fluctuation up to 195. Obviously when pushing the engine hard, those temps would rise.

In the middle of the runs, when the car was hot the temp while moving was between 195-215. That’s still really good. The concern was hot idle. That’s where we were seeing issues at the end of OLOA last year. The good news is during hot idle (waiting in line for my next run), the temperature would climb to 220-222, but then the fan would kick on and the temp would drop back down to the 215 range again. I still did pop the hood between runs to prevent any heat soak, but all the cooling fixes and mods seemed to really do their part.

The driver on the other hand could use a bit more work. The course design ended up being fairly difficult for some reason. Lots of folks hitting cones, over cooking corners and having offs, a few spins… I was not immune from those effects. I think I hit more cones in this event than I did in the entire season last year. I managed 2 clean runs out of 7 (I gave up my last run so that Eli could have a go in the Mini). The best of those runs was good enough for 21st overall raw time (I don’t believe in PAX) out of 78 timed drivers. Overall not terrible, but I really should have found more time throughout the day, and I just didn’t. All my runs were in the 54s to low 55s and most of them were sloppy. Even my best run wasn’t on the ideal line in a couple key spots.

Overall, a really good day to be back racing. The weather was great, the group of people racing with ALSCCA is great, the event was great… and to top it all off, my grandmother was visiting and got to come out and watch the event.