Round 5 of the 2019 NASA Super Touring Championship

Saturday: Aug 2nd

When 4 out of 5 cars from your team are damaged after a race weekend, you know that some stuff went down.

We were really excited about this weekend at Thunderhill because the weather looked dry, albeit hot (105F), and we had just confirmed a week earlier while testing at Buttonwillow that any overheating issues had been resolved (we upgraded a lot of things after Round 4 at Sonoma in June). This would also be my first time driving the E36 at Thunderhill (since Graham had covered for me there during Round 2 in April while I was in Japan).

We had a somewhat favorable schedule for Super Touring this time around, with morning warm-up taking place at 8:10am on Saturday. However, I struggled to find a good rhythm because I was getting a lot of knock-back on the brakes. If you recall, we’ve been wrestling with this issue since the beginning of the season. We have been suspecting for some time now that the AP Racing CP8350 calipers on all 4 corners need to be inspected and rebuilt. As a temporary fix, we decided to swap to fresh brake pads and I felt some improvement (less likely to get knock-back when the pad is newer/thicker because the pistons aren’t able to travel as much).

With all of these excuses in mind, I only managed a 1:59.6 in qualifying at 11:25am which put me in P8 out of 16 cars in ST4 class. Ride along with me for that lap here:

Driver: Tom Tang

And even though I thought I had a bad session, my teammate Graham Downey had it even worse during Spec Miata qualifying. He got rear-ended by another car on Lap 1, and was unable to continue. Fortunately, he is okay. But the car sustained a lot of damage, both front and rear. Ugh. Time for a lot of hours on a frame rack.

As for the Super Touring race, it was an exciting one. There was a LOT of stuff that happened, meaning many yellow flags. Two cars had contact with each other. There were a few cars who suffered mechanical issues. And poor Martin, who was driving really well pushed just a little bit too hard and crashed in the middle of the race between T6 and T7 (thankfully, he is also okay).

Ride along with me to a P4 finish here:

Driver: Tom Tang

Sunday: Aug 3rd

Sunday morning arrived, and after a fairly uneventful warm-up at 8:15am we got the car ready for qualifying. I had spent the evening reviewing my videos and data, so I was fairly pleased to record an improved time of 1:58.9 (7 tenths faster than the day before) in qualifying; but only good enough for P7.

See that lap here:

It was another exciting race. This time, however, Liam was the victim of a collision after a prototype passed him thinking it was under yellow. That driver tried to give the position back by slowing down suddenly with Liam behind him already. If you didn’t know, a prototype will always win under braking against a car without ABS. The result is as follows...doh.

I had a terrific battle with George Kibilov in the SGK Performance/WORKS E46 BMW M3. We were basically nose to tail from green flag to checkered. We ran into out of class cars and a few yellow flags. In the end, I was unable to capitalize and get around him. But it was certainly not for lack of trying. Fun times! 

FYI, for some odd reason my AIM didn’t sync until the 2nd half of the race, so unfortunately the video starts from after I let Adrian Mulhall (red bull livery E36) by since he is in another class (ST2):

Unfortunately, my AIM dash wasn't syncing correctly so it only started recording during the 2nd half of the race. What an exciting battle with George Kibilov (grey E46)! We were nose to tail from green flag to checkered. Driver: Tom Tang

So, what’s next? Well, since we were one of the lucky ones and “Heidi” kept her nose clean; not a whole lot. We will tackle the following items before Round 6 in September at Sonoma:

  • Finally install the CAE shifter when it arrives (was on back-order from Germany) 

  • Rebuild all 4 brake calipers and change to new rotors

  • Modify our fuel jugs and filler neck inlet in preparation for the 4 hours of Sonoma (October)

  • Fresh Ravenol fluids

  • Alignment

  • New Toyo tires (Proxes RR)

We can’t wait to get back out there! A huge thank you to all of our partners for supporting our program!