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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wet weather testing

Wet weather testing at Buttonwillow. Partial dry conditions here, dry line forming. Feeling out where the grip is. Open test day so no rescue on site. That means flipping it in the mud is not a great idea as it might be an hour or two before anyone digs you out. Thus, a wee bit tentative on the out lap. Also a brand new race car built for T25 so wadding it into a ball trying to be a rain meister on an empty track would be, ah embarrassing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

More T25 testing

A few pics from the Speed Ventures event at Buttonwillow Oct 22/23, 2011. We went to test some new ECU maps, tire configurations and make some tweaks to the suspension settings.  Sonny, one of our super fast T25 team drivers, was there to get used to the new car and share driving duties. As it was hot and the coolsuit wasn't installed yet, it was nice to get a break every hour or so and rehydrate while he flogged the car around collecting data and testing configs.

   We started the weekend with a sick transmission, hoping it would last long enough to complete testing. Trans died around 4pm Sunday. John and I called it good, loaded up and went to Chipotle for much needed beer and mega burrito.

We're now tuning on Hennessey's Dynojet next to our shop. Quite convenient being able to drive the race cars 150ft across a parking lot for that. John and I are re-familiarizing ourselves with Megalogviewer, Tuner Studio, VE analyzer and MS in general. We're also able to make quick tests of different race car parts as well as new products, make a tweak in the shop and go right back to the dyno in minutes.This defeats the wallowing time suck we had before of loading a car in a trailer and driving an hour every time we needed to test anything on a dyno.

Catching a little air over Cotton Corners
Testing 205 Star Specs on 15x8 6UL's

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Thrash

John, working on the oil cooler
 Anyone who has been racing very long knows of the thrash. It's that insane last week working first 12 then 18 then eventually 24hrs a day to get the car ready for the upcoming event. This while juggling your day job, kids, wife, school, drug habit, whatever. When John Wing came on board August 3rd, he asked me which car I wanted built first. I said the enduro car. He asked when the next enduro was and I said Oct 8/9 but didn't think he could get it built in time. At that time, the car was a bare tub, not a single fastener or part attached. Boxes of parts around the warehouse for it. Oh yes, and a bunch of experimental stuff we have never done and custom fab work to do. Stuff like an ABS system with a proportioning valve and a switch for the driver to disable ABS at a whim. An electrical system that does not have any fuses or relays, only a prototype Smartwire programmable solid state switching system from Racepak. 11" long 5000 lumen headlights mounted in the behind OEM lenses and two more on the nose. Experimental alpha code software for ECU. John's answer to my doubts about getting done by Oct 8 was, "I can do it". I nodded, stepped out of his way and started ordering parts.

Getting aligned and corner weighted
 He made stellar progress up until it started to look something like a car. That's when we started hitting major roadblocks. Engine arrived about a week late. ECU wouldn't see crank angle sensor. various unforseeable problems. So the last week, john worked pretty much non-stop. As in did not go home non-stop. I pitched in the last few days. Two missed dyno appointments later and we finally had a car that moved under it's own power and sorta acted like a race car. We left many things unfinished as we just plain ran out of time. John pulled 149 hours of work in 11 days at the end. Are there even that many hours in 11 days? Jeebus.

Joe Perez helps us track down an issue with the MS3 Alpha code 1.14

Shawn Church doing his thing
 So, working on about 4 hrs sleep in the last 36, we loaded up and drove to the NASA enduro Oct 8/9 at Buttonwillow at 6am, arriving at the track around 11am. If you are wondering why it took 5hrs to get from Lake Forest to BRP (a 2.5 hr drive) we had to stop to sleep about a half hour after leaving the shop. Bad form to roll the rig and trailer with a brand new race car in it. If John and I were to survive such a catastrophe and the car didn't, I surmise he would quickly discover a way to kill me with his bare hands. Slowly.  By the time we got to the track John had pretty much cracked. He wandered around like a zombie. I tried to act like a team owner and marshal the dozen or so drivers and crew into a lean mean enduro winning machine. OK, mostly I yawned, pointed out the obvious and got in the way whenever the opportunity presented itself. I did manage to get muster enough focus to drive in the PTD race and a one hour stint in the enduro later on.

