The Life’s Good Racing!TM –all 13 of us–competed in our first event this last Sunday at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. We raced the Lancer in a two hour USTCC endurance race, followed by an additional two hours to complete a total of four hours in the first WERC race of the season. Our strategy was for Dave Brown to drive the first two hours, after which we would execute a driver change and I would take over for the following two hours. Unfortunately, we were not able to continue after the first two hours due to some mechanical issues that we found when making the driver change. Following is how the race evolved.
Dave Brown piloted the Life’s Good Racing!TM HAWK, WORKS, San Rafael Mitsubishi, AIP Lancer during the first of the four hours and thus competed in the USTCC race. After putting down a lap in qualifying that positioned him for a front row outside position for the standing start, Dave rocketed off the line, using the Lancer’s awesome four-wheel drive traction to power himself to an early lead over a very fast and very competitive USTCC field. Note that this USTCC race which encompassed 16 competitors was run simultaneously and during the four hour Western Endurance Racing Championships event, thus resulting in a total of 51 cars on the 2.52 mile circuit. This was a crowded track!
All went very well during the first half hour of this two hour race with Dave holding onto the lead with one lead change and regain until the Life’s Good Racing!TM Lancer started to experience some mechanical issues. Dave brought the car in for the first of multiple unplanned pit stops that included two very unlucky cut tire occurrences, a rare experience in such road racing, and an engine problem that caused a significant loss in power over the remaining one and a half hours of the race.
In spite of the multiple mishaps, Dave was able to secure a respectable sixth place finish among 16 entrants in the USTCC event, and fourth place finish in the WERC ES race among five entrants. Note that the Lancer was entered in the WERC ES competition given that the Life’s Good Racing!TM 5th Gen Camaro Stock Car was not yet ready for competition. Overall, we were very encouraged in the Lancer’s performance given it turned the second fastest lap in the two hour USTCC race.
This event marks the first experience that the team had with an enduro-type of extended race, which proved to be a very successful experience as the extended team stepped up to each and every issue, performing flawlessly as other, surrounding teams struggled with execution issues. Many thanks go to all who spend a cold, windy and sometimes rainy morning in support of our efforts.
In addition to the teams key sponsors, HAWK, WORKS, San Rafael Mitsubishi, and AIP, I would like to extend appreciation to Pete Kang and Donny Brown of WORKS Motorsports, each of whom were in the pits and actively involved in supporting the team. We were also pleased to have Oliver Simmons trackside with us.
Our next outing is scheduled for April 14 and 15 at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, CA where we will be competing in TTU (Time Trials) with the 1969 Camaro and testing our new Endurance car, the “Camaro Stock Car” in preparation for the following weekend’s race at Buttonwillow Raceway in Buttonwillow, CA. That race will be the second event in the 2012 WERC season.
See you at the races.