Posted by: seththomasmotorsports | April 8, 2010

The Blog has moved to seththomas.net/

I have moved this wordpress blog to my own domain http://www.seththomas.net. Please check in there to find out what is going on with my racing this year in the 2010 Continental Challenge Series. This weekend we are at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama so keep up with how fast we are going.

Posted by: seththomasmotorsports | February 13, 2010

Make that a 10:30 showing on Speed

It appears that a Nascar truck race takes importance over our race so we have been bumped to 10:30 tonight for the Daytona race. Sorry about the confusion.

Posted by: seththomasmotorsports | February 13, 2010

Speed Channel 7PM Tonight

Watch BimmerWorld and my first Continental Tire race from Daytona tonight at 7PM on the Speed channel.

Seth Thomas

Posted by: seththomasmotorsports | February 12, 2010

I am a Fathead

Thank goodness I am not talking about my racing helmet size. It looks like Fathead Graphics has done a Fathead of the #14 Porsche from the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. This is the first non-Nascar fathead they have done. What makes this even more special is that nearly $30 from each one sold will go to the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Please help support this great cause and order one of these for your garage or Porsche fan.

#14 Autometrics/Childrens Tumor Foundation Fathead Porsche

Posted by: seththomasmotorsports | February 8, 2010

Porsche Vs. BMW part 2

Porsche Vs. BMW. This is a heated debate between the supporters of each of these key marques in racing. If you are a BMW owner you appreciate the Porsches because they are made in Germany and they are fast on the race track. But when the BMW supporter is on the track with a Porsche it is that drivers goal to embarrass the Porsche by being faster in the smaller, cheaper BMW. You are proud of the history of your car because it has won lots of professional races. If you are a Porsche supporter it is almost the opposite. You admire the BMW because it does driver really well. It can almost keep up with your Porsche but just not quite. Porsche has a history of building fast race winning cars and that is what your car is. It is a race winner. Nobody can beat it including your other German friend, Mr. BMW. The Porsche is superior. The weekend of the 24 Hours of Daytona I tested out both famous marques where both kept me smiling from ear to ear. How did each one feel and how did I go from driving a superior race built Porsche to the street car turned race car BMW?

First one part that made this jump easier than normal was the fact the Porsche was very similar to the BimmerWorld 328 World Challenge car that I drove last year. The transmission, clutch, braking system, and aerodynamics are all somewhat similar. The Porsche responded to some of the same inputs the same as the World Challenge car. Luckily this also meant the CTSCC BMW also responded somewhat in the same way since it is the same model BMW as the World Challenge car. These inputs I am talking about are all the same ideas that are taught at most BMWCCA and PCA drivers schools across the country. The cars each have their own little nuances but all it takes is to feel what the car is doing and then respond accordingly so it works for the car.

Here is one good example of what I am talking about. The BimmerWorld BMW CTSCC car has a stock brake system from the calipers to the pedal assembly. The master cylinder, brake booster, calipers, rotors, and pads are all stock size. The Porsche has a completely modified braking system. The pedal assembly is not stock, it doesn’t have power brakes, it has huge calipers and huge rotors, the pads have more surface area. To get this car to slow down you have to act like Chuck Norris trying to kick a door down and really kick the brake pedal. It is a very violent hit of the pedal. The BMW on the other hand takes more of a smooth hit of the pedal. The reason for this is because of the brake booster and staying out of the ABS system. Too violent of a hit and it will trigger ABS causing the car to not brake as efficiently as we would like. So when I went from the Porsche to the BMW I had to adapt my right foot on the pedal so it wouldn’t be too violent.

Luckily when it came to the gas pedal I didn’t have to be so precise. I could allow my right foot to be a little bit more dumb. The reason for this is because both cars have a decent amount of power but the tires under the car have more grip than you imagine. With both the Porsche and the BMW I didn’t have to worry too much about spinning the rear tires when I went to throttle. What I did have to worry about though was weight transfer to the rear. The BMW wouldn’t transfer as much weight as the Porsche but they both responded similar to the initial throttle application. Too much throttle too early in the turn and I would pick up a slight understeer that would cause me to have to lift and would delay when I went to full throttle. Too much at apex and both cars would come out in a drift with the rear end hanging out. Both were easy to control when they did this but to be fast I still had to be careful. The BMW was easier to drift out than the Porsche because it was more of a momentum car since it has a lot less horsepower.

