Monday, June 27, 2011

A Different Kind of Race for Ian this Past Weekend

Okay so I got the call Friday night from my friend Dave. AMP (Atlantic Motorsport Park) was beckoning us. Dave's cousin Paul had a race car and drivers but sure could use a hand with pit crew duties. What ws I to say but, "What time do you need me."

Yes, I love to race my bike. I love to race by foot as well. Love to race in the water (well, I do like to swim, so we will leave it at that)? But I also love to watch cars race. From Formula 1 cars to Nascar, so IndyCars, to the 24 Hours of LeMans, they are all good. And to get the chance to work on the actual race car while watching the race as well? Yipee!

So here we have the BWM 318i in all its glory. A truly pretty beast for sure. Inside you will find no comfort. Just a driver's seat, horribly snug looking seatbelt system (5 points of contact) and a few gauges. This is built to go fast.

Now these are shorter, amateur races(though these are excellent drivers to say the least). So being on the pit crew doesn't mean standing next to the race track, ready to change to tires out in 10 seconds or less. It means making sure that in between races the car gets gas, tire pressure checked, in car camera turned on or off, look for fluid leaks etc...

Here we are changing from rain tires to slick tires for better grip. Turns out the rain didn't come for us, which was awesome. We also fueled the car. I have no pictures of that as it was my job to hold the fire extinguisher just in case, and I didn't want to try and do pictures at the same time. Luckily I also spoted a small fuel leak before the first race which was easily fixed by one of the drivers.

Here Tim (one of the three drivers, the other 2 being names Paul) is checking the engine during the 1 hour lunch break. We just wanted to make sure the fluids were up, no leaks were happening and that the engine was still there. It was. Whew.

Here we see Paul M. getting himself into the car. Luckily for Triathletes, we don't have to wear a horribly heavy helmet and horribly hot fireproof racing suit. But it is best to be safe when climbing into one of these cars.

With three different drivers doing different races, we also had to change the car number to go with the driver in question. The car was normally #98, which was reserved for Paul, the car owner. The other drivers were #198 and #981. For us that meant a quick piece of coloured duct tape to correspond with who was in the car.

Our final job was counting laps and recording lap times. This helps the drivers know how to improve, and it also helps them calculate fuel mileage.  By the way these cars eat gas. And they eat expensive gas. This is by no means a green sport. Our pit wall duties of lap counting and being prepared is necessary to run to the truck for tools, meant that we weren't able to wander around the track to watch the race from different areas. Still, I found this to be a great way to relax on a Saturday


Oh and congrats to our team. Paul C., Paul M., and Tim all won in there different races with this new to them car. And they all set great lap times enroute to winning 
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