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Old 01-11-2018, 12:31 PM
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montoya
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Default Montoya's SCCA 2018 West Coast Major Tour Blog

Hi guys, this year I decided that I wanted to keep a journal of my racing season. Since I'm pretty active on Rennlist in the 991 GT3 forum and occasionally here, I thought I would do it on Rennlist. I'll be posting my practice days data, race videos and other stuff as the season progresses. I am in my 4th season with my SRF3 in SCCA. For those of you who aren't familiar, SRF3 stands for Spec Racer Ford 3rd generation. This is an SCCA only class of cars, the cars and parts are all controlled by SCCA enterprises, so it is one of the best spec classes in the country. This is really a driver's class, you don't race here if you want to tinker with your car and experiment with go fast parts. More info on Spec Racer Ford is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spec_Racer_Ford. More than any class on the west coast, IMHO SRF gives you full fields and great competition. At any major, I'll be running with 3 National champions and multiple podium finishers from the Runoffs. The pool is deep and you are racing against someone at every level of the learning curve. Here's a cool little documentary on SRF:


My purpose here is to put thoughts and observations on paper as part of my learning process, engage with others here with my experience and of course to take advice as it is given. So with that, I rely on your good graces and manners to contribute in a constructive way to this blog as the season unfolds. My goals in 2018 are to finish in the top 10 at each race and to finish in the top ten in points. Additionally, I want to have clean races where I exercise patience, have error free results and drive with controlled aggression. Thanks in advance and I look forward to a good season in 2018.

Our season starts this weekend at Autoclub Speedway, so stay tuned! We just completed our test session at Buttonwillow and I'll discuss that in my next post.
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Old 01-11-2018, 12:40 PM
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Test day at Buttonwillow:


We only had one day of two available to test due to weather and as the sun set, I set some faster laps. Struggled to see the apex at Riverside so there is a lot of coasting there. Bravery and prudence kept me from pushing it in Grapevine. We had several guys go in the mud and it's not good! This is an area that I really need to work on- you should be flat after cresting the top of grapevine, but it is not easy! We really were working on turn one, I am leaving a lot of speed on entry, getting better but more to be had.

EDIT: Just a note on the video- you can see my brake pressure change as I heal and toe- we tried to adjust more front bias on the brakes and that changed my pedals to less than ideal. Still needs more adjustment so it isn't so awkward to roll over to stab the throttle on downshifts. Brake pedal is too low during hard braking. Also we fixed a problem with the shift linkage misaligning on right hand turns and causing missed shifts in 2-3 shifts while loaded. Thought for a while I was a ham fisted idiot, but once we fixed the alignment/binding issue the shifts were much cleaner. I probably am over slowing in the Star Mazda hairpin for the 2nd gear shift, last season at BW we kept it in 3rd-easier to roll in more speed and probably only 1/2 a tenth difference. But look at the shifting there and onramp in my video- car is really loaded coming out of the turn for the 2-3 shift- this is where the binding was happening.

Here's a photo of my line (green) overlayed with another faster racer in red from my team:



We will be back in May here, when there is just dust and no mud, so I'll be safer to push harder to find my limits. I had a coach helping me out this test, and we are still reviewing the data, but it was very helpful.

Last edited by montoya; 01-11-2018 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 01-11-2018, 02:56 PM
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What is your car number? Do you plan for Runoffs at Sonoma? Did you race at Indy Runoffs?
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Old 01-11-2018, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by fatbillybob View Post
What is your car number? Do you plan for Runoffs at Sonoma? Did you race at Indy Runoffs?
I am going to Sonoma- I was at the 2016 runoffs but skipped Indy. I'm not racing to experience different tracks so Indy wasn't a must for me, but it is cool to have the different track experiences. The problem with Indy was it was way over subscribed and so I passed when they opened up the qualification criteria to allow almost anyone to go. It's the same this year for Sonoma, but I don't think it will have 100+ people trying to qualify for the race. In 20l6 I qualified 22nd IIRC, but my race ended early when Colin Kaminsky missed a waved off start and ran up my year. I soldiered on, but it was not the best.

My car number last year was 87 or 97, this year I'm officially 77. I didn't realize that 97 was someone else's number so now I think I'm good to go with 77 and have officially registered it for the West Coast Majors.
EDIT- Not trying to hide my online identity, I'm Andre Perra if you look through the results.

Are you running an SRF or in SCCA?

Last edited by montoya; 01-11-2018 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 01-11-2018, 04:46 PM
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77 has some significance for SRF, especially on the east coast. Teenage racer and son of one of the long time back to Renault days racers was #77. He was killed in accidental shooting when he was 18ish. Out here his dad runs it in his memory now.
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Old 01-11-2018, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Circuit Motorsports View Post
77 has some significance for SRF, especially on the east coast. Teenage racer and son of one of the long time back to Renault days racers was #77. He was killed in accidental shooting when he was 18ish. Out here his dad runs it in his memory now.
Didn't know that. Actually 77 was run by a racer here on the West Coast who just passed away, Ed Raby. Really nice guy, from North Carolina originally, but lived in Vegas.

