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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.