Gridlife TrackBattle Round 5 - Saturday Recap
Track Team - Adam Jabaay, Austin Cabot, Mike Cohn, and Abrin Schmucker
Sunrise at TrackBattle Round 5 saw cold and damp conditions unlike anything our drivers have seen during this season. Weather has been nearly perfect for every event thus far. The challenge of a wet track was an unfamiliar hurdle for many of the racers, but roughly 60 competitors set qualifying times on a damp but drying track. The first heat saw nearly perfect conditions with sun and clean tarmac as a result of the previous evening's rain. 3 track records were reset during this heat, often by significant margin. Starting strong in the SoloMotorsports 135i, Tony Fuentes laid down a 1:34.076. This was enough to earn him the overall Track Modified record.
Less than a minute later, Michael Puglisi in the DMN Racing Mitsubishi Evolution was hot on his heels with a new Track Modified - AWD record of 1:34.977. Michael has been chasing Brandon Ranvek's previous records for nearly 2 years. Hard work paid off in the cool October weather of Southwest Michigan. Puglisi's DIY aero package and years of seat time finally brought home a new record.
Maintaining season-long domination, Graham Gaylord bested his own track record of 1:38.051 with a 1:37.736 in the Street Modified - AWD class. After a grueling season, Graham's 4 year old engine finally had enough. Coming through the 7-8-9 complex at Gingerman, Graham lost oil pressure and quickly shut the car down. In order to maintain hot track for his competitors, Graham came to a stop in the old turn 10 cutout. With the season coming to a close, Graham's time from Saturday should be enough to fend off his challengers at this event. Due to his unmatched performance In the season long points chase, he can't be touched.
The final session of the day saw more track records set as storms clouds began to roll in from the west. Bradley "Bonkers" Yonkers set a personal best and new class Street Modified RWD record with 1:37.218. This monumental leap in the street modified class represented a 1.63 second drop in time compared to the previous record for RWD. Gridlife staff is eager to see the full potential of this car, as he and One Lap co-driver Matt Dereus continue to sharpen the sword of their sister E46 M3 platforms.
Set in 2015, the longest standing Gridlife TrackBattle Record of HPDE+ FWD was shattered by 1.3s in the last heat. Brian Duong in his 2018 Honda Civic Type R began to show the capability of the new hot hatch. The future of this chassis looks very strong, and may be the ringer for the FWD classes in the future.
In HPDE+ - RWD, Ron Spear was knocking on the door of Eric Naumann's track record set at this event 1 year ago. If conditions are favorable on Sunday morning, we may see another record fall. That would result in all track records from Gingerman being reset in 2017. This is a testament to the prodigious efforts of drivers to develop themselves and their chassis'. A brief check of the forecast for tomorrow shows sunshine, moderate temperatures, and a high chance of falling lap times. Stay tuned for a full event recap to follow.