We’re dropping the mic..and letting Cody Miles tell everyone about his #lifeonair as he embarks on another winning year (and now record setting) on the track with his 2007 Subaru STi fitted with our Subaru STi air suspension kit and the latest Air Lift Performance 3H control system:
With the first round of the Global Time Attack Pro Series around the corner, I made sure to have the racecar prepped and ready, as well as vacation and sick time maxed out with work to allow time for travel. This event would be my first time traveling across the country for a race. After a Costco run, several loads of laundry, tow rig maintenance, and loading of the battle wagon… we were off and on our 32 hour drive to the east coast for Road Atlanta!
If I could make one recommendation to others working toward traveling like this, it would be to always allow extra time for unexpected delays! Delays are something we certainly had on our cross country voyage. By the time we arrived Thursday morning at 4 am in the paddock of the infamous Road Atlanta, we had managed to destroy six trailer tires, one trailer wheel, one trailer fold out step set, all trailer brake wiring, one loading ramp, and one fuel injector. The scariest part of all of this was consistently being reminded that sometimes simply making it to the track is the hardest part, especially when traveling 2,173 miles each way! I was finally able to relax once we arrived at the race track, and managed to grab one hour of sleep before practice began.
Waking up to the combined exhaust notes of the fastest Time Attack cars from all across the United States was undoubtedly something special. Despite the lack of sleep, I suited up and headed out for practice. With the primary thought of “How much different than Forza can this track really be…” I was out cruising around learning the lines. Aside from being an absolutely beautiful race track, (for once surrounded by something other than a dry ugly desert) this track has some serious blind crests and corners that can certainly eat you alive. I spent the entire first day driving at about 50% with the single goal of absorbing and feeling the story that the tarmac of this foreign circuit had to tell. Day one ended as I was just starting to get some confidence in certain areas. The weather was definitely looking out for us since it remained absolutely perfect with sunny skies any time the track was live. With day one of Road Atlanta under my belt, I made a few small adjustments to the car and was eagerly awaiting day two to get back out and push a little harder… after some long overdue sleep of course!
Waking up for day two after finally getting an adequate amount of sleep felt great. After a quick drivers meeting informing us of qualifying results and grid positions, it was back to the trailer to get ready for some Group A timed runs. Throw some protein down the hatch, suit up, fuel up, and there we were; heading out on our first timed session of the day. I pushed a little harder than previously, but still wasn’t concerned with giving it 100% just yet since there was no use in beating the car up when only being partially comfortable and still unfamiliar with the track as a whole. Throughout the day I took my time examining specific corners and confirming lines to be used once I was ready to let things get rowdy. At this point, I ended the first timed day with a line that was more or less confirmed and comfortable. This line I had developed was being driven at about 80-90%, which actually put me only .6 seconds off of the track record for my class. This came as a shock, especially since I knew I wasn’t giving it 100% yet. Needless to say, I went to sleep that night hungry for a track record.
Day three was finally here, which meant it was time to let that right foot hit the pedal stop. An overall victory and track record were within my grasp, which is all I could think about. I went out for the first session of the day and actually drove with some spirit. I hit a couple laps hard and was greeted by over boosting issues down the back straight, as well as a clutch that thought slipping after every shift was a cool thing to do. I came in and quickly made some adjustments to the tune, as well as bleeding air from the clutch line. The rest of the car was holding up solid, but I knew none of those runs were worthy of record breaking times, so I looked to the next session to clench what I was after. After anxiously waiting to be called to grid, I was back at it again on an out lap with aggression building inside just waiting to lay the skinny pedal to the floor. My hot lap was underway and I was undoubtedly driving as hard as I could. I felt my tires steadily reaching into the surface beneath them and propelling me in whatever direction my hands asked them to. The Air Lift Performance suspension setup was up for every bit of abuse I could possibly throw at it. One rumble strip after another the car would come back to earth planted with confidence and ready for whatever adventure was next. I ran 2 hot laps and came in due to continued clutch slippage. After further review once things cooled down, it was evident that my slave cylinder was failing, causing the clutch pedal to return extremely slowly, if at all… explaining all of my clutch slipping issues. With my car showing signs of fatigue and in need of some love, I quickly ran to see my times that I had just run. What I saw was simply comical and sent a grin across my face. I was now .01 seconds from breaking the street class track record! With my poor clutch practically melting at this point, I briefly apologized to my machine and strapped the helmet on one last time for session three of the final day. I didn’t travel across the entire country and face all of the damage we encountered along the way to go home with only the hint of what a record tastes like residing in my mouth.
Here I was, on grid for what was surely my cars last hoorah before the clutch system would surely quit on me. As I pulled to my position my eyes read one thing; determination. At this point I was leading my class by over three seconds, but that didn’t matter anymore. The only thing that mattered was having my name attached to a track record. After being waived out onto a live track, I gained my focus and set out to make my new found dream a reality. I threw my machine around each corner with everything I had. I knew that I had to piece together a decent lap with minimal mistakes. I made it about half way around the 2.9 mile road course as my clutch started acting up. Every shift led to endless slipping where backing off throttle slightly was about the only way to keep things going. At this point,the sound of a slipping clutch was literally the sound of time fading away. Once I made it to the back straight the clutch pedal again began failing to return after being depressed. I was charging down that straight as hard as I could, while using my toes underneath the clutch pedal to help it back up after each shift. All of this while reaching speeds of 160 mph was a bit frustrating and wasn’t helping focus, but I simply had no other option. I ended up finishing that lap and pulling off to call it quits for the event. I honestly felt like the rest of the lap went decent, but the amount of power that was failing to make it to the ground was an obvious concern. I parked the car and eagerly walked over to where times were posted. What I saw sent an immediate wave of relief through me. Not only had I officially broken the class record, I beat it by a full second. I did my best to contain my excitement as I approached my friends to inform them of my latest achievement. After a series of congratulatory high fives and shared excitement, it was time to change clothes, load the car, and be thankful that I was going home in one piece.
Overall I couldn’t have asked for anything more from my first experience at Road Atlanta. I had accomplished everything I had in mind, plus more. I’ve started the Global Time Attack Pro Series off with heaps of momentum, and readily await the next event. All in all the car did fantastic and felt better than ever. The clutch issue is an easy fix and in the grand scheme of things, nothing to worry about. I can’t thank my supporters enough. Everyone from my sponsors who make sure I’m set to go with competitive equipment, my brother who never hesitates to donate his truck to be used and abused as a cross country tow rig, and my parents who literally put the rest of their lives on hold to make sure that I get to whatever event it is that I’m after with a limitless amount of support to ensure that I’m given the ability to turn my dreams into reality. Without a core support program like this, none of my accomplishments would have been possible. The last couple years have been a fascinating ride, and I can proudly assure you that this ride is far from over.