Saturday - May 14, 2005
Great Lakes High Speed Series 2005 - Autobahn Country Club
Here it is three weeks after my first driving school and I am on the track again. But this time it's in my own Z06 and on a track closer to home. In fact it is a brand new track built out by the NASCAR track in Joliet, actually two tracks that can be combined into one track. www.autobahncountryclub.com
I've done what preparation I could in that time. I've purchased a helmet with the correct rating. I asked Rick at www.RickAnthonyMotorSports.net to do a thorough once over on my Z06, and do one of his famous $50 oil changes (plus he overfilled it a quart in preparation for the track). He also completely bled my brake system and replaced the fluid with some high performance, high temperature fluid.
I went out with a few www.CorvetteForum.com Chicago Crew friends and we joined the Great Lakes High Speed Series. My car passed tech inspection easily but my car was modified so I could not run in the stock class. I wasn't worried about lap times, I just wanted to get some track time in.
When we got there, we were surprised to see a new C6 Z06 mule pull into the parking lot at the track. It was driven down from Michigan for the day, but it was not going on the track. What a sharp looking car, and what a lucky chance to see this car in the flesh far before it being released.
"MTI 427" Jimmy was there with his Electron Blue '02 Z06, his car looks very similar to mine, although he has a Kooks header system and some different cat backs, and some Nitto RII's for tires. His car is also much louder than mine! We figured we would continue with that being similar scheme, so he was number 17 for the weekend, while I took number 71. We went out together for the first test and tune session, he wanted to follow me to learn the line. I told I have never been here before, but he was convinced I would find it faster because I just got back from driving school. I figured it's good to have a friend on your six, so out we went on the North track for the first time. You could tell the track was new, the surface of the track was so smooth. We took a warm up lap and then started picking it up lap by lap. Next thing we knew the 20 minute session was over and took a cool down lap and back into the pits. It was all smiles for sure, this track is a blast!
We enjoyed another 20 minute test and tune, where I worked on going faster and smoother. I find turn 1 sort of awkward on this track as it is just a little bend before a very tight over 90 degree turn 2 after the fastest straight on the track. I watch good guys take 1 without apparent braking and late break hard into 2, I just cant find the right line or cajones for that move. The rest of the track is a spirited drive in third, with a shift to forth on the straight which I was regularly seeing well over 110 mph.
Next it was into the timed sessions. We left the pit backwards, took a U turn onto the track and took a flying start through the start / finish line. One hot lap and then take another U turn on the track and exit, it sounds weird but it worked with the layout of this track.
We got three timed runs in, Jimmy and I compared times and managed to out do each others time on each consecutive run. I found it fun to be out on the track by myself, trying to go as fast as I can and make as little mistakes as possible. They had a score board up after each session so you could see how you were doing as well as others. I thought we did OK for our first outing at the Autobahn Country Club.
The Michigan club that was sponsoring this event had a BBQ and Sam "the Kid" and I hung around for some burgers and chili, all the food was good. Jimmy had to run to take car of some business obligations. Someone said the track was going to be open for one more 20 minute test and tune session, and Sam and I looked at each other, smiled and said lets go! This was a very enjoyable session for me, I was comfortable with the track by now, it wasn't crowded, and I was letting the car hang out a bit. The Z06 feels in its element on the track, the car is meant to be driven like this. The session ended and we took a cool down lap and exited to the pits.
Jimmy called on the way home and said I-55 was a parking lot and we would do good to avoid it. I mentioned this to Sam, and he followed me out of there on backroads after we stopped for some gas. I went through most of a full tank of gas on the track in a few hours. I need to get home and relax a bit, and then give the car a good once over, as we have another day at the track tomorrow!
But for now, here are some more pictures that I took today.