Danny’s warm up lap for the the Run For Pole was going well. He’d gotten past his little brain fart at the start of the lap and the telemetry in the car was telling him everything was coming up to temp and operating as it should be. His tyre temperatures were within a good range, which in turn meant his tyre pressures were good, the engine was running rich and pumping more fuel into the engine to give him power and the computer was reporting no errors.
Heading in to the second to last corner Danny flicked a switch on the steering wheel, it was known as the Fuel Mixture switch and like the name suggested it adjusted the fuel to air mixture, but it also adjusted the multiple components within the engine related to the fuel delivery as well. There was seven driver switched settings ranging from lean when they were trying to conserve fuel to rich which was used for power and speed. However there was also a setting for qualifying and the Run for Pole a setting which ran rich, increased the maximum allowable revs and allowed the engine to run hotter, it was that setting Danny was looking for.
At the same time as Danny was switching the fuel to air mixture in his ear piece he heard Tommy Anderson telling him that everything was looking good in the pit garage and the car was preforming as it should be. Although Danny’s telemetry had already told him things were good in the pit garage there was five different people monitoring screens, each screen reported on multiple different parts of the car. From a driver’s perspective it was that report from the pit garage that meant the most to their race.
“Roger that Tommy.” Danny replied into his comms unit.
While some pit managers transmitted a final message of good luck or other such message to the driver before the car crossed the start finish line Danny had his team trained. He didn’t consider himself a superstitious person but he did prefer not to hear words like “good luck” or “race well” too many times. He wasn’t completely against it but hearing it too often annoyed him and over the years he’d trained his team not to add anything further after his copy of the ready to race message.
Radio silence was also kept for the entire lap allowing Danny the chance to give the lap his full concentration. The only time during the Run for Pole that Danny would hear from his pit would be if he had another brain fart or worse. In the case of a brain fart he’d be told to keep his cool and push on. In the case of something worse he’d be told to keep calm and either bring himself back to the pit and forget about what happened, or wait for the flatbed truck to bring him back.
Danny rounded the final corner with radio silence, immediately his eyes were on the start finish line. Even though he was the only car on the track it was an official racing lap and the stewards were required to use all the applicable safety and warning flags. Danny looked at the stewards box, the steward was leaning out of the box with the chequered flag waving telling Danny he was free to race.
Danny’s right foot went down on the accelerator. Unlike warm up laps or after safety car laps where cars were not allowed to speed up until they crossed the line, on the Run for Pole they were allowed to be at speed when crossing the line. That was exactly what Danny was planing to do.
The car shot forward, accelerating hard and pushing Danny back into the seat and as he crossed the start finish line the car was pushing 160 kilometres per hour. The car roared along the pit straight and as Danny passed the pit exit only minutes after he’d joined the track at the same point he was pushing the 200 kilometres per hour and preparing to brake for the first corner.
Unlike the previous time he went through the first corner Danny not only kept the rear tyre’s slick surface off the painted strip he managed to drive the car through the corner at speed and on line. Again Danny accelerated as he came out of the corner, he could feel the rear wheels slipping ever so slightly on the bitumen as the weight of the car shifted and began to straighten up.
The second corner was similar to the first, hard, fast, with the wheels ever so close to skidding but still holding the line and allowing Danny to power out of the corner. Less than a quarter of a lap into his Run for Pole and Danny was running the ragged edge and driving the car to within an inch of it’s life.
When it came to the chicane on the back straight Danny was flying and the car slipped through almost as if it was straight lining the three small bends. His split times were not only a personal record and better than he’d done in practise but were also better than the current lap record. Had he been able to hear the commentators on the TV telecast as the cameras followed his car he’d have heard them suggest that Danny’s car was racing so fast and so true that it was like the car was running on rails.
On the third to last corner Danny felt the rear tyres slide to the right. Precious milliseconds would be wiped off his time but his only concern was regaining control and not letting the slide take him out, starting on the second row was better than the fifth row, or not at all. Danny did his best, pushing, driving, powering on determined not let his slight mistake cost him too much.
As Danny powered out of the last corner, right foot to the floor and driving hard his eyes looked for the chequered flag, he knew he had a good lap under his belt but he didn’t know how good or how much the slide on the third last corner had cost him.
Previous Racing Story here.