For the last couple of days/weeks we didn’t see our families and had no social life, just to make the NSX was ready for Time Attack. And we did not make it. For a still, unknown, reason we couldn’t calibrate the oil temperature and pressure sensors and our dyno session was unfortunately cancelled. After all the hard work everybody put in the car this was a big disappointment. Even though we had our share of setbacks the past couple of years, you never get used to it.
Luckily my mom offered me to take her (almost stock) S2000 as long as I would return the car in one piece! So I could enter the Semi-Pro Street class. My dad also entered the same class with his NSX, so it was father vs son.
On Monday morning we headed to Assen at around 6:30. At 8:00 (fuel stop included) we arrived at the track, right on time for scrutineering. With two almost stock cars, this was quickly done and we could make our way to our pitbox to set-up our stuff.
At 12:00 our first training session was scheduled. Together with my dad I went on the track. The car felt good. Very stable and predictable. In the rear I had Federal 595 and in front Toyo T1R. The outside temperature was getting higher and higher and this affected my grip. The car was understeering heavily and I missed almost every apex. With a disappointing 2:15 I returned to the pitlane to reduce the pressure in my front tires. This didn’t do much, so I returned and decided to wait for qualification to give it another go.
Qualification was due at 15:30. This was a good opportunity to catch up on the short night and go for a power nap. Meanwhile, storms and heavy rainfall were hitting big parts of the country. And it seemed that it was coming our way as well. Dark clouds we already appearing and in the distance you could see big lightning storms. Everybody was checking their weather apps to see what we could expect. At 15:30 there was still no rain, so my dad and I stuck to our plan. Go out for a quick warm-up lap, set a quick lap, and return to the pits. This kind of worked, but the quick lap was not that quick. I set a 2:13.xx. At the moment I was 12th or 13th, but only the top 10 would go into the finals. I went for another quick lap. The car was all over the place, it went from under- to oversteer. I was constantly fighting to keep the car on track. I had one free lap, no traffic, so I decided that this was the one. The car was still a hand full, but my laptimer indicated that I was over approximately 1.5 seconds faster than my fastest lap. And only two more corners to go. During the briefing they said that Ramshoek was the corner that separated the men from the boys. No guts no glory, so I lifted throttle, went back on it and with 180 km/h I entered Ramshoek. I guess the men had better tires than I had.. Just as I was about the hit the exit point I lost all grip and spun. I managed to turn the car back around, took some grass with me. No glory this time.. A bit disappointed I came back to the pits, covered in grass. But luck was still on my side. A couple of drivers were to fast and even with a time penalty didn’t meet the minimum time (2:12) and got disqualified. This meant I moved to the 9th position and had a spot in the finals! Meanwhile my dad went out for a fast lap and also managed to qualify for the finals.
It was sink or swim. I had to shave off a little over 1 second so make it to the podium. I knew my tires weren’t holding up well with this weather. The plan was to do a fast warm up lap, to not make the tires to hot and then do a smooth lap. No big risks, nothing crazy. Just before the start I closed the roof. You never know, it’s all in the little things. Already in the third corner of the warm up lap my compartment opened, and it was still full… My iPod, papers, tape and other stuff went flying through the car. Then my iPhone got too hot and my laptime didn’t work anymore.. I managed to get some stuff away from under my pedals, but I was already close to the straight for my hot lap. Again, no guts no glory! Go! My tires felt good, I had grip. I entered Rustenhoek with a bit too much speed and felt the rear end sliding, but I managed to catch it. I had more speed at Hoge Heiden then before and was headed to Ramshoek with 190 km/h. Was I going to take the risk again? I decided to play it safe, just touching the brakes. I had no laptimer, so I had no clue if I set a good time. When I came back I only saw smiling faces: 2:12.017. This was the best time in the finals and our first victory was a fact! My dad had no rear brakes in the finals and the NSX was oversteering badly. This meant he wasn’t able to set a good time. It would have been great to share the podium with him. Next time
Thanks mom, for using your car! You might need new tires soon…
Thanks Dad for the support and encouragement,
Thanks Jeroen for all the hours/days spent in the garage and support on the track,
Thanks Raoul, Alex and the San-Toso Crew,
Thanks Leonie for letting me do all this!
And a big thank you to my sponsors for your support and patience!