Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Updated 2007 RaceFAAN Schedule

Here is the 2007 RaceFAAN schedule. These are the BMW CCA Club Racing events that I am planning on attending, starting with Virginia in April and ending with New Hampshire in October.

2007 RaceFAAN Race Schedule & Results:
April 13-15 Virginia International Raceway
(Danville, VA)
VIR Website / Event Results / RaceFAAN Event Summary / Photos
June 4-5 Lime Rock Park (Lakeville, CT)
LRP Website / Event Results / RaceFAAN Event Summary / Photos
July 20 - 22 Calabogie Motorsports Park (Calabogie, ON, Canada)
CMP Website / Event Results
August 10-12 Le Circuit Mont Tremblant (Mt Tremblant, QC, Canada)
LeCircuit Website / Event Results / In-Car Video
September 28-30 Watkins Glen (Watkins Glen, NY)
WGI Website
--> Click here to send email to Mike if you want to attend the Watkins Glen event!
October 27-28 New Hampshire International Speedway (Loudon, NH)
NHIS Website

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tremblant Race Summary

Well, unfortunately they say that racing luck has to end sometime, and my lucky streak of no major mechanical issues (since Texas in March of 2005) came to an end this weekend. Unfortunately we had a material failure in the engine that caused a 'dropped valve' and destroyed my engine while I had about a 6-8 second lead on the competition. Too bad - but "that's racing" - and at leat i got a few nice days with my wife in Tremblant!

It was a beautiful weekend in the Laurentian mountains of Quebec, with my wife in attendance. The car was running well and I qualified ahead of the only other Spec E36 car in attendance (co-driven by Fred deNapoli and John Cloutier). In the Friday "fun" race I was 2 seconds per lap ahead of Fred and won handily. Unfortunately, he also slipped in some oil at the end of turn 10 and hit the wall all by himself - just one of those "racing incidents".

John was in the other Spec E36 for Saturday's qualifying and race. I qualified about 2 seconds and 4 places faster than him, but by turn 4 he was right behind me and as I got a bit blocked by a slower car he was able to motor by me going into turn 7. He overcooked the turn though, and went off into the grass - he kept his foot in it and actually came back onto the track ahead of me since I had had to take a wide line and evasive action! Here’s a quick video of the first three laps of the Saturday feature sprint at Tremblant this weekend. I am the camera car and John Cloutier is in the white #214 Spec E36 car.


In the first three laps you will see about 4 lead changes between us, one off-track excursion, one *lurid* slide over the hill at turns 1 & 2 (pucker factor!) and a ton of fun. This is what Spec E36 is all about – imagine what it will be like at the Glen with 6+ cars on the track at once!!

After John fell behind the KP and IS cars, I managed to pull out a gap of about a second per lap, until my motor let go with about a 6-8 second lead. I was able to finish the race on 5 cylinders but finished almost last as I had zero acceleration. Once we found out we had basically zero compression in the #4 cylinder, we packed up the car and headed home. I've already located a new engine and will have it back in the car for the Glen. Congrats to John on the wins - but I have the class record and will really look forward to racing him in the future!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Calabogie Race Summary

Wow. All I can say is WOW - Calabogie Motorsports Park is amazing. It's a brand new track in Ontario, about 1.5 hours west of Ottawa, in the middle of nowhere. An incredible 3 mile track with 22 turns - it's very technical and FUN. Since it's hours from everywhere and about 3-4 hours from the American border, we decided not to run a RaceFAAN event. But I did well and even though I didn't have any in-class competition, I held up the Spec E36 banner and flew the RaceFAAN flag high.

Friday was a torrential rain storm - we're now 3 for 3 in rain events this year! Interestingly, it's a new track with a high-tech asphalt surface so it provided tons of wet grip - and the rain line is the same as the dry line! (for now...) Practice was good and i was able to pick up the track quickly, so that by the time race 1 came around I was ready to run. All weekend long the car ran beautifully, and I was able to feel how the car ran in different conditions. However, the Spec E36 tires were slippery and unpredictable, so I did a bit of off-roading at different times. More than 5 people came to me after the races and said "man, it looks like you're having fun out there!" And I was - just trying to keep it on the track. It turned out to be an almost incident-free weekend - as a racer I can tell you there's nothing better than rolling your car back onto the trailer after a race weekend with no damage.

So I came away from the weekend safe and sound with three (unopposed) class wins, but with a real desire to understand whether everyone in Spec E36 was having these issues or just me. Stay tuned!!

