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Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT + S197 Development Thread

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  • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

    continued from above

    Vorshlag Not Buying 2015 Mustang

    Yes, I know I have one on order (actually 2), and I'm disappointed that they aren't here yet. If we could have gotten the 2015 GT at least 8 weeks before SEMA we would have bought it, made some mods, and taken it to compete in the Optima event. But these cars, as everyone knows, were delayed. And they are a good bit heavier than promised.

    Not gonna happen for 2014

    For business reasons it just doesn't make sense for us to buy a 2015 Mustang right now - especially one that we aren't going to race. Spending $45K+ on a brand new car to then cut it up and ruin its value is nuts, but racing a 3800 pound car is equally as nuts, for us. We need an attention grabbing car to be campaigning, and the numbers just don't work for this new S550, for us. When the S550 "Body In White" is released, then we'll see. I also have a friend in the insurance business looking for a cheap 2015 Mustang for us - one with a front hit (I like the GT350 front bodywork better), a flood car or a "hard theft" recovery. This way we can MAKE IT LIGHTER without ruining the value of a $45,000 car.

    Yes, it sucks that we won't own one - but we will still develop parts for these!

    Honestly, we just cannot afford to purchase and own every car we want to develop parts for, so we'll be using customers' and testers' cars to develop the suspension parts, brake cooling, wheel sizes, camber plates and other parts Vorshlag is known for. We do this on lots of chassis. Stay tuned to see what we do with the 2015 Mustangs when they arrive at our shop. They are just NOW starting to arrive around the country... but our orders aren't scheduled to be built for weeks yet. It would have arrived sometime in November, well past SEMA. Funk that.

    Other Recent S197 Work at Vorshlag

    We're making good headway on Jamie Beck's 2013 Mustang GT, turning it from a street car into a dedicated (and class legal) road race car. The cage was wrapped up about 2 weeks ago and then I took it to Sherman, Texas to have our friends at Heritage work their paint magic.

    After picking it up at Heritage and unloading it outside in the bright Texas sun it was blindingly bright. They did an excellent job and used a GALLON of paint on the inside, and spent 4 days prepping and spraying the interior, cage and trunk lid. The trunk lid and wing end plates were shot in 2 stage, water based, OEM matching white and the interior was super hard single stage paint.

    Ryan has spent several days reassembling the car then getting the wiring harness de-pinned, wrapped, routed, and adding the mil-spec connectors at the front and rear bulkheads.

    The defroster/heater core went back in and then the dash itself was mounted to the brackets that were welded to the dash bar. The center stack panel was from Watson Racing and Ryan is wiring in systems to use the toggle switches Jemie provided as well.

    We have the main fire bottle mounted with dual pulls, one at the cowl (corner worker) and another at the center stack (driver). There is an additional Halatron 2.5 pound hand held fire bottle also being mounted in the cabin, to put out brush fires or other small flame ups that don't warrant blowing the on-board full fire system.

    Ryan has worked on pro race teams in World Challenge and Daytona Prototypes, and his expertise there shows. Jamie comes from the battery industry, too, and once he spoke with Ryan they went a little further than normal on the electrical rework. Instead of re-using the fuseable links the factory uses at the power block fromt he stock battery location, we now have high amp/resettable circuit breakers in the engine bay, and a trick solid-state main power disconnect (kill switch) with dual kill switches - at the cowl and center stack.

    New Steel Front Flares for our 2011 Mustang

    Its no secret that I've never really loved the plastic flares we made for the front of our Mustang in 2013. We rushed the front flare job before the 2013 NASA Nationals, and after we had Heritage make steel rear flares the fronts in the Spring the front looked even worse...

    Then I crashed the car at Road Atlanta and destroyed the plastic flares, so we "patched" them with plastic race roll and they look even worse. The difference front to back is alarming.

    With our placement in the SEMA show in Ford's 50th Anniversary of the Mustang booth area, we had to step up our game. I asked our fab guys what they needed to make these flares in steel, and to look better, and they told me to buy these tools: an English wheel and a shrinker/stretcher. We already had the bead roller and welders needed.

    So those tools arrived this week and Ryan got to town. The old plastic bits were unbolted and then he made the vertical arch piece, shown above at right. The main flare sections are made in 2 pieces, to match the factory fender - just bigger. The lower crescent moon shape vertical piece is nearly identical to the factory fender, with a rolled lower lip for strength and to give it a smooth edge. The upper flare section is all rolled out on the English wheel to get the curve right.

    Lots of cutting, fitting and rolling later, the flare looked like the above shots. Then the old fender was cleared of paint at the flare joint and he spent time merging the 2 flare pieces (and somehow adding a radius to that joint?) and then joining them to the car. He is remaking the front portion as well, after he finished the main flares that weld to the fenders on both sides. The front portion will mount the the bumper cover, and might look a bit different. This has all got to be painted as well, so its a time crunch.

    They look amazing, and I'm only sad I didn't get to see these coming together. Shop Manager Brad and I have been working night and day for the last two weeks at the new shop, getting the build-out done. We're really close, and have to be moved in by Oct 31st. We need to have Jamie's car and our Mustang done by Oct 25th, where we'll be running them at the Five Star Ford ECR track day. Then we start the move on the next day, the 26th, and have to be moved and operational in about 2 days. Then loaded up and headed to Vegas for SEMA by Nov 1st. So its going to be frantic!

    Look for my next update... maybe right before we head to Vegas? Or maybe after SEMA/Optima are done. Its going to be tight!

    What's Next?

    Oct 25, 2014: Five Star Ford track day at ECR. We will be there hopefully with the finished fenders and paint on our Mustang with Amy giving some ride-alongs. This might be our last ECR event in this car ever... Come join us. You can sign up and pay here: link. More info on the Facebook Event Page. We will have our crew there for trackside maintenance, and they just repaved a huge swath of the track (Turn 5 to Turn 6), which should smooth out the worst of the bumps.

    Oct 26, 2014: Vorshlag moves to its new location at 1703 Capital Ave, Plano, TX 75074. Our number should stay the same. It might be frantic for a few days, so we might have limited phone coverage for a few days that week.

    Nov 4-7, 2014: SEMA Show! Look for our car in the 50th Anniversary of the Mustang Exhibit. We will be down to about 2 folks at the shop that week, as most of our guys are going to the SEMA show and OUSCI event (a different group of us is going to the PRI show in December).

    Nov 8-9, 2014: 2014 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational! Here is a breakdown with pictures and details about all of the USCA Drivers Invited to the 2014 OUSCI - link. Last time I looked we had 8:1 odds to win it all? I'm hoping to just finish in the top 10.

    Until next time!
    Last edited by Fair!; 10-10-2014, 01:39 PM.
    Terry Fair -
    2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
    EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


    • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

      100lbs aint much weight but I do understand you passing on the first batch of s550. You will love the SVT cars coming out in 2015 from what I know they are much more road raced focused than the s197 svt.

      Springs and bars dwarf the S550 if that means anything..

