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!