On the Thursday following our trip to Road America I suffered a mild heart attack. It came totally out of the blue- I had no warnings, nor did I have the usual precursors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.
It did cause me to miss the Portland races the following weekend but I recovered enough to make the trip down to Monterey for Car Week. I had to skip the Pre-reunion races, but we arrived in time to take the Asahi M3 to Carmel for the Concours on the Avenue.
The Carmel Concours is always such a fun event. The race cars that are entered convoy over to the event from the race track on the public highway accompanied by a contingent of CHP motorcycle cops.
This year we placed 2nd in the race car group to a beautiful green Aston Martin DB5. The judges said they had a very difficult time deciding but ultimately went with the more historic car.
After the event the race cars all head back to the track by heading out Carmel Valley and going over the scenic Laureles Grade. It’s quite a fun adventure.
Thursday and Friday are practice/qualifying days at the track. Each of the 12 run groups gets one session on track each day. With 3 cars entered I had a lot of seat time on each day. By Friday evening I was feeling a bit tired. The CSL is especially wearing to drive because of the suspension geometry.
The CSL was in Group 5A- 1973-1981 FIA IMSA GT, GTX, AAGT. This group is a real mixed bag. The fastest cars in the group are the turbo 935 Porsches and big block GT cars like Decon Monzas and Corvettes. The next group of cars in terms of speed is primarily RSR Porsches and CSLs like mine.
The CSL raced both races on Saturday, the Bonham’s Cup race in the morning and the Rolex Feature race in the afternoon. I had qualified 12th in a group of 38 cars so I was pleased. My main rivals were 3 RSR Porsches driven by Erich Joiner, Alan Benjamin, and Cameron Healy.
I was able to get by all of them going into Turn 2 in the morning race. I held them all of until the last lap when Erich Joiner was able to get by. I ended up 10th. The morning race sets the grid for the Feature Race in the afternoon.
In the Feature Race Alan Benjamin forced his way by at the start and kept me behind him until about 4 laps in. I was able to get back by him between Turns 2 and 3 and pull away, finishing about 12 seconds ahead of him. I ended up 10th again with a best lap of 1:40.3.
The 1800 Ti was in Group 4B- 1961-1966 GT Cars Under 2,500 ccs. I qualified 35th out of 45 cars because I never got a good, clean lap during my qualifying sessions. There were just so many cars on track. I knew the car was quicker than we qualified. It made for a very interesting first lap as I was able to pass 6 cars by Turn 5!
Because I was not up to full song I chose to only run the morning race. Still, I finished 25th out of the 37 cars that finished. There was a few more places to be had if only . . .
Terry drove the car in the Feature Race in the afternoon and finished 20th with a best lap of 2:06.3.
Both races were marred by long yellow flag sessions. Both Terry and I were passed under yellow by fellow competitors. Sometimes that happens.
The M3 ran in Group 6B which is made up of IMSA GTO, and GTU cars from 1981-1991. It is a pretty quick group of cars. Still, I managed to qualify mid-field out of 32 cars!
Unfortunately the car had some issues all weekend. It began to have a miss during the Thursday practice which got worse each day.
For the Sunday morning race I was able to only make 2 laps before I came in. I was afraid the miss would damage the engine. I never started the Feature Race.
As it turned out once Jim had a look at it we needed to replace a sensor and the distributor cap and the car was fine.
So it was kind of a mixed bag of a race weekend. The CSL did very well. The 1800 showed its potential, and the M3 showed well in Carmel but had some problems on track. Given my health scare I was just glad to have been there racing!
We did get some nice publicity for the M3. Automobile Magazine blog did a nice piece on the car. Here’s the link:
Car Throttle also did an interview of me on Saturday. My interview starts at about 4:00. Here’s that link: