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SPEED GT 2006 - Laguna Seca
Boos Performance enters and finishes it's first SPEED GT Race!
Article written by webmaster Wade
Monterey CA - Sunday October 22nd ended the 2006 season of the SCCA SPEED GT. Promising one of the largest grids of the entire 2006 season, the final race was well attended attracting 34 teams from across the country to run at the world famous Laguna Seca race track.
Among the competitors was mid-west's own John Boos of Boos Performance. This well known Minnesota driver was making his debut at one of the toughest, slickest tracks in circuit.
Starting in the spring of 2006, Boos Performance started to build from the frame up a their very own SPEED GT Corvette Z06. Based on a 2001 Z06 frame, the Corvette underwent a massive transformation from normal street car, to race-ready track car.
The goal for the shop was to get the car ready for the SPEED GT at Road America. Pressed for time the team headed out to Road America with an untested car, hoping all of the years experience John had at the track would make up for the lack of testing. Unfortunately an incident during testing in Canada corner damaged the car enough that it needed to head back to the shop to be repaired properly.
Over the next several weeks, the car was repaired and run at a number of mid-west tracks like Brainerd, Gingerman, and Road America, to work out the bugs that go along with setting up a brand new car. After several successful outings, John felt the car was ready to race in the final SPEED GT at Laguna.
Never running the line at the track, a couple of practice laps unveiled a few of the tracks "secrets". First the team discovered that a hill at the end of a high speed straight helps to unload the rear-end of the car, which was quickly fixed with an additional notch of rear-wing.
Next came the problem that would plague the team through race day...brakes. The track was newly resurfaced, and with the new asphalt came new rumble strips. These are the strips used to round corners, and when driven over would they shake the car hard during heavy braking. This caused what most teams describe as a "floating" caliper or a caliper that can't keep the pads on the rotor.
In the paddock there were plenty of home-made solutions to the rumble strip problem, but not enough time to test each one. Solutions ranged from additional springs to different calipers.
Qualifying came and each driver on the track wanted to get at least 1 clean lap so they could turn a fast lap. 34 cars on a small track really doesn't allow for a clean lap and after 20 minutes of qualifying, John qualified 27th.
Rules for drivers new to the SPEED GT forbid a driver from making contact with another car. Basically this means the driver needs to let anyone go instead of racing them for fear of making contact and breaking the "rookie" rule. John's final thoughts before heading out race was, "if they want it, I'm going to let them have it".
The race started with a car two cars up stalled on the grid, a quick turn to the inside and John was off. The first lap (be sure to watch various laps in the "videos" section) started with cars going off the track, spins, and John getting pushed 4 wheels off into the pea gravel that he drove through and back on the track to keep going.
The first 20 minutes of the race contained about 3 laps of racing and the rest under caution as cars were littered all over the corners waiting for the tow to come pull them out. At 24 minutes the race officially went from a lap race to a timed race which means the first person over the finish line after 50 minutes of racing is the winner.
John steadily marched up the grid, dodging spins, stalls, and cars sliding across the track (at one time official race control radioed all the teams on the track to tell their drivers to "calm" down the race had become so aggressive). The brake issue that plagued the team through practice and qualifying came back with John having to pump the brakes on the straights so he would have brakes when heading into the corners.
Boos Performance finished the race 19th which was in the money for SPEED GT, missing the hard charger award (the driver that moved up the most positions since the start of the race) by 1 position! John jumped out of the car after the race having the time of his life, and a little disappointed it ended because he had just figured out how to turn fast laps with bad brakes!
Stay tuned to BoosPerformance.com in the 2007 season as the Boos Performance C5R will be headed back out to a few SPEED GT races...but hopefully a lot more if a sponsor would help share the cost of the race!!
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