      PS, what oil cooler are you running on your s197 race cars? There are a couple Setrab units out there with Cooltech and ford racing, but they are both medium sized I was looking for the Vorschlag flavor one i.e. big.


      • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

        I always check the front page to see if there are updates. Seems like it always updates a week or so AFTER the forum post that there is a new post. FYI...I hope I'm not the only one. (else I feel silly.)


        • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

          Update for November 19th, 2014: This is part 1 of 3 of the latest work. This bit covers this car's development work leading up to SEMA + OUSCI (Optima's Ultimate Street Car Invitational). Apparently I got a royal ass whipping at OUSCI (21st out of 100?) and it was only today, TEN DAYS after the event, that the bulk of the times were posted. I've been upset about this for the past 12 days. Today I got a call from Jimi Day at USCA acknowledging everything that went wrong during the event (mostly with Timing and Scoring, plus numerous schedule changes and delays), he took responsibility for the mistakes, and promises to do better next year. They did such a good job at the USCA qualifiers but it just all went to Hell at the big OUSCI event - mostly because they tried to squeeze 100 cars into 5 events over 2 days. Even though we had some major issues with how the event was run, I won't get into all of that until my 3rd post in this series.

          This picture above - with gravel strewn completely through a corner - summarizes OUSCI 2014 perfectly

          Anyway, let's move on. It looks like my last post in this thread was October 10th, after we had entered and won with the 2011 GT in a couple of autocross events - SCCA in MAM class and Goodguys in AAS class. I ran both of those events on the old 200 treadwear BFG Rival tires, to practice for Optima's big event after SEMA (OUSCI). After those two events we decided to remake the front flares in steel and I showed some of that in my last post, but the finished result came out better than expected and pictures are shown in this post below.

          The new Vorshlag shop (4 miles form our old place) is twice as big, to house more cars and equipment

          We finished construction at the new shop space in 5 weeks, went to ECR for a track day to support customers, moved Vorshlag over the course of another week, was interviewed for a TV show (we will likely never see that clip now), stickered up the car a bit, then loaded the Mustang up and headed to Las Vegas. I will cover this sequence of events in this update, then cover the SEMA show itself in another post (huge show, I took over 700 pics), and finally the OUSCI event in the third post. Somewhere in there I will list our 2011 GT for sale - I have to sell this car to help pay for some things Vorshlag needs in order to grow. I have a smattering of S550 Mustang news to share along the way as well, which will be sprinkled throughout.

          But First - More on the 2015 Mustang

          I'm going to jump ahead of my timeline a bit to talk briefly about the 2015 Mustang GT that we tested with this week as well as some weights we took about 2 weeks ago. As you may know we had a Performance Pack GT 6-spd on order since April for development use, hoping it would show up in time to prep for some racing and then take to SEMA for Amy to compete in. The timelines slipped due to some issues at the factory (a catalyst was installed incorrectly on most of the Performance Pack 5.0s) and due to the delay and for some other reasons, we cancelled the order about a month ago. A couple of weeks ago the first 5.0 GTs arrived and we weighed the yellow 2015 Performance Pack 6-spd at Five Star Ford in Plano. You can read more about my impressions from that day here (since we weighed and and then I drove it).

          Vorshlag will be developing parts for the S550, of course, but we won't necessarily be buying a brand new car for us to tear into on day one of this chassis launch. We're really waiting for a Body in White or a wrecked example to purchase instead (or maybe the GT350!) - so we can cut it up and get the some much needed weight out of this car. I personally feel that this chassis is a tick on the heavy side to compete with, and while it might still make a good TT3 platform we were really set on moving to TT2 or TT1 next season and don't feel we could get there in the S550, even with liberal use of a Sawsall and plasma cutter. It doesn't make much business sense to buy a $43,000 car that we then go cut up and ruin the value of, and just owning a Plain Jane 2015 GT street car isn't in the cards right now - I wish it was.

          The red 2015 GT we ordered long ago (plus an identical twin) have since arrived - while we were at SEMA, where this was a hugely popular car - and our salesman Corey White brought this red GT to our new shop this week to tease me into hopefully buying one. It damn near worked! This was the '15 I ordered - Race Red, Premium, 5.0 6-spd, Performance Package (big brakes), touch screen NAV (only $700, why not?), and the leather Recaros (perfect!).

          I drove it around and its very nice (even has Launch Control). While it was in the shop that day we shot some pictures, test fit some wheels, weighed a couple of things, and learned a little bit more. Please jump over to our S550 Development Thread to read more about that brief test session, and what we have in store next. What you are reading here is our S197 Development Thread and I don't want to cross-contaminate the two different chassis too much.

          Verifying the fit of the the Forgestar 18x10 CF5 over the 15" brakes + mocking up a wing for fun

          Our friends at Dusold Designs just got their 2015 GT 5.0 this week and we are "borrowing" their S550 to develop the camber plates, MCS shocks, and some other bits for this chassis. We have equipment coming to help with that very soon and I want to see our production S550 camber plates as well as S550 MCS shocks shipping by at least December.

          New Steel Front Flares + New Wing Uprights and Endplates

          As you have seen over the past 4 years, each time we increased tire width on our 2011 GT the car "magically" became more competitive and our lap times dropped. Many people told us we were using too big of a tire, but the timers didn't agree. Even though we saw big lateral grip numbers on the 315mm Hoosier A6 tires (1.3-1.4g w/o aero) and saw similar data on the 335/345MM Hoosier A6 this year, our times kept dropping. Most of our 2013 TT3 lap records went down by 2-3 seconds in 2014 by simply moving up in tire width, and we also managed to make our short TT stints a bit longer, and increased tire life. My favorite adage "Bigger Is Better" paid off once again.

          Here is a pair of the new 345/35/18 Hoosier A7 tires. The rear flares are made to fit more tire than this

          Our friends at Heritage Collision in Sherman, TX made the rear flares in steel earlier this year and those now easily cover the 345mm DOT Hoosiers, which are nearly 14" wide. There's even room for a little more, as there is a 355mm Hoosier road racing slick I had my eye on back then. Both the 345 DOT and 355 Hoosier slick were pretty tall, so we had no plans to use either of those "rear" tires up front. Instead we built the old front flares to clear a 335/30/18 tire, in either Hoosier race rubber or BFGoodrich Rivals for street tire events.

          The 315 front and 335 rear set-up worked well enough but we had set up the flares for a much wider front tire

          Late in 2013 for Goodguys and earlier this year with USCA we ran on a 315mm front and 335mm rear Rival set-up, but that was only because BFG was out of 335mm tires and we could only horse trade our way into a single pair for the rear. I noticed that nobody else ran the 335mm Rival up front and some folks even said "it doesn't work well square", but I didn't put much stock into that. Most of the internet wisdom I have heard about tire width over the years has proven to be misguided or wrong. The plastic flares took a beating at Road Atlanta and looked terrible, and I asked our fabricator Ryan H to make us a new set in steel about 2 weeks before we left for SEMA.

