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Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Daily Driver

This is the salvage title R package I bought last year for $750. Replaced the hood, bumper skins, LF fender. Rad core support was bent as was left frame rail nose so getting panel to fit straight-ish was a challenge. Color is Fiat "orange europcar" code  026. Cheap Maaco overspray spectacular. I got a can of Ford Tungsten gray code T8 for the wheels. Hood, trunk, door jambs not orange yet. I'll do those and the engine compartment when the engine comes out.

Fujitsubo RM-01A exhaust, high flow cat and Racing Beat header. Stock engine and drive train for now but we'll juice it up with the 160whp N/A motor out of our Rental, 6 speed and lightweight F1 flywheel from a 1.6. That engine is 100% OEM mazda parts with a little custom machining. Racing Beat header will come off and be replaced by a non-USDM 01-05 tubular manifold. It's a much better flowing piece than the US and I'm going for an all OEM under hood look, even the airbox. We'll run an AEM EMS but everything else will be 100% Mazda from various years and markets. Coolant reroute, Magnecor wires, OEM replacement plastic Koyo rad from the automatic because it's fatter. 

Added a set of 10/6 Flex with revalved fronts for now, until I can get the Xida's off the 99 swapped onto it. NB front FSB and 12mm rear with our end links. Carbotech XP10/XP8 on it now which feel awesome but are serious overkill for the street and quite dusty. 1521's will feel nearly as sharp and have nearly zero dust. Braided steel lines, plain rotors. We'll replace all the bushings including the diff mounts with Energy Suspension. Contemplating swapping in a spare NB front subframe and suspension I have laying in the shop. Either way will ditch the manual rack for a depowered one. 15x9 6UL's with 225/45 RS3's.

Interior will remain bone stock with the exception of a Momo 78 wheel, NRG quick release and Hard Dog M2 Sport roll bar. Foam cut out of driver seat base to let me sit a bunch lower, otherwise known as a  "foamectomy".

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New digs, new DD, new race series

But otherwise, nothing new.  Been a while since I posted anything, sorry. Stuff that's going on at 949 Racing now:

New Shop
Signed the lease last week. Just a bit less than twice the space of our current place but with a bigger and private yard. Adding a 4 post hoist that will have scale pads built in. Should make alignments much easier. Getting rid of our old 2 post hoist in favor of a new asymmetric clear floor. Seems like we're always needing to open the doors and crawl in the cars while they're on the hoist so the asym makes sense. Getting rid of every last bit of carpet in the building and tiling everything. Shop floor will be white epoxied. Walls will be gloss white. Kinda James Bond/NASA but I'm tired of a dark shop. Oh yeah, also adding 72 x 8' fluorescent bulbs to the lighting power. We'll be able to perform open heart surgery while wearing Ray Bans.

New Daily Driver
I lucked upon a 95 R package for $750 bucks last year. Finally blowing the dust off and got started on it last week. Transplanting the motor from the Rental into it. Before the Rental, that motor was in the OGK for about a year. That thing is a workhorse. Going for a very OEM look. We'll use the non USDM 01-05 tri-y exhaust manifold which is a very nice piece. OEM heatshield and all. Airbox will stay but with a Green filter. AEM running it. So under the hood it'll look all factory but should make about 145whp on CA91.

Shocks will be Xida Club Sports as soon as betas arrive. Front sway bar will be the 23mm MSM bar, 12mm OEM rear, Energy control arm bushings and our gen 5 end links. 6 speed trans and lightweight F1 flywheel. That's it for mechanical bits. Interior will remain 100% stock other than the suede Momo 78 wheel and foamectomy.  Biggest  visual difference will be the Mazda "Spicy Orange" paint and custom Tungsten gray painted 15x9 6UL's with 225/45 RS3's.  Hard top will be painted to match but it'll spend very little time on the car. Soft top will be removed as I like to run with no top whatsoever. Just seems to make the car more spartan. No radio, no A/C, no power windows, no cruise control, no top, no power mirrors. Just a healthy motor, great suspension and a good steering wheel.

