Track Testing at BIR
Living less than 2 hours away from Brainerd International Raceway is a treat. Over the past few years they’ve spent some time and money to update the facility, and it shows. What used to be a rundown, sloppy racetrack is now a semi-pro track with FIA approved fencing and fresh tarmac. Unable to make OLoA, BIR became the obvious choice to complete our final phase of development on #00.
Every time I take the car on track I’m amazed. The setup is simple enough … but it’s so effective. I get asked all the time what is done to the suspension on the 311RS. Usually expecting a long list of upgrades, most are shocked to find that with only a set of JRZ RS1s the car is completely dialed. Stock sway bars, stock bushings, stock ball joints, etc. We spent years developing the suspension on the Gates311 Evo X, which are JRZ 3-way Adjustable race shocks, with the intent to have the best handling Evo on the planet. Anyone who has seen that car run in person will say the same thing … it looks so smooth. All of the data we collected went directly into the 311RS-spec RS1s that come standard on the car. I’m proud of that, working directly with JRZ has been a huge achievement for me.
The first time I had #00 at BIR was for a large PCA (Porsche Club of America) event. We have a surprisingly large group of Porsche enthusiasts up here so it’s always cool to run with them. First few sessions of the day were rainy making for some real fun. I’ve always enjoyed driving in the rain. It presents much more of a challenge, but the reward is worth it. The wet track teaches you to handle the car on the limit, be it through a corner, under braking, or accelerating out of a corner. You learn very quickly (or not..) how to maximize the set up you’ve got. I was running a used set of Nitto NT05s for the PCA event, which really aren’t the ideal tire for rain driving. Even so, the car spanked. I was running in Group 4 (1-4) with Porsche Cup cars, vintage 911 race cars, and high HP turbos. Unfortunately none of them had a 311RS, as they were all blue flagged and asked to let us pass.
It became even more unfortunate as the track dried throughout the day. This car is so quick out on track that it shocks people. Running a 1:45 (on street tires) at BIR is like docking with the International Space Station. Not many people do it. In the last session of the day the car was running consistent 1:46-1:47s. Near the 15min mark, I was black flagged. For what you ask? As I pulled into the pits to find out what I had done, the PCA Instructor in charge told me I was going “Too Fast.”. That’s a first. I guess I didn’t see the speed limit signs? I laughed, apologized and went on my way to finish the 30min session. I felt that I owed it to him and the PCA to show I was in fact, not going too fast. The next lap I ran a 1:45 followed by a 1:44. I felt that was enough and pulled back into the pits before causing any more trouble.
Moral of the story – 311RS is “too fast” for the PCA.