Photography by ©Caliphotography

Since my last time at Buttonwillow, I anxiously anticipated what improvements I’d make and possibly what struggles I would have. At this point I definitely knew where I was going on track but wanted to continue dropping time and getting more comfortable.

The 86 has been lightly modified with Jackson Racing Radiator/Oil Cooler, TRD lowering springs, TRD sway bars, Magnaflow exhaust and 17×8 949 Racing 6UL Wheels wrapped in 225/45-17 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.

My car was again prepared by Jackson Racing, with Jackson Racing also providing trackside support and coaching during my sessions to help build my understanding of chassis setup with the 86. I again sat passenger when I wasn’t driving in order to continue learning the track and techniques I would try and apply when I went out. My first session out I ran a second under my best previous time and knew I could improve from there.

My biggest struggle throughout the day was dealing with a lot of traffic. I got distracted by others around me and that got in the way of improvement. Third session was again my weakest but I had another session to redeem myself plus an optional bonus session.

This track day was a lot warmer than the last two with temperatures climbing into the 90s, which means the track temps were even higher. The heat and intense focus you have to use throughout the day can really be draining. But pushing past that sometimes gives you great results. I ended up going out for the optional session at the end of the day and really just went back to basics. Just drive and don’t over think it. This session I feel was the best of the day in terms of comfort and not getting too in my head. Factoring in the heat and the fact that the tires were completely used up, I achieved an improved personal best with a 2:10. This is a drop of seven seconds from my first personal best to my current and I know there’s more to go. Those last few seconds are always the most difficult to shave off, but I’m up for the challenge!

My third day out at Buttonwillow was another great learning experience with improvement that leaves me wanting to go back. The next Buttonwillow track day will be during an even hotter time of the year, but I am feeling even better about my skills and the cars capabilities. I’m looking forward to going back soon!