NJMP Thunderbolt AER Data Analysis

Published: May 24, 2017

I had a great race last weekend with RAW Racing at NJMP Thunderbolt with AER. We took first place in class 3 in the #9 E30 on Saturday which I drove. On Sunday the car was slower, primarily due to significantly reduced tire grip and the car finished sixth in class giving us a third place in class for the entire weekend.

Pete Theo is our "factory driver" and sets the benchmark lap times in the car. He has the most time in the car and drives with the most aggression. My goal for the weekend was to approach Pete's lap times within the constraints given to me which was to drive the car at 80-90%, for mechanical longevity.

At the end of the event, the lap times broke down as follows:

Some observations here:

Looking into why I was about a second off Pete's pace, I arrived at the following:

Overall I would say I lost time due to shifting into 5th on the main straight, using less curbs and simply not pushing the car as hard, and not being able to rotate the car on demand. The rotation part I have not figured out yet, it probably has to do with brake release/weight transfer and steering angle combination at the moment of turn initiation. I think I may be too slow with the steering in the E30 - my feeling is E30 steering is a bit less responsive than Miata steering and I possibly do not rotate the car enough while I have the weight on the front tires.

Joel asked me to put together some data for his sessions. Here is his performance in the #9 car compared to both mine and Pete's:

The biggest losses I would say are in turn 4, probably due to braking with the right foot, and Octopus where Joel is not making use of the curbs to rotate the car, as well as unusually slow turn 5 (though to be fair, turn 5 is a tricky corner - it can be taken quickly but it can also punish wrong lines primarily in the form of major understeer).

RAW Racing's next event will be an AER race at Autobahn Country Club on August 11-13, 2017. This will be a 13 hour night race and I am stoked to be running it. Rental seats are available, please contact Tim Potter. I am available for coaching and data analysis as well, please email me here.

Tagged: data analysis