Tom Patton’s 2018 Racing Season | Issue 3
First published TEAE Newsletter May 2018 Rootes Review
Team Tiger’s third race of the season was April 12-15, at the Virginia International Raceway (VIR). VIR is famous for the uphill fourth gear Esses and sharp elevation changes. The track is located within a 1,300-acre property located at the Virginia-North Carolina border and one of our favorite destinations each year. America’s first true “motorsport resort,” it’s an entire vacation destination with several on site lodging options located in rolling hills and miles of lush forest a true country club atmosphere (not your typical race track!).
Test day went very well. The brakes were dead on again and the car and driver were very fast. All that changed in the first qualifying session on Friday (the thirteenth!) afternoon. We were on our hot lap with clear track. Nine of the first 14 segments were our best of the session. But at the end of the 4000 foot back straight, I felt the motor go soft and I coasted into the pits.
After getting the car back to the trailer I found a valve spring retainer had failed. The valve stem bent, ending our weekend. Very disappointing as the car was definitely a contender with a super strong ten car GT2 field. To make matters worse Janet ended up taking me to the emergency room the next morning. I developed an issue that I could not swallow after dinner Friday night. After the procedure that morning I was feeling well enough to load up the car that night and we headed home Sunday morning.
We will be testing a couple of times at Mid Ohio in May to get ready for our next race at Mid Ohio June 1-3. The new motor will be done and tested. Plus we should have the motor that was damaged at VIR repaired for backup the rest of the season. We are disappointed on our start of the season, but that is racing. We are excited about the performance of the car the last two times out . We know we are on the correct path and that is satisfying!