South Florida has been pounded by rain for the past week and a half, so it was no surprise when the Steeda team awoke early Saturday morning to extremely wet conditions. As we pulled into Homestead-Miami Speedway, the rain was still coming down with no signs of slowing.
The team unloaded the Yellow #20 Q500R and quickly got it into the garage to get ready for the qualifying round at 8:30 before taking on a morning SARRC (South Atlantic Road Racing Championship) race and an afternoon SARRC race. After some confusion from the event organizers, Group 2 was called to the grid late, with only 10 minutes to practice as opposed to 20. Despite the shorter run, there was one (obvious) conclusion to be made: the track was REALLY wet.
Generally, rain isn’t a huge deal. Races are run in the rain all the time! However, our Q500R doesn’t have a set of rain tires. We have a set of Hoosier slicks and a set of Nitto NT01s. Needless to say, the NT01s stayed on the car throughout the day. The wet environment proved a challenge for Steeda VP, Glen Vitale, in the morning race as he was slightly outpaced by a BMW M3 running Hoosier rain tires. However, that would not be the end of the battle.
The Florida Region SCCA was also hosting a PDX event at Homestead, in which Dario Orlando was doing some testing with Steeda’s red 2018 Mustang GT. With the wet conditions, Dario was curious to test the car’s traction control and really push it to the edge, getting a bit sideways on some of the turns (for science)! This testing proved to be extremely valuable, as Dario shared his insights on the traction control with Glen.
Taking note, Glen went out for the afternoon SARRC race determined to get the victory. Still running the NT01s against the M3 and its Hoosier rain tires, Glen relied on a better understanding of how to use the traction control to his advantage.
“The traction control on the afternoon race that helped us tremendously. I learned how to make it work where I needed it and how to keep it from working when I did not need it, like accelerating in a straight line.”
Glen spent the race protecting his lead, fending off the M3’s pass attempts, pushing him into the wet, and keeping him at bay. As the checkered flag waved, Steeda’s #20 Q500R crossed the finish line with the black and green M3 in the rearview mirror!
It was an exciting race to be a part of, and despite the rain, it was a great event overall! The Steeda team came home with new insights on getting the most out of the Mustang in the rain, and Glen extended his lead atop the SARRC standings for 2018. Not bad for a rainy day at the track!