          He didn't disappoint. It took Ryan just 3 working days (our MyShopAssist time logging shows 23 hours and 29 minutes) to fabricate these flares from scratch. He used a shrinker, a stretcher, an English wheel, TIG welder, some hammers, and drills. I was totally blown away bu the fit and finish.

          The front piece that integrates the flare into the bumper cover fits tight and bolts on. The flare extensions were welded to the fenders and needed almost no body filler. Almost all of this fab work happened during new shop construction so I was only seeing it at night, briefly, and snapped some pics with my phone. Once he was done with the steel work it was time for bodywork and paint.

          I loaded the car up in our enclosed trailer and took it to Heritage Collision just a week before we were supposed to head to SEMA. They worked on the car for 3 days and bodyworked the front flares, fixed some rock chip damage to the rear flares, and repainted 80% of the car. They had to shoot the front and rear bumper covers and all 4 fenders anyway, so they went ahead and sprayed the doors as well, so it would all match for SEMA and the OUSCI judging.

          Note - the car was already "sold" at this point, with a price agreed upon months earlier, so this extra work wouldn't benefit us in selling it - but we felt it was necessary for the judge portion of the OUSCI event. We did very well in that portion in March at the Texas round of USCA (4th overall) and it helped us with the win. I mean, this is a real street car with full interior, climate control, touch screen NAV and big strereo... that's what they are looking for in a well rounded "Ultimate Street Car", right? (note: the buyer backed out right before SEMA due to some family matters, so the car is back For Sale.)

          The Heritage paint crew did an amazing job and the whole car looked better than it ever had. We got it back to the old shop and got to work on the rear wing.

          I had taken some new plate aluminum to our friend's at Friction Circle Fab to use their CNC Plasma cutter a week earlier, and we cut out another pair of uprights using a similar shape to Jamie's ST3 wing. Ryan built the trunk mounting brackets to attach them and painted those black, but left the uprights raw (we ran out of time). Those have since been removed and are off to the plater to be black anodized this week.

          Left: This set of S197 uprights is for sale, without the wing. Right: This set of uprights and APR wing is for sale here for only $900

          Ryan added the bull nose on the leading edges and knife edges to the trailing edges again as well. The end plates were the same size as those we made for Jamie's car but in .080" aluminum this time (up from .065"). We had Heritage paint the end plates body color. All of this was added to the original trunk, which had been sitting in storage for 2+ years.

          The paint on this original trunk is actually the proper shade of red and it also doesn't have all of the holes from the two previous wing mounts + spoiler mounts from previous seasons. We've already sold the old trunk along with the ESP legal rear spoiler but the APR wing, uprights and brackets are for sale (here), as are the spare set of trunk uprights made for this AJ Hartman wing (above left), once I find them after we moved.

          Another pair of machined Delrin trunk bumpers replaced the rubber bits so that the trunk will not compress under aero load, and that's all we had time to do. Ryan is going to make the same tubular aluminum trunk reinforcement tubes for our car (this week) to match what he made on the ST2 Mustang, shown above. Those came in at only 11 ounces each, so it won't add much weight but will reinforce the trunk structure.

          I'm glad we went ahead and made the new wing uprights and wing end plates. The uprights are lighter & look a lot better than the old bits, and the larger end plates should allow less air to bleed off the bottom edges of the wing. The original trunk also looks 10 times better than the junkyard-sourced 2010 trunk we had used for 2 years, which had a bunch of drilled holes for older set-ups.

          More on Jamie's ST3 Mustang

          In my last post we had just picked up Jamie's Mustang from paint (at Heritage) and the cage and trunk looked great. Ryan spent a week and a half reassembling the car and wrapping up a lot of odds and ends, namely with wiring.

          The pictures from my last post were during mock-up but these are the completed, finished results. The interior was very clean, all business, and utilized the switches he provided us plus a lot of work in our shop.

          The bulkhead connections for the main battery cable up front are shown above left. We custom ordered Joe's Racing fire-proof, "Carbon X" shift boot kit - which showed up the day Jamie was scheduled to pick up the car. Our guys unwrapped the package, got it fitted it to the tunnel and installed right before he got here. Worked out great.

          continued below
          Last edited by Fair!; 11-19-2014, 05:17 PM.
          Terry Fair -
          2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
          EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


          • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

            continued from above

            The glass guys that removed the old windshield reinstalled it again, then Ryan spent hours fitting the "pre-made" Lexan to the rear quarter windows and back window. The quarter windows were about 3/8" too large so those were trimmed, and the rear window's black painted border fell apart when the clear masking film was removed. Those were re-masked and re-painted, then all of the flush-mount stainless hardware was added. This consisted of M4 nutserts, countersunk stainless M4 bolts, and countersunk Tinnerman stainless washers. It makes for a clean, flush finish. Light aluminum square tube reinforcement strips were added to the back glass as well.

            A torn grease retention boot in the one-piece aluminum driveshaft's CV was noted weeks earlier so a repair kit was sourced from the Driveshaft Shop and Olof pulled the CV apart to replace this. The grease was dried up and gritty so the whole CV was inspected, cleaned and re-greased (luckily it had no wear). The old 285mm RS3 Hankooks were replaced with wider 295/35/18 BFGoodrich Rival tires on the 18x11" Forgestar F14 wheels. This tire fit these wide wheels so much better and should provide more stick, but of course will be replaced with proper R-compound DOT rubber when he's ready to jump into TT or ST.

            The Drake quick-release mount was once again used for mounting a separate, hand-held fire bottle. A 2.5 pound "Halotron" (the Halon replacement good through 2030) unit is what was spec'd and that little guy sure is handy when you have a small fire to put out and you don't want to blow the whole fire system (filling the car with foam). Times like when you have to pull off track (loss of power) and the grass is dry.... POOF! Dry grass can light off the exhaust in a hurry and ruin your whole day. That's when this little bottle is your best friend! Also shown above is the completed engine bay, with custom firewall electrics and heater hoses going to the low-mounted heater core inside.

            For the center net we went with a Simpson and anchored it to the cage's dash bar. The rear mounted fire system (EFF) main bottle is shown attached to the aluminum rear bracket that Ryan made. You can also see the MIL-spec bulkhead connectors for the rear wiring and the main battery wire insulated bulkhead connector as well. All of the wiring and connectors came out super clean, robust and minimal - Ryan has wired up everything from WC and GA race cars to Daytona Prototypes, and it shows.

            Jamie's 14 x 68" wide AJ Hartman wing is shown mounted with our custom CNC plasma cut wing uprights and trunk brackets. With the bracing underneath it is as good as mounted to the frame, in case you were wondering. The electric trunk release solenoid was removed (won't work if the main battery kill is off) so the factory trunk release cable was "repurposed". Ryan made a custom pull ring for the cable from some 1/8" steel rod, welded and shaped to look like something you'd buy. The cable is routed through the gas cap trim right through the "T" in GT.

