NASA Buttonwillow—SVRA Laguna Seca
April 2022 Buttonwillow Raceway—NASA ST5 / Laguna Seca—SVRA Vintage Group 12
All has been going well for the team, but how can we handle a back to back weekend and prepping 4 cars for the trip? As Wyatt at Bimmerworld says, “You guys are crazy”.
I’m pretty sure that’s how my team feels sometimes when they see the schedule, but why not? It’s an opportunity to get some of our special cars out on the track, so it’s on the schedule. On Friday the 15th we hook up the stacker, pre-loaded with the #25 NASA BMW E36 as well as the 1969 BMW 2002 and head to Buttonwillow. Unlike a normal weekend there would be no practice. We want to put as little time on the car as is possi-ble so it can make both weekends with as little service as possible.
Saturday morning we wake up to the sound of a paddock coming to life and texts flowing in from the team on their way into the track.
Matt Million is scheduled to drive Saturday and right on schedule he is there and ready to go. The first practice he takes the #25 out and it feels good, the only real change this week to the car being a new rear differen-tial with a different final drive ratio and LSD.
We have been wanting to try this all year and we felt this was a good weekend to test it out. In Vintage racing you run different gear sets based on the needs of the track, but in NASA most just run whatever is in the car. We happened to obtain a 4.10 LSD from Diffs Online for the new #24 car currently being built, so we put it in to see how it makes the car behaves. Up until now we have been running a near stock 3.46 LSD. Matt likes the feel and he now has use of all gears on the track.
We put on fresh Toyo RRs and get ready for qualifying on Buttonwillow’s 13 CCW. Matt puts the #25 on the pole in ST5 and is 6th overall in front of all ST3, ST4 and the other ST5 competitors with a time of 1:57.571. We are here to keep the challenge moving forward and this result is defi-nitely making a statement: “We are here to win.” Apparently we are also getting more than a few competitors in the paddock to take notice, maybe a few question-ing how we can be this much faster than the field.
Later in the day we get ready for the race. After a reasonably unremarkable 13 lap race Matt brings it home in 1st place with a new class track record of 1:58.157. Pole, win, new track record; another great day for Team Palomar Racing.
We wind down the day with an amazing meal of tri tip and grilled veggies and then bed down for the night. Matt will be headed to Sonoma on Sunday while we await the arrival of Nik Romano to pilot the car on Sunday.