Arriving Sunday on the track in Ft. Myers we just picked up some tires and fuel for our testing/racing week and used the chance to help some fellow racers in the pits.
Monday: Practice in Arcadia with my Serpent Viper 988, on the track from Greg Esser. It’s always awesome to hang out with him and the other guys on his own track in his backyard! Due to the hurricane some weeks before, the traction was quiet low so that I decided to test some different shock settings I could also use on the tracks at home. We knew that the traction would be different in Ft. Myers so we didn’t do a lot of setup work in Arcadia for that race respectively and used that day for engine tuning and preparation mainly.
Practice: Ft. Myers was open for engine break-in. Because we had some engines to run in after we had changed some internal parts. In the evening I was fast enough to post a 10.9sec lap which stayed my fastlap for the week due to changing track conditions. I tried different spring/shock settings and ended up with 800cst all around and green/pink springs to make the car smooth over the bumps and easy to drive in the sweepers.
Quali: In opposite to Europe (ENS, EFRA, etc.) the scoring system in the U.S. is on rocket round. In Q1 I decided to go safe and just secure a good spot for the A-main. Q2 was slower because I tested some stuff which which was not good. In Round three I went up to second position behind Ralph Burch and in front of Paolo, who have always been kind of kind of “The Fort Masters” for me when I started racing. Unfortunately in Q4 I hit a car parking on the straight in silence so that Dominic and me had to do a rebuild on my cars front end on Friday night. When the track was open for practice on Saturday morning I decided to go out for two tanks of fuel to make sure everything was working as the day before.
My A-main started in the afternoon with Serpent Team mate Burch ( TQ) in front of me. Actually we planned to go with a two tire stop strategy due to very high tire wear. With Ralph just one tire change in plan, I decided to safe my tires and go on a one stop strategy as well. When Paolo started to have trouble with his drive train, I went safe to bring home a Serpent 1-2 together with Ralph in front. We did clean and fast fuel stops with a thrilling quick tire change due to the help of Dominic and Tim Vogels who already helped me out at some national events. That kind of racing is the most enjoyable part of the weekend when you can see a team working together like meshed gearwheels!
It was a very nice week on the toughest track I know with everybody who came over for racing, watching or just to say “hello”. The next big stop will be the EFRA GP Series in Fiorano, Italy in April.
See you on the track!
Link to car: http://promo.serpent.com/988viper/