Summit Point Main HPDE

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I spent the weekend of September 23-24 on the Main Circuit at Summit Point, WV. This was the third class I’ve done with the National Capital Chapter BMW CCA and I highly recommend attending one if you have never been on the track before. This was also my first session on my new shaved competition tires.

Saturday started out rainy and slick. The morning sessions I completed with my Goodyear street tires. This was the first time I’ve really pressed these tires and they performed extremely well even though my R90 wheels are a bit on the heavy side at 20 lbs. each. In the afternoon I put on the Hankooks (225/45R16 Ventus RS2 Z212s shaved to 4/32 inch) with my Kosei wheels and the car really came to life.

On Sunday, I was “signed-off” by my instructor to solo. That was both exciting and a bit intimidating — in fact, I was sweating like one of Dick Cheney’s hunting companions. Once I got over the initial shock, I found it quite relaxing. It was odd to only have my own voice in my head, but quickly found a rhythm and really enjoyed the session. Also the car was quite a bit faster without the added weight of a passenger.

We also did a “no-brakes” session in the afternoon. This was the first time I’ve done one of these. The goal is to lap the circuit without using your brakes. You have to find ways to bleed off speed and learn entry/exit speeds for the corners. You start out very tentatively, afraid to exceed the entry speed, but quickly realize you have lots of options to scrub off speed. I found that after the session there were a couple of places where I had previously been braking that now all I had to do was lift and that my entry speeds went up a bit. Unfortunately it started to rain again at the start of the final session so I didn’t get to really see how it affected my overall lap times. But then again, this is not a race — so no wagering.