Pikes Peak 2016 Meade Sports/RRE EVO 8 – Practice and Day 1
Tuesday the MeadeSports Road/Race Engineering team took use of the optional practice day to run on the bottom section to start data gathering and sighting the twisty tarmac that is this section of the spectacular Pikes Peak road. This day isn’t a mandatory day; mandatory practice starts Wednesday the 22nd.
After overnight heavy rains and storms, it was a pleasure to see the sky clear, even if it was 3 am and we were all awake getting coffee’d up, trying to look alive. By 3:30am the team was headed out the door and making way up Pikes Peak highway for practice. About 85% of the teams took advantage of the optional practice. After selecting a pit spot we waited for the 5:10 am siren to signal a start to call for cars to be lined up for practice.
Tires checked and pressures set, oil checked by the team, Jeff suited up and made his way to the start line for a simple 70% sighting run of the course to start familiarization with the twisty roads of the mountain that keeps calling him back.
The first run was simple, accurate, of sorts, and of course fun, 5:00 minutes later the run is done and Jeff’s wife Catherine is waiting at the end of the course to check tire pressures and temps. A quick turnaround and he’s back in line at the top waiting to follow everyone down the hill to start again.
The second run was only slightly quicker by several seconds with a 4:53 as the grip of the tires pushed a bit more, but nothing sacrificed, we still have a week to go before the big day.
With data gathered, for Mike from RRE and the one they call ‘Merlin’ (aka David Hinde of EVO tuning fame) we chose not to take a 3rd run, choosing to pack it up and head home for the day to do more tinkering on the car. Well, Mike and Matt from RRE did, Jeff played in the Jacuzzi with Bryce. and watched from there.
Then for the first day of official practice we were on the top section, which arguably, is the fastest and most dangerous part of the mountain. Outside of a slight snow fall, in summer, which made the road a bit slippery, the road has been through some changes in the past where there were more bumps, and even repairs in its short history of being paved.
Times were good, and pretty much expected, with the Meadesports / RoadRace Engineering EVO 8 slotting in between two new Viper ACRs and the new NSX from Japan making its world debut in competition. “Wasn’t anything outside of what we expected in the end” said Denmeade. “We are within 30 seconds of the new NSX, and our nearest competitor is 30 seconds behind. But we all still have to get to the top, our battle will be with the other new Viper” he followed up with.
“With the boys from Road/Race Engineering, Americas Mitsubishi Evo gurus on our team I feel we are in the best position to put in our best time on the mountain, all going well weather wise” Denmeade said.
Today’s practice at the top was shortened due to oil being spilled by a competitor who then went off and into the guard rail, limiting the runs from an expected 6, down to just 3 on the fast flowing top section. “We were only doing boost checks today” Denmeade said, “it’s a long way up there with the course climbing from 12,000 to 14,000 feet, all cars suffer in their own way, some in tyres, some in water temperature. But we got what we needed.”