Many thnaks to Louis Payant from the Ottawa chapter who championed this race and made sure we could put on this event. Without him, it would never have happened. Also, thanks to the steards who volunteered their time!!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Pictures from Lime Rock event

Lime Rock race summary

Wow - what an amazing experience. Not only was it a successful race weekend, but it was incredibly gratifying to have so many wonderful families come out for the race to cheer us on and contribute to FAAN. We had more than 50 people come to the event - a pretty incredible turnout! And all of the kids (28 or so of them) had a great time meeting the race drivers, seeing the races and actually getting rides in the race cars around the track. We also raised over $1500 for FAAN! Special thanks to HMS Motorsport, UUC Motorwerks, Turner Motorsport, VAC Motorsports and the TireRack for their generous prize contributions. I was very proud to fly the FAAN flag, that's for sure.

The race weekend was a success, with the #2 car coming away with all three class wins, and the fast lap of the weekend in Spec E36. There were three cars competing in class (30 in my race group), and in the torrential downpours on Monday I wasn't holding out a lot of hope. I raced "my race" and stayed ahead of one of my Spec E36 competitors (Tim Smith) while the other Spec E36 car (John Cloutier) checked out. Unfortunately for John, he got hit going into turn 1 and couldn't finish the race, so I held on to my position ahead of Tim and ended up first in class.

Tuesday morning dawned as a beautiful dry day, and in race 2 I turned around an 11th place starting position, emerging in 5th place overall after turn 1 and 4th place overall at the end of the first lap. I ended up finishing in 3rd overall, with a 1/2 second better lap time than John and a few seconds better than Tim. It was Tim's first time at Lime Rock though - next time he'll be faster.

Just when it looked like we'd get away with a nice day, the storm clouds rolled in about 1 hour before the afternoon feature race and it started pouring buckets with fierce rain. I'd guess that an inch of rain fell in about 30 minutes, and just as soon as it was there it was gone, leaving us with a drying track and iffy weather. I went out on a wet setup to be safe, but looking around the grid it was clear that almost everyone was on slicks. At the start, my treaded Yokohama tires performed amazingly, and I was in the overall race lead going into turn 1! By the time lap one was done I had about a 3-4 second gap on the field. I could absolutely hear and feel all of the kids and their families cheering for me each time I went past start-finish in the lead. However, as the track dried my tires overheated, and the field came back to me. After about 10 laps I was caught and couldn't do anything - I was sliding all over the place. As my friend Eric came up to try to pass me in his beautiful J-stock M3 painted in Gulf colors, he misjudged how slippery the inside passing line was and he hit me in the right rear corner, and we both pirouetted off the track. Luckily we both were able to drive through the mud and back on track, but it was a close call for sure. I finished in 4th overall, completing a class sweep for Spec E36 for the weekend. Muddy but safe.

When I came back into the pits with the car covered in mud, I was surrounded by all of the families that had come for the RaceFAAN event. We all had a nice time talking about safety and managing risk and food allergies, and the kids all had a chance to climb into the race car and make "vroom vroom" noises. Then one of the parents suggested that all of the kids help "wash off" the mud, so everyone grabbed a rag and made the car sparkle. We all took some nice pictures, and then it was time to have everyone get rides in the race cars. Lots of race drivers and instructors had volunteered to put in passenger seats to get rides for the kids. Everone who wanted a ride got one - it was amazing!! I will upload some great pictures - this was a really fun and gratifying portion of the event. At the end of the day, some kids even asked me and some of the other race drivers to sign their t-shirts - it was a fantastic experience.

I hope that all of the families came away with a great memory of the event. I got so many nice comments from then afterwards - one parent wrote:
"I am sure that you know as a parent of food allergic children, [my son] is always seperated from the other kids, he always has something different to eat than the others but this is the first time that [he] has been singled out in a positive way because of his food allergies. It was very meaningful to all of us, an we want you to know how very grateful we are that there are such good people out there looking out to brighten the lives of some kids who don't have it so easy."

I couldn't agree more and it felt so wonderful to be a part of this event. I am really looking forward to the Watkins Glen event - it should be fantastic!!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Lime Rock Event Details - June 4th and 5th in Lakeville, CT

Lime Rock’s tag line is “The Road Racing Center of the East” – and it is really a fun, fast, family-friendly place to be! It’s a beautiful location and is truly “parklike”. I’m really looking forward to my second race of 2007 and the second RaceFAAN fundraiser, and I’m happy that you would like to attend. This is an amateur racing event so it will be a very low-key, family-friendly and easy event to attend, and there is no cost for spectators, even thought you have almost unlimited access to the paddock and grounds! Hopefully there will be many families there with kids (of all ages) that have food allergies, so it will be a nice chance for kids to see that there are others dealing with the same issues they are. I have already received registration requests from 25 families so I’m sure it will be a great event.