New Race series

This is the big project. The rental is having a 100% stock motor built for it (.020 OEM pistons) so we can set an accurate baseline for what will be the first SuperMiata. SuperMiata is a wheel to wheel series we're putting together that will run exclusively within Speedventures.com track events. Just like running with NASA or SCCA but simpler rules, and only one race group during the day. Cars will all be dynoed and engines sealed at Krafterks in Norco. Why Kraftwerks? Well Oscar will be tuning the C15-60 Rotrex based supercharger kits that are spec in our series. They'll make 190whp and weigh 2300lbs at the end of the race. Custom designed front aerodynamics and a special made FRP GTC-200 wing made for us by APR Performance.

Suspension will be single adjustable coilovers, any one piece sway bars, any urethane bushings and of course, 15x9 wheels. That's more or less it. Lots of SoCal locals amped about getting their cars built and running with us. Not sure when I'll have the first car built and on track doing demos but I'm hoping to get something out there by the beginning of September. Official series will launch February 2011. 10 races through December at all the California tracks including a 2 hour enduro in the Summer. Should be fun.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Whammy crank

Stopped by Keegan Engineering to talk about the engine development. Had the crank out so I took a shot compared to a stocker. 8 lbs lighter than stock.

This will be the production crank for our built motors. Two flavors, 9.0:1 and 11.5:1. CNC ported heads flowing well over 250CFM. Proprietary cams, SUB's, WPC coated everything, the works.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

First sprint distance race

William and I were both too busy running our respective businesses last week to really get his car prepped for the NASA event at Buttonwillow 4/17-18/10. The plan was to do the Spec Miata race and then the enduro in E3 (PTE). Worked through until about 12:30am Saturday getting ready, when home for a shower then loaded up and headed to the track. I was able to lay down for about an hour but didn't actually sleep. Too much buzzing around in my head. What I may have forgotten to do, what I remembered to do and the things I forgot that I had remembered to do. William went home and got maybe 2hrs sleep. Lucky!

So race morning we roll to tech and they ask if we want to get our annual. You bet, let's get it out of the way. Of course that meant missing practice for the SM race. My first time ever in the car was SM qualifying. 7/21, not bad. Fell off at Phil Hill and knocked the alignment way out on the left front. Reset the toe and got ready for the race. Chatting with Burgoon he asks if  I'm doing the PTE race too. Three races in one day? You bet! So I sign up at the last minute, too late to quailfy. So about an hour before the SM race, I'm gridding for the PTE race. At the very back of the field. :(

PTE race
Managed to get by 8 cars on the first lap, about that many more during the race and a few dropped out I think. Finished 3rd of 21, 2nd fastest race lap. Cool!

Spec Miata race
Was actually pretty uneventful. Left the door open at the start and a slower car got by me going into T1. Took about two laps to get around and break free. Lead 5 were gone by then so I soloed in behind them. Finished 6th of 21. It was clear that William's car had the same grip everywhere but was just down about 10-15hp to the front cars. We'll work on that and hope to be closer next time.

Last year I did two enduro's, always with someone else coordinating as crew chief. This year it was William and  I, both not having a full understanding of the enduro rules. Lameness #1. To make things more interesting, this driver missed every driver's meeting during the day. Lameness #2. So I roll up to pre-grid for the enduro about ten minutes late. Lameness #3. Since I didn't qualify, I'm at the very back again. Lameness #4. My window net is down so I'm held for a moment while a steward helps me get the net in. Lameness #5. Meanwhile, the field rolls out. In the vein of being lame and unprepared, I blast out of the pits to catch up with the back of the field on the formation lap, obliterating the 25mph pit speed limit in the process. Lameness #6.
Of course I get black flagged. So while the green flies, I'm having a cordial chat with Ryan, who is doing his best not to yell at me for being a complete idiot, which we both know I was. He grills me for a bit then decides I'm merely temporarily lame, not endemically so.

So now I'm out, immediately chasing down the E3 backmarkers and making short work of them. I think I was either one or possibly two laps down when I joined the race. About an hour in I've caught the leader and unlapped myself. I wondered why the guy in the 944 fought for the position so hard. I only learned later that he though he was losing the lead. Which he would have been if I had been experience my typical lameness factor of only about 2.2, instead of the pegged 9.8 I was running that day. Yeah, starting near the front on the same lap is a good thing. argh.