The easiest part of both cars was figuring out the driving line around the track that worked for both them. They were both very similar to each other in where you would hit the brakes, where you would turn in, where you wanted the car at apex, and where you would let the car track out. One of the big differences that was ever so slight was the Porsche having a lot more horsepower I didn’t have to worry as much about how high I would come out onto the banking of the NASCAR section of the track. The BMW didn’t climb up the banking as well so I would want to keep it lower.

The next part that was a little bit harder to get used to was the difference in the motors and the transmissions. The BMW has a stock motor that revs to about 7200 RPMs. The motor makes about 250 HP and has a stock style flywheel and clutch. The transmission is a stock BMW 6-speed with a h-pattern shift pattern. The Porsche is a complete different approach. Its motor revs to 8700 RPMs, makes about 450 HP and pulls hard all the way to the 8700 RPM redline. The clutch and transmission in the Porsche are also highly developed racing parts. There is nothing in this car that is found in the street GT3s. The transmission in the Porsche is sequential that only requires a push forward on the shifter to downshift and a pull back to upshift without ever using the clutch. Also because of the very light flywheel and clutch it responded to throttle inputs a lot quicker than the BMW. So this was what took the most getting used to. The Porsche was easy to stall when starting out in the pits. Touch the throttle and it would rev quick. Start to the let the clutch pedal out to go and it would engage like an on off switch. The two were very hard to get right when I first started. After a little bit it got better. And there is nothing more embarrassing than a racecar driver that stalls a car with people watching. What took the longest for me to remember in the two cars was how to shift the gears. I would get in the BMW after the Porsche and not want to use the clutch to shift the gears. I would make this mistake once or twice and then get back in the groove of going through the gears in a standard H-pattern. With the Porsche I would push the clutch in to upshift (not a big deal) and then remember that could just hold me foot on the floor and pull back on the shift lever to get into the next gear. All it took was to just think about it a little bit beforehand and I would have no issues.

What I think was the most important part of this debate about Porsche Vs BMW at Daytona was that both cars were really easy cars to drive. They both rewarded the driver with great lap times and lots of enjoyment in driving. I think what is really important here is that both cars are racecars. Both of them are prepared to the limits the rules of the series they race in. Both of them were built by two great teams to be fast. Either way they are racecars with tires on them. To drive either of them all it takes is to feel out what the tires are doing. And that is what I did. Go from one set of tires to another on both cars and drive to what grip they had. The rest of it is simple and not rocket science.

Posted by: seththomasmotorsports | February 7, 2010

Porsche Vs. BMW

As promised here is my post talking about the difference in the Porsche to the BMW. In the case of the Daytona weekend where I went from a Street Tuner BMW in the Continental Tire Series to a Rolex spec Porsche GT3 Cup car this is really comparing apples to oranges. They are both so different to each other it isn’t fair to say one is better than the other. Both cars were prepared to the limits the rules of their respective series allow. Both cars performed flawlessly during their time on the track. So what I am going to try to describe is how I went from driving a front engine BMW with about 250 HP to a rear engine Porsche with about 450 HP without pausing. It is important to have a little bit of a background on the cars and the modifications done to each.

First lets talk about the BMW. This is the car that I have pretty much been driving for the last 5 years. It is a E90 328 4-door chassis with all stock bodywork. It does have a carbon fiber hood and trunk but every other body panel on the car is metal. The interior is all stripped out of the car with a CTSCC spec rollcage installed. There is nothing fancy on the inside of the car. It is barebones. The instrument cluster is a Motec data unit. The switches on the dash are very simple and laid out. WIth a glance from the driver’s seat you can find every switch on the panel very easily. WIth the Motec dash we can scroll through different screens to pull up whatever information about the engine or what is going on in the car we want. To do this we have a couple buttons on the steering wheel to accomplish this. Also on the wheel is a pit-speed limiter, so we won’t go over the 45 MPH pit speed limit, and a PushToTalk button so we can communicate with the crew on the radio. The engine, transmission, and drivetrain are all pretty much stock. Some of the parts are modified to meet the rules requirements but they drive pretty much like they are stock. The suspension on the car is all stock parts. We have modified the sway bars, springs and shocks but there is nothing there really tricky. The tires on the car are Continental race tires that have some tread on them but this is all gone when you put them on the track. They are sticky tires but they are a little bit harder than some of the other tires out there. They are made to last the whole 2.5 Hours that we drive. All of this is part of what makes the CTSCC a great endurance series. All of the cars have similar modifications as the BMW. They are pretty much the stock car you drive on the street but with some slight mods to make it more of a race ready car.


