Devin Mauk

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Devin Mauk in the Pits
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Skip Barber Midwestern Race Day 2 @ Mont Tremblant, Canada, Aug. 3, 2008:

     We finally got some good weather for this race, and the race directors gave Devin’s group an extra 10 minute practice before the race since they had been shorted on their race the previous day.  Also, the race was lengthened to 13 laps, instead of the planned 12 laps.

     Once the race got under way, Devin made good use of his fourth place starting position on the grip and was up to third going into Turn 2.  He maintained his third place position (and was actually up to second for part off one lap) for a couple of laps, dropped to third on one lap, back up to third, then there was a full course yellow.  During the racing before the full course yellow, Devin had some contact with his left front wing and another car.  Series rules require that if you have contact, you must come into the pits for a safety inspection.  Unfortunately, Devin did not come in during the full course yellow, which would have allowed him to be able to catch up to the back of the field while they were still behind the safety car.  Seeing the black flag with his car number as he passed the flagstand on the last yellow lap, he was obligated to come into the pits the next time around.  Of course, as he came in the pits, the rest of the field was getting the green flag, so his race was effective done.

     Once he got back on track, he went to work, and with managed to bring it home in tenth position in a field of 13, just making the pass for tenth out of the final two turns on the very last lap, crossing the finish line .311 seconds ahead of eleventh.

     Highlights of this race included Devin running up front early in the race, also setting his personal best lap of the week on the second lap of the race.  If not for the contact and the subsequent penalty, he would have probably finished well up in the field, and if he had come in a lap early for his penalty, he could have made up further positions.  Ifs and buts don’t win races though, so we came away with tenth and a learning experience to build upon for future races.  It was a fun, busy, educational week, he did not wreck any cars, and did well against older, more experienced (in cars) racers.

    

Devin Mauk, Rookie of the Race, Mt Tremblant
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Skip Barber Midwestern Race Day 1 @ Mont Tremblant, Canada, Aug. 2, 2008: 

     The day started off with a morning practice for Devin’s group since they did not get a final practice on Friday due to the track closing.  Unfortunately, his car started smoking during this practice and he had to come in and switch cars, and ultimately ended up with an abbreviated practice in a different car..

      When we finally got around to qualifying, the sky decided to open up an soak the track.  During Devin’s second qualifying lap the car got away from him at the fast Turn 7 sweeper, and he went for a wild ride through the grass, and just touched the Armco barrier with his left front wheel before getting the car back under control.  This required a mandatory visit to the pits for a safety inspection, plus the rules are that if you put all four wheels off of the track, your qualifying time is voided and you start in the back.  Having already blown qualifying, Devin just took it relatively easy the rest of the practice in the treacherous wet conditions.

     The race was also held in changing track conditions, and on the first lap there was an incident further up the field, requiring a full course yellow and the pace car.  After a couple of laps under yellow, the race got restarted only to have another incident that resulted in a car flipping and another full course yellow.  All remaining cars were directed into the pits to stop and shut down while the wrecker truck went to recover the flipped car and the rescue crew went to the driver’s aid (who was unharmed) and give him a ride back to the pits.

     The mess cleaned up, the race got back under way.  Scheduled to be a 12 lap race, it had to be abbreviated to only 8 laps because all cars have to be off the track a 5PM for noise ordinances.  When the checkered flag waved, Devin came home in fourth place in his first car race, avoiding the trouble experienced by other racers in the field and passing some other drivers that started further up in the field.  In addition to his fourth place finish, Devin was the top finishing Rookie driver in the race, and got the Rookie of the Race award.  He also was recognized on the podium for making the most progression coming from 11th on the grid to finish 4th.