Sun sets, 1:45 in and I'm actually finding a good groove, steadily making up ground and still a 1/4 tank indicated. Set fastest race lap in our class. Then my old buddy the black flies. For me? Aww, you shouldn't have. Turns out it's a good idea to have functioning running lights in a race car at night. Who knew? At this point, I fear I still have some unused lameness lurking, nurtured no doubt by an utter lack of REM sleep. So I throw in the towel, pull the car back into the pits. William is disapointed but also relieved. We raced hard on an unproven car, went fast and didn't bend it. He exhibited enough speed, situational awareness and consistency in HPDE4 to earn his provisional competition license. A very good day.

On the way back to LA, we each have to take about 60 minute stints driving. Both of us are just worked. Looking forward to doing more enduros and seeing William beat up on the regulars in SM.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Rental gets a bit more power, William goes SM

Busy week.

While at Mike Wong's Pit Garage in El Monte picking up some seat brackets for our rental, I spot an '03 that looks like Spec Miata. 39K, never raced, log book, nice cage, perfect body and tub. Mike mentions it's for sale. William has been looking for an SM to go do enduros in, so I call him. Drops what he's doing, shoots down there to look at it. Some SoCal locals might know this one, it's the black NB with Hello Kitty stickers plastered all over it. A bit of haggling and the deal is done. We're going racing!

It doesn't have the SM suspension kit yet, needs a different diff, new wheels, this and that. Trying to get it prepped and set up for the NASA enduro at Buttonwillow on the 18-19 April.

Meanwhile, the 99 rental got a "square top" intake manifold and AEM ECU.Made another 21whp. Awesome. Thing pulls like made all the way to the 7500 rpm fuel cut. FUN. Church's dyno reads about 8-10% higher than Kraftwerks so I think it's probably more like 159 but either way, it's 21 more than it made before the tweaks so I'll take it!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Getting Ready for Miatas at MRLS

Not much chance we'll get the OGK running in time but that won't stop us from trying. As a back up, we'll bring the rental. It's still a ton of fun to drive and give rides in but not the showstopper the OGK will be. To spice up the rental, we have added an AEM and non USDM "square top" 01-05 intake manifold. Even with the stock ECU feeding it 12.0:1 at the fuel cut, the rental was still making peak power right at the fuel cut so I'm pretty sure we'll find at least another 12whp with the manifold and ECU.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

New digs

As some of you may know, we were planning on moving to a new shop in February. Our lease was actually up at the end of January but we're hanging around until we find just the right place. Due to the soft commercial real estate market in south OC, our building owner is more than willing to let us stay month to month without any premium. The vacancies around here are disturbing. Lots of businesses folding. Sad state of affairs. Meanwhile we have been seeing phenomenal growth every quarter since we started back in January 2006. I can just barely keep up these days. Which lead to me bringing my first employee on last year, Mike Dandan.

In the past when I said we, it had always been just me and who ever else helped out from time to time. Mike is full time now and quite indispensable. Ships out about 95% of the orders, works on the website, keeps all the cars running and just generally does whatever needs to be done. Thanks bro!

Room for toys
So the shop we are looking at is about twice the size as our current place. Conveniently, it's just across the street. Nice yard we can fence in, better floor plan so we can easily add a 4 post lift in addition to the 2 poster we have now. Room to store a model 4000 Dynapack dyno when and if we can make that happen. So many projects come to a crawl because we don't have a loading dyno nearby. We'll fill the allotted parking spaces pretty quickly with all the cars we have floating around so I see some 4 post parking hoists in our future. Or we can just sell some of the excess cars. Anyway, haven't pulled the trigger on it yet. Just have to finalize the changes we need to make to the office area and get our gate/fence approved. Then there is the Go Kart track in the warehouse. Just kidding. I wish! We hope to start moving in during April and be all dialed by May. Not looking forward to all the extra work when we are slammed busy, but I am looking forward to the newer, bigger, plusher building. Oh yeah, we're specifying checkerboard vinyl floors throughout. No more carpet. Yay.

Speaking of toys..
I'm actually back down to 3 Miatas again, just sold the 2000SE and '90. Just the OGK, the 99 rental and a 95 R Package. Think I'm going to drop a JDM BP-Z3 motor into the 95 with one of DP Tunes programmable 01-05 ECU's. Splice the harnesses together and voila. I think we can make about 150whp with a quiet exhaust and the nice JDM 4:2:1 OEM header . That would be a fun and stealth DD eh?