            We had a customer's 2014 Z/28 in the shop the day when Jamie was coming to pick up his car, and it was interesting seeing the two side by side. The Z/28 has an amazing motor (dry sump LS7) and ceramic brakes, but it tipped our scales at 3835 pounds. Jamie's race prepped, caged, W2W safe 2013 GT was nearly 500 pounds lighter - makes you think.

            We added a pair of our new S197 rear tie-down hook kits to this car, which Jamie appreciated the next time he towed the car in his trailer. This is a big time saver every time you load and unload the car. The next picture is a shot of his lightweight exhaust we built using Magnaflow mufflers.

            Last but not least - the weight. With both racing seats in the car it weighs in at 3351 pounds. That's almost exactly 200 pounds lighter than it was the last time we weighed it as a street/track car (3553), and it now has about 100 pounds of roll cage, safety nets, two fire systems, and a giant rear wing - full Wheel to Wheel safety prep. Not bad. If he wants to drop another 40 pounds it would be as easy as unbolting the passenger seat, brackets and racing harness, getting very close to 3300 pounds. The same level of lightening w/o the cage and safety gear would easily slip under 3200 pounds, too, but Jamie wanted SAFE and we cannot blame him one bit.

            More pics of Z/28 - Know Thy Enemy!

            I think it helps the S197 crowd to see what the competition is up to, right? So let's take a look at some of the features of Chevy's new track terror pony car: the $75,000 Camaro Z/28.

            The Carbon Ceramic Brakes are the most outlandish thing on the Z/28 - and the most delicate. These massive yet lightweight carbon ceramic 2-piece rotors are mated with 6 piston front and 4 piston rear calipers and really can make this 2 ton terror slow down quickly (1.5g braking, as tested). But you have to be VERY careful around these rotors - one nick to these brittle beauties can damage them to the point of being ruined (if you don't catch it they can explode under heavy braking). We have to always take SPECIAL care around these rotors on ZR1s, when removing or installing wheels or working around them with metal tools.

            The cost to replace all 4 rotors can nearly eclipse FIVE FIGURES ($1200-2400 each, depending on where you get them). And they WILL wear out eventually, and do so fairly quickly if you track these cars. After talking to the guys at AP brakes at SEMA, well... I won't be lusting after CCBs any longer. They have brisk sales of AP iron brakes to replace CCB systems on track driven Porsches and the like. Their main concern was maximum heat attainable - the CCB rotors can only reach 1600°F and then they stop shedding heat, after which they start to wear exponentially. Iron brakes can reach 1900°F and still be shedding heat. AP said they have had customers go through a set of CCB rotors in one track weekend.... ouch! Just be careful what you wish for. I'm glad that Ford eschewed CCB for the GT350.

            The 505 horsepower aluminum LS7 motor in the Z/28 is my personal all time favorite factory engine. 7 liters of dry-sumped, aluminum V8 glory is the BEST part of this car, by far. These are dyno'ing in at 440-450 whp bone stock, and 500 whp with just full length headers - wow! This motor is what made the C6 Z06 so fast on track, but Chevy is ditching this titanium rod equipped, lightweight, 505hp beast in the C7 Z06 in favor of a damned supercharger. Blah! They just ruined the Z06, to me. Superchargers don't belong on tracked cars.

            The suspension is pretty unique on the Z/28, as it is equipped with Multimatic designed magnetic shocks. These are super pricey, custom designed, dynamically tuned dampers that have hydraulic fluid filled with magnetically charged particles (that's the expensive part - the fluid). As conditions change an electric charge can be changed in each damper to alter the viscosity of the fluid - dramatically and quickly - which in turn changes the damper characteristics. Does it work? Yes. Does this apply to racing? Sadly, no.

            These shocks are not user-tunable to any real degree, so you cannot affect front-to-rear handling changes like with a set of normal adjustable dampers. But they do ride well and can handle well, as long as you don't go jacking with things like spring rates and the like. Neat technology that is very expensive and has limited usefulness on a racing car...but works very well for a street car. The other picture above is the upper strut mount on the front - which needs a camber adjustment (but this car had fairly decent negative camber with the unique Z/28 spindles). We've got a Vorshlag adjustable camber plate for the 5th gen Camaro that is finally going into production in the next 2 months.

            The weight is the main disappointment on the Z/28 - its not much lighter than a regular Camaro SS, which itself is very heavy compared to the S197 or even S550 Mustang chassis with V8s. This car had the optional radio and air con, and some fuel in the tank (as shown in the pic), but I was still hoping for a scale number closer to the sub-3600 pounds that my loaded 2011 GT was when new. They pulled every trick out of the bag to get it near 3800 pounds but it is still heavy. Luckily these cars come with some really wide wheels (19x11" front, 19x11.5" rear) and super sticky 305mm tires (60 treadwear - aka: race tires), so it makes big grip and makes for quick-ish lap times for the auto jounrtalists. It costs more than a Corvette, though, and is triple the cost of the V6 Camaro. Is it worth it? To the right buyer, yes it is. Can you make a Mustang much faster for far less? Yes again. The new GT350 might be a rival to this Z/28 - if Ford uses the "factory race tire" trick, and can keep the pounds down. We shall soon see lots of Z/28 vs GT350 comparisons...

            New Shop for Vorshlag

            Those of you that have friended me on Facebook saw the work that went into our new commercial space in October and into November. It was an epic amount of work and I am glad the bulk of that is finally over. Our company isn't huge (me + Amy + 6 others) and our race prep shop was backed up with orders and service/fab work during the time we were doing construction, so shop manager Brad and I would spend the mornings at the old shop then afternoons and all night working at the new shop to get it ready. After five weeks of 14-18 hours days, and help from both of our wives and even some friends, we were done and got the C.O. so we could move in. Here's a few pics to show the scale of work we tackled - too much!

            Lobby construction.... Left: before. Right: Walls and ceiling demo

            Lobby construction.... Left: Ceiling and interior walls gone, new drywall work. Right: Drywall textured and painted

            Lobby construction.... Left: Hung ceiling grid going up. Right: Brad cutting a window opening

            Lobby construction complete: hardwood floors + baseboard trim added, painted, lighted, and ready for more displays and framed pictures

            We did similar re-work as in the Lobby to other areas, including the "machine" room, shop area, some offices, and the Order Build Room. It was all done to add more space to the rooms we needed and remove offices and hallways we didn't want - similar to what we did at our old shop three years ago, but on a larger scale. I don't want to do this again in three years, ugh. Cursed growth! Oh wait...

            There was a small room/big closet in the shop area we demo'd and removed, then patched the walls at the junctions. We then massively enlarged the opening to the machine shop room, above. That was framed in 1x6" finished wood instead of drywall, to make room for the big toys going in here in the coming weeks. Just "waiting on electrical", which has been the story of the entire shop construction.

            There's still some finish work left to do, but we were fully functional with lifts, light, air and welders by November 11th. The new space is twice as big as our old unit, and we needed the room to house all of the cars we're working on. We also have room for some new equipment which should help ease our supply problems, but I'll save that for another post.

