This was not how I expected for Kyoko to sit for most of the day…
So after spending Saturday at the indoor karting track, I decided to spend Sunday on the outdoor kart track driving Kyoko. I had heard that PGP Motorsports Park had started a new membership for Lapping Day drivers, and I wanted to get myself one.
After dropping of Kasumi’s old rear spoiler to a fellow Miata friend, so he could work on his ‘Panda-bear’ project (more on that later), I decided I head down to get my membership. Figured while I was down there, I would take a few laps.
When I got there, there was a BMW 335i whose driver was already to do some hotlaps. Now Kyoko was on her winter tires, so I decided that it wouldn’t make any sense to run with a transponder and just have some untimed laps. So the BMW and I head out on track and start getting into a rhythm on opposite sides of the track. After about three laps in, I started to hear a clunking from the front left tire, going through a sweeper.
Knowing that you never want to mess around when you hear strange sounds from your car, I pulled off to the side of the track and eventually limped back to the pits. The sound was getting louder all the time. I took a minute to peek under Kyoko to see if anything was hanging from her underbelly. Nothing.
When I get back to the pits, one of the marshals runs up to me and said that he thought he saw the front wheel wobbling as I came around. Not a good sign. I checked the wheel with the offending sound, and noticed that one of the lugs was only finger-tight. What?! That made no sense to me! When a buddy and I mounted Kyoko’s wheels last month, we torqued everything. We even used air tools.
To my horror, I checked around the entire car, and saw that at least six of her sixteen lugs were that loose on various corners of the car. Shocked and confused, I jacked up the front of the car and wanted to see why Kyoko was trying to kick her wheels off.
Then I saw it. Her lug nuts were too short for her threads, so they were backing themselves off. My thoughts lead back to that horrible Youtube video that I saw in high-school with a FD3S’ wheels falling off during an autocross.
My blood went ice-cold. That almost happened to me today! (It also shows that someone up there is looking over me. 😉 Although this was really no laughing matter.) Local drifter Mat Risher was at the track, and he loaned me a torque wrench and some wood, so I could get under Kyoko, seeing that she’s so low.- Thanks, Mat!
I called my buddy TJ, who helped me mount my wheels, and asked for him to come pick me up so I could pick up my summer Enkei’s and mount those. I knew those would fit, since they were the wheels that came with the car! We rushed up to Bothell, picked up the wheels and then came back to the track. An overall two-hour drive.
Meanwhile I missed out chasing two M3s around the kart track…Grr.
When we returned, we jacked the car up and took a closer look at the car. Turns out the OEM 14″ ‘daisies’ don’t fit on my hubs. You could see where the lugs were bearly holding onto only three of the threads. Scary stuff! TJ and I fit Kyoko’s Enkeis back on, and double- checked all four corners to make sure that her wheels fit and everything was a-ok.
By this time, it was getting dark and it had rained since we were gone so the track was super slippery and cold.
I don’t know why I always seem to only run PGP when it’s dark and cold, so I won’t even mention what my lap times were. Besides I was so exhausted after running around all day, I wasn’t really paying that much attention to my driving. It was the first time I’ve locked up going into turn one and spun, but it wasn’t really that bad.
However based on how my day was going, it was a fitting performance. 😉
I was breathless how lucky I was, but frustrated that I wasted so much daylight with this mini-emergency with bearly any racing. This is the second time I’ve done a lapping day with no one on the track with me, when the conditions are the same, so I have no idea how I was doing compared to anyone else.
But you’re damned sure I got my lapping day membership…