Sep 28, 2014

Thompson Speedway's Members Track Day | 8/11/14 | Part I

What an eventful racing season it has been for SHG this summer. Starting off with Mike taking his Honda S2000 for a shakedown track day on June 21st at Thompson following its winter build up and now with Evan following suit behind the wheel of his Civic Si, SoHonda Garage continues the vehicle and driver development program at our conveniently located home circuit, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

It's easy to get carried away with the car hobby but it is summer after all and setting some time aside to enjoy it with friends is just as important. The night prior to TSMP's Members track day, we had a night out at Seamus' pad with the girls grilling some steak and fish while the boys got a look around his workspace.

A plethora of Honda parts take up the majority of space in the one car garage as his main focus has been elsewhere in order to establish his bankroll to get the damaged 95 Honda Integra Type R in the bodyshop so even while the project remains mostly untouched, the wheels are figuratively speaking, still rolling.

For those who aren't acquainted with the story behind this car, it's an early production DC2 from late 95', in fact one of the first few that were ever built. Imported from Japan as a pristine 22k mile (or 36,000 km) ITR, it wound up totaled by the previous owner after a car on the opposite lane hit it during its first week of ownership in American soil after being imported just the week prior.

A real shame given the pedigree of the car but aside from the passenger rear which took all of the damage, everything else was there for the most part and so Seamus brought it upon himself to bring it back from the graveyard as only the very bravest of Honda guys would. Now that a trusty bodyshop has it in possession, it won't be too long before this DC2 can roam the streets of New England, perhaps as early as Spring 2015 if all it goes according to schedule.

He's got a few other toys to hold him over until then like his daily driven 07' Honda Fit, or for shorter distances, an Ichishima san autographed white/red Honda Ruckus.

We headed home after dinner to get a full nights rest at no other place than Evan's own spot which is probably the biggest advantage of having Thompson Speedway being so closely located. No longer is there a need for extra travel expenditures such as hotel stays, multiple tank fill ups, dining out or additional time off from work to name a few.

Better yet, having a cup of decaf coffee after the sun has risen and just the way we like it, is priceless in and of itself. Track days start early enough and are very long themselves so any extra sleep time is well received.

Some of that extra time was used for doing a quick detail job as Evan likes to keep the EP3 looking well groomed at all times if you will. Race cars don't have to be dirty creatures after all...

Arriving at TSMP looking like a bag of money! Ready for a double dose of Pure Honda Sports :grin:

Because Theresa gets members privileges as an employee of TSMP, we of course had the courtesy garage spot for the entire members day, a standard amenity of all TSMP Drivers Club members.

Another well known club from New England was also there for some track time, Kaizen Tuning. 

Bringing out their awesome Evo X time attack race car that's loaded with quality parts and more importantly custom fabricated pieces which is typically a dead giveaway of a proper purpose driven build.

Race Doge making a rather comical appearance in the livery. How can you not love it!

I'm not sure what to do with mine either! I guess I should just keep typing haha...

It was interesting to see the diversity of the folks in attendance. From full blown racing teams like Kaizen who compete in sanctioned events, to a father and son racing effort on the occasional weekend, all just in the name of motorsports. It's "run what you brung" as they say and there's nothing wrong with that because why would there be? It's a sport and participating is most important in this non-competitive setting.

Another advantage of being a club member, is the exclusive track access. With only a couple dozen cars, it was decided to split them into 2 run groups; advanced and intermediate/novice. In other words very light traffic out on the 1.7 mile course. Above, Joe Ascoli is seen heading out for his first session in the Varis widebodied Evo X.

While track days here in the Northeast are normally split into 5 run groups, running a dual group setup means that track time is very plentiful and so not everyone was in a rush to get out just yet.

Meanwhile Evan got to bleeding off the tires to establish baseline tire pressures, a rather straightforward procedure...

Theresa on the other hand brushed the cobwebs off from one of the resident TDI Cup Jettas to show Zac Moseley the track layout over a few laps. If the name rings a bell, it's because it should. Little did I know at the time, but Zac is actually a co-founder of Classic Car Club Manhattan, a prestigious private group whose goal was to create a network of classics and exotics for its 300+ members to enjoy without the hassle of ownership such as maintenance and storage primarily. 

It's difficult enough to own a Kia in NYC, nevermind a GT40 or a 61' Porsche 911T so you can imagine where the need for such a club stems from. Zac has also been featured many times in the /DRIVE network videos on Youtube which is probably why it felt as if I had known him from somewhere but couldn't quite grasp where from. An autograph would have been acquired otherwise! Maybe I'll stop by next time I'm in the city. :wink: 

Zac wasn't a slouch behind the wheel either, he was going very well out there, in a car he didn't know, and in a course he didn't know. Hats off to you sir!

Fortune Auto 510's keeping the body roll in check while Evan muscled his way around the bridge hairpin, a tricky corner to exit from while entering the oval.

Subaru STI taking advantage of the boost and AWD to propel onto the oval stretch with great speed and line. A very useful drivetrain layout for this circuit it seems.

There are various driving lines that can be used at Thompson and from the feedback that I've heard from the guys, it takes quite a few laps of trial and error to feel out the ideal line for optimum balance and time. Definitely a challenging circuit to extract consistent times from.

Next up was T's turn. Sporting new artwork on her helmet done by Indocil Art, she adjusted the seat for the most favorable driving position before heading out. Driver geometry is often overlooked but it doesn't take much effort to fine tune and is one of those things that does in fact make a difference.

Other members were having a blast too. There were no accidents or on track equipment failures which is always a great relief for everyone. Especially track officials!

Now with extensive pavement work done over the past few months to increase the coefficient of grip, TSMP has become much better to drive in general. Before the grip wasn't quite there but this time around following some recent work, it has improved a substantial amount which naturally increases the drivers confidence for a more joyful experience.

This "street trim" Evo was pushing 400+ horses. When you hear someone give a car that moniker, that's when you know it's fast. Borderline unstreetable!

I believe it's a customers vehicle from Kaizen Tuning as well. Not too shabby, not too shabby at all...

This one for sure was as you can tell from the license plate frame. Those guys mean business!

Walking further down the garage, I had a nice chat with the owner of this Camaro SS about how much fun it is. Just notice how happy he looks in the background, his face says it all! It's easy to see why since it's such an excellent dual duty car that can be driven in factory spec without changing much of anything aside from most likely brake pads and fluid.

Menacing looks too, not just raw performance.

Matched by a well upholstered interior by combining high end materials such as leather and alcantara. It's definitely a lot of car and very American of course.

This Porsche's interior however gives it a run for its money. You really can't go wrong with such an exotic tan color palette.

Before we knew it, lunch time had creeped up so Evan and I got right down to business.

The complimentary members lunch was incredible to say the least. The main course was a sole fish dish...

with delicious yellow rice...

and delicious zucchini as well...

I wanted to leave some room for salad but my plate was full as is but it sure looked bomb!

These days I find myself avoiding soda whenever possible but this was not one of those times. A bottle of Coke was hard to resist on this decently hot afternoon, particularly because of the decaf coffee from earlier not giving off the energy punch that helps my metabolism kick into high gear. There was also regular water and Pellegrino sparkling water available as another option.

Yeah, I'm seriously not used to this! Let's not even mention the tray of chocolate chip cookies they had. It was a scrumptious meal and just looking at these photos again makes my mouth just water like Homer Simpson's...

Anyways, this wraps it up for Part I. Check back soon for Part II with tons of on track shots and the remainder of the event!