            This 5 weeks or construction work was followed by a week of moving equipment, desks, parts and supplies from the old shop to the new. We finished moving our last load of stuff by 11 am on Saturday the 1st, then went to the new shop to add decals to the Mustang and load it into the trailer for our trip to Vegas. After we got back from SEMA this past Tuesday we still had a lot of work to do to get fully operational, but Brad has been attacking tasks while Olof and Ryan wrench and fabricate on various customer cars and projects. Big steps were made on the Alpha LS1 Miata and Alpha LS1 FR-S this past week - look for updates on those two projects soon.

            Like we have done every year for the past 3, we will have the Texas Region SCCA Solo Annual Tech and Vorshlag Open House in February, at which time we should be fully moved in and all of the equipment up and running. Our phone number stayed the same (972-422-7170) and our new address is on our contact page, with a map. Outside parking isn't great here but that's the only real down grade we made, and the doubling of space more than makes up for it.

            Five Star Ford track day at ECR - Oct 25, 2014

            We have been attending the FSF track days at ECR for 3 years. We worked with organizers Corey White and Jerry Cecco and they let us take over the ECR Tech Shed this time. This was better than working in a parking lot in the hot sun. When I got to the track at 7:15 am, after setting up a table with the donuts we brought, I immediately started teching cars that didn't get a chance to have their car inspected by one of the many track service shops around Dallas/Ft. Worth.

            continued below
            Terry Fair -
            2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
            EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


            • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

              continued from above

              During the day our crew was busy working on people's cars and supporting our customers who were in attendance. The tech shed stayed busy all day with brake fluid flushes, brake pads swaps, and other various repairs. Some of these were pre-scheduled jobs, but for the most part they were emergency "my brakes are done!" kind of jobs. Luckily we brought plenty of Motul brake fluid, Centric rotors and Carbotech brake pads this time.

              This was the largest event that Five Star has ever sponsored at ECR, with over 65 cars. As usual, this event attracts a lot of Mustang owners, but also a smattering of "everything else" and we had a few NASA TT racers our there testing as well. I counted over 25 Vorshlag customers there that day, which is pretty cool - at our first FSF ECR event there were none, but we've been making some headway and have worked on a good chunk of these guys' cars.

              We brought our 2011 GT out to the track to show off the new flares, wing uprights and paint, but sadly we couldn't run it on track. Why? The paint was less than 2 days old and too soft to take any grasshopper or tire clag hits. Shiloh would have blown a gasket if I would have brought the car back for paint repairs so soon! Ryan had also just finished the wing uprights the day before - picked the car up from paint Thursday night, wing uprights fabricated and installed Friday then loaded into the trailer for the trip to ECR Saturday, all while finishing construction. I had two Halloween parties that Saturday night (both good ones!), and we started moving the shop the very next morning on Sunday, so it was a busy weekend.

              Corey White was super busy, as he had TWO events going on at ECR that weekend. He also helped set-up a "Raptor Rampage" off road event. They had about 15 Raptors show up that took to a 4+ mile off road course that Corey helped create earlier this year. He took us to this site on the same grounds as ECR (its off South of Turn 6) and a few of us got to ride in some very tricked out Raptors. I rode in one with 24" of rear stroke on the dual remote reservoir, triple bypass shocks. The course was wicked and has trees, boulders, and even a big jump. I rode in a few trucks and each one was different, and each one was fun.

              Jamie Beck brought his 2013 GT out to do some initial track testing before the NASA race weekend at ECR on the following weekend. The car worked flawlessly on track but had a weird issue when starting, which we had a work around for that day but got worse when he ran with NASA. The culprit was later traced to a faulty solid state battery disconnect unit, which has since been bypassed then replaced.

              One of our customer's brought his 5.0 Coyote swapped BMW to this event for its first on-track shake-down runs, so we had a plan of attack and sent him out for some short test runs, then into the pits for temp checks and inspections. We had to replace one brake line early on, but after that it went smoothly on track for a couple of sessions. Until the water temps started to spike...

              It was weird, because the radiator temps were low on an IR gun, so removed the thermostat, lots of things checked, and eventually realized that the coolant wasn't moving through the radiator fast enough. Looks like an old junkyard motor's water pump went bad during this event, which was a bit maddening to diagnose... but after other causes were ruled out it was the only one left. It was a part we hadn't installed or touched, but after the pump is replaced it should be ready for more on track action.

              Did I mention we did a lot of brake jobs?? ECR is a brake eater and even though we caution everyone to get good fluid and pads before they come here, most folks don't expect it. We worked late into the day, then loaded and and were the last trailer to leave the track that day. Thanks to Tim, Olof, Brad and Amy of Vorshlag for spending their entire Saturday out here helping customers and track folks get through the day (and the next day Sunday moving to the new shop!). Next time we go to ECR will be the annual Toy Run in December, and we are all going to be DRIVING that day instead of wrenching.

              It physically pained me to be at a track I love after parts of it were just repaved with our car we race and NOT to drive it. I had hoped to hop in another car or two that day and at least get some laps, but with a steady stream of cars needing track side repairs I was too busy to break away all day. Lots of folks came by to admire the new front flares. I wish I could have put it out there - but even a simple off track excursion could have damaged the flares, paint or splitter only days before leaving for SEMA. The next weekend at ECR was the last NASA Texas event of the year, and I had to miss that one as well - that's when we were driving to Vegas. Missing this NASA ECR event hurt more than I like to admit, but at least we had nailed down the TT3 regional championship back in June... so missing TWS and ECR didn't hurt that. Now that we are back from the OUSCI event, I wish we hadn't skipped those two NASA Texas events or NASA Nats East, but hindsight is always 20/20.

              Better Personal Safety Gear

              I've gotten a some flak from other racers over the past 3 years for my safety gear use. We were running fairly quick times in TTS/TT3 trim for a while without any rollover protection, but after a discussion with our engineer we added the Maximum Motorsports 4-point roll bar. I've always been quick to upgrade to fixed back racing seats and 5+ point racing harnesses (for better control), but roll cages don't belong in street cars, and I resisted that in this car, since we do street drive it a good bit. I have also resisted the optional use of Head and Neck restraint systems, racing suits, and some other gear - but I have been re-thinking that lately.

              I tried to use my old 3-layer Simpson racing suit at a few TT competitions this year, but its so heavy and bulky that it quickly made me overheat. This time I spent real money and bought an Alpinestar GP Pro Racing Suit. This SFI 3.2A Level 5 Nomex suit was lighter, made from a newer style fabric that breathes, and it fit me better. I went and tried on 5 different sizes until I realized a European size "58" fits me pretty well. It was painfully expensive, but what's it worth not to be bar-b-qued in a burning car, or worse - sweating so badly that I get heat exhaustion (much more likely)? In August I bought Amy and I both new pairs of Alpinestars Tech 1-ZX gloves as well, which have the seams run inside-out for better feel on the inside. I used my old gloves at all events (for better feel, both autocross and track) and wore holes in the fingertips, so it was time to upgrade.