The Porsche is a little bit more of the opposite. This is a car that is produced from the factory with racing 100% in mind. It is not a street legal car that has been changed into a racecar. It is a racecar that was made from the factory to race. When you buy this car from Porsche (yes you can buy this car from a dealer) it comes ready to put straight on the track. The car has a similar cage as what Bimmerworld has added to the E90 328. It isn’t anything really special but one that helps to make it more of a racecar. It doesn’t have any of the comfort items added to it. The Porsches dash is a stock looking dash with lots of buttons and a trick looking Motec data system added to it. All of this is similar to the BMW. With this being a factory race car I found it interesting that the layout of the buttons and switches on the dash seemed to random. With all the money that Porsche can put into these cars they have added buttons in places that make it hard for a driver to look at. These buttons are important because they are the ones that control the information the dash displays for us like water temp, oil temp, voltage, lap times etc. Instead of these buttons being located on the steering wheel they are located on the center part of the dash. Then there are fan switches, light switches, fuel pumps, and other stuff needed to to keep the car running. All of these are located around the center part of the dash. The way they are laid out it is not easy to find them. Part of them is hidden by the tall shifter that is placed in the car. I find it wild that a factory race car comes with a crazy layout of switches that make it hard for the driver to find. This coming from a manufacturer that makes their street GT3 cars as easy on the driver as possible. I think it goes to show how well BimmerWorld makes their race cars and actually thinks about how to make it easy for the driver. The rest of the Porsche is like heaven though. You have a nice engine that is modified for race use. It revs to 8700 RPMs, makes over 450 HP and has a sequential transmission that hardly requires the use of a clutch pedal. All of this works seamlessly together. Going up through the gears in the transmission is like driving an automatic. You just pull back on the shift lever and hold the throttle wide open. The engine responds like it is designed to do this with no problems. And it did this for 24 Hours straight without a glitch. Amazing! Then you have the super sticky Pirelli tires. They are a true slick racing tire that is not legal for any kind of street use. It takes about 4-5 laps around Daytona to get them up to the 200 degrees of operating temperature. When they get there they stick like glue. They are made to go fast. Team this up with the modified racing suspension of driver adjustable sway bars (driver adjusts these with the push of a lever inside the car), Moton adjustable shocks, modified suspension geometry, solid bushings everywhere in the suspension, wider wheels all around, and that is just touching what makes the Porsche a race car. This car is was easier to drive the faster you drove it. I was impressed. Once again is was amazing the way it drove on the race track. You could tell that it was meant to drive fast right out of the box from Porsche.

So that leaves me with my next thoughts, how do you go from a BMW that was a street car turned race car to a Porsche that was meant to be a racecar in the same weekend. That will be Post #2 of Porsche Vs. BMW tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Posted by: seththomasmotorsports | February 5, 2010

Seth Thomas Satisfied with First Rolex 24

Seth Thomas Satisfied with First Rolex 24

GRAND-AM CTSCC Street Tuner ace looks back on fast, fun and educational Rolex 24 at Daytona.

2.2.04

Cumming, GA

Last weekend’s GRAND-AM Rolex 24 at Daytona International Raceway marked an important step in the career of Seth Thomas, as the Georgian completed his first race for BimmerWorld in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series on Friday, and followed it up with his first GRAND-AM Rolex Series start on Saturday.

Thomas’ drive from 27th to 2nd in the CTSCC race, with co-driver Bill Heumann, set the stage for a successful, but challenged-filled Rolex 24 debut with Autometrics Motorsports in the #14 Porsche GT3 Cup car.

“What an amazing weekend,” Thomas said with his usual smile. “Racing is usually filled with highs and lows, and I came away from Daytona with a lot of positives and a lot of experience that will be helpful in the future.”

