Project Lexus SC300 Road Racer: Part 1 – Intro and Fuel Cell

This is Damnit. I’m not kidding you. All of my cars have nicknames, but this one earned its name long before I ever picked it up. I could write a book about everything that’s either been wrong or has gone wrong during the previous phases of this build. Ask me about it sometime – it’ll keep you entertained for hours. That being said, this is my first “real” race car. Real in the sense that I’ve had race cars before that were hack-jobs that just barely managed to pass tech in the old days of Formula D (some of you may remember me from the first 3 seasons). Real in the sense that I’m trying to do everything right and not build some ghetto contraption that might kill me. My wife would probably be pretty mad at me if that last part happened… I intend to use Damnit as a real race car, targeting NASA Pro Racing’s ST2 class. Super Touring is a power-to-weight class with fairly open rules. Pretty much as long as you don’t move suspension pick-up points you can do a lot of things. ST2 is limited to 8.0:1 (lbs per horsepower) which, with a ~3200lb SC300 limits me to ~400WHP. Power, engine and other info will come in subsequent articles. More information on ST2 can be found in NASA’s rules section.

 

This is Sae. He passed away in 2006. Damnit was his car. I drove for his shop, Finishline Motorsports, in those first 3 seasons of Formula D.

If you don’t know Sae, that’s too bad, because he was a wonderful guy who lit up every room he ever walked into. His passing was sudden and unexpected, and he is still missed by many. His car disappeared after his death, and when I got a phone call that it had popped up on eBay, I knew that I had to bring it home.

 

This is Garage P.TEN Marketing, otherwise known as the garage at our house.

To the right of Project SC300 is Ainsley Jacobs’ turbo ‘93 Infiniti G20. You probably know her as SR20DETg20girl, and that car has its own fun history that may grace MotoIQ’s pages someday. Ainsley is the founder of P.TEN Marketing, and I’m just lucky to be her husband. But, anyway! That hole in the bumper? Just another Damnit moment. Buy me a drink and I’ll tell you about it.

 

Welcome to the fuel tank of an SC300. It’s not the prettiest thing. It’s also not in the best place. The one on this car is also not wired great. But, why replace it with a fuel cell?
You can’t tell from this photo, but the fuel filter is hanging down in front of the jack stand. At a track day the car started having fueling issues, so I decided to replace the filter, FPR and pump.

However, the filter had other ideas, and decided to be near impossible to get off. Hard-lines on both sides from the factory and a careless previous mechanic caused me to second-guess my own home-based mechanical skills. It all had to come off and be replaced, so I figured why not go with a fuel cell? That few thousand bucks was burning a hole in my pocket anyway.

SAFETY WARNING: By the way, safety first when under a car! A jack is not sufficient and there are numerous horror stories of people crushed when jacks failed. Not only did I also have a jack stand or two, I also had a wheel. This car is haunted. I don’t take chances.

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