              The various HANS devices I've tried always greatly limited my ability to turn my head. I have now tested 3 different designs: the HANS brand, the Simpson Hybrid, and then the NecksGen. Each of these required different helmet anchors, so I've got 3 sets of those for my helmet. I used the NecksGen at the SCCA Road Course autocross in September and it actually allowed me to turn my head enough - and as an autocrosser at heart, I am looking out the side windows a lot, aiming for the next corner. The other units restricted my head turning too much, but the NecksGen was tolerable. I borrowed this unit from my friend Ed for use at OUSCI, and I was determined to use it in every on-track session. After the wreck at Road Atlanta in May and the damage to my vertebrae, which may have been exacerbated by NOT having a HANS device, I wasn't going to track again without it.

              Next year, whatever I run seriously will likely have a full roll cage - if its as fast or faster than this TT3 Mustang. I'm getting too old to bounce back quickly from a crash like the one I had in May, and if what we build over the winter is what I hope it to be, it will need a serious cage indeed. I've been pushing my luck on track for far too long - and probably setting a bad example. I cannot count how many W2W guys come by and look at our Mustang after they see the lap times we run and are then HORRIFIED that we don't have a cage in this car. I remind them that Time Trial shouldn't have any car-to-car contact, but the car-to-wall kind scares me enough to want to do the cage, nets, HANS and the rest.

              Stickers + 335 Tires + Loading for Trip

              The Mustang was almost ready for the OUSCI event after it got back from Heritage for paint, bit there were still a few things left to tidy up. Most of that got done at the old shop but we moved the day after ECR, so some happened at the new place - like the new tire mounting and decals. Olof mounted a brand new set of 335/30/18 BFG Rivals to all four 18x12 wheels. I wanted to race on "sticker" tires so we didn't do any testing on this new set-up with the wider 335 fronts - that was probably a mistake, but I just couldn't afford a second new set of 335 Rivals to test with.

              On Thursday October 30th, Kevin Mooney with Mooney Productions stopped by on a tour of 3 shops in and around Dallas that had cars entered in the big OUSCI shootout. He is a camera man and on-air interviewer for their MavTV series and was also going to be shooting video all week at SEMA and of the cars in Optima alley. We had met at previous event and I liked Kevin's attitude about the event and the cars that are featured.

              We had cleaned up the entire shop prior to him stopping by, as we were still in the middle of the shop move. He was cool and only shot part of the shop, which we had cleaned up the night before and added this massive decal to one wall of (see above). We had a couple of clean customer cars we had built on hand and one or two of those were in his shots, as well as our 2011 Mustang.

              Again, as poorly as we apparently ended up at OUSCI, this footage is unlikely to be shown. Its a shame, as we had a fun interview that everyone here felt went really well. Them's the breaks - gotta place well or be a sponsor to get coverage on the show.

              After Kevin left we cleaned up the car, detailed the interior and underhood, and then I fought with Amy about the decal package we would use for SEMA and OUSCI. She wanted to go with the loud WHITE stripes again, and even wanted to get a set of wheels done in white like last year. I reminded her that the white wheels only stayed white for about 2 track sessions, then looked gray forever. Also, the OUSCI series and TV show was supposed to emphasize STREET CARS, and as I was told by one USCA organizer, the stripes made the car "look too much like a race car", so Jason and I convinced her to go with a toned down livery instead, which Jason cut on our vinyl plotter that Thursday.

              On Saturday, the last day of moving, we finally added the smaller "Vorshlag" stickers in black to the rear shoulders and small sponsor decals to our manufacturers of the parts we run along the sides, leaving ample room for the OPTIMA door decals and event sponsor stickers on the sides as well as to of the windshield. We didn't get in our request to USCA in time to get the event decals so we had to wait until Monday in Vegas during "load-in" to get them, but we assumed we could show up early and grab them in time for the big Ford 50th Anniversary picture shoot Monday afternoon at 3 pm (but that assumption was wrong). Brad, Jen and Amy hand cut the stripes for the hood and laid them down minutes before the car went into the trailer (they were still wet so we left the transfer paper in place).

              I took a quick romp down the parking lot and made some Figure 8 turns to see if the 335s rubbed up front. Nope, all clear. Then we loaded up for the 22+ hour one-way tow to Las Vegas. We brought two mounted spares and one dismounted spare tire for the trailer, as we had too many blow-outs last year going to Utah for NASA Nationals and didn't want to take any chances.

              After loading up at the shop we went to our house and loaded our clothes, food and other stuff for the TEN DAY trip. We had hoped to leave by noon but it was closer to 6 pm before we rolled out. Luckily we had an extra day padded into our time budget to get there, so we only lost 6 hours of the extra 24 we had budgeted. Off to Vegas we went, with high hopes! Jason was driving up the long way and planned on being at the show on Tuesday. Olof and Jon were leaving Tuesday in to arrive early on Wednesday, Brad was flying in Friday and even Costas was going to join us Friday through Sunday. We had a big, experienced and capable crew on hand to help me at the event, and also to talk to the various vendors we knew at the SEMA show.

              Just wanted to point out that while our shop was shut down for a couple of weeks during the move and SEMA (we turned away a lot of work and cleared the schedule), we're fully operational and have openings on the schedule now. Need some fabrication or race prep work? Suspension install? Have a heavy wallet that is weighting you down?? We can help.

              Tune in next time for part 2 of 3 - the SEMA show!
              Terry Fair -
              2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
              EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


              • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

                Project Update for December 2, 2014: This is part 2 of 3 of our "lead up" + SEMA2014 + OUSCI coverage. This segment is devoted to the SEMA show itself. We got to display our 2011 Mustang at the show (parked in two different places), but there were a few bumps along the way. I personally took over 700 pics at the show with my camera phone (that many dubbed the "Potato Cam" due to a few blurry pics) and posted them live on Facebook during the show. My focus was on cool cars that corner carvers might like, as well as the parts that interest us most. More from Vorshlag joined me - Jason was there by Tuesday, Olof and Jon arrived Wednesday, and Brad flew in on Friday took some great shots in the Central Hall with his Canon gear. We will discuss cars, new parts, and the various areas of the show. But first, let's get a piece of business out of the way...

                Vorshlag TT3 prepped 2011 Mustang GT FOR SALE

                Yes, it it has to be done - We are selling our red Mustang S197 development car (read more here). I'm not happy about it, and would much rather keep this car, but this car is a chunk of capital that I need to liquidate in order to help our business grow. Very soon some big changes we are making will become apparent, and this car will help pay for this expansion. Asking price is $48,500, and we have almost double that in it. Comes with your choice of tires (fresh 335/345 Hoosier A6s or fresh 335 Rivals), with or without the current livery, and more.

