Monday, January 4, 2010

Back on the Track for 2010!

The new #55 is back on the track and so is this passionate racecar driver!

Brainerd International Raceway is a great track, now FIA approved, and in early October provided my first time back on the track in over a year. The Driver’s school at BIR, run by former ALMS driver Gary Curtis, features Spec Fords, which I found a great venue to get back into the seat. Check out former IRL driver Herm Johnson who is their chief instructor. The track - Turn 1 is a blast at flat out at 135 mph with 8 degree bank and Turn 2 flat out will bring back that lovin’ feeling – the pucker factor! Great restart, great track, great folks at BIR.

Now down to business – we really didn’t know what we had with the new ‘white’ car – the new #55. Well race fans, after a test and tune weekend at TWS at the end of October, and another late November, it is safe to say we have ourselves a racecar! The #55 3.8 RSR is going to be very fast!

First we had to do some work to make it drivable. Together with Brian Kamery of Kamery Race Engineering, crew chief and close friend, we quickly scoped out what the car needs to become race ready. Suspension work done at the track, including installing a missing rear drop link and finding our way through the AFCO shocks, stabilized the car - it started right away to drive like a race car. We also lowered the car considerably front and back. We are quickly finding our way with the Goodyear tires and tire pressures. All in all, huge progress was made in two weekends – from wondering what we had – to the car driving like a racecar. Both Brian and I drove the car and had a blast.

Second, we found that the 3.8 engine is strong, very strong and the G50 transmission is solid. The suspension is very workable as a starter race set-up and can be improved over next season. We’ll probably need to do a dyno on the engine and the shocks to find out what we really have. Overall, a great first outing and one that makes 2010 very promising.

Along the way and back in the garage in Austin, we moved the engine back 1+ inches and cut out and re-fabricated the front clip, loosing some unwanted weight and creating a crumple zone in the front. We also installed a Fabcar shifter for more precise changes of the gears, freed up the throttle linkage and created a better fit in the cockpit.

Stay tuned, race fans, we are getting close to the 2010 race season! We are planning to race the full Texas NASA season and a couple of SCCA weekends to reacquire the SCCA National License.

So come joint us at MFR Houston for the first NASA race of the season on January 30-31!