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Gridlife's Mid-Ohio event was the team’s 5th and final planned race weekend and the only track that Mendez had previously raced on the GLTC schedule. This event was only one week after our Road America visit. If you missed the race summary you can read about it here. Due to the relatively close proximity between the two midwestern tracks, it did not make sense for the team to drive all the way back to our HQ in South Florida. Fortunately, a family member who lives halfway in between the two tracks offered up their garage where the team could install some replacement parts, bleed the brakes, corner balance, and align the car.

The race weekend plans included a half-day of track testing on Thursday. The goal was to optimize tire pressures & temps and dial in the Ohlins suspension & aero settings. The first of three on-track test sessions went without any issues. Session two unfortunately was a wash due to an intermittent electrical issue requiring Mendez to bring the car back into the pits. This was a lingering issue from the throttle body failure at Road America. The team replaced the faulty parts but this new setup made 15 horsepower less on the dyno. Testing continued for the last session of the day.

Friday morning started with a final practice session. Mendez felt very familiar with the track and his lap times were right in the middle of the 44-car field. GLTC being a power-to-weight series (12.5lbs to 1hp), required the car to be corner-balanced based on the actual horsepower figures. Now that the team is running the "low HP" setup, the car needs to drop 200+ lbs to fit competitively into the rules. Unfortunately, they could only remove 95 lbs of ballast including fuel. This means that in race trim the car would be 105 lbs overweight... To top this off, all the corner-balancing and alignment done in the days leading up to the event were now completely inaccurate. That afternoon Mendez qualified in p25 with a 1:38.840.

The team discussed two potential options for Race 1. Plan A was to run the low HP setup, and risk being less competitive by racing overweight. Plan B was to revert back to the original, higher HP setup, although it may cause issues midway through the race. Knowing that the starting order for Race 2 would be set by the fastest lap in Race 1, the team figured that if they ran the original HP setup, and something failed, they could bring the car into the pits, swap the parts, and still get back on track to run a lap for Race 2. The decision was... Plan B. Not surprisingly, the car went into limp mode on the warmup lap. Mendez pulled onto pit road and the crew swapped out the faulty parts. The 330 was able to go back out for the second half of the race and run a lap time good enough for a P30 start in Race 2.

For Race 2, the team stripped the car of all unnecessary ballast and fuel. When the green flag waved at the start, Mendez pushed forward from p30, making up a handful of positions in the first few laps. About midway through the race, another competitor slid off the track stalling his car in a dangerous section of the course. This caused a full course caution. Unfortunately, due to the short nature of GLTC sprint races, the race ended under double yellow, and Mendez finished in p24.

Race 3 turned out to be another relatively short race, but the best of the weekend. Mendez had a solid start in the Condor-equipped 330 and made up two positions on the first lap. Unfortunately, the double yellow flags flew on lap 2. On the restart, Mendez moved up another position thanks to the sharp eyes of the team spotter, and one lap later he moved up to P19 with a pass in the carousel. The last three laps were spent chasing down an S2000, and Mendez ran his fastest lap of the weekend with a 1:38.592.

When the car pulled up to the paddock after the race, it was faintly smoking from under the hood. After some inspection, it concluded that the 180k mile alternator was on its way out. The crew swapped it out with a spare from the parts bin. On the first lap of Race 4, the #14 threw the serpentine belt (we later discovered it was due to a cracked tensioner) and Mendez reluctantly limped it back onto pit road. GLTC’s points system is based on the overall result from the weekend, with each of the 4 races counting towards the final weekend result. Ultimately, Mendez secured 21st place for the weekend.

This was not how the team wanted to end their first GLTC season, but It's been an informative learning experience campaigning a car that is constrained to the Spec E9x rule set. The 2024 plan is to prepare car #14 for Spec E9x racing & build a GLTC-specific E92 to optimize the Gridlife rule set. You can read about our new build here. A big thank you to everyone, Condor employees, friends, and family who have helped prep the car back at our HQ and have helped at the track.

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