Redline Time Attack! – Willow Springs 5/31/09

I just got back home from a weekend of roasting at Willow Springs Raceway big track performing track support duties for the Sierra Sierra Enterprises EVO 8. The Redline boys threw another successful track day and time attack event. Once again I saw an increased number of spectators, but unfortunately not many girls. I think the chicks are more down for Fontana due to it’s closer proximity to LA.

It was an exciting weekend for time attack. Last week at the Super Lap Battle, The C-West S2000 set a new time attack lap time record of 1:22.22. This weekend, 4 cars including the S2000, beat that record. It went like: record set, broken, set, broken, set, repeat many times. Anyhow, here are the results for Unlimited. Underneath the results are some of the behind the scenes happenings in the unlimited class this past weekend.

  1. FX Motorsports/Cricket NSX, 1:18.555, Driven by Billy Johnson, Yokohama slicks
  2. Sierra Sierra EVO 8, 1:20.454, Jonathan Bomarito, Hankook C91
  3. C-West S2000, 1:20.838, Tyler Mcquarrie, Hankook C91
  4. Crawford STI, 1:22.097, Tarzan Yamada, Hankook C91
  5. World Racing Scion Tc, 1:22.623, Chris Rado, Hankook slicks
  6. GST Impreza, 1:23.141 Gary Sheehan, Hankook C91
  7. Evasive Motorsports EVO 8, 1:23.300, Tim Kuo, ???
  8. Fontana Nissan 350Z, 1:23.846, Mike Cronin Jr., Pirelli slicks

Billy Johnson drove the FX Motorsports/Cricket Wireless NSX to an amazing 1:18.555 lap time on Yokohama slicks. I think this is the first time Mike Angel and his team were able to keep the car together in one piece. Something usually gives up on the car, but they might have it sorted out now. I didn’t get a chance to check out the car up close, but I think I saw a big dry sump tank. Congrats to the team on the amazing time.

This was the SSE EVO 8’s very first time attack competition. Jonathan Bomarito and the SSE EVO 8 probably had less than 20 laps of seat and development time, but managed to finish right up there and in front of many of the longer developed time attack cars. I think this says a lot about Jonathan, the SSE team, Josh the diff guy, Pectel electronics, and Cosworth 2.2L engine (and me): WE KICK ASS.To be honest, the car did a bit better than I expected. There was a 11,000rpm mis-shift on Friday morning, which led SSE to install the spare Cosworth 2.2L 4G63 just in case (no broken rods fortunately) so we missed 1.5 days of practice and didn’t get in any practice until Saturday afternoon. Look out for this car at a time attack near you. After addressing the front suspension geometry, this car is only going to go faster.

Design Craft, who builds and maintains the C-West S2000, had their usual rough time with head gaskets and pistons. After loosing another brand “c.o.m” head gasket and #1 piston, they discovered some Teflon tape scraps in the injectors! Tyler drove down to LA, picked up a new piston, Gary and Jeff installed the new piston that night, and they lined up to practice in the morning! Tyler managed a 1:20:8 before the head gasket let go again on their second time attack session. I guess maybe it wasn’t the Teflon tape after all. They were unable to run the third session. I’m not sure how Gary and team does it, but they manage to go faster and faster at every event while breaking gaskets and engines. Props to Design Craft and Tyler for pulling faster times out of their ass at every event. I’ve given up making fun of Gary’s engine building and ECU choice. It’s no fun anymore because shit keeps happening. I bet Gary’s picture is on the wall of his machine shop for #1 Top Customer. Brian [Crower]: you need to give Gary more budget.

Trying to understand Tarzan’s Japanese, I think I gathered that the Crawford car was initially was having center differential control problems. I think they got it sorted out because the car rocked a 1:22.097 beating last weekend’s record.

Working in the SSE EVO 8 paddock, I thought I saw a sprint car pass by in my peripheral vision. I was thinking, “Holy shit, wtf was that?!?!” I didn’t clown the front wing though because it just might have worked. Chris said the car was neutral as ever and he couldn’t get it to under or over steer. What about the drag you say? Who the hell cares about drag when you have 700hp+ in a sub 2200lb. car?!?! They had a really long weekend of swapping engines, fixing injectors, and fighting off electrical gremlins, but it paid off on Sunday when Chris ran a 1:22.623. This is not only amazingly fast for a front wheel drive car, but fast in general as one can see in the results. Don’t knock it ’till you try it I guess.

I was having a beer with the Design Craft posse on Saturday night and we walked over to GST next door. It sounded like they were having some problems. GST had some bad luck with their AIM dash frying on Saturday and some injectors clogging from E85. I told Mike about a back purge trick I learned from Keoni at RC Engineering a while back and it worked. With the dash fried, Mike had absolutely no instrumentation. They went to the local parts store and got the tackiest monster tach with shift light from the APC aisle (the kind you see on the A-pillar of clapped out 92 Civics all the time). Luckily I had my Motec PLM wideband in the car. I ripped the wires out of the NTK sensor’s Deutsch connector last week so I had to do some quick and dirty repairs on the floor of GST’s pits fighting off fire ants, flies, and the various other flying insects present when you have a 1000 watt halogen light in the middle of the pitch black desert night. I left to the hotel after the repairs, but Mike worked his tuning magic and got the car running good that night with the cheesy monster tach and my Motec meter. On Sunday, they broke 5th gear on their trans, stole a 6 speed from a STi and made it all work. The Cosworth engine components in their EJ25 ran flawlessly all weekend. The new paint scheme looks good too.

Sorry no background on the Evasive EVO. I don’t know those guys at all. After some good success in the Modified class, I am glad they decided to move up to the big boy class though. Welcome guys.

Fontana Nissan had the only naturally aspirated car in the 8 fastest cars of the day. Even though it competes in unlimited, it is actually built to restricted Grand Am rules so it doesn’t utilize many of things allowed in unlimited class. Running a new Cosworth 3.8L VQ35DE stroker kit right out of the box, a new dry sump pump, and all new Goodridge smooth bore hoses in the oiling system, the car ran reliably all day. I think Chris can build a VQ blindfolded. Jackson mentioned to me that they need some more chassis and suspension tweaks. I’m sure he’ll work his magic. He expects the car should be at a low 1:21 and can possibly go even quicker. That’s pretty damn good for a normally aspirated car if you ask me, but Jackson keeps talking about a 700hp supercharged engine…

All in all a great weekend. I’m beat and going to sleep. I’ll add some more pics tomorrow. That is all for now.

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