Lapping/Practice @ Mont Tremblant, Canada (July 31, Aug 1) 
     On Wednesday Devin had two lapping sessions of about 35 minutes each, and between them he also had a lead/follow exercise one-on-one with an instructor, complete with two-way radio communication in-helmet.  The practices went fairly well, with a couple of spins in turn 4 as Devin was pushing a little more trying to find the limits.  He picked up some speed, but was not as consistent as the previous day.  Also, he was in a couple different cars today, and said they handled a little different than the car he drove in the 2-Day Advanced school.  During his final session  on Wednesday, he set his fastest time of the week so far, just before a light rain hit the track and slowed up everybody's lap times.
     During Friday race practice, Devin was in Group 5.  During the first practice, Devin found some more speed and was, except for a couple laps involving traffic, getting quicker each lap, and set his best time of the week (so far) on his very last lap.  Devin was 5th fastest out of 15 drivers in his group, only about .8 seconds behind the fastest driver in his group.  After a debrief with each of the instructors from each corner, we went for some quick lunch before returning to the track for our final practice.  In looking at the other groups that ran, it looked as if the track condition was improving as almost everyone was picking up more and more speed.  Unforturately, we were not able to get out for our second session because of mishaps in the other groups that slipped the schedule so that it would run past the 5PM track cut-off time.  However, the missed practice session will be made up Saturday morning, before qualifying.
     Tomorrow, Saturday, after over 8 years of racing karts, and participating in almost two hundred kart races,  Devin will run his first actual CAR race in the Skip Barber Regional Race at Mont Tremblant, Canada!

2-Day Advanced Racing School @ Mont Tremblant, Canada (July 28 - 29, 2008)  The last Saturday of July, we packed Devin's Bell driving gear and helment and boarded a plane for Montreal, Canada.  We visited the F1 Circuit Gilles Villenueve on Sunday, went to the Hard Rock Montreal for lunch, then made the approximately 2 hour drive to the northeast of Montreal, ending up in the resort town of Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada.  Also located here (and our reason for coming) is the 2.65 mile Circuit Mont Tremblant, a beautiful road course with plenty of elevation changes and challenging turns.  Devin's shedule for the week includes the 2 Day Advanced Racing School on Monday and Tuesday, a day off on Wednesday, a lapping day on Thursday, practice on Friday, and then qualifying and racing on both Saturday Aug 2 and Sunday Aug 3. 
     The cars will be a little different (better) than his last Skip Barber event.  They are still open-wheeled purpose built race cars, but now they will have a sequential 5-speed transmission (vs. the conventional H-pattern 4-speed) located behind the 4-cylinder engine.  That engine in turn is located directly behind the driver, and the cars have both a front and rear wing.  They continue to be capable of speeds  of up to 130mph, and cornering forces of 1.3 G's.

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Devin Pitting in his Skip Barber F2000

Day 1 (Monday July 28):  We were at the track by 7:45am, class got going around 8:30am, and by 9:30am Devin was in the car, on track, doing supervised braking exercises along with the rest of his group at three different points on the track.  This was primarily to get the drivers used to the car, it's sequential 5-speed tranmission, and to get a feel for the track.  This lasted for about an hour, then the next group of ten took to the track.  Devin's group got a briefing, and then everyone broke for lunch. 
     Following lunch, Devin's group (Group 1) was back in the car for about 45 minutes of lapping, and this session was in the dry.  However, as Group 2 was about to take the track, the sky opened up, and it was wet sessions for the rest of the day.  Devin's group got another lapping session, this time in the rain on a wet track.  Again Devin did well, setting a good pace, staying on the track, and caught and passed several other cars during the session.  He came off track, was debriefed by each of the instructors that had been at different turns on the track observing, and then his group went to watch Group 2 from a turn on the track.  Tomorrow is a lot more lapping, and a one-on-one lead/follow exercise with an instructor in aother race car.  And it is supposed to be dry all day.
Day 2 (July 29):  Today was a nice dry day, with no need for a rain line through the turns.  The first lapping session was in groups behind an instructor in a race car, with practice passing and being passed being accomplished by each student in turn.  After that, it was just fast lapping sessions the rest of the day, with instructors circulating around the track where they alternated between following and leading the students around the track.  By the end of the day Devin was running consistent laps among the top three fastest of the class. 
     We're taking tomorrow off, and coming back on Thursday for some lapping sessions and a lead/follow exercise in preparation for race practice on Friday, and then the races on Saturday and Sunday.

