Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build
Part 2: 2012 Lincoln National Tour
Sunday rolled around and it was time for the Tour - and we were already dead tired from spending 3 days on site. I don't remember what weather we had on which day, because it was changing wildly from day to day, yet was ALWAYS WINDY. We saw 98°F heat, rain, cold, fog, even the threat of hail and tornadoes. There were several storm systems that grazed the event site and a few that dumped some of the wet stuff. We saw it all in Lincoln!
The other thing we saw after so many racers made their 12+ runs at the 2 day ProSolo was tons of "OPR" - Other People's Rubber. And the tar that fills the seams in the concrete was coming up as well. It was nice when the ProSolo courses "rubbered in" on the 2nd day, as it helped you find the hard to see courses; there were many fewer DNFs on Day 2. The problem was at the following event - the Tour - which had two separate courses on the same surfaces as the Pro. The Tour courses were also a little "undermarked" in my opinion, with lots of places to get lost... especially when you went across or towards one of the rubber-covered Pro corners, like this:
You'd be zipping along, see the rubber laid down from 2 days ago, and get lost. I watched all of my National Tour run videos and caught myself hesitate more than once when near one of these rubber-lined ProSolo corners. Oh well, we all had to drive the same courses, and many folks found their way better than others. On Day 1 of the Tour I ran first and Amy was 2nd driver, and she laid down a smokin' fast first run (good enough for 2nd in class)... but coned it away! My first run was pretty quick, and good enough for 2nd, but that didn't last long. Mark Madarash cleaned up his coned first run and quickly jumped into a big lead. I whittled away at my 1st and 2nd run 62.6's and found a 62.19 on my 3rd run. Amy's 2nd run was considerably slower than her first and had 2 cones. So she needed to dig deep on her 3rd run and get a clean one in. Her 62.2 first run raw time would still put her in the trophies if she could just clean it up. We were all parked directly into the wind with our hoods up, some already done and sitting in Impound, but the 2 driver cars were waiting their turn for 2nd drivers to make their last runs. Bunch of ESP drivers were gathered behind our Mustang (the big rear spoiler acts as a wind break and we can at least hear each other talk standing there). Winds were 25+ mph all day but we kept seeing short wind gusts that were taking hats off all day.
We're about to get Amy helmeted up and in the car when... WHAM! We look over and see the hood of our car completely vertical. Oh no... the wind had gusted, got under the hood, and ripped loose the hood struts and sent it smashing into the windshield! Glass was EVERYWHERE inside, as it shattered both the inner and outer layers of safety glass.
In an instant, without saying a word, the entire swarm of ESP drivers jumped into action. Madarash and another driver were rolling up duct tape and picking up small glass particles from the dash and seat. Another ESP racer went to find Amy a full-faced helmet to borrow. More hands helped me quickly assess the damage ("I see a broken hinge and two hood struts flopping under there - lets just TAPE IT CLOSED"). A grid worker jumps in and says "OK, I assume you want a ten minute mechanical!", then ran to tell the rest of the drivers in Impound/Grid to close hoods. We had the hood back down and taped it closed across the fender at the right rear corner, where the hinge was ripped in half. Mark and I were taping the lower 1/3rd of the windshield to keep it intact, both inside and out. Another driver was helping tape the outside and got cut his hand, so he backed away to stop the bleeding and another took his place.
In something like 3 minutes we had the hood closed, the windshield taped up on both sides, Amy strapped in the car with a borrowed helmet, and ready to race - she didn't even miss the 2nd driver rotation. It was awesome! What a kickass group of racers... I can't thank everyone that helped enough. Man, its times like these I really appreciate what a great group of folks we race with - some of which I didn't even know.
Amy's last run after that mayhem was slower, mostly from the big, borrowed helmet that was slipping down over her eyes. Oh well, she made it around safely and got a clean run, but her first run was still quicker with the cone. That put her way down in like 14th place out of 18, ouch. I started making calls to about a dozen local windshield repair places but being Memorial Day weekend I came up dry. Another ESP racer called a contact at a Ford dealer and he told us what the windshield places had told me - there isn't a windshield for this car in Nebraska, maybe they could get one by Wednesday. Well, looks like we'd be racing Monday (Day 2 of the Tour) with the busted windshield!