Despite being new to the Rolex Series, Thomas was entrusted to start the race in the Children’s Tumor Foundation sponsored Porsche in the daunting rain showers that enveloped the track. Under the circumstances, Thomas didn’t mind stepping in to help a teammate.

“I was a last minute substitute for Cory Friedman at the start because his wife was about to go into labor! So the team put me in the car for the start and because we changed the nominated starting driver, we started from the back of the field. I had never driven the car in the rain, never driven Daytona in the rain, and never driven on the Pirelli tires in the rain… I love driving in the rain, but didn’t know what to expect. It was a great experience, though.”

Once up to speed, Thomas kept tuning the car to produce faster and faster lap times.

“Overall it was a little too stiff but I softened the sway bars to help keep it planted. They double stinted me on the rain tires and towards the end of the stint I wasn’t able to drive the car that fast because the wet tires were moving around too much with the amount of dry track. I was on high alert the whole time and had to avoid a couple of spinning GT and DP cars, but overall, I’d moved from 29th in class to 7th before handing the car over safely

Thomas was back behind the wheel for his first stint of night driving at Daytona from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., enjoying a number of close battles with the fastest Rolex GT cars. His next stint, starting at 7 a.m., proved to be the most exciting and adventurous of the entire race.

“Having run perfect stints before this and with no contact with anyone out on track, my morning stint didn’t end that way. There had been some contact with the other drivers and other cars so some of the body panels had been replaced overnight. I got in, got back in my rhythm and was consistently putting down similar lap times with the leaders in GT and chased down a couple of my competitors. The worst part of the stint was when I put the car in the wall. I had just turned my fastest lap when this happened. I came out of Turn 3, turned the car in for the kink and as soon as I went to the brakes, there was lock-up and the car was not slowing no matter what I would do. It wouldn’t really respond to any input. My heart sank at that point because I knew the crash just added to the work for the crew. I had also let my co-drivers down.”

The #14 Porsche met the wall at a medium rate of speed, causing enough damage to require a visit to the pits. Thomas was understandably upset with himself, but his crew was quick to point out the root of the crash.

“They found that the left front tire had punctured, causing the wheel to lock before I even hit the brakes. With the left front being flat I had no chance of making the turn. After that the car got back to the garage, the crew got to work repairing the damage. Luckily for the whole team it was only cosmetic damage and our crew did an amazing job getting it back together I then went back out in the car for the remainder of my stint ”

Thomas’ third stint also kept him on his toes when the Porsche began to suffer electrical issues, dropping the battery voltage well below the minimum level. Gaining experience during a perfect 24-hour run certainly has its value, but as Thomas found, learning to overcome adversity is equally important.

“We had an alternator issue with the car. The light on the dash would come on signaling a voltage issue. The Porsche has an electric water pump and power steering pump, so with the voltage dropping down below 13 volts, at times the power steering would go out. This is very exciting when you are entering the bus stop at well over 100mph, brake at your normal spot and then all of a sudden you can’t turn the car! I had to do my Arnold Schwarzenegger impression to turn the car at that point The crew asked me if I could keep driving the car, and of course I said yes, but I told them I would have to reduce the pace because it made it really tough to keep the car pointed where I wanted it to go. We were going to make it to the finish no matter what.”

The Autometrics Motorsports Porsche eventually finished 25th overall and 15th in class, and with all of the drama encountered over 24 hours of racing, the team was satisfied with the result. Thomas was also left with a number of highlights to build from.

“Seeing the car cross the start/finish line after 24 hours and with some big body damage was awesome. Starting the race in the wet and moving the car up to 12th place without ever having driven the car in the wet before was also pretty exciting. We had a lot of Children’s Tumor Foundation kids in the garage before the race writing their names on the car. Seeing the kids smiling before the big race because they are becoming a part of the car just like the drivers and crew was a big inspiration. These kids, along with their friends, families, and other CTF/Racing4Research supporters raised an amazing $374,000 for this event. I even have some that added me as a friend on Facebook just because I was one of the nuts behind the wheel! ”

Thomas also says he learned a lot that will help him when future Rolex Series racing opportunities are presented.

“I’d say that giving the car to your teammates in one piece is key to a solid result. That was my theme the whole weekend and I know it stuck out on Friday in the CTSCC race. In the Rolex Series it is so much more important. The GT cars a little bit more fragile than the DPs so it is really important to stay away from having contact with them. The on-track action gets real busy with two different classes running at the same time, so running your own race cleanly is crucial to a good finish.”

