It’s been a while since my last post and those of you who read it will know that I’ve recently moved into a new house. All I can say on the matter is that if an estate agent (realtor for you US guys) says any of the following phrases to you…. run! Run for your life and don’t look back!

–    It’s a fixer upper

–    It has potential

–    It’ll make a good project

–    There is plenty of scope for improvement

I’m not gonna spend much long telling you about how my recent purchase has consumed my life. Let’s just say, the last couple of months have been… emotional.

Moving on, I really wanted to start by talking about the 2012 season final Grand Prix race in Interlagos. Well… what can be said about, what was, one of the most amazing races I’ve seen in recent times (in my humble opinion). It had it all! Changeable conditions, crashes, controversy, battles galore, and more position changes than you could shake a stick at! Edge of your seat stuff as Sebastian Vettel’s championship slipped from his grasp only to return through weather changes, luck, pure determination and belief. Twice this season, Vettel has salvaged an amazing result from the jaws of almost certain disaster. By the way… I was rooting for the other guy, but what can you do?

This race had the perfect mix of action, disappointment, surprise, grit, determination, triumphs and tribulation. Yet again, this amazing little track delivered a spectacular season finalѐ, and as always was a pleasure to watch. I would go further to say that iRacing would do well to include this track in their service in the future… you can only live and hope.

Speaking of iRacing; what I really wanted to talk about is the long awaited reinstatement of my racing rig and return to the thing I love most – sim-racing! (I hope the Mrs doesn’t read this.) Due to the state of my “fixer upper” house, I’ve been unable to set up my rig for a couple of reasons:

1)    There wasn’t anywhere for it

2)    If there was somewhere for it, my Mrs would kick my bottom for playing on it and not sorting the house out

Anyway…. the Mrs is happy with progress, and when she’s happy I’m happy… or safe… depends how you look at it. SO! To get back into the swing of things I had a blast in the Mazda MX-5 (Nvidia Cup series) at Lime Rock. This track car combo is, without a doubt, among the best on the service. It’s so enjoyable to drive and I keep coming back no matter what series I’m focusing on. So what do I like about it? Other than being competitive here (a rarity for me), it has a nice flow; technically it isn’t too hard to learn, HOWEVER finding the ultimate lap time provides a nice challenge.

I was pleased to learn that after spinning a few laps I was soon getting back to my old lap times. When I was done patting myself on the back I noticed a few of the slower drivers in the session wanted to know how I got my times. In trying to help them lower their times I may have stumbled across something that may or may not be common knowledge. So here goes: iRacers… when driving Lime Rock in the Mazda MX-5… you only need to use the brake… twice. Yes! Twice!

Sounds like a Bond film huh? <Bad joke alert!>

Seriously though – The obvious braking point is into Turn One (I’m counting both apexes as one corner). The second time you’ll use the brake is into Turn Two. That’s it! OK, so I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t use a dab of brake into the second from last corner…. but that’s because I mess that corner up most for some reason.

What makes this car so well suited to this track is its tendency to rotate when you lift-off of the throttle. With a bit of practise you’ll be able to initiate corner entry by simply lifting-off of the throttle. Give it a try – my lap record was set by only braking twice, honest.

Taking brow of the hill full throttle is entirely dependent on your ability to take the preceding corner correctly AND having the car dead straight and balanced when it takes off . . .

I guess there are three other useful tips for completing a solid lap around here:

1)    Turn One: Brake too early rather than too late. There seems to be extremely powerful magnets embedded in the walls that are positioned on the far side of the grass. Additionally, I believe the grass is actually green ice. What I’m trying to say is that T1 is unforgiving at the best of times.

2)    You should be full throttle when going over the brow of the hill section. This is entirely dependent on your ability to take the preceding corner correctly AND having the car dead straight and balanced when it takes off.

3)    The last corner will make or break the lap. There is a bump in the middle that causes the car to push under full throttle. Providing you’ve got the timing right, a small and brief lift on the throttle mid-corner will settle the car enough to allow you to plant your right foot down after the bump.

OK, that’s it from me for now. Give Lime Rock a bash – hopefully I’ve helped a few of you out. Have fun and see you on track AND I’ll try not to leave it too long before I post again… promise!

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