To be fair, I did say it was “too soon”.

So when the opportunity came across that I could be part of a very exclusive Gingerman event, with less than 20 cars guaranteed, less than 6 cars a session…

…well, I jumped on it (I also maybe might have been coaxed by supportive friends).

Made some calls, pulled some strings, loaded the Miata (and two spare sets of tires) on a trailer, and booked it out day-of to South Haven, MI to just enjoy the weather and promise of a traffic-free day.

And boy howdy, am I glad I did.

After trying for five years, I finally did it.

< 2:00:00.

Specifically, 1:58.55, and yes, I have the receipts to prove it.

It didn’t come easily - first session out, I got a 2:00:10 and thought “oh boy, it’s gonna be one of those days.”

Also, I almost mated with a rather new Acura NSX - a potentially expensive and unfortunate endeavor, that is a story in and of itself.

Second session, I did it…but locked up my tires hard going into 10B (no braking zone indicators all day meant “good luck with your guesses”) and slid right into the beach.

Third session, whilst my parents randomly stopped by to watch, I cooked it hard in 5/6 and spun out, taking two or three cones with me.

Fourth session, with cold tires, I slid in 3 off-track…and that’s when the Miata started feeling funny.

Turns out, I flat-spotted the tires.

With a completely empty tank, and a full day of good driving in, a personal record broken, enough mistakes made to be a little white-knuckled, and a two+ hour drive home ahead of me, I started my last cool-down lap of the day…and the year (for real this time).

Then I saw the NB Miata ahead of me slowing to allow me to catch up, and instead of pitting, he went out for another lap…and the race was on.

I can think of no better way to end this season than the last 3 laps at Gingerman, on an empty tank, with a flat-spotted tire, determined to be the fastest car on the track…and, well, see for yourself if I succeeded or not.

Now, onto next year, and new challenges.

YouTube: Session 1, GOPRO RECORDING
YouTube: Session 2, GOPRO RECORDING
YouTube: Session 3, GOPRO RECORDING
YouTube: Session 4, GOPRO RECORDING