I can't help it though. It's an addiction. Craigslist. Mike and I both have he bug. Some we keep, some we flip. Constantly rotating through the inventory.

I go to sleep these days dreaming about racing the OGK in enduros. TT's are fun but it's low key. Going fast for two laps is fun but it's just too easy.BTDT. I've sort of lost interest in Redline and SLB. Even if I were to go out and win the series in class, I'm not sure I would really care. Still, they are a fun diversion but not worth focusing on for me. The Miata Challenge is different because A) We don't take our selves too seriously.  B) It's more the camaraderie than glory.
Building a car that can be raced hard for 25 hours straight is monumental. That's my Everest.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Focus shift

I knew this would happen. Got to thinking well, why not? It might mean I don't have it ready for MRLS April 10-11 but that's OK. So instead of the mostly stock head with modest BP5A intake cam we are doing this:
Integral R1 race cams, .458 lift, 283°
+1mm Supertech valves
Supertech valve springs with Ti retainers
Mazda Comp Shim under Bucket lifters

I think this motor will make an honest 190whp on race gas, without the Rotrex. Should be easily capable of 325whp force fed. Perfect for enduros where we can simply short shift to control boost / fuel consumption, tire wear and general wear. Can't wait to hear this thing.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Exhausting gasses

Finished the big tube race header and Laguna exhaust prototypes over a month ago. The Laguna is the right shape and sound but still a bit too heavy at 22lbs with two resonators. We're going to go to a thinner wall tube and lighter resonators. Should end up at around 17lbs for a header back 2.5". That's really light. The super light Fujitsubo street exhaust was our weight target at 17 lbs but its a smaller 2.375" and a shorter cat-back. The cat back 2.25" version of our exhaust might be closer to 15lbs so that's good.

Header should make lots of midrange torque, that's what it's designed for. Problem is to get the optimum runner lengths and steps in the right place, we had to wrap the primaries up like spaghetti next to the frame rail. That means it's a two piece and no fun to install. Like not even a little bit of fun. In fact, it's kind of a PITA. Sad because it's going to make lots of power but we can't expect to sell to many because of it's no compromise construction. That's what you get when you go to one of the top header builders in the country and ask for a no compromise race header. oops.

So we end up needing to design a second header that's more of a compromise. Something closer to the Racing Beat but still with the longer primaries and venturi collector the RB doesn't have. A one piece that is easier to install, and hopefully, easier to manufacture. The RB is good but I know I can do something better that will cost less. So I'm obsessive!

Been too busy to do any more than one short, inconclusive dyno test (not back to back comparison). Will try to get some dynos done in the next 4 weeks if possible.

The exhaust will be easy. We already have a customer asking for a system for an S/C car that will make 350whp. That means 2.75" and our jigs are all set up for 2.5". It occurred to me that a 2.75" race exhaust would accommodate the street turbo guys very well since they don't need quite as much baffling. So there you go, another product.

Meanwhile it's 1:21 and my second beer just ended. Good night.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

OGK Motor rebuild begins

Mike Keegan of Keegan Engineering picked up the long block today. Decided to go with the 11:0.1 Supertechs. At an actual 11:0.1, they're a tad too high compression for race gas and the unrestricted 16psi of the C30-74. So I decided to splurge on this plain motor and have the chambers polished and valves deshrouded. While Mike's at it he'll do a little bowl work and probably trim the valve guides a bit. Nothing exotic but the deshrouding will reduce the chamber volume enough to drop the C/R closer to the 10.5 or so that we're aiming for. I'd love to stick with 11.0:1 and run E85 but the fuel economy on that fuel is something like 20% worse than with normal race gas. As it's going to be and enduro motor that may end up running the Thunderhill 25, I need to maximum fuel economy. Scratch the E85 specific build. It'll still make masses of midrange torque though so its not exactly a sacrifice.

Trying to resist sticking cams in it and asking Mike to go wild with the ports. I need it finished quick so we're keeping it simple. This will also become the shop spare motor once we get the Whammy 2.0 prototype running.

