First test day

This is our fourth year and still there are countless unknowns. The Mountain is famous for throwing challenges at competitors. On top of that, the D2TT is a brand new car and the D1PPS has some engine tuning changes that need to be verified and/or adjusted.  So going up the Mountain at 4 am still entailed some anxiety.
The location of the cabin we’re renting is indeed convenient and as a result we can get almost half hour extra sleep each day.  That means a lot.  Testing on the top section today and the van is challenged to pull the loaded trailer up a 7% grade to 13,070 feet.  But it’s the van that can.  Full throttle at 15-17mph through the switchbacks, taking the racing line to keep the momentum. I even told the crew ‘that’s how I drive – FLAT OUT’.  Have to say the E150 has been and is an awesome tow vehicle for us.

Setting up as always in the dark, but now LED technology eliminates the need for a generator.

It’s a now familiar scene that changes quickly as the sun rises.

We are pitted next to David and his D2TT, so I get a few shots of the cars side by side.

The D2TT with the graphics looks like the proper race car it is.

We have two goals today – to assess the condition of the road and to get a baseline for how the engine tune is working at this altitude.  The road is bumpy.  In particular, there is a large bump near the end by Cog Cut that has made for close calls for a few cars, and some bodywork damage for at least one.  Not us, thankfully, but Rodney had a really scary spin – here’s a quick video.  Just as well that he doesn’t have mirrors.

UPDATE: here’s an external view video.

Neither driver was pushing very hard today and there are many fast cars here, so we weren’t the fastest. But in the game, with a best of 2:57 for both.  And we got some good data.  Now back down to the cabin to work on the mods.  Tomorrow is qualifying on the bottom section.

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