Monday rolled around, I was down in 5th place, and Amy in 14th. We had picked up a roll of clear packing tape and covered all of the many vertical cracks that we had missed the day before. The duct tape was still in place on the lower 1/3rd of the windshield and across the back corner of the hood, which we didn't open until we got back to Texas (after asking in Impound if anyone wanted to see under there once again). My first run was quick, the 2nd fastest in class, and it moved me all the way up to 2nd place. Mark was already 1.7 seconds ahead for the day, but he and I (plus 3 more ESP drivers) never improved on our first runs.
Madarash (above left) stayed well out in front of ESP but I eventually fell down to 3rd place out of 18 when Newcombe made a smokin' fast 3rd run - the only driver to get in the 64s other than Mark that day. Moving up from 5th with a busted windshield and heavy understeer, I was happy just to salvage a trophy out of this Tour. Amy fought the car all day and was fully 2 seconds off my pace - I think her height made it more difficult to see through the "portal" of visibility I found above the tape line and between the cracks. Still, she moved up 2 spots to 12th, but wasn't happy about that at all. She's always a lot closer to me when we co-drive and this weekend just didn't go her way.
We learned a lot at these events: never underestimate Nebraska weather (pack for EVERYTHING), bring lots of tape, a non-square tire set-up can cause a push, and we still have a lot of work ahead if we want to narrow the gap to the Titan of ESP. One step forward, two steps back - the gap to Mark has doubled since the MW Tour, so we need to re-assess our changes and do more serious testing. Another set of tires is going on the car soon for a dedicated test day where we will try different spring rates and shock/bar/tire pressure settings. We also have too much lateral movement of the rear axle (rear fenders were digging into the top edges of tire tread), and the 77" wide rear track made the car harder to navigate through the many transitions and slaloms. I also felt the rebuilt/upgraded LSD starting to slip so we have got to step up to a better diff (T2R).
Video of Terry's Day 2, Tour, Run #1 You can see the view from the driver's seat
Looking at the Tour results you might think we did well, nabbing 3rd place out of 18. We did not. I was fully 4 seconds back over 2 days, which is an eternity. Again, we learned a lot and now we know how much we need to make up.
We have adjusted our June race schedule to sneak in a private test day, and also to get one more weekend off. We were almost about to register for the Mid-America Ford Meet track day at Hallet but the other folks we were going with decided to cancel, so we did as well.
The windshield is replaced, the hood is repairable, and only the hinge itself is torn. Easy fixes, considering. We're going to add a "hood tether" so that the hood can be raised (to cool engine between runs, impound, etc) unsupervised. I still don't want thehood prop, as its always in the way when you're working under the hood and we've almost lost the hood in high winds with that as well. The below left picture shows the tire rub we're still seeing with the 345/35/18, even spacing them out 1" wider than we had the 315s on the same 12" wheels. Way too much rub. So yea, I'm going back to 315s out back; not going to play around trying 335s, as the 315s at all four corners WORKED and the car could ROTATE. I might even go back to Kumhos and run a set head-to-head against the Hoosiers. The V710 seems a lot more tolerable of temperature than the A6, so far. We had to spray the crap out of the Hoosiers at the Tour.
Also shown above is the 295/35/18 Nitto NT-05 tires we bought for the Optima FACEOFF at the Hot Rod Power Tour next weekend (plus a set in 275/40/18 we got for a customer's new D-Force 18x10 wheels). This was the best 200 treadwear tire we could find any real data on. Mounting these on another set of the new 18x10" Vorshlag/D-Force wheels which we will use for this 2 day event, then pull them off and sell the set (sort of have a buyer lined up).
Someone from Speed TV called Friday to see if we were going to the event, and they are gonna be there filming. Friday at Quick Trip Park is the Speed Stop and Autocross, then Saturday at ECR for the Time Trial. Not really sure how this event is going to be run or scored - hopefully its not a 100% "subjective event" and its a real competition. Come out and watch to see some epic cars! There will be a huge variety of big dollar, magazine famous rides that will completely overshadow out little 2011 GT. Still, with both venues being very familiar to this driver and car, maybe we will get lucky and place well? Time will tell...
Terry Fair - www.vorshlag.com
Vorshlag project cars: $2010 GRM Challenge E30 V8 + E46 DSP Autox Build + 2011 Mustang GT autox/track car
Last edited by Fair!; 06-02-2012 at 06:46 PM.
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