Byrons World Challenge Race Report
Last weekend I attend the Byrons Race, one of the important events in the US On Road race calendar. I was able to have my good friend Paolo “Paulie B” Becattini to come and help me so I decided to run 3 classes: 1/10, 1/8 and GT8.It sounded doable but was a really crazy idea.
The host of the event is Leisure hours, a beautiful facility located in Joliet, Illinois, actually not that far away from the famous Chicagoland Speedway. The facility, beside having a permanent On Road track, has a great indoor pit area with AC. The best part is that you can leave your race gear overnight, so it actually makes things a little more friendly from the logistics point of view.
So I arrive at the Chicago airport at 7am on Friday, meet with Paulie B and together we drove to the track, which is less than one hour drive from the airport. The track opens on Friday at noon until 8pm so we had plenty of time to pick up some utilities and head to the track. Since the plan was to run 3 classes, everything had to be really well organized and executed. Of course, all the cars were meticulously prepped at home before the trip in order to try to minimize the waste of time at the track.
We decided to leave the GT8 for last and start with the 1/8 scale. I had a couple of engines to finish break in and so we spend a couple of hours doing this. After that we decided to test the 1/10. Being the 747 new to me, I am still learning the car and so I try to spend as much time as possible testing different setup solutions. I started with a completely different setup from what I used last time and slowly I start making changes and I finish to a setup very close to what I used in California. The day was almost over and we decided to try the GT8. As always, this car brings me a big smile as is really fun and relaxed to drive.
Saturday was qualifying day. The schedule called for 3 rounds plus an extra one on Sunday. The format used was a 10 minutes qualifier with Quali Points. The logistic inside our team was quite complicated, since I had to run 3 qualifiers in each round plus turn marshall after each run. Everything had to be ready and there was not much time for adjustments or repairs. Luckily everything went pretty smooth and I did not explode any of the cars…LOL.. At the end of the quails I was TQ in GT8, 2nd in 1/8 and 3rd in sedan.
We start prepping the cars for the main on Sunday. We had 2 and a half hours to have everything ready. In sedan I decided to change a little bit the setup because the test in the morning with big tires showed me a tendency of traction roll since the track had a lot of grip. The weather forecast for the day was overcast so in theory those where the conditions for the main final.
The fist final was the GT8, a 45 minutes event. Even if the weather was super hot, the whole package was solid the whole event. After a 5 minute break, it was time of the sedan race, a 1 hour main event. Here, from the beginning, I realize the changes I did were not positive, specially because the track got really hot and the traction roll problem was not an issue. Mu car had a tendency of a under steering (push) so I was not able to run aggressive and be a contender for the victory. I decided to run my pace and actually by the 30 minutes mark I was in second place behind JJ Wang. The difference in the track was around 8 seconds, but I had one more fuel stop than him. So the key issue was the tire. My strategy was no tire change so my hope was to JJ to stop for tires. Unfortunately that was not the case, and actually since my car was pushing too bad, I kill my front left tire and 10 minutes before the end I had to come in and change the left tires. All and all I was satisfied, even if I was not able to show the real speed.
After a 5 minute break, was time of the one hour 1/8 scale final. My car and the whole package was extremely good, letting me be aggressive or smooth depending on the situation. I start in second and from the beginning was a fierce battle with JJ. I tried to pass him a couple of time but he was really good closing the door. After a few minutes he made a mistake and flip his car and that gave me a chance to get the lead. After that I was able to stretch my lead for three quarter of a lap until I decided to ease a little bit and go on cruise mode for the rest of the race. Around 40 minutes in the race, I started having cramps on my arms and hands. It was very painful and difficult to keep driving in those conditions and at the end was just a matter of keeping the car on the track.
At the end, I was able to almost win all three classes, finishing first in both 1/8 and GT8 and second in 1/10. Was a great and painful achievement for me. I am not sure if I will ever drive 3 classes at the same event.
I will like to thanks Paolo Becattini for all the help and the effort at this event. Thanks to my sponsors Serpent, Novarossi, Enneti, Ko Propo, Titan, Byrons Fuel, Blitz, Avid, Alpha, Desoto Racing.
My next event will be Timezone in a month. Happy Racing