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Unread 12-19-2014, 07:29 PM
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Fair! Fair! is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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Default Re: Vorshlag Budget TT Build: Project DANGER ZONE

continued from above

Well as luck would have it, something came up and I am picking up a semi-finished race car this weekend. Until we fix a few things, and do a track test, I'm keeping "identities withheld to protect the innocent", so the make and model of the car are under wraps. It will be prepped and stored off site in a secret skunkworks facility...

NASA Time Trial Classing - A Brief Summary

This next bit might be confusing, but I'll be quick. So NASA Time Trial series rules are nearly identical to the Super Touring (ST) wheel to wheel club racing ruleset, without a lot of the safety requirements. Those two series' subsets of classes have a lot of common competition rules but with two distinctly different main philosophies. The "Lettered Classes" (TTB/TTC/TTD/TTE/TTF) are set-up where every car model gets assigned a "base class" then you get 19 points per class to use for "mods", which could be added tire width, aftermarket springs, aero tricks, various tire compounds have differing points values, motor upgrades, etc. If you modify the car beyond your allocated 19 points the car bumps up a class (like from TTD to TTC), and you get another 19 points to use in that class.

NASA Time Trial Rules:

We bought the Vorshlag shop TTB, TTE and TTU cars to a NASA event once and ran them all. That was a hectic day...

These classes also each have their own minimum weight to power ratio that you cannot exceed even if your points expenditure is on lowering weight or horsepower additions, and each base classing includes a "base weight" you start with. If you want to run lighter than the base weight, it costs you points. If you want to run more tire than the base class tire, points. Some base classing also come with either a 7 or 14 point penalty, too (one star or two stars).

Each competition letter class has an assigned a minimum “Adjusted Weight/Power Ratio”. Regardless of how many points a car has, or which base class it begins in, it may not exceed the minimum “Adjusted Weight/Power Ratio” for its competition class. We will have to play with weights or power levels to stick with the limit for the class we're choosing, which could be one of the following:
  • TTB 10.50:1 (10.5 pounds per dyno measured wheel horsepower)
  • TTC 12.00:1
  • TTD 14.25:1
  • TTE 16.50:1
  • TTF 19.50:1
Each letter class is also has an assigned "base tire width", regardless of what the OEM tire is. That list is below, as is small sample of typical base class listings.

TTB: 265mm, TTC: 255mm, TTD: 245mm, TTE: 235mm, TTF: 215mm, TTG: 195mm, TTH: 175mm
  • BMW 330 ('01-'06) (factory 225hp models)... base class TTE... minimum weight 3285 lbs... Base tire is 235mm, power to weight limit is 16.5:1. You have 19 to play with before bumping up a class and could dyno a maximum 199 whp at the minimum weight shown (with driver).
  • Ford Mustang GT ('05-'06)... base class TTD**... minimum weight 3450 lbs... Base tire 245mm. power to weight limit is 14.25:1. Two stars (-14 penalty) means you only have 5 points to play with before bumping up a class and could dyno a maximum 242 whp running at the minimum weight shown (with driver).
  • Mazda RX-8 (R3 model) ('09-'11) ... base class TTC... minimum weight 3045 lbs... Base tire 255mm, power to weight limit is 12:1. You have 19 to play with before bumping up a class and could dyno a maximum 253 whp at the minimum weight shown (with driver).

The inherently faster and less rules encumbered "Numbered classes" (TT1/TT2/TT3) are different and modifications are almost completely "free" and your power to weight ratio is what matters. Some cars are so fast in stock form they get a base classing in TT1/2/3. There are "modifiers" to that ratio if you run non-DOT racing slicks, sequential transmissions, AWD, and other major parts or changes like that. TT3 is unique in that any non-base trim level OEM aero mods cost you a big 0.5 modifier on your power to weight (we took that in our Mustang build, for example), but aero mods are free in TT1 and TT2. TTU is the "Unlimited" class for NASA TT as well - you can run it as light and as powerful as you want, so long as it meets safety rules and has bodywork over the wheels (NASA eschews all open wheeled race cars).

That was a brief summary only, and I hope that made sense. We wrote this basic primer on NASA TT back in 2008, and of course the TT rules are linked above.

