After the frustration of my first BMWCCA club race at Lime Rock, I returned to northwest Connecticut a month later for a two-day race there with NASA Northeast. When I arrived at the track, the huge trucks and enclosed trailers made it immediately apparent that this was no ordinary NASA event; we were sharing the weekend with the VSCCA, a well-known vintage racing series — see the end of this post for some photos of my favorites.
After the first practice session on Friday morning, race officials waved me over and informed me that my car had been measured at 95db, six decibels above Lime Rock’s sound limit for amateur events. I had a hard time believing it; my car has an original equipment muffler, but with no extra sound baffling equipment and with only a twenty minute break until qualifying, I had few options. I decided not to change anything, but to go out at half throttle, put down a time so I could race that afternoon. The result: a 1:08, a full six seconds off my best, and good for about 25th out of 30 on the starting grid.
Though I was slightly disappointed, it was the best thing that could have happened. During the race, I worked my way through a field of 944s, AC Cobra replicas, Sentras and Miatas from my starting position of 25th to 12th, and had a ton of fun in the process. About two thirds of the way through the race, I outbraked my main competition in GTS2 going into Big Bend, leading my class until I went off three laps later in the same corner trying to outbrake a Mustang Cobra. Ultimately, I finished 3rd in class and 16th overall.
I have this race on video, but to conserve bandwidth, I’m not going to link to it directly here. Email me if you’d like a copy.
Compared to the previous day, Saturday’s race was uneventful. With the worries about sound limits behind me, I qualified first in class, only to see my main competitor, an experienced driver with an ITS-prepped E30 325i passed me on the start. I couldn’t get by him, but he spun several laps before the finish, handing me the class win just as I had done for him the day before.
After packing up, I walked around to check out some of the vintage cars:
A very pretty Lotus 7:
Astons are known to be rather heavy and poor-handling, but it’s hard to argue against this DB4 in the flesh:
A nice Porsche 356:
This Lotus 11 was so lithe, low and shimmery it was almost hard to believe it was actually there:
I’m a sucker for a pretty Lotus: