The team is back from their first-ever track event with GridLife at Carolina Motorsports Park. Carlos Mendez took his Spec E9X to compete in the GLTC Racing Series, and Thomas J. Lathrop was there competing in the Time Attack series. Unlike TJ, it was Carlos’ first time at CMP. Fortunately, there was a test day on Thursday which gave him plenty of time to learn the track and prepare for the coming races.
The 2006 330 is built for the Spec E9X racing series. With the addition of 90lbs of ballast, it easily fit into the GLTC rules, albeit at a slight disadvantage since the car has no aero.
OF THE 38 CARS COMPETING, THE #14 WAS ONE OF THREE WITH NO AERO.
TJ brought his 1989 E30 with an M52 swap. He, on the other hand, did have a big wing, splitter, and a variety of other mods including AST 4100 dampers.The test day went smoothly and both drivers were able to put down some solid lap times including a 1:45.2 by TJ. By the end of the day, both cars had seen 6 sessions on track.
On Friday, Carlos went out for qualifying and qualified in 21 out of the 38-car field with a 1:45.1. Not where he wanted to be, but with 4 races there was plenty of time to see what the car and driver were capable of. TJ’s sessions went smoothly on his un-tested E30. This was the first event for him with this car, and other than a faulty MAF and minor wiring issue, the car was running great.
HE WAS ABLE TO KNOCK DOWN A 1:46.2 BUMPING HIM UP TO THE FASTER RUN GROUP.
GLTC race 1 was action-packed with all 38 cars taking the start. Carlos was able to navigate his way through traffic picking up 5 spots and finishing in 16th.
The next day, for race 2 the weather called for rain and it proved to be a wet one. Carlos did not have rain tires and the starting order was determined by the best lap in race 1, thus gave him a starting position of P18.
ONCE THE GREEN FLAG DROPPED, THE KUHMO V730S TIRES WERE BARELY UP TO THE TASK, HYDROPLANING THROUGHOUT THE RACE.
Carlos was able to move up 5 spots before losing 2 on the last lap, finishing in P15. For comparison, his fast lap in the rain was 2:09.2. Later that day, in the Track Modified class, TJ knocked down some fliers and moved to 8th in class, with a best timed lap of 1:45.4.
Race three was relatively uneventful with Carlos starting at P15 and moving up only one spot in the allotted 15-minute race time. The guys were very happy with the performance of their cars and both were really enjoying the energy of the GridLife crowd. The last race of the day was at 5:30 and Carlos started in P14. His goal for the race was to be consistent and to take advantage of any mistakes made by other drivers. The Condor prepped E90 was solid all race, and Carlos was able to make up 6 spots to a final finishing position of 8th. Not bad for a car that was not built for the series and a first-timer in GLTC. TJ finished 5th out of 11 in Track Mod RWD, which is a feat to be proud of on a car’s first track event, and in a fast class (with a McLaren 720S!).
Looking back, the guys really enjoyed their time at GridLife. The event was really well organized and having spectators, drifters, and racers at the track all at once really creates amazing energy that can’t be found anywhere else.
WE WILL BE BACK.