Dateline: May 26, 1997

Autocross Update

It lives! The Memorial Day weekend was spent as follows:

Friday: Installed the rear glass, exterior body panels, and all lamps/lenses
Saturday: Installed all interior trim (all but driver’s seat and harness), fire system, seats, and wheels/tires
Sunday: Measured corner weights, performed full alignment, washed and waxed
Monday: Local autocross shakedown and preliminary evaluation

With the exception of the harness and seat from Recaro due this week, we’re ready to get on the track. Although the car is not at all set up for autocrossing (i.e. it’s stable at high speeds), we did remarkably well. Chris Berube and I co-drove the thing on Chris’ R1’s and placed 3rd and 4th out of a 20-car field in E stock. S’port! Not too bad when you take in to account the first and second place finishers were the REIGNING NATIONAL CHAMPION AND HIS WIFE. Ringers, man. What they were doing at a local Detroit event is beyond me, but maybe they just needed the ego boost!

Now, everyone, a loud round of applause to Mr. Mark Dingman, chassis structure guru supreme. The car felt so damn tight that I was left speechless after my first run – and I’ve been in more than one race car. It’s obvious that Mark knew what he was doing when he designed the roll cage. That’s a competitive advantage that will weigh heavily in our favor!

The car was pleasantly neutral and never let the rear follow the front – even when trail braking on an off-camber downhill left-hander. Just a hint of push at the higher speeds. Perfect for a novice driver – maybe we’ll play with the balance later, but for now hands off!

Not much has changed, but just in case you lost the schedule…remember, volunteers are always welcome!

school 1 IRP (IN) Walt D., Ed C. June 6/7
school 2 Road America (WI) Mark R., Pete B. June 27/28
race 1 IRP (IN) Walt D. July 4/5/6
race 2 Road America (WI) open! July 24/25/26
race 3 Watkins Glen (NY) Dan G., Dave K. & family August 1/2/3
race 4&5 Grattan (MI) Chris B.? August 29/30/31
race 6&7 Mid-Ohio (OH) open! September 5/6/7
race 8 Watkins Glen (NY) Dan G., Ed C., Chris B.? September 12/13/14
race 9&10 Blackhawk (IL) Ed C. September 26/27/28

Have a nice day, and thanks for your support!


Dateline: June 4, 1997

Pre-Driver’s School Update

Sorry for the delay this week, but it was either sit and write or get it together and finish the car. The car won….

Well, we’re finally there. Logbook is in hand as of 11:45 this morning. Of course, the road to get here was pretty hectic (four consecutive 2 a.m. wrenching sessions), but the end result is something to take pride in. Driver’s school, here we come. Yawn.

The caravan (does 1 car constitute a caravan?) leaves from Detroit at 10:00 tomorrow morning. Destination: Indianapolis Raceway Park in Indianapolis, Illinois. Both Walt and Ed are coming along for the ride – both are SCCA licensed crew dudes (although they will be rookies just like me). Registration and tech Friday night, class and track time Saturday afternoon, novice race Saturday late afternoon. If all goes well, we leave with a straight unibody and 1 school checked off the license. Hopefully.

Picked up a tow dolly to drag the machine behind the pick-up. Had plenty of practice this week running it to Recaro for the seat installation, DJT Motorsports to install the seat back brace, Saturn of Ann Arbor to pick up parts, and to the Tech Center to get teched this morning. I’ve forgotten what life without a trailer is like.

Not much time for more. Next week we’ll learn from the school data, finalize the vehicle graphics, and do some preliminary brake analysis – friction material characterization, etc., to try to find a material that will work best for us.

Be looking for a full download on the school early next week. That is, if we manage to keep it shiny side up…