Oh dear… another season where what I thought was going to happen and what actually did happen took one look at each other and ran in opposite directions. Still, and based on why the season went the way it did as much as how it went, I’m feeling pretty good about next year. (Yes, I know I’ve said that before and been very, very wrong. So? Hope springs eternal!)
Looking back at 2007
Much like 2006, the 2007 season was more sparse than I would’ve liked. Unlike 2006, though, only about half the races I missed were due to bugs with the M3, with the others being missed because of work obligations. Since work was clearly getting in the way of my racing, I “retired” from Microsoft just a week after canceling my trip to the double-race week-end (plus special BMW-only race!) in Spokane. (I say “retired” because I was right back in my old group a couple months later as a contractor.) Despite withdrawing from yet another race in Portland due to insurmountable problems with the car, I had a decent couple of races at Pacific Raceways in early August (despite the unfortunate events of the week-end), and an even better outing at Portland a few weeks later. Hopefully, my jinx at PIR is now broken and I can continue to enjoy racing at what might be my favorite venue.
I also had a blast at the 8-hour race in Portland, held this year in March instead of October, where a reunion of the 2005 enduro team saw us finish second in class and second overall. Very satisfying experience, even though I was the slowest of the three drivers again. While my intention to race the M3 at the 4-hour race in October went unrealized, due to money and availability issues with getting a new (larger) fuel cell, Eric and I ran quite well in some very trying conditions to finish second in class and fourth overall, as well as being the highest-finishing Porsche (good for a contingency prize).
On the whole, I’d have to say 2007 was moderately successful. I had a great time and did reasonably well at the enduros in Eric’s 968. I think I’ve finally gotten the kinks worked out of the M3, although putting in a new fuel cell (occurring as I write this report) might raise a few new issues, and I had a great time at the two race week-ends I was able to see to completion. I’ve made changes to my work situation to ensure–I hope–that I don’t have to cancel any more races because of silly obligations (don’t ask). Finally, and this might be the most important thing, I never lost my enthusiasm for racing this year, despite several opportunities to do so.
Looking forward to 2008
There are some exciting and interesting possibilities on tap for 2008:
First up is that Eric and I will be running the M3 at the 4-hour enduro in March. Unlike the 15-gallon cell the car came with, the new cell will let us run far longer than 65-minute stints. Barring any mechanical issues, and despite a lot of new competition in the P1 class, we should do well.
Second is the VERY exciting prospect of something like 6–8 cars in the SPM class (most of whom are also running ITE) that are turning lap times within 1–2 seconds of each other. We all seem to get along off the track, we respect each other on the track, and we run a wide variety of cars… well, okay, that last part isn’t true, as they’re all either BMWs or Porsches, with the exception of Wayne Monahan’s Mitsubishi Evo VIII. Still, there have been a few excited conversations about the races we might have in 2008, now that everyone’s at least an Area driver and most of the kinks have been worked out of our cars.
The third item is the prospect of running a race or two in an open-wheel car this season. I’ve talked this over with a couple car owners that are willing to rent to a “tin-top” driver, the costs are quite reasonable, and the License Director even seems willing to let me run in the open-wheel Novice race if I choose. I’ve had a test fitting in one of the cars (boy, are those things different from what I’m used to!) and I’m hoping to work in at least one race next year.