2006 4 Hours of Pacific Raceways
March 12 - Pacific Raceways

Early March was the time to shake off the cobwebs (or moss) and get ready for the inaugural 4 Hours of Pacific Raceways. Surprisingly, it was a bright sunny day in Seattle. We would be running in the P1 class for cars 2.5 to 3.4 liters. The class competition included a couple M3's, older 911's, a 944 turbo, a RX7, a z-car and a very fast turbo/tube frame Fiero.

The morning practice started late and once out I immediately could tell something was not right on the car. A wheel bearing or CV was making a wub, wub sound on right hand turns. I stayed out for a while trying to figure out which corner it was coming from. My best guess was the driver side front bearing. Since there wasn't enough time before race to do more than one corner so we took a flyer and changed the front bearing. Skip and his father Jack jumped on the job and had a new bearing done in no time. We ended up missing the second practice so my co-driver, Steve, would get no time in the car before the race. Luckily he already knew the track and the car.

We scrambled to get the car to the grid and made it with about a minute to spare. I had no idea if the car was fixed and did not get a chance to bed in the new brake pads. Luckily there were 2 pace laps! The green flag dropped and 25 cars took the start. The car seemed pretty good, in fact it felt real good. I spent the first part of the race trying to hang with the black Adare BMW and being chased by the yellow Helton Euro M3. The Adare BMW pitted with what I heard were throttle cable problems and the yellow car became a permanent fixture in my rear view mirror. He had the straight line speed on me but I was able to pull a gap in the corners. We were running a strong 3rd overall at the end of the first hour.

Minutes later a Miata oiled down the back of the track bringing out the pace car. I radioed the pit to tell them to get ready for a pit stop because we were in our window for a 2 stop race. Coming up the back side of the track, I noticed that the car was suddenly much louder. Thinking there was an issue with the exhaust I dived for the pits. Steve was still rushing to get his helmet on when I arrived. I jumped out of the car and started looking for a problem with the exhaust, but I didn't see anything wrong. I must be mental! At first, the pit marshall would not let us refuel because I had arrived unannounced. After some deliberation, it was finally resolved that we could refuel because it was a full course caution. We eventually got Steve in the car and got it refueled. We lost precious time and at least a lap on that stop. In hindsight, I should have stayed out at least one more lap, because there was nothing wrong with the exhaust and it would given the crew (and pit marshall) time to figure out what was going on.

Steve was basically thrown to the wolves. He had no practice time was now in the middle of a race trying to get up to speed in someone else’s car. He did a great job and kept the car clean. He later told me he did not get comfortable until about half way thru his hour and half stint. I knew Steve would take care of the car so I relaxed and watched my car circulate. It is always a strange sight to see your car racing without you.

Our next stop went smoothly and I got back in with an hour and a half left in the race. The updates from timing and scoring were devoid of much information so we really didn't know where we stood. We knew we were behind the yellow M3 but we didn't know by how much. I just went out to drive as fast as I could and pass as many cars as I could and let the final results shake themselves out. During my stint the race was halted because an RX7 had embedded itself on the inside of turn 6. On the restart, the yellow M3 was positioned just a couple cars ahead. I figured I was at least a lap down on him so my immediate goal was to get a lap back and with an hour left I might be able to catch him again - if I really pushed. I got by him without too much trouble at turn 3a on the restart. I was able to slowly get away from him but it was going to be hard to catch him again. Towards the end of the race I was hoping to catch sight of him, but never did. I heard from the pits that I had closed to within 12 seconds of him.

The final results showed us 5th overall and 4th in class. We were only 2 laps behind the 2nd place overall 944 turbo of Craig Hillis and one lap out of third. If only I had made a better call on the first stop it might have been closer. Oh well, it was still a blast. The 968 ran flawlessly for yet another enduro. The car amazes me as it is just as fast on the last lap as it is on the first. We even used the same set of Toyo RA1s from the 8 hour in October. The thing just goes.

Thanks to Hal Hilton and the NWERS for making this event happen.

Enduro Stats:
- Drivers: Steve Adams, Eric Krause
- Crew: Andre, Skip, James, Randy, Jack, Julie
- 5th overall out of 25 starters
- 4th in the P1 class
- 119 laps completed
- 6 laps behind overall winner, 2 laps out of 2nd overall
- 2 pit stops
- 1:37.578 fast lap