  Having arrived late in the morning Saturday, we of course missed both PTD, enduro, ST2 practice and qual..So the very first time the car was driven more than short burst to 50mph in street in front of our shop, was the formation lap of Saturday's PTD race. The car worked! It turned, stopped and went. Well the "went" part had a snag actually. Turned out we dynoed the car with the vacuum line disconnected from the brake booster. We later found it before loading onto the trailer, connected it and through being way tired and faulty communication, didn't think to check the ECU map. The result was a lean misfire. I adjusted to it in the first race by short shifting at around 4200rpm. I say around 4200rpm because ah, we didn't actually have a functioning tach. We did, however have GPS speed courtesy of the Racepak IQ3 so I used that to set my new shift points. Later, with the ECU map issue fixed, it went like stink. That is until a fuel system configuration error caused the fuel pressure to drop when it got hot. We of course picked up another lean misfire. Argh. Bad choice on crankcase venting config resulted in a bunch of oil all over the underside of the car and drivers side of the engine bay. Yuck.

 The rest of the day pretty much went like that, trouble shooting, drivers adapting to stuff that wasn't working quite right. Our regular car, the red 99 Miata known as Enzo, is a well proven E2 car. Currently leading the 2011 WERC E2 points race and setting lap records at both Thunderhil and BRP in the process. That was our chosen weapon for the points battle with hot shoe team drivers Nick Buchanan and Oscar Jackson Jr at the wheel. They did win by the way, by two laps. Meanwhile Crusher saw 4 different drivers get some valuable night driving experience in preparation for the Thunderhill 25hrs. Those were myself, Richard Gray, Jim Tway and Nick Buchanan. Sunday, I got to within .1 sec of Nick's time in Enzo while driver Crusher with a slight misfire and alignment missing about -5° camber all around. Very happy with that.

Back to the shop Monday, did a leak down, compression test and borescoped the cylinders. All happy in BP land.

So in the end, we made it. Put 6 hard hours on the car during the weekend. It didn't blow up or catch fire. Yay.

Wee hours, the day of the first race

John talking up a storm on the way to the race. Clearly he's really excited and can't wait to get to the track.
Me and Oscar Jr battling (getting our asses kicked) in ST2
Running hard in the enduro
Post race. Tire boogers, oil stains, stone chips, dirt, love.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New paint for old faithful

William's new paint job. I like it. Car is dirty in this pic but hey, it's a race car. This car has been through the ringer. Lived a good part of it's life as a nearly stock HPDE car. Eventually morphing into a heavily modified Rotrex supercharged time attack car. Set a few lap records. Then being put back to stock body work with a nearly stock engine for endurance racing. Set some more lap records. If I had to guess, I'd say this tub has some thing like 1000 track hours on it. Taken most of this year to develop it to where it is now. Solid, fast, fun to drive, if a bit patty around the edges. We're taking it to the Thunderhill 25 hours. I'm thinking of naming it Fred.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Crusher, wins and lap records

So about the same time we started bolting parts to the new enduro car tub, we assembled a 20T press we picked up from Harbor Frieght. Noting the bright orange colors of both and that they were both intended to crush stuff (bearings, the competition), I dubbed the new car "Crusher".

Now that we have the shop set up and other projects cleared away, john is putting his head down and making quick progress on the build. Heat shielding going in tunnel. Front subframe with, Energy Suspension bushings, depowered rack, ABS spindles and Xida's go on. Next will be brake lines, some of which will be custom made since we're relocating a few bits here and there.

Last weekend we did the last "short" NASA WERC enduro's at Thunderhill, August 13-14, 2011. Won PTD and the 1hr enduro Saturday as well as the 2hr enduro Sunday. Along the way we set the PTD lap record and we think we also got the E2 lap record for that config as well.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 25 enduro win

Just a quick post here. We won the last NASA 3hr enduro at Buttonwillow 1CCW June 25th in E2. Had a hard battle with team Mansour that pushed us all the way, both teams running sprint pace for most of the race. Fuel economy ended up deciding the win with Mansour's thirstier M3 needing a splash and go with about 15 minutes remaining. We were leading when they pitted and instantly gained a lap while they took a quick gallon or two.

We did two sprint races during the day. First practice at 8am, last checkered flag at 9:15pm. Very long hot (95°) day and the crew did an amazing job at keeping us dialed in for the duration. Thanks guys!

Pictured left to right: John Wing, Mike Fantacone, William Chen (driver), Emilio Cervantes (driver).

Post race: already strategizing for the next one 


Friday, June 24, 2011

Testing, testing..

Quick snap from Grange kart track in Apple Valley yesterday. Testing a few things and shaking down the enduro car before the NASA 3hr at Buttonwillow this weekend. Lower LED Vision-X  Evo Prime light bars not installed in this pic but we race with them. Darick at www.motorsportsquared.com supplied us with this fawesome 240 watt set up. You can see the hood mounted array reflecting off the pavement in broad daylight. They're really bright at night :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fully powered

Last minute switch to 3 phase power for the hoists, a cord reel for power and finishing up the air fittings. We're now officially ready to rock. So many car projects backed up due to lack of workspace, not being able to find tools, supplies, no hoists, blah, blah. We have a long list of prep work ahead of us in the next two months but our shiny new workspace should allow us to hustle through it efficiently. Last on the list is the might OGK but I really hope we can get in on track again this year with the new Whammy 2.0, C30-94 and all the fixin's.

Friday, May 27, 2011


For one reason or another, it has taken us a long time to get the hoists installed in our new shop. Well they're in finally and I'm stoked! The 4 post has an 82" under clearance. Meaning my 6-3" frame can walk under it with room to spare. The 2 post is an asymmetric that will allow us to lift a Miata and still be able to open both doors all the way to get inside. We'll precision level the runners on the 4 post to be able to do accurate alignments. I think we'll make some DIY roll on/roll offs for the scales so we can corner weight and align at the same time.

The bridge jacks will be here next week. Those are the little pneumatic scissor lifts that sit between the runners on the 4 post to lift the wheels off.. This will make some common tasks about 90% faster and easier.

Mike and Sonny have been working steadily over the past 6 weeks to get the mezzanine finished up, all the spare parts, tools and equipment organized and on shelves. Chapeau gentleman. Man do we have some floor space now and still room for about 2000 wheels in inventory. Just in time as we have a 40' container due in a week or so and already have maybe 500 wheels in stock. Still a bit more work to do to get the shop done but we are nearly there.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Yet another G machine

Just picked up a 2010 Tonykart KRX with Rotax FR125 TAG motor. Took it out to ACS or as the karters call it "Cal Speed". This thing is a workout to drive and that precisely why I got it. Training for the NASA enduros. That its kick ass fun to drive is a bonus. This and racing the mountain and cross bikes should keep me in something resembling driving shape.

Friday, February 18, 2011

TC Design Cage

Enduro tub is back from TC Design in Milpitas. NASA is allowing us to attach the door bars to the door sill so we added a plate there. As you can see from the pics, the tub is fully seam welded. The acid dip at Strip Clean (Santa Ana) removed more weight than the seam welding added. It's now at Mclaren Autobody in Lake Forest. Since it's a race car, we are not going to get too carried away with the cosmetics. Robert at Mclaren is doing a single stage paint for us at a racer friendly price.

