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Performance Autosport Update: VIR March Madness

March 30th, 2012

Coming off two wins, two pole positions, and a new track record definitely helps start off the season on a good note, but here at PAS thats not enough. We have an obsession with going fast and fast isn’t fast enough. We have 16 races left of the 2012 season and we are looking forward to each and every one of them.

Big changes were happening at Performance Autosport between the February and March events. With these big changes came BIG news in the form of a partner ship with champion drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s company, Mustang RTR. With this partnership came lead sponsorship of the Performance Autosport American Iron Mustang race car and because of this the entire look of the car was refreshed to convert the car into a Mustang RTR.

Since the car had to be taken to the body shop for the damage caused in the last race, most of the yellow vinyl was removed as was the Saleen body work. The car was returned back to stock cosmetically with the addition of the RTR body pieces including: Front bumper lip/splitter, side skirts, and rear bumper with diffuser. The next step was to come up with the new livery for 2012.

After a bunch of late nights and many emails back and forth to and from sponsors there was a look that was agreed upon and the decals were made and applied.

As a part of the new livery, we sent a set of our bulletproof HRE R40 wheels back to HRE Performance Wheels in California to change the color of these awesome 18″ wheels to a darker charcoal gray to match the theme. They came back and looked absolutely stunning!

Along with the new look we also got some new parts to try on the car. Our sponsor Kenny Brown Performance sent us the new KB AGS 4.0 GT-4 Suspension System to put under our 2011 Mustang GT. Another fellow sponsor, Moton, made sure we had the shocks to accompany such a great suspension system and sent us a set of Moton 3-way Coilovers! Up until now we have been running a completely STREET set of coil overs with just custom spring rates. The exact same coil overs that came off the shelf for a performance minded, street driven Mustang have been under this car for a year including running at Nationals, but it was time to move to a more hardcore RACE set of shocks. More on these specific products will be covered in future blog postings, just wait!

After running the car during the test and tune on Friday Cobetto was DEFINITELY feeling a difference from all the suspension changes. The car felt more stable all over the track and turned in nice and crisp and let him jump on the throttle with confidence earlier than before. It will obviously take some tweaking to get absolutely perfect, but the results are there! The Motons provide the level of control we never had over the previous coilover setup and allow us to truly dial the car in depending on the track and even weather conditions. The Saleen coil overs did an amazing job and were responsible for countless 1st places and a very hard caught 2nd place at Nationals, but the PAS team decided we needed to go a little more hardcore for 2012. The Kenny Brown AGS 4.0 GT-4 Suspension System just provides grip for days and solves all our previous problems of having the car a little pushy under turn-in and loose on exit. The whole marriage between these two companies is exactly what we’ve been looking for and we are excited to be using their products this year.

This of course leads us into Saturday and the weather had already turned sour. Friday night the rain rolled in and by Saturday morning it was absolutely pouring. The paddock was flooded and anyone who didn’t have full rain tires was asking for trouble by being out on track. Standing water was everywhere and as you can see in this video from our new “Dash Cam” if you went off track, you didn’t slow down.

Here is 2011 CMC National Champion Erik Sjoblom almost collecting Chris Cobetto in the PAS Mustang RTR while entering Oak Tree in the rain. A mix of horrible track conditions and unfamiliarity of the track placed him just slightly off line and into no-man’s land. When Erik jumped on the brakes, it was all over.

Saturday’s qualifying session was on a damp track. The car was still in it’s rain setup and with a 2:28.434 Chris Cobetto placed the PAS Mustang RTR on the pole. PAS Customer and fellow American Iron competitor Robert Korzen placed on the outside pole with his freshly gone-over FR500S by Chris Matthews of Performance Autosport. More on Korzen as well in another blog posting!

The wind picked up and the rain stopped allowing the track to dry out. The grid was set and Cobetto rolled to the green flag. Here is a video from the roof of the first lap. Watch how Cobetto can absolutely FLY up the uphill esses with confidence with this Kenny Brown/Moton suspension combo under him and haul this 3,600lbs beast down with no problems with these massive Baer brakes and Hawk pads.

For Saturday we started 1st and finished 1st with Ed Hunter placing 2nd and Robert Korzen in 3rd. After finishing the race Ed Hunter and the PAS machine were sent to the dyno to be verified and both passed easily…even though getting these two cars with their massive splitters ON TO the dyno was the bigger challenge!

Sunday was a toss up on weather. With the forecast of a 60% of rain/thunderstorms ALL day it was one of those days where you were constantly looking at the radar trying to pick which tires to run. With a constant mist in the air, but a relatively dry track we went out for qualifying in our dry setup.

Here is a video from the PAS “Splitter Cam” during qualifying. We definitely are digging this new view and will be using it much more in the future!

As you can see Qualifying had a LOT of traffic, but Cobetto still managed to squeak out a pole position with a 2:10.139. Get this, the top 3 qualifiers were only about 4 tenths of a second apart! Second place was again Robert Korzen with a 2:10.206 and Ed Hunter in 3rd with a 2:10.559! Talk about tight competition!

After qualifying we had a few hours to stare at the weather updates and try to predict what was going to happen throughout the 45mins we had on track. The mist would come and go, sometimes it would actually rain, then it would clear up. Man do we hate days like this! At the very last minute we decided to go with our rain setup and boy was it the right choice. The first 15mins of the race was clear and the track was drying fast, but soon the rain came and the majority of the Thunder group were in their dry setups and started slowing down drastically. Thankfully Cobetto had placed the PAS Mustang RTR out front from the start and not only finished first in American Iron, but actually had passed everyone in Thunder to place 1st overall!

So we arrived at VIR with a new look and lots of new parts. The cars livery was accepted with lots of positive reviews, the parts obviously changed the attitude of the car for the better, and we came home with two more pole positions and two more wins. We had a great time at NASA’s March Madness.

Next event will be held at Summit Point on April 28-29th and we are already looking forward to trying out all these new parts on a tighter and more technical track. More tuning will definitely be taking place to ensure Cobetto can keep this PAS Mustang RTR out front!

Thanks again to all our sponsors, without your support none of these wins would be possible. We share all our wins with you!

- Mustang RTR
- HRE Wheels
- Moss Muscle
- Ford Racing
- Kenny Brown Suspension
- Moton
- Baer Brake Systems
- Hawk Brake Pads
- OG Racing
- Exedy Racing Clutches
- C&R Radiators
- Tranzilla Transmissions
- Grassroots Motorsports

Full Gallery of photos from the weekend can be found here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/flimflam13/sets/72157629307573288/with/6871545816/

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