2002 Van Diemen Sports 2000 Development Program Update

Portland International Raceway 9/12 - 9/13/02

We had originally scheduled the first test for the car for the third week in August. Several variables kept us from making that date, and the next available track time at PIR was September 12-13th. I flew up to Portland on Wednesday September 11th. There were plenty of seats available on the plane - I had my own row.
Eric picked me up and we went directly to the shop and made a quick seat for me, and loaded the car into a borrowed trailer. The car itself was quite swoopy looking - wider than the original Van Diemen in the front, and quite a bit different with regards to the rear bodywork. The front suspension had been redesigned, and the car now has a two inch wider track.
Thursday September 12, 2002. Day one with the brand new 2002 Van Diemen Sports 2000. We rolled the car out, and did a couple of break-in laps to shake things down and brought it back to the pits. The car felt impressively good right out of the box. Within nine laps, we had turned times that Eric thought we might break by the end of the second day. The car was nimble, turned in well, and was easy to drive. We put 115 miles on the car without any teething problems. Our times in the 90 degree heat were competitive, we had made progress in making the car feel more stable at high speeds, and we had achieved a pretty good balance with the car on our baseline spring package.
Day two: We picked things up where we had left off the previous day. We started to methodically go through shock adjustments, when in the third session out, I got a bit sideways through turn seven (a high speed left hand corner) and failed to gather the car up by turn eight, ran out of road and ended up parking the car into the outside tire wall. I felt like an idiot. The flares on the nose separated themselves from the nose before the rather mild impact. We had to pull the car from the tire wall with a truck - but all that was damaged was the nose - no suspension damage, and the tow on the left front corner was unaffected. We lost some time traveling back to the shop to grab the spare nose. Once we had the piece in hand it took less than 15 minutes to get the car back on track. Later in the day, we ended dropping the rake in the rear of the car a bit, and gaining a fair amount of rear end stability. The times showed it as well - 1:18.7 in 90+ degree heat. Officially, that was .9 under the official track record - ( which we know to be a bit slow) but it was right within striking range of the "ultimate good time in good conditions" window.
Eric and I both were very pleased with this "first outing." The package had proved itself to be very workable, and the car responded to changes. Based on the success of the two days, Eric saw it fit to attend a S2000 test day at Buttonwillow CA the following week.
Buttonwillow Test