There is no prize money to the racers so we all do it for fun, but during the race we all want to do our best and put on a good show for the spectators. There should be more than 50 race cars in the BMW races, so there will be a lot of great cars to look at in the paddock and watch on the race track. Assuming the weather is nice, this should be a great event!


Please reply to this email to let me know which who will be attending, which day(s) you will attend, and if you would like your child to get a (slow) ride in a race car on Tuesday. I especially need the names and ages of all children who will get rides so I can ensure there are enough cars & people on hand to give the rides.

Event Schedule:

Here are the scheduled events for Monday 6/4 and Tuesday 6/5. Tuesday will be the only day that people can get “parade lap” rides on the track, so if you are interested in this, please let me know ahead of time so I can set them up, and please plan accordingly. Overall, I recommend coming on Tuesday as we will be doing the majority of the activities on that day. Also, you can feel free to come up early – in the morning or lunchtime – as there will always be cars on track and different sessions going on.

Monday June 4th – afternoon schedule:
Approx. 1:00 PM – Qualifying sessions
Approx. 3:00 PM – BMW Races

Tuesday June 5th – afternoon schedule:
Approx. 1:00 PM – BMW Races
Approx. 3:00 PM – “Parade Lap” rides (require prior registration with me)

What to expect when you arrive at the track:

When you get to the track gate, you will be asked to sign a waiver. If you are bringing your children you will need to sign an additional “minor release waiver” for your children. This is standard policy at all race tracks I have ever been to, and all people entering the track will need to sign. Once you enter the track, go over the bridge and follow the signs to Paddock A.

Once you get to the paddock area at the bottom of the hill, pit lane is on your left and the food stand is on the right. The food stand serves burgers, hot dogs, chicken, fries, etc. I have never asked them about their food handling policies so I would suggest you bring your own food if you have any concerns. Next to the restaurant are stairs up to the Infield Spectator Are (see the attached map). This is a great place to watch the races as you have a clear view of turns 1, 2, 3 and 4. There is also an ATM, race shop and picnic tables in this area.

My trailer will be located down further in the paddock, after you pass the main buildings on the pit straight. I have a white trailer and a red, white and blue BMW race car and will be flying an American flag with a FAAN flag below it. Please come by and say hello and check in with me so I know you’re there. You should be able to find a good place to park your car and can wander around looking at cars and talking with drivers freely. Everyone loves what they’re doing so they will all be very willing to talk and share.

It shouldn’t be too loud in the paddock or watching the races, so you likely won’t need ear protection unless you’re unusually sensitive - my 5 year old daughter has come to several races and has had no problems with it. Wear something comfortable to walk in – you will definitely spend time on your feet walking through the paddock. If you want to move around when you’re at the track to see the races from different corners, you are able to move from spectator area to spectator area at will. See the attached map for details.

Directions to and information about Lime Rock Park (Lakeville, CT):

Lime Rock Park is a 1.6 mile long road racing course with 7 turns. It is celebrating its 50th anniversary as the “Road Racing Center of the East.” It features a ½ mile front straightaway, the famous left-hander/right-hander combination, and an “Uphill” and “Diving” turns that test a driver’s skill and courage. There are good directions to the track on the Lime Rock website at http://www.limerock.com/ . The track is located in the Northwest corner of CT, and is accessible from all directions – click on this link to get directions from the Lime Rock website: http://www.limerock.com/content/track-directions

Click on this link to get directions from your address to the track via Mapquest:

Donations to FAAN

While this is a completely free event and no donation is necessary, any and all donations to FAAN are appreciated. I will be conducting a raffling off shirts, hats, sweatshirts and a number of other things that have been donated by HMS Motorsport, VAC Motorsports, Turner Motorsports, The TireRack and other organizations.

If you would like to make a donation please bring a check and make it out to FAAN, or feel free to donate through the FAAN website, and please make sure to put “RaceFAAN” in the comments box when making your donation. Anyone who donates will be entered automatically in the raffle/drawings for the different items. Please see http://www.racefaan.com/ for more information on the RaceFAAN program or to see the fundraising progress. Thank you for your participation and support!

If you have any questions any time between now and the event, please feel free to email me at mike@racefaan.com or call me on my cell phone at 617-797-6222. I look forward to seeing you and your family at Lime Rock!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

More pictures from VIR!

Here are some action pictures from the VIR race...

Beautiful weather on Friday and Saturday....

And in the pouring rain on Sunday: