Wow, what a crazy schedule we have had for the last 6 weeks or so! Seems like a race every weekend with some international travel sprinkled in the middle. We finally have some time (and motivation) to sit down and write something, so we can tell you about the recent trip to Italy and the world famous IBR Padova track.
First let me tell you about the incredible facility. The owner Nicola Cappellozza has done a fantastic job getting the people involved to make his vision a reality. It reminds me of the “build it and they will come” mentality from the movie Field of Dreams. He put together this hybrid structure, which is part steel frame work for the cover, and part concrete for the various stairways, driver’s stand, timing tower, pit area, and restrooms. It’s really brilliant the way the entire thing works together. I have to say it is one of the most awesome facilities we have been to. Behind the driver’s stand is another huge room upstairs with an off road carpet track. Really amazing. The track is always busy with someone running pretty much every day. There is a hobby shop attached as well with anything you might need to supplement your race program.
The dirt track itself is really big, and actually quite deep. The cars get fairly far away from the drivers, as the track area is pretty much square. The dirt provides decent traction and the tire wear is minimal even when the track is run dry. Proline rubber worked really well at this track. We ran M4 Holeshots and they still had tread left after an hour. I could not believe they weren’t bald. M4 Ions seem to be the tire of choice as they still had traction even when they were slicks. Tire additive IS allowed, as a lot of people use it and it’s for sale in the hobby shop. I can assure you that saucing Proline tires is pointless. The rubber compounds are good enough that you can choose what rubber you want to use, and hence saucing them yields no improvement. I am a firm believer that lower quality tires are the ones who need sauce in 1/8 racing.
Immediately adjacent to the track is Nicola’s petrol station with a restaurant attached. It’s a great environment to relax and talk about the days racing, and the pasta does not suck! There are a number of restaurants in close proximity to the track as well.
Upon arrival on Friday, we were able to get on the track and practice. We messed around with set-up stuff but landed right back to our original base set-up. For some reason we had a hard time nailing the tire choice down because all the tires worked pretty well. It was a process of checking lap times with each tire and making a decision based on feel. As the seeding practice came along we felt more pressured to stop testing and make a final decision. So basically we sort of ran out of time to decide what the best tire was. At the end of practice we were pretty sure Suburbs would be the tire to use.
Cody ran X4 suburbs in round 1 of qualifying, but he didn’t feel great on them. He only got 11 laps and his lap times were down compared to the locals. He was thinking there was a bit of dust, and maybe that was the reason. For round 2 he ran x4 holeshot, and it was a little better. We had been told before we left for this race that holeshot might be the right tread, and it appeared to be the case. In round 4 he decided to try M3 rubber with additive, but it wasn’t any better. Last round was x4 holeshot, and that was when Cody decided he would run on holeshots the rest of the way. After qualifying was completed, Cody was 4th which placed him second in the B semi behind teammate Elliot Boots.
In the semi, Cody went to work and had a smooth steady drive and was really on his game. Our engine was really nice and only taking 100cc of fuel in 10 minutes. Even more amazing was doing this with all the dust and serious throttle input on the track. This was putting us over the 12 minute mark on one tank of fuel. Cody breezed to an easy win in his semi, but we were surprised to find out that one of the Italian kids had posted a better time in semi A, and Cody started second for the final. The fastest Italian kid, Alex Zanchettin, had issues in the semi but still had the LCQ to get in the main. He basically dominated the LCQ and lined up last on the starting grid for the final.
The final was 60 minutes and again Cody chose Holeshots, but this time M4. The tread wear was really minimal, so no need for the more durable X4 rubber. From the starting tone, the younger and less experienced kids in the front were fast but a little erratic. Cody took the lead briefly but had a crash on his pit lap going off the track. This cost him 20 seconds and dropped him to 6th position. Meanwhile, Alex Zanchettin had already made his way to the front from the 13th spot, and was pretty much driving away from everyone. He obviously has a lot of time on this track, and he would be tough to beat. The lap times for Zanchettin were consistently under 37 seconds and even low 36, so he was on his own pace. Cody was able to do 36, but not low 36. I think this would come from a different tire choice and more time on the track. Cody had a good battle with Stocco for the 2nd spot. The two would go back and forth with the crowd screaming and cheering for the Italian youngster. With just a couple minutes to go, it looked like Stocco’s fuel economy would do him in as Cody drove away while Stocco pitted. Suddenly Cody was upside down after casing a jump, and it was game on all over again. The two would battle back and forth, but a mistake with a couple laps to go would drop Cody to third and forfeit the 2nd spot to Stocco.
In the end, this was a win for everyone all the way around. Cody got some experience on the track, and the spectators were treated to an exciting race. This was a series race, so Cody could theoretically come back here and have a chance to win the over all in March. He has a third under his belt and double points for the last round, so definitely has a chance.
Travel and Culture
In addition to the racing, we were treated to some really exceptional Italian food and culture. We are so pleased to have this experience, and to see first hand how racing and motorsports is coursing through the veins of this beautiful place. As we drove around and rode the tour bus to the Ferrari Museum, I could not get over was how rich the soil is here. They only turn the fields once per year, so the soil is a deep dark brown. It’s no wonder the food is rich and fresh. We had a delicious meal prepared at the “trattoria”, complete with the desert and super strong brandy stuff (you could really breath fire after taking a sip!). After being so stuffed we needed wheelbarrows to leave the place, we continued on to the Ferrari Museum. It was incredible to see all the constructor’s championship cars in the trophy room. Really breath taking. On the way home we stopped at the world class on-road RC track, which is a stones throw away from the Ferrari test track. They told us you can hear the F1 cars very clearly when they run on the test track. The club house is full of Ferrari photos and memorabilia, and of course you can get a cappuccino or espresso. Visiting this RC track right in the middle of town demonstrated to me that they have racing as a priority. If we had such a facility in the States, someone would complain about the noise. I love this racing culture.
That’s it for now.. please enjoy the photo album below!!