Technically, the Tire Rack Time Trials Nationals powered by Hagerty doesn’t start until Friday. Don’t tell that to all of the participants that showed up at NCM Motorsports Park on Thursday, however.
Thanks to Holley Performance, the track is open for all of those participating in the second annual SCCA Championship event. Each driver is welcome to run a series of test sessions on track, and most are taking advantage of the free track time.
But it’s more than just testing, tuning and turning laps. Thanks to SCCA’s partners, participants had a chance to learn how to test. NCM and Andy Pilgrim, KONI, Hawk Performance, APEX Pro and Racers360 all have valuable presentations on the Thursday schedule.
Each session is or was streamed live on Grassroots Motorsports’ Facebook page, and can be found there as an archived video.
Take A (Virtual) Walk On The Wild Side
There aren’t many people who have more miles at NCM than resident pro driver Andy Pilgrim. There definitely aren’t any who have more quantity and quality than the 2005 SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge GT driver’s champion.
That’s a lengthy list of qualifications, which is why more than 85 participants sat in for an hour-long discussion on the quickest path around the track’s 3.2 miles.
Pilgrim, armed with in-car video of a stock Porsche Cayman S and more than 30 years of professional racing experience, paused at each and every corner to spill all of his knowledge of the fastest way around the track.
It was a lot of information for many to take in, and elicited audible gasps at a couple of moments as drivers realized the potential that they have been leaving behind. It was an eye-opening lesson for many on the thought process of a professional race car driver.
Shock-ing Developments And Slowing Down
To paraphrase a popular 1990’s infomercial, Lee Grimes isn’t just an expert – he’s also a participant. The Automotive Project Manager for KONI North America, Grimes has been an SCCA Club Racer and autocrosser for 30 years. This weekend, he’s on the entry list once again.
He also spent his morning sharing information to a captive audience on how to go faster with the help of suspension tuning and shocks, using theory indoors during his hour-long presentation and Q-and-A and moving outdoors to the KONI set up in the paddock for questions that are more specific to an individual car.
Grimes outlined the suspension’s tools, beginning with tires and traveling through springs, shock absorbers and struts and sway bars, through the importance of the alignment. Identifying how these all work together
“Each one of these feed back and try to optimize the grip in the tires,” Grimes said.
That was followed by Taylor Allen from Hawk Brakes, who discussed the technology of braking on the track.
Allen’s discussion was how to extend the life of your pads during a session, both during the Time Trials Nationals and in other racing options. Allen gave a good overview of Hawk products available for track use as well as street use.
It’s not black magic or pixie dust – it’s science (and maybe a tiny bit of art). Both KONI and Hawk will be on site to share their knowledge all weekend long.
SCCA Time Trials are motorsport events where drivers challenge themselves and their vehicles to achieve a personal best time on a full road racing circuit or segment of track. Offering an easy, fun entry into motorsports, vehicles used at SCCA® Time Trials range from unmodified road cars to highly modified creations showcasing advanced automotive engineering techniques.