Rising From The Ashes:
GST Motorsports Makes Glorious Return to SLB Finals

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“We spent the weekend removing the entire fuel system (and I mean everything!) cleaning it all out and replacing all filters. With the new Injector Dynamics injectors in, I proceeded to go over the engine on the dyno. We’ve been having more than a few gearbox related issues with the shear amount of power and torque we’re now seeing out of our Garrett turbo so I limited the car tuning to only the low and medium boost profiles as the last time I mapped the high boost I broke 4th gear and an axle on the dyno.”

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GST rolls into to the Thursday SLB test day with the breakup issue sorted out, but as Mike put it, “Now we have a car with a ton of changes that has had zero track time, a driver that hasn’t seen let alone driven the car at WOT in two years, and a timed event the next day! Thursday went well enough, though with us making some small changes and Jeff getting a feel for the car. I think we only crossed start/finish once when we used one of the two sets of Hankook C91 tires we had to feel out the balance of the car on them. If I recall, the lap was a 1:42.6 while running low boost and RPM. The guys and I spent the evening re-bleeding the cooling system and visiting with friends of ours staying at the track (Snail Performance guys, Kyle Lewis, Aaron Hair, etc).”

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“Friday morning first session rolls around and Jeff and I made the decision to keep the tires from the day before on the car and stick with the low boost/RPM to put down a banker and see where we were and what we needed to adjust. Jeff clicked off a respectable 1:41.5 while battling with some braking issues and keeping the RPM down. Typically the money shot session [at Buttonwillow] is the one falling between 10am and 11am and the next session for us was 10:40am which we all agreed was the perfect time to switch to the remaining fresh set of C91’s and use the Medium boost map. In between all of this and due in part to me finding a leaking clamp on the cooling system we had to bleed our cooling system again which is no small task to do right with the rear mounted radiator, suffice to say I made a complete bollocks of it and our second session was basically a waste of good tires (I really need to stop working on cars and stick to what I’m good at but I’m yet to find anyone willing to pay me to talk shit on Facebook all day.”

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“There was a decent gap between the 2nd session and 3rd session, so I knew we’d have time to do the proper bleed process for the car. The guys (Keith, Earl, Vince and Zak) all hustled getting the system bled and last minute pre-session checks done and we were in good shape with about 30 minutes until we needed to be on grid. Now in the meantime, Cole and Kyle from LYFE Motorsports [in their R35 GTR] had put the 2nd session to good use and laid down a awesome time of 1:40.4, so we had our work cut out for us, or should I say Jeff had his work cut out for him! Jeff set out on his flier and was really working the car. Unfortunately, he caught traffic coming into the sweeper before the esses and had to abort the lap. Jeff came into the hot pit lane and we decided that it was going to be near impossible to find a hole in traffic to put in a good lap so parked the car.”

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“I have to say, at this point the mood in our paddock area wasn’t the best, my initial thoughts were ‘Fuck it, let’s get her in the trailer and get out of here’, but after 10 minutes or so to gather our thoughts, everyone agreed we owed it to our sponsors and fans to give it another roll of the dice in the last session of the day. The only change we could make was to switch our front tires to the back as we didn’t have any others to use. As Jeff started his hot lap for our final throw of the dice, I just remember thinking to myself ‘At this point I’ll be happy if Jeff’s able to stay on the track’. When I looked up and saw the L fly through the bus stop and got my split on my watch, I didn’t say anything to Earl who was standing next to me but recall thinking ‘This is on par for a sub 1:40 for sure’. Given I had thought the same in the previous session, I just kept my mouth shut.”

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“I don’t know what it is, but I have to say I truly hate that feeling when the car disappears from view after hurtling along Riverside. It always seems like an eternity, and given we’ve caught fire down in the sweeper before, it really magnifies that to me at least! Finally the car comes back in view and slides round the final corner for the front straight. Jeff holds 5th with the rev limiter (8400 RPM) just kicking in as he passes start/finish. I look at my watch and say to Earl ‘Fuck me I think that was a 1:39.1?’ A split second later Justin Banner’s voice echoes over the speakers, announcing the time was a 1:38.967. As far as I could see on the pit wall everyone was going nuts!!!”
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“Well that’s about it, really. I’ll omit the champagne bath, naked pictures of Tony Szirka and the goat and save you the horrible details of them both. I would like to personally thank Jeff Westphal as always for proving what a not only supreme talent he is but just a nice person to be around and work with, obviously my own guys Earl, Keith, Vince, Aaron and Zak for putting up with me through thick and thin and their tireless efforts. Finally to our fantastic sponsors whom have stuck with us all this time and truly supported us with their fantastic products.”
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