Working with a new team, car, and drivers wasn’t a concern for Thomas, as he found the entire Autometrics team to be at the top of their game.

“Everybody on the team was awesome to work with. The whole crew did an amazing job all day and night long. They had some issues they had to get sorted out and they did it very quickly each time. I think they changed a complete front end and radiator on the car several times in less than 30 minutes each time. And every time when they were finished they had nothing but a smile on their face. Even when they had been up for over 24 hours straight and they had to put the car back together they still did it as fast and efficient as ever. And my co-drivers were also a joy to work with. Each driver had their own strengths that helped to make out team effort complete. It was a complete team effort for us to finish the race.”

For a driver accustomed to landing on the podium, Thomas had to be satisfied with how he and the team overcame adversity throughout the 24 hours. While a podium wasn’t in the offering, he says the 2010 Rolex 24 confirmed he’s on the right career path.

“I learned that I can run with the top drivers in Rolex GT, and I know that I can help to setup a car to be competitive in this series. I’m under no illusions that I have all of the experience I need to go toe-to-toe with the biggest names in the class, but I was pleased to show that I have the speed and potential to become a member of that ‘club’ one day. The good thing is, with a full-season of CTSCC ahead of me and by having experience with most of the tracks, I’ll be ready to make the most of any Rolex GT opportunities that come my way.”

Follow Seth Thomas this season at www.SethThomas.net or on his blog at https://seththomasmotorsports.wordpress.com.

Info on the Children’s Tumor Foundation can be found at http://www.ctf.org/ or at Racing4Research’s website www.racing4research.org

Posted by: seththomasmotorsports | February 4, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect as BimmerWorld Takes Second on GRAND-AM CTSCC Debut

Practice Makes Perfect as BimmerWorld Takes Second on GRAND-AM CTSCC Debut
2/2/10
Starting 27th, Seth Thomas and Bill Heumann pilot the #81 BimmerWorld/GearWrench BMW E90 to second place in the team’s first professional endurance race
Team makes seamless transition to GRAND-AM, executing flawless pit stops and delivering a strong result for their sponsors and partners
BimmerWorld-built E90s fast and reliable on the big 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course

The #81 BimmerWorld/GearWrench BMW E90 begins the year on the podium.

The BimmerWorld crew executes a flawless pit stop.
For those expecting Dublin, Virginia’s BimmerWorld Racing to ease into their GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series (CTSCC) debut, the BMW specialists served notice that they’re aiming for wins from the outset.

Transitioning from sprint racing to the 2.5-hour endurance racing format used in the CTSCC could have been a major hurdle to overcome, but after years of preparing for professional endurance races by competing in local 12- and 13-hour events, all of that practice paid off when Seth Thomas and Bill Heumann drove their #81 BimmerWorld/GearWrench BMW E90 to second place in the Fresh From Florida 200 on Friday.

While Thomas and the BimmerWorld team are no strangers to finishing on the podium, doing so in their first CTSCC race was especially rewarding.

“This was just a fantastic day,” Thomas beamed. “I’m so excited for us to finish second today, and it was also Bill’s first professional race, so looking at what we’ve achieved, this BimmerWorld/GearWrench team is right on pace with where we should be.”

Thomas wasn’t surprised to see his team and teammate perform so well right out of the gate. “I’ll be honest. It usually takes a lot of time to adapt to a new series, but if you have the right people and the right partners, you can succeed from the beginning. That’s what we proved today.”

For Bill Heumann, it took a little bit of faith to believe in the endurance racing mantra his co-driver had drilled into him.

“Seth kept repeating that if I handed over a car that was in good shape and in a decent position on the track, that we could score a podium in our first race. This is my first professional race, mind you. I wasn’t sure if he was just giving me positive encouragement, but he was 100 percent right. The car made it easy for me; I could brake at the last moment with our Performance Friction brakes on every lap, and the handling was dialed in perfectly. I did my part, gave him our car in pristine condition, and then he went and drove the wheels off of it!”

The elated Heumann was also quick top praise his co-driver and team.