The Whammy will be a no holds barred race motor. Oversquare, safe at 8500 rpm, big head flow numbers, expensive and pre-made sitting on the shelf. In 2011 that is. Gotta win some races with the prototype first :)

Other bits on the way are custom spindles and billet aluminum hubs from V8 Roadsters. These will be standard geometry. I asked the Leonards about a year and a half ago for drop spindles but they have just been too busy cranking out their LXs conversions to get them done for me. The drops are just about done now though. Excited at what the beneficial change in roll center will do for the car. A few other benifits like being in a better place in the camber curve and making room for longer shocks. Besides that, the hub and spindle assemblies will shave another 16lbs off the car. Between V8 Roadsters and 949 Racing, we have replaced the entire corner of the car except the outer tie rod end. And that is something we're also fiddling with to allow adjustments for bumpsteer.

V8R four wheel Wilwood 11.75" BBK going on too. We're going to make a one off version with "merely" 11" solid rear rotors and possibly a two piston Outlaw caliper to save weight. His current kit is engineered for a much heavier and more powerful car. The OGK is barely 2000lbs and will be just shy of 300whp in enduro tune.

While I don't think I can get everything together in time, I'm pretending that I'll have it running for the March 20 Miata Challenge event at El Toro. That will be our primary shakedown for Miatas at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca a few weeks later. Either way, I'm so excited at the prospect of having my favorite toy awake and howling again.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

New motor for the OGK

Since late Summer '09 I had been planning and piecing together version 2 of the OGK. Real gauges, better engine management, bigger brakes, less weight and a whammy one of a kind engine with the Kraftwerks supercharger. Some of the parts are here in the shop but the stumbling point has been planning the engine. I have this theory that the block can accept a much larger bore (85.5mm) than is common practice on high boost engine. So we're going to sonic test two and cut another open to take some measurements. Then comes custom made rods, cams and pistons, all of which need to be designed from scratch. This should have all been done at the end of '09 of course. It wasn't though, so I have to "throw" something together to start aero development.

This interim motor will be basic, 100% OEM rebuild with these exceptions:

84mm 9.5:1 - off the shelf Supertech's
Forged rods - M-Tuned
Billet oil pump gears in blueprinted housing - Boundary Engineering
Valve Springs - Eibach
Crank - lightened and balanced with stock damper and 949 Racing 7.25" organic twin plate clutch
CAM- BP5A intake

That's it, no custom machining other than the crank. It won't flow more than about 205CFM or so but the C30-74 Rotrex will take care of the rest. After driving William's lap record setting 230whp 99 Miata with a stone stock 100K mile engine and the same supercharger, I realize I can get by just fine with a plain engine for now. The interim motor while it won't flow much, will have no problem spinning to 7800rpm sustained and cope with 15psi/300whp.

The impetus for the Whammy engine is twofold:
1. Increasing displacement while increasing the rod ratio from the not so favorable 1.56:1 to something more like 1.66:1. That means longer rods, stock stroke and still getting 1952cc.

2. Developing what will become 949 Racing crate motors for 2011.

With the stroker conversions already available, you get higher piston velocities and end up with nearly the stock rod ratio. There are a host of benefits from keeping the stroke shorter and increasing bore. The question remains, just how far can we go with the bore and boost before it goes pop.

With enough valve lift, our new header design and prototype manifold, we can hopefully reach something like 255-270CFM from the head. Pretty weak in the Honda world but the upper end of what people get from the BP series Mazda heads. That flow should allow it to make good power between 7000-8300 rpm which is where the rod ratio comes in. An integral part of achieving that flow will be aggressively deshrouding the valves, made easier by the bigger bore.

Such a build could be run as a genuine 8000rpm 175whp N/A (non VVT) street motor with the right intake/exhaust/ECU and also be strong enough for sustained 400whpF/I track use. The long term goal is to build an endurance racer and finish the 2010 Thunderhill 25 hour with the prototype crate motor.

Hoping to get the Whammy engine built in time to do one or two 3 hour enduros between Summer and T25. Meanwhile, we can definitely get the interim motor put together in time to run the March 20 Miata Challenge event at El Toro. Can't wait to get out there. Another goal for 2010: sub 1:50 at BW13 CW on DOT slicks.