Friday, February 4, 2011

SuperMiata WIP

Still a lot to do but we're getting close. That's the spec air dam and wing. I like it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Acid dipped tub

Just got the enduro tub back from Strip Clean in Santa Ana, CA. Was 495 lbs, now 461 lbs. Revealed quite a bit more RR qtr panel damage under the paint than I thought it had. Windshield frame has been damaged and repaired and  I didn't think to check that before having it stripped. Too much work into this tub to turn back so we'll glaze and paint it just the same. Now off to TC Design for seam welding and the cage.

Friday, January 14, 2011

New race car builds, putting together the new shop

Been a while since I updated you all on happenings here at 949 Racing. Over the last Qtr /2010, we have really examined just what we want to be racing. W2W, Speed Ventures, NASA, SCCA STU, SuperMiata etc.

 Finally getting finished design on our racking system so those bits arrive next week. Soon as that's assembled we can clear the shop floor and get our hoists installed. Should look something like a shop by the end of January. Planning a swap meet here maybe mid February. Remember those? It'll of course, be an open house for the new shop and facility. Really (I mean really) looking forward to having the shop look like a shop.

  The silver 99 Rental car that some of you may have read about is alas, being taken apart. This is actually hard for me to do because I love the car and it's perfect as is. The reality though, is we never drove it on the street so the HPDE style safety equipment wasn't really enough considering the speed it was capable of. Add to that our need for a donor to build into our first SuperMiata and it's fate is sealed. The 160whp motor that's in it aren't legal for the SuperMiata series I'm putting together, so it comes out. Might end up in my orange daily driver if the Adaptronic NA-VVT conversion prototype ECU takes a while.

  You can find out more about SuperMiata by clicking the link above but essentially it starts with a Spec Miata. Add single adjustable coilovers, 9" wheels, air dam, wing and oh yeah, a C15-60 Rotrex supercharger supplied by Oscar Jackson of Kraftwerks. The engines will be tuned, dyno'd and then sealed by Kraftwerks at 200whp. All years and engine sizes will make the same power and have more or less the same area under the curve. 2300 lb competition weight. Best guess on 225/45/15 NT01's will be around 1:57 at BW13CW, 1:29 at WSIR. Wheel to wheel races will be run exclusively at Speed Ventures. Of course it'll be eligible for NASA PTC as is or PTD without aero and some ballast. Should kick butt in PTC by the way.

The OGK's "whammy" 2.0 liter engine build we begun back in Feb 2010 has been paused several times while we figure out various facets of that plan. It's finally done and will be ready top drop into the OGK in a week or two.The OGK is really pure ego gratification. I really believe I can build the fastest track Miata on the planet. Yeah I know, crazy. I'll make a bit less power than some of the other super fast Miata around but I think I'll go far beyond others in terms of suspension optimization and aerodynamics. What will I use it for? As a customer has suggested; 'crush other peoples dreams'. I think that pretty much covers it.

   Our successes in the NASA 3 hr Enduro's (I forgot to tell you about that) have got us motivated for a serious effort to win the WERC (Western Endurance Racing Championship) and make a focused run at a class win in the Thunderhill 25 hours. To that end we're building a new car from scratch. That starts with acid dipping the tub to remove all the paint and get it ready for seam welding. Acid dipping is being done by Victor and the guys at  Strip Clean in Santa Ana. They have a proprietary process that removes any acid residue, leaving a phosphor based coating that is ready for paint and welding. The seam welding and cage will be done by Tony Colicchio TC Designs in Milpitas. As we have a tight build schedule and not enough manpower here to strip the car down and shuttle it around, we're enlisting the aid of Miata track prep specialists Andrew Kidd and the crew at Trackspeed Engineering in SLO. From there it comes back here to get put together. Engine is being built by Mike Keegan of Keegan Engineering here in Lake Forest. Custom modular wiring harness. More to come as the enduro car comes together.

  So, no pics? Yeah. not much to take pictures of this week. OGK is gutted and sitting under a tarp. Silver 99 for SuperMiata is on jackstands, in progress. 99 for the enduro build is a currently a faded green street car with ratty top and prototype from air dam (Spec air dam for SuperMiata).