“The crew guys executed flawless stops. Our driver change was smooth as silk, and overall, I’m going home even more fired up to do the next race. This is a dream for me, but I guess I’ve learned my lesson. No matter what Seth tells me from now on, I won’t doubt him!”

The #81’s charge from 27th to 2nd, an improvement of 25 spots, was the highlight of the day for BimmerWorld. Unfortunately, the sister #80 BimmerWorld/GearWrench BMW E90, driven by team owner James Clay and David White, would have a less deserving result.

Starting an impressive 3rd on the grid, Clay and White were poised to score an impressive finish alongside the #81, but after being hit from behind, resulting in a multi-car accident, Clay’s day ended with a broken suspension and an assortment of crumpled body panels.

Clay was pragmatic after the incident, and preferred to recognize the performance of his team.

“I hate what happened to David and I, but what’s important is to see all of our hard work pay off. Endurance racing is the ultimate form of team-based racing, and everybody involved in our organization delivered today. Our drivers performed like endurance veterans, our crew looked like they’ve been racing at Daytona for years, our BMW E90s had the speed all weekend long, and all of our sponsors and partners helped to pull off the GRAND-AM debut we knew we were capable of.”

White echoed Clay’s comments, and got to see just what the team was made of throughout the weekend.

“What happened to us in the #80 was a fluke, and with such a big hit, I’m really happy with how our car held up. BimmerWorld builds and amazing car, and they also choose the right partners to be involved. The right front took a heavy shot when James was hit, but the RAYS wheel is in perfect shape, and that’s a testament to their products.”

Having seen what Thomas and Heumann achieved at Daytona, White is eager to join them on the podium at the next race.

“What these guys did in the #81 is exactly what we expect from ourselves. We know we can do this with both cars, and that’s comforting. BimmerWorld is all about preparation. They came to the track with every item completed and ready to hit the track, and we saw all of that play out today.”

The smooth execution of BimmerWorld’s Fresh From Florida 200 race came after a few hectic weeks of preparation and repairs to the #81 BMW E90. A crash in testing found the Jason Marks-led BimmerWorld crew taking the car down to the bare chassis in order to have it straightened before a complete reassembly and rebuild prior to Friday’s race. The road to Daytona, as Marks shared, was long, but ultimately rewarding.

“All of my guys put everything they had into getting the #81 ready to go again. We knew what we could do at Daytona, and that provided all the motivation we needed. I think we put every GearWrench tool we had to use on the #81 over the past few weeks! Now that we’ve gotten a 2nd, we’ll be focused on getting our first win in the series. It won’t be easy, but that’s what makes the challenge so worthwhile.”

Team boss Clay agreed with Marks and also reflected on his choice to move his team to GRAND-AM.

“The test crash set us back, but for anybody that knows what we are about, getting the #81 to the race was never in question. The CTSCC series is easily the toughest endurance championship to race in, and coming in, we knew it would be a huge undertaking. That hasn’t changed, and we have so many things to work on for the next round, but I think we made a statement about how well we fit in the CTSCC. We moved to the right series at the right time, and today’s result just confirmed that.”

Follow the BimmerWorld/GearWrench team as they prepare for Round 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, March 5-6, by visiting http://www.BimmerWorldRacing.com.

Posted by: seththomasmotorsports | January 29, 2010

First race out of the way!

The first Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race for BimmerWorld is officially over. Overall it was a fun event that had lots of ups and downs for the BimmerWorld team. Luckily for Bill and I our race ended on a positive note. We started 27th and worked our way up to 2nd. This was a tough race with lots of cautions to begin with but had a lot green flag laps at the end. I think the last 30 minutes was under green flag conditions. Bill did an amazing job with the car by keeping it straight with no incidents. He set his fast lap of the weekend in the race. Bill did everything that was asked of him as a racecar driver in his first pro race. He handed me the car in 17th place with about 1.5 hours left. At that point there was only one thing to do and that was to drive the car doing the same thing every lap. This was giving me a consistent lap time every lap. So one by one, I was able to make the passes I needed to work up to the front. I got to about 6th or 7th when the unlucky part for the BimmerWorld team happened. Coming into turn one there was a orange Civic that was looking to make an opportunistic move on James, who was running 4th. He hits James in the rear bumper which then pushed him into another car. This contact bent the tie rod on the front steering. His day was done. This was very unfortunate for everyone as I believe that we would have had two cars on the podium for this race. So the rest of the race was running down the leader. Unfortunately I couldn’t do it and we had to settle for 2nd. If I would have only had 10 more laps I think I could have won it. Isn’t that what every driver always says.