                Click this picture to go to the FOR SALE page, which has dozens of pictures and lots of details

                We had this car "sold" for several months, but right before SEMA the buyer flaked out. Oh well, what can you do? They aren't a "buyer" until the money arrives. Any of you reading this thread for a while will know about this car, which we've developed for over 4 years. I counted them up and this car has set 15 track records and has posted dozens of wins over the past 4 seasons, in Time Trial as well as autocross. It has been shown on TV shows 6 different times and the for sale page for this car was even linked in a recent Jalopnik article. Its "internet famous"! It is also a fully street legal car, with AC, Sat NAV, full interior, and all that. If you drive around on the street in this car you will get more attention than if you had a stripper dancing in the back of a convertible. It is also pretty quick on a race track, too. I feel the price is fair, but like everything, it is negotiable. This FOR SALE web page has all of the details you could ever want. If you have questions call Vorshlag and ask for Terry (me); the number is on that for sale page and all over our website.

                This is the current look/decals/livery of the Mustang. Paint is less than a month old. Click for more details

                And in case you were wondering - No, we're not building a 2015 Mustang to replace this one. With no Body In White program for the S550 for "at least a year" from Ford, building a 2015 Mustang race car requires buying a new car then cutting it up and throwing away a lot of stuff. So we'll wait for a BIY or until we can find a theft recovery/flood damages/front hit chassis to start with (I'd rather use the '16 GT350 front bits). Maybe 6-12 months from now these cars will become available in a cheaper form (used/crashed/BIY) and then we can hopefully build the crazy S550 race car that I have in my brain. Until then we have another race car build we are starting (for 2015 season) that isn't even a Ford at all (but will have a few Ford parts). I brought the chassis from my home shop (have 4 cars stashed there, waiting) to the Vorshlag shop this past weekend, so I will link to that build thread in my next S197 update. This S197 thread isn't going away - we have S197s in our shop every day and any development we do will still be chronicled here. In my next post I'll show some new S197 stuff we've been working on.

                The Long Tow to Vegas

                OK, back to the SEMA update. We had the car prepped and loaded last time, ready to head to Vegas. Getting from our shop in Dallas, Texas to Las Vegas, Nevada is a long, somewhat boring drive - mostly through Texas. Luckily it was uneventful, and we set-up the back seat of the crew cab F350 as a "sleeping cell", with Amy and I switching out every 2.5 hours to drive while the other caught up on sleep. With the previous 2 months being full of 7 day weeks with hectic 14-18 hour days, we both needed the rest between driving stints.

                We had decent weather but hit some rain in the desert, which turned into heavy snow at higher altitudes. Luckily we didn't have to slow down much, and drove straight through in a little over 20 hours. Crossing two times zones and with daylight savings being undone during this day, we "found" 3 hours along the way, and ended up in Vegas mid day on Sunday.

                Parking at our hotel was tight so we had to unload the Mustang down the street and park it in front of our room. The trailer and truck were stuck off site until Monday morning, then we were allowed to drop off the trailer for the week at a LVMS parking lot. This left us with the F350 to tool around town in, until our guys drove in Wednesday in Amy's BMW 740iL. The Mustang managed to get over the many speed bumps in the hotel parking lot as well as traverse the "above ground storm drainage" ditches along the many many secondary street intersections in Vegas. #BecauseStreetCar

                Parking With "Ford out Front", aka: the Worst Parking Spot at SEMA

                This next section is full of some bitching and moaning, so feel free to skip it. There's more content again down at "Notable Cars of the Vegas 50".

                SEMA is a huge show that continues to grow, and now it has spread into 3 main convention halls at the Las Vegas convention Center, covers three huge parking lots (both with open displays, active cars driving, and big air conditioned tents), alley ways, and there's even the AAPEX show (OEM parts and suppliers) that is inside another convention hall in the Sands hotel, around the corner. Its a huge freagin show. I haven't been to SEMA since 2010, and it has grown a lot since then, and changed in some fundamental ways. Many have said this was the best SEMA show they had ever seen, and I tend to agree.

                Ford Motor Company has had a BIG presence at SEMA for many years and they have spent a large budget to get your attention. Back in 2010 (the last time I was at SEMA) Ford was already renting the big parking lot in front of the main Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. This lot had barriers lined around the lot and they had set-up jumps in the middle to show off the new Raptor trucks' suspension. I remembered seeing people lined up to ride in a "jumping" Raptor back then, but I didn't pay it much attention. It was a side-show distraction, plus I worked a booth for 3 days that year and was rushed just getting away to see a few manufacturers we worked with then.

                Well a lot has happened since 2010 - Vorshlag has gotten a lot bigger, we've been building some notable cars, I won the USCA qualifier so I was finally guaranteed a spot at the OUSCI (Optima Ultimate street Car Invitational), and we were even invited to park our car in the "special Ford area" to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Mustang. Two invites to SEMA in the same year? Craziness. Optima requires that your car is shown somewhere at SEMA for the full week, either in a booth or in their special "Optima Alley" parking area. When I had the choice of having our car park in a "special Ford area" out in front of the Central Hall versus a back alleyway with the Optima group, I chose FORD. Duh...

                All 50 Mustangs were parked in front of the Central Hall, parked in the shape of "5.0"... for about 45 minutes, then shuffled away

                There were all sorts of extras that went with the 50 cars picked to represent each year of the Mustang. "The Vegas 50", which had a special Facebook group and email list, got exclusive invites to a private Ford meet-and-greet event at the Ford booth on Monday (press day + load in), and we got Exhibitor badges from Ford that let us walk the show floor all day Monday - which I had never done. There was also an extra Exhibitor Party we got to go to, which sounded cool, and tons of free Mustang and Ford swag.

                Our red Mustang was in the lower part of the "0", of the "50" picture

                A lone Ford employee was trying to coordinate all of these activities: a parade of 50 Mustangs from some outlier lot to a special aerial photo shoot on Monday, then to the week long "special display area". Long story short, it ended up being a big hot mess, and a big waste of time. We stood around waiting for too many hours on Monday, the parade route was all of 200 yards long, and the aerial photo shoot (see above) took far longer than it should have. Then we got lined up to park... and it was immediately obvious that I had made a huge mistake.

                See the drifters spraying 50 Mustangs parked around the perimeter? That wasn't cool

                We were corralled like cattle and parked two wide, bumper-to-bumper in between concrete barrier walls and a parallel ring of bike railing surrounding the Ford out Front DRIFTORO SPECTAKULARRRR!!! I was immediately leery of this "special Ford spot" when I saw a couple of trucks practicing drifting around the parking lot that Monday night, so when we pulled into place I quickly darted to the "outer ring" of the two wide parking sports - that move likely saved my car's paint job. I asked our Ford contact "Will there be drifting all day here, and won't that send lots of asphalt and crap onto our cars??" There were several rare and special six figure $$ cars in this line-up of 50 years of the Mustang, and I didn't want this to turn into a really bad place to be stuck all week. "Oh no, there won't be any problems! This is a GREAT spot with lots of visibility and foot traffic! We'll having someone come dust off the cars every morning!"

                The DROFTORO SPECTAKULARRRRRRRR had just begun... and our car was parked right in the "spray"

                We left the car with a bad feeling, then went and got some free food + beer at the party for Exhibitors on Monday, meeting up with our friends from EVO-Dynamics and MyShopAssist (exhibiting). Then we went inside and did the special Monday night deal at the Ford booth at 6:30 pm, which wasn't much but included more food and drinks.