We like making track cars fly - using non-stock aero tricks helps in Numbered Classes, but costs "lots of points" in Lettered Classes

We weighed the options for our TT3 and took the aero penalty (running a massive wing out back and splitter/ducted hood up front), maxed out the power to weight ratio (running at 3802 pounds to keep power at 433 whp peak, off of an adjusted 8.8:1 pounds per horsepower ratio), and ran the biggest, stickiest tires made by Hoosier (335F/345R Hoosier A6). On that car we realized early on that the softer tire allowed us to get our fastest lap in the first two laps, before the front of the field tends to catch the back markers, which usually ensured a traffic free lap. That matters. We also noted the wider we went on tires (we started at 265, then went to 275, 305, 315, 335 and 345) the faster the car got. The added areo helped the car in high speed corners, of course, but also seemed to make braking better as well. We hope to apply some of this experience on our new TT car here, which is almost old enough to qualify as a vintage car, but spend less than 1/10th the budget. Will it work?? Are we delusional or genius?? You shall soon see...

Maximum Effect from Minimal Investment

This time we're not starting with a $40,000 brand new car, we're starting with an aging a 24 year old... well.... beater. This car was purchased by the previous owner for $3000, and then he sold the interior bits and some other discarded parts and recouped $1000 of that, so it was s cheap starting point. He then semi-prepped it for TT use but got busy with other projects and he suddenly wanted it gone - so it will soon came to my home shop to knock out the repairs and finish race preparations.

It happens to be "base classed" particularly well, and once people who know TT classes see where it ends up they might cry foul - but is has been classed there for many years and I've been waiting for someone to build one. We will document all of modifications we do openly, show all testing performed looking for every ounce of speed, and post any race wins or losses along the way. Like we tend to do with all of our builds, we will be pouring over the rules looking for the optimum modifications allowed, and with several 25+ year veterans of amateur and pro racing working at Vorshlag, we know how read rules and seek out the most advantages possible.

"Rulebook Research" and bench racing is all part of the fun of building a new race car, for us, and we've probably spent over 25 hours so far just looking at the "free" mods. We have run countless permutations allocating every point in the class (it isn't going to jump up a class), and going over every tire width/compound option, but there are still many unknowns in this build. Will an aero trick worth two points be worth more than a cat-back exhaust? We'll test that. What about this +10 point compound narrow tire vs a much wider +2 point tire? Testing it. Can it meet the power-to-weight limit? We'll dyno test the car early and often through the build.

Of course it wouldn't be a Vorshlag build without digital scale pics; we will weigh EVERYTHING we touch. A lot of the interior has already been removed (its 400 pounds under the "base weight", so it will be getting some serious ballast added along with my 200 pound body) and nearly 50 pounds of drivetrain mass has been removed (100% legally), so the bone stock OEM motor is pretty "peppy". Look forward to lots of tech in this build thread which you might enjoy reading - or enjoy applying to your own track build.

If You're Not First You're Last

That Ricky Bobby logic above is going to apply here. As with our most recent TT build, pushing the limits but keeping it 100% legal is our goal for this project, so we won't be satisfied with anything other than a dominant performance and squeaky clean results in after-race inspections. We want to set ALL of the track records, win ALL of the trophies, get ALL of the points, and take home ALL of the contingency tires ... we basically want to swoop into a class we've not run before, act like a school yard bully and take all of their lunch money!

We will be adding a roll cage and fire system, but that's not going to be shown as part of the TT "race prep budget"

Total build budget for this build for the 2015 season we are shooting for is $7500, all-in with initial purchase price + parts. That's not a lot of money for what we think we can pull off with this car, and what we predict the lap times will be (shooting for 6-8 seconds a lap slower than our TT3 records). We will continually be upgrading the car all season, as shop time and budget permits, and it will have proper safety gear (full cage, fire system, nets) very quickly. Who knows - it might even become legal for the mating ST class?

Tune in next time to see if we managed to win our first TT race or failed in epic fashion - either way, it will be entertaining! I will go back after the January NASA race coverage and show the initial 4 week build-up, any pre-race testing, and all of that. I also reserve the right to delete this thread and disavow all knowledge of it if the results are dismal.

What's Next + Vorshlag 2015 Race Schedule

These are the Time Trial and other competition events we want to enter with this car in 2015:
  • January 17-18 - NASA @ MSR-Houston Clockwise
  • January 17-18 - SCCA Club Trials @ MSR-Cresson (GRR! Why do they book the same weekends!?!)
  • February 14-15 - SCCA Club Trials @ TWS
  • March 14-15 - NASA @ MSR-Cresson
  • March 22 - Goodguys AAS at TMS (200 treadwear)
  • March 28-29 - USCA @ TMS (200 treadwear)
  • April 25-26 - NASA @ TWS
  • June 13-14 - NASA @ Hallett Summer Shootout
  • July 31-Aug 2 - NASA @ Laguna Seca - Western States Championships
  • September 4-6 - NASA @ VIR - Eastern States Championships
  • September 26-27 - NASA @ MSR-Houston Counter-Clockwise
  • October 17-18 - NASA @ "TBA" (???)
  • November - NASA @ "TBA" (probably ECR)

The main goal is to hit all of the NASA Texas events, and while the Laguna Seca "NASA Nationals West" event isn't that likely for us, "NASA Nationals East" at VIR might be in the cards. Right now we have only FOUR weeks until our first NASA race (we will skip SCCA for NASA, you double-booking dingbats), so its going to be a thrash to get it prepped for track use in less than 30 days! Our shop is very booked with suspension and race prep work, so I will work on it after hours if need be to get it done. Sleep is for the dead!

Our fab shop just took this street car and turned it into an ST3 prepped race car - cage, wiring, fire systems, aero - in 6 weeks

This is going to a gutted/stripped car with NO compromises for street use at all, which we believe gives us the best chance for success. Daily driven cars haven't won many (any?) TT national championships with NASA in a while. This car has some great prep by the previous owner but it still needs some basic upgrades before it is fully track ready. We need to swap out the radiator for a racing-duty version, add an oil cooler, build in some major front brake ducting, install a proper racing seat (have one sitting in the lobby that I will steal), bolt in some harnesses and wrap them around a 4-point roll bar (initially; cage will be done hopefully by the February event). It also needs tires, a new windshield and a few other small repairs. Again, this is a CHEAP car to start with but when we're done its going to be embarrassingly quick on track. Cheap and Quick!

My final reason for building and racing this car in 2015 is - I'm a degenerate racing junkie, and I was clawing my eyes out thinking I was going to miss the next race season. Sure, I'm bummed that we cannot have the TT1 car built in time to run with NASA this year, so this was my only possible racing option. But I figured that running in a quarter century old beater has to be more fun than NOT racing anything at all, right?

What's in a Name?

We're going to be focusing exclusively on The Things That Matter, so there will be very little time spent on cosmetic improvements or other frivolous upgrades. But of course we do have a vinyl plotter, and a big part of running this car is MARKETING for Vorshlag, so we will throw some simple graphics on the car based loosely on the Martini stripes on the Porsche 918 shown below (substituted with Vorshlag's Red/Black/Silver colors). We're trying to show that we can make anything fast and win, even aging 1980s era cars that have been mostly forgotten.

“Something, something, danger zone! I know. I’m not even trying anymore.” - Sterling Archer

We've come up with a project name (gotta call it something other than "Broke Ass, Last Minute Backup Racing Plan") which has some obscure references to the 1980s, when this particular car was designed. After about 3 minutes of brainstorming we picked Project (DANGER ZONE), which might make more sense when we get this thing on track (there is usually an inherent "Zone of Danger" surrounding me on track, especially in nearby grass areas). We tossed around some ideas to get there, like: the fact that this car designed in the 1980s, it may or may not have been on a cheesy 80's detective show called Miami Vice, which led us to the cars featured in Grand Theft:Auto Vice City, which inevitably led us to the last season of ARCHER season 5: Vice. That's only one missing step to tie into Kevin Bacon, I think. And who doesn't like Archer? Think of all the quotes I can use in my write-ups! This car would fit in well that TV series, if we added an in-dash mini-bar.

...and THAT'S how you get ants...

Other than those obscure hints, I'm keeping my lips sealed. The car will be built at a "secret location" (Dick Cheney's basement), so no matter what you think see in the Vorshlag shop, I won't reveal this dirty little secret until after Jan 17th. I will be posting more clues on the Vorshlag Facebook page, so keep an eye out there.

Until next time,

Last edited by Fair!; 08-05-2015 at 05:50 PM.
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