Pitt Race is my second round of the SCCA Majors this year. The format is a bit different from the NASA stuff and kicks off Saturday morning by going straight into qualifying. No practice, no warmup, just get out there and throw down some flyers. I had raced GTS2 at Pitt Race in 2017 so was familiar with the track. It is a nice facility that has been updated and the track repaved. The elevation change and blind turns make it exciting as you trust yourself that the track is still in the same spot as you squeeze the throttle to the floor.
Qualifying went really well. I had previously done a 1.58 in my GTS2 E36 M3. The track record for Touring 1 was a 1.48, but luckily my T1 E46 is a much faster car than the E36. Within a few laps I saw a 1.51 on my AiM dash. Not bad, but I knew there was more in it. Backed it off for a lap to cool down the tires and get a gap and made a final run to put down a good qualifying time. I was rewarded with a 1.50 and a P3 stating position.
The race was a lot less interesting and I was not thrilled with my own driving. A car behind us tried to win into T1 at the start of the race. It created this huge mess of splitters, brake ducting, and all sorts of debris through the turn. I went off line several times to avoid both cars and debris. Ended up picking up a bunch of old rubber off line on the track and it became a disaster to drive as I tip toed around with slag on the tires. While I finished P3, I was not thrilled with my driving for the day. My punishment was to take a heat gun to the tires and scrape off the extra rubber I had picked up on track.
Sunday once again brought rain. The forecast was supposed to be clear after raining overnight, but an eerie mist that continued all day kept the track damp. I put rains on just to be safe, but there was definitely way more grip than I expected for how wet it was. Pitt race has a lot of grip in the rain, maybe in part due to the repaved surface from 2017. Another P3 for the day.
With the event being just four days away at VIR, Hugh and I took some time after the race to prep the car so that I wouldn’t have much to do during the week. The alignment was a bit off, but nothing drastic. Loaded the car up and we were ready to head home. The racing wasn’t quite satisfying enough for the weekend. As we packed up, we decided to check out the massive karting course. They were still open! Not a single person was on the track. We quickly paid and sat thru the safety briefing. The track was wet with enough of a mist coming down that it would stay wet.
Karting in the rain might be one of my favorite things ever. Normally I feel beat up after a couple of sessions, but karting sideways in the wet doesn’t beat you up as badly, and is an excellent car control exercise. The course took a few laps to learn and Hugh and I picked up the pace. Soon we were tandem drifting through the first few turns. One of the kart track employees saw that we weren’t total noobs at driving and joined us for the next round. We were soaked from the spray of our karts, and a spin or two in the mud. It was a good way to wrap up the weekend at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. Long haul home to get back to work, and then off to VIR in a few days.