3 Day Racing School @ Laguna Seca, Ca  (Jan 25-27, 2008)

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Devin in his Skip Barber Formula car

     Devin headed up to the Monterey Peninsula in California for the weekend to attend the Skip Barber 3-Day Racing School course.  At 13 years old, he was easily the youngest in the class, not even legal to drive a car on the street.  Regardless, he was here to drive the Skip Barber Formula cars, which the school advertises as having a 0-60mph time of 4.5 seconds, 1.3 cornering capability, and a 130mph top speed.  These cars have 4-speed non-synchomesh tranmissions, are mid-engined, and 6-points safety harnesses.  And this was only the second standard transmission car Devin had ever driven.
     Day 1 (Friday, Jan 25):  We showed up to the track a little before 8am, to start the class and introduction part of the program.  After meeting the course's instructors and his fellow classmates, then some basics of the car and the course, Devin headed out to the car.  First time behind the wheel was on the skip pad with a cone course set up to familiarize the drivers with the car.  To add to the fun, it was raining (and continued to the rest of the day).  Devin took to the course and started to learn his new ride.  He looped it once or twice, as did most of his classmates, as he learned the limits of traction in the rain.
     After lunch, it was on to the track in a van to learn the track, then it was time to learn the car a little more in the pit lane and front straight.  Finally, it was time to take to the whole track, and the instructors led the cars out for several laps behind a pace car for lead/follow exercises to learn the lines, the cars, and the track.  Following this, it was back to the class for a recap, and a heads up to what was going to happen on Day 2.
     Day 2 (Saturday, Jan 26)  We woke up to wet roads, but no rain, on Saturday, and the weather cooperated the rest of the day.  The morning consisted of a high speed braking exercise, where Devin got up to about 100mph, then braked for a 180 degree turn.  The instructors had set up a cone for when to brake, then told the students as they got comfortable, to start braking later and later.  Devin did just that, and was pushing his and the cars limits after just a few laps, braking deeper and deeper into the turn, trying to discover just how deep he could go.  There were some exciting moments as the brakes got locked up, and when he tried to carry more and more speed into the turn.
     The afternoon was more lapping (without the pace car) on the track with the instructors giving instruction and advise between every lap.  After the end of day recap in class, it was off to get some dinner and sleep.
     Day 3 (Sunday, Jan 27)  This was a day to put it all together, and to make it even more fun, it was raining all day.  The day consisited of more lapping sessions, but the cars did not have to come into the pits every lap for instruction and critique.  Also, there was a race start exercise in which all of the students "gridded up" for a stimulated start, which was anti-climatic for Devin since he has several hundred actual starts in karts.
     When the final session started, Devin put everything he had learned together and took the track determined to put in a great final performance.  He did not disappoint.  While the cars were sent out with some spacing between them, Devin caught and passed several of his classmates, and appeared to be the fastest on the track.  He never went off this session, pushed himself and the car to both of their limits, and had a great time.
     Wrap Up:  This was a great, fun weekend for Devin.  He showed he can handle the jump from karts to cars, and can transfer his kart racing experience and vehicle dynamics understanding to the next level.  He showed great car control, especially in the rain, and adapted quickly to the 4-speed racing car he was strapped into.  Overall, it was a successful weekend, where Devin displayed skill and maturity behind the wheel, well beyond his 13 years of age would suggest.
     And lastly, we would like to thank all of the instructors, mechanics, and staff of the Skip Barber Racing School at Laguna Seca for their hospitality and guidance over the weekend.  They made the course informative and fun despite the weather, and they were always glad to offer advice or answer questions.  Thanks again.
    

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