Letter From Sierra Sierra

Here’s a letter from the team owner of Sierra Sierra regarding their time attack EVO 8. There are details of up to now and the near future of the car.

“It’s been very busy since we got back from WSIR but thought I’d comment on where we are today and explain what is next.

Our results at WSIR, given the circumstances were okay, but obviously not anywhere close to where we would like to have been. But credit Billy Johnson and their team for an absolutely awesome win. They for sure sent us (as well as everyone else) the message on how difficult the FX Motorsports/Cricket NSX car and the Redline Time Attack series is going to be this year and then more specifically exactly how it is done. ;)

Coming to WSIR we had two previous test outings, both of which did not go well. At Buttonwillow our very first ever test (two days) day one we chased fuel pressure problems and day two engine cooling problems which ultimately resulted in a blown head gasket and an engine change. That also was the weekend of the RTA Buttonwillow event which netted missing the first event.

Second test outing and again at Buttonwillow with a new Cosworth motor. We struggled both days with engine oil temp problems due to the fact that we had placed the oil pump way too close to the downpipe coming out of the turbo. We really pounded that motor and I am so thankful that we had a Cosworth engine because I believe that any other engine would have given up. Thus “in Cosworth we trust”

At WSIR our plan was to test on Friday before the actual RTA event but on the first practice on out lap we had an over-rev of the engine of 11K which ended the day and required an engine change. We immediately contacted Cosworth (Friday afternoon), explained the situation at which they said that they could provide us with another motor no later then 11:59PM that night). I picked up the engine at 11:PM These folks know their business and it shows in every thing they do. We also found out later when the engine when checked at Cosworth that it did not show any damage from the over rev. Amazing.

Saturday we spent the entire day trying to prepare the car for a practice session but it was no to be, for one reason or another so we missed out on practice again, damn.

On Sunday the day of the event we missed the first on the practice again because of a problem that we did not fix completely on Saturday. So with two practice sessions left in the AM we were finally able to accomplish a first, completing 5 consecutive laps and try to get a base line our Hankook tires and oil temp.

Now the tire management aspect of Time Attack introduced itself and holy $hit it is another big change from where we have been (I am inclined to think that we have been living a very sheltered life until now). A special thanks to Hankook for their confidence and support in SSE. Without their involvement we’d really be lost in the forest.

Time Attack is so different from where we have been that I believe that we probably slipped into a full case of denial for the next two practice sessions. But with the help and support of Paul Jho from Hankook and Eric Hsu from Cosworth, we were able to finally grasp the concept and prepare for Race #1. The rest of the day has been pretty well documented.

Our reluctance to participate in the Super Session was based solely on the oil temp problem we were experiencing. We figured that at the end of two laps we would have been too hot to try for three laps and then ultimately screw it up for all of the other teams that were in that event. Going forward we will be in the event and we fully support the idea of making the Super Session results contribute toward the events (Unlimited) total points

By the time that we left WSIR we had a VERY long list of things that we need to change immediately and for sure before the next event. Some are going to be easy but the main ones are going to be very difficult at best. It has been said “if it was easy, everyone would be doing it” So we got to suck it up, stop whining and get busy.

Our “to do” list is probably very similar to the rest of the other Unlimited Teams.
• Temperatures’ – overall (for us it’s all about oil) and we think we have got a handle on it and will be resolved by the beginning of next week. But it is going to require a considerable amount of time and fabrication. Too bad, because we originally thought we had the hot set up (no pun intended), oh well live and learn.

• Front end geometry – or the lack of it. This front end suspension was designed to take the family to WalMart, pick up the groceries and head home. It sure as hell wasn’t intended to be out on a track north of 150mph, HP again well north of 500 and heavy, heavy G-loading. But it is the car we have chosen, so like I said suck it up and make it work. Update, we have located some of the best engineered suspension parts that we have ever come across for an Evo. The down side to this is that they have a three to four week lead time. So the clock is ticking (and we hope it is the three weeks instead of four) ;).

• Gear Box /Gearing – this is a big one because we are still running on a stock 5 speed Evo transmission and our gearing selection choices are VERY, VERY limited. A replacement transmission is difficult to find because there isn’t a lot of choices out there. They just aren’t as readily available and I believe it is partly because our HP is probably greater then the WRC applications. But we do have an interim plan, albeit complicated but it is better then no plan.

So that is where we are at as of today.

Because of what we learned at WSIR and the problems that we have we will not attend the next event @ Autobahn. This is unfortunate but given our DNA we will not attempt another event until we have resolved the above issues.”

Dennis Kottke
Sierra Sierra Enterprises



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