It's hard to get a number that someone hasn't used or has attachments. It's part of the package with a popular series!
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Old 01-11-2018, 06:36 PM
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I'm in garage 1 with you. I will come by and say hi. I'm interested in something new to race. Top contender is a cayman s in touring class but I like many aspects of srf3 and like to talk to you about it. I like the formula enterprise prototype racer too but no one runs them. I've raced all over the country the last few years and never seen one so it is not just a local thing.

I plan to do the portland majors race and flyfish for a few days too.
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Old 01-11-2018, 06:41 PM
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Very cool. Subscribed!
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Old 01-11-2018, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by fatbillybob View Post
I'm in garage 1 with you. I will come by and say hi. I'm interested in something new to race. Top contender is a cayman s in touring class but I like many aspects of srf3 and like to talk to you about it. I like the formula enterprise prototype racer too but no one runs them. I've raced all over the country the last few years and never seen one so it is not just a local thing.

I plan to do the portland majors race and flyfish for a few days too.
Great! Just come by and say hi! Ask for me or Vic in the Garage...

Originally Posted by F1CrazyDriver View Post
Very cool. Subscribed!
Thanks for coming along for the ride- it's more fun when you share!!
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Old 01-11-2018, 07:23 PM
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Good luck for 2018, will be following.
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Old 01-11-2018, 10:26 PM
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Good luck Andre!
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Old 01-12-2018, 01:40 AM
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Originally Posted by hughp3 View Post
Good luck for 2018, will be following.
Originally Posted by pdxjim View Post
Good luck Andre!

Thanks guys!

Tomorrow is practice for the race. Here's the layout:



The key tomorrow is to find a willing dance partner for qualifying Saturday. Drafting is key to getting a fast lap time!

Key pace notes for me to focus on:

Smooth entry into T3- Third gear through T4, avoid temptation to use 2nd.
T5- roll on power through T6 using every inch of road on exit.
T12 braking is much later than appears...
Hammer curbs to straighten out T12 and T13
Lift don't brake for T16 to get on full throttle all the way through the parking lot section onto the main straight.
If possible begin your draft at T16 (very hard!)

Here's a 5 minute video of my last race here in October. Lots of fun!

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Old 01-13-2018, 12:30 AM
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So practice today went well. First session I was 3rd fastest- but a couple people weren't running- then had a puncture that cut short my second session, and eventually was 10th in the last session. Unfortunately, I was not able to find a good dance partner for drafting in any of the sessions. All my times were set without the benefit of a draft and as the sessions went on, more people paired up for better lap times by drafting. I made some dance dates for tomorrow's qualifying in the morning and then race. So, we will see how it goes!

Here's the final session:

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Old 01-14-2018, 04:04 AM
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Saturday's race:




I started P8, moved up to P6 then lost positions due to draft and then a forced error when someone I tried to pass into 3, ran wide and I subsequently ran wide in 4 and lost three positions. Still, I'm happy with the results, my goal is top 10 and just made it!

My second goal is to have error free races, so 50% on the goal count, LOL!

Here's the full race video, it's a fun one to watch with action from start to finish! Pay particular attention to the rear camera in the last few laps, oh my! How there was no contact I would just subscribe it to dumb luck!

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Old 01-15-2018, 12:36 PM
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Sunday's race:



A good result! Top ten...check! Kept it on the track ... double check!!

Notes and reflections:

1. In the video below you will see that I am dragging throttle into almost every corner with a downshift. It took me all race to realize this was happening- I just thought I had fading brakes! When this happens of course your brake distances increase- which I started compensating for, but more troublesome is that your breaking looses it's non-linearity- in other words, you loose the 'bite' of the brakes as your speed decreases, just where you need it for trailing brakes into corners for rotation. This particularly hurt me in the hairpin where I struggle all day to get it turned in and rotated.

2. Focus- I think I did a good job with one exception- after about three laps of leading our group, with nobody to chase at this point but just keeping the others behind me I lost some focus and missed my mark on a couple of turns which led to a drafting pass by the others down the front straight- at the time I thought I deserved it!

3. 99% error free shifting except for that one time! Cost me a second, luckily I was slightly faster on the infield sections to catch back up and not loose the draft!

4. Start- My plan was not to upshift into 5th, and I stubbornly waited too long to make that shift and lost probably one position- but gained it back when he spun through the chicane on the first lap.

So things to work on:

Pedals- Obviously! This clumsiness with the pedals started with the change in brake bias with the balance bar, which led to a lower brake pedal. I didn't gain any extra bias, so we are going to put it back as it was to raise the brake back up so in deep braking my foot on overlap doesn't catch the throttle.

Focus- well geez, stay focused! I think I need to 'have a plan' on this. Autoclub this weekend didn't have brake markers and change of lighting made it difficult to pick surface markers for brake points. My marks were more 'feel' in other words as I looked up through the corners I braked appropriately. The only problem there is that when things go wonky (lapse in concentration or action on the track) its nice to fall back on hard references. So in the future I need to find and commit those to memory, and use them to hit my marks when leading to stay focused.

Overall, a great result. For reference ahead of me almost everyone has 20 plus years experience in these cars. Mike Miserendino, 5 national championships, John Black 4 national championships, TJ Aker and Steve Fogg, multiple podium finishes at the Runoffs. So the field is deep and the mountain is high. Lots of climbing to do!

So here's the final race full length- As usual lot's of action in the back, watch the rear video on lap 1- yikes!! Later this week I will edit down a highlight version of both races. Always fun!

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