BMC Tool Racing Update from Thunderhill – Saturday 12/5/09

The morning started out with everybody on the grid and a ton of people on track. This is pretty typical for a race, but since I don't go to many races this was pretty cool. The only thing missing was the super tall team flags from a Super GT race. A lady sang the national anthem pretty damn well and an Airforce captain said some stuff and some F14s (or whatever) blasted by above us.  Good stuff.

The race started out great starting on pole at 11AM, but shit started when the Panoz got tapped from behind from one of the ALMS 997 GT3s (turns out they can run RSR derived motors in ALMS) about an hour in. Then we got black flagged a couple hours in for exhaust noise. The shitty part about this 25 hour race is that there is a decibel limit. It isn't very strict, but it sucks when your exhaust is pointing directly at the mic. So there were a few unscheduled stops to try fixing the exhaust noise and we absolutely had to fix it by 5pm when the decibel limit goes even lower. It took the team a good hour to rig something up (see below for semi-truck action). At around 8:30pm things got worse when Sean was tapped on got bumped off the road going full tilt into turn 1. This is where we're at now (and why I am able to post this instead of staring at a telemetry screen) trying to find a way to fix the broken lower A-arm mount. It really is kind of a half ass design with a lower A-arm being bolted to the tub in single shear. To top it off the stud was shit ass carbon steel with cut threads. If they were going to make it single shear, shouldn't they have used some exotic alloy and rolled the threads? But I guess the idea is that teams can buy the DP-02 for cheap and start racing competitively.

So at the point of the accident being off track for exhaust mods, the car was off the track for just over an hour. In that time the ALMS Porsches have blown by us, but neither of the two Normas are anywhere to be seen. The good thing about endurance racing is that you never know what will happen. Last year an MX-5 won outright.

Some pics from today and last night:

MJ (Mike) was inspecting the gear stack on the Hewland since the Cosworth Mazda engine makes 80more bhp than the original Duratec supplied from Elan. Jeez these things are narrow, but then again they don't have to handle much power and the car is light. The gears for a Hollinger sequential box are like 3.5 times the width I think. These Hewland gears are REM isotropic superfinished to increase strength and increase surface harness. They could probably use some WPC treatment to go on top of the REM for the ultimate in strength, friction reduction and lubricant retention.

Race cars are engineered to handle the power they are supposed to make. Everything is strong enough, but not overly heavy duty since weight is a factor. So if you run some Hankook C91 slicks, add 80bhp, and a little weight to the car shit like this can happen.

In the front of the grid is always the best place to be.

This morning the car's battery was low and it almost couldn't start. So here's TJ jumping in the car to keep the engine speed up to charge the battery. Whatever it takes right?

Here is the result of TJ and Honda's (Honda works at Road Race the Mitsu shop) handiwork: it's the Peterbuilt edition. You might have thought it was a mini LeMans Peugeot turbo diesel.

This is the damage from the spin going into turn 1. The undertray acted like a lawnmower and cut some grass while the car spun.

So that's about it for now. We'll see what happens. Will the car go back together? I hope so.

For video updates from Tool, check out their Youtube page at ToolRacing.

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