So tomorrow is another big day. The Auotmetrics Porsche is going to have to start from the back of the pack due to a driver change for the start. Cory Friedman’s wife is expecting a baby and it appears she has gone into labor. With him gone I get to be the one to start the car. I wish Cory and his wife the best in this exciting event in their life. Well I am off to bed since I need to get some good rest tonight. With 24 Hours of racing ahead of me sleep is important right now.

Posted by: seththomasmotorsports | January 28, 2010

Busy Busy Busy (and congrats to Dave White for his 3rd Place Qualifying)

Wow! When I signed up for doing the 24 Hours I thought to myself “This should be easy to handle.” So far today was nuts. I was running around the paddock from car to car and pit stall to pit stall. This feeling is not what I am used to. Last year is seemed that we would be the first cars on track, sit around all day waiting for the next session and then be the last cars on track. Today was much different. I started out with Autometrics in the Porsche. They wanted me to drive the car first, bed in the new Pagid pads and feel the car out after they basically rebuilt it since the test days. Luckily there weren’t any real issues with the car. We did have some part throttle issues that our friends at Porsche Motorsports helped us to sort out. So I drove the car for 9 to 10 laps. Wow what a fun car. No lift shifts, no ABS, non power brakes, big tires, lots of grip. It is amazing how much of a difference having a car with aero is. You can really take the car deeper in the brake zones with this. There are a couple small tricks to help this get the most out of braking. And then driving a car with a small flywheel and clutch that makes 400+horsepower. It comes off the corners hard. Add to that feeling of just pulling back on the gearshift lever while holding the car full throttle, and shifting the gear without using a clutch. This is so much fun.
Next it was off to ST practice with the BimmerWorld car. This was a crazy session as there were blag flags and pitstops and more black flags. It was kind of funny that both our cars got dinged for a black flag because we were speeding in pit lane (Pit Lane Speed 45 MPH). Luckily we solved that issue and haven’t had a problem since. So in this session I didn’t get to drive any so back to the trailer to look at data to help Bill go fast.
This was lunch time and 15 minutes later the Rolex cars were on track again. So back to the pits with Autometrics. Since I wasn’t driving the car in this session I didn’t have much to do. I cheered them on and then went back to BimmerWorld to work on some driver inputs and data with Bill.
At 2:45 we go out in the BimmerWorld 328. Bill starts in the car, does one lap and then comes in for a full speed drivers change practice. He jumps out of the car, I get in but there are some small issues with getting the belts out of the way. No worries though as Chaz did a great job of staying cool and getting me buckled in the car in the alloted time we had setup for our driver change. Off I go in a totally different car than the Porsche. Here is a car that is essentially stock compared to the Porsche. It has a stock motor, stock transmission, stock brakes, stock clutch, stock suspension (except for a few BimmerWorld Top Secret goodies). So I come out of the pits, step in the gas and go. It is time to shift gears so I pull back on the gearshift lever and stupid me I forgot to use the clutch. I remember about halfway through my shift that I need to do it so I do with no issues. Okay remember this is a standard H-pattern shift. Got it under control and time to go. One of the things the BMW does well is brake and it does it as well as the Porsche with its big huge brakes. So that was easy to adapt to. The BMW does a lot of things very well and I found it interesting that I my throttle application points and going full throttle were pretty much at the same points in the Porsche and the BMW. The only difference is the BMW goes a little bit slower and is much more like driving a go-cart than the Porsche.

Either way it was all fun and well worth staying busy. Since it is getting late I will share some more of my tales of BMW vs. Porsche tomorrow. Be sure to check in tomorrow for updates on the race, practice in the Rolex car at night, and what we are doing to get ready for the 24 Hour. I do hope to have pictures tomorrow as I am going to hand off my camera to some of my friends to get them to actually use it. Tune in at 1:45 tomorrow on http://www.grand-am.com to catch the live race action. I promise it will be exciting. Be sure to watch Dave White in the #80 BimmerWorld car as he is starting 3rd.

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