Mila Development Diary: Track Day
Our last Mila update included a play-by-play from the first autocross of the season [Link]. To quickly recap, we had made many changes to the suspension during the offseason but didn’t have much time at the wheel to see how those modifications worked out. To get a better feel for how Mila’s handling was coming together, the team signed up for a track day at our ‘sorta’ local track favorite, Blackhawk. We figured with over 1.5 hours of track time we’d get a good feel for how the car’s performing and what else may need to be done.
I was very excited about driving the updated Mila at full bore at the place where I had my very first race so many years ago. Unfortunately, the weather gods had a different plan. Like most track addicts, I was constantly checking the weather forecast in the days leading up to our event. It was a roller coaster of emotions as I tracked the approaching storm. First it looked bad, then worse, then even worse, then it looked like the storm front might miss us entirely. The night before I didn’t even bother checking. I awoke the next morning to a grey sky but no rain yet. When we arrived at the track, the sun was desperately fighting to break through. My dad, the ever optimist, believed we’d luck out. It remained dry through Mila’s technical inspection and the driver’s meeting.
I was driving in the first group out and the track was still dry when they let us loose. We were about 15 minutes into the session when the corner workers flagged us all to come into the pits. While it hadn’t begun to rain yet, there was lightning in the area which shuts down the track for corner worker safety. I only had a few open laps at speed but it was enough to know that Mila felt quick.
Unfortunately the standing water continued to accumulate. As our final rain-soaked session of the day approached, I thought better of it and put Mila on the trailer instead of risking putting Mila into a tree. While the day was a success in that all cars came home ‘shiny side up’, the testing portion of the day was a wash (weak pun intended). I enjoy the different challenges that come along with driving at speed in the rain and finding the best line, but it makes it very hard to assess the car when you can’t go all out.
Oh well. Hopefully the weather gods will smile down upon us next time!