                The next morning, we entered the back of Central Hall and started walking the show. Pretty soon I was getting all sorts of texts and messages from some of the Vegas 50 folks, and it sounded BAD. We made it out front to take a look by 11 am and our cars were already COVERED in asphalt pebbles, tire junk, and various dust and debris. The cars looked like they had been parked in a bombed out ghetto all night once the DRIFTORO SPECTAKULARRRRRRRR!!!! was in full swing. They were drifting anything with four wheels: Raptors, Trophy Trucks, NASCAR Cup cars, New 2015 Mustangs, older S197 Mustangs, anything that could break the tires loose was flinging rocks and crap all over our cars. I was losing my MIND and was looking frantically for the Ford contact, but eventually we found her and she said that no matter what, we were stuck there for the rest of the day.

                I won't get into too much more of what I said, other than to say I was less than pleased, and I wasn't alone. A guy from the Lucas Oil trailer out front brought over a gas powered leaf blower out of their trailer and blew the crap off most of the Mustangs at the end of the day of drifting, which got about 80% of the junk off. After waiting for 90 minutes later than promised, we were finally able to get our car out of that fiasco and move it to Optima Alley. Once parked there I used a California Duster thing and got even more crap off the paint, and Wednesday morning I went crazy with some Meguiars Quik Detail and finally got it clean. We weren't the only owner to move his car Tuesday night... by Wednesday the "Vegas 50" was the "Vegas 18".

                Leaving the Ford out Front area Monday afternoon, Amy and I ran into the star of the TV show "Highway to Sell", Dennis Pittsenbarger (below). We know Dennis from Optima series events, and when he saw our Vorshlag jackets he grabbed us as we walked by. We caught up with Dennis about his the first season the show (he's hoping it gets picked up for season 2!), which we had both watched every episode of. He was also announcing all week at SEMA for a televised gig, then for the OUSCI event on Saturday and Sunday (he had lost most of his voice by then!).

                It's cool seeing folks you meet at racing events or through the car world that make a TV show, which usually becomes a big break in their career. I also ran into Kevin Byrd of Two Guys Garage during the SEMA show, who I have known for years (he built an LS1 BMW E30 that we chatted about numerous times). He was filming cars in Optima Alley for a show they are doing on SEMA 2014. We also bumped into Aaron from GMG on 4 different occasions, met the two Brits from Wheeler Dealer, and saw about a dozen other "cars and sparks" TV stars throughout the show.

                Notable Cars of the Vegas 50

                The 50 Mustangs that Ford picked to represent each year were mostly either almost completely stock or "modified show cars". I'm not really part of the "show car scene" but its all part of the car culture and I gotta respect that - these people like to show and shine, and that's cool. There were a couple of "racey" looking builds in this group, which I will point out below. There were a few others in the Vegas 50 that tracked their cars, but these two were the most epic builds.

                The Creations n' Chrome built "Top Notch" fox Mustang was pretty wild. I had seen this in magazines but it looked even better in person. It had a supercharged Aluminator 5.0L, a tube frame chassis with a carbon fiber body, massive engine + driver set-back, along with wide wheels and flares. What's not to like?? I think this car got one of the Golden Ticket invites to OUSCI but I don't know if they could make it, and it was on the wrong type of tires to run that event? (200+ treadwear is required)

                Another car that caught my eye was this dark blue Mustang II, which was damned cool. I have never said "Cool" and "Mustang II" in the same sentence in my life. A high school buddy had a 1978 "Cobra" Mustang and I had a 1972 Mustang, both with built 302s. Looking back at that time in my life, they really were both hideous cars, from the two worst generations of Mustangs ever made, and we kind of knew it. This blue car above redeemed the entire Mustang II generation of cars - but it had very little Mustang II left, of course.

                A tube chassis build that was based loosely on a C5 Corvette platform, with the T56 rear transaxle and torque tube in place. A new floor and tunnel were fabricated, then the remainder of the Mustang II body was plopped on top. All new fenders and wheel arches were made to cover big meety wheels and tires on the C5's wheelbase, with a custom sheet metal front end based loosely off of the 2013 Boss302 LS. Crazy interior and engine bay work were also part of this build.

                continued below
                Last edited by Fair!; 12-03-2014, 01:09 PM.
                Terry Fair -
                2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

                  continued from above

                  Under the hood was a big surprise - a Ford Triton V10 with a custom intake manifold, custom valve covers, and the throttle body hidden under the cowl. Took them 2 years to build this car and it won awards at two Autoramas. This car also got one of the Golden Ticket invites to OUSCI but I don't recall it making any runs? My memory of the OUSCI entries is a bit skewed, due to some strange event issues we ran into (which I will save for next time).

                  S550s parked in Ford Out Front + Ford Booth in Central Hall

                  Left: "Look, we can put a wing on a 2015 Mustang" Right: "That's cute." hehehe

                  This winged white S550 above (made by a shop called "FullRace") was parked in the Ford out Front area, along with some other quickly modified S550 Mustangs. These were 2015 Mustangs likely purchased ahead of production deliveries, usually for $1, which happens by a number of manufacturers every year for SEMA. We tried to get one, but we aren't a "style" shop, which is who gets almost all of these SEMA cars.

                  Left: The inevitable "so last year" flat black wrap. Right: Gold plated wheels were en vogue...

                  There were lots of these S550s out front and in the Ford booth. Some had quick paint jobs, stripes or wraps; a few had underhood mods, some with superchargers (at least one of which was fake); saw some hastily lowered suspensions, but no real shock offerings yet that we could see; and of course a lot of blinged-out wheels. Sure, there were a few S550s that had a tasteful mod here or there, but for the most part this group looked a bit rushed together for SEMA. In the coming months we will see real performance parts emerge for these cars, but its still a bit soon.

                  More of the Gold Plated fad was found inside. Oh, and over-the-top wide "lip" wheels won't go away

                  During the Gold Lot staging for the Vegas 50 Mustangs our Mustang were lined up next to the APR Wide Body S197, which was pretty ironic. Some said our car "out wide-bodied" APR? I don't know about that, but we definitely had a lot more tire under the fenders than any other S197 there.

                  That's the number one issue I have with the various flares and wide bodies made by some aftermarket companies - it seems that they do all of this work just for the look. Often they take only moderately wider wheels ans push them outboard without really adding any real width, or if they do its only on a show car with 24" diameter wheels that wold never see a track. Giant flares with 275mm tires just doesn't make any sense to me, ya know? The Shelby S197 wide body install costs $25,000, and I took a flier from their shop (we toured Saturday night) just to make sure I didn't read the number wrong. Wow...

                  Vorshlag SEMA Show Gallery:

                  There are many hundreds of pictures in that gallery above. I can only show a fraction of the cars and parts here, but feel free to look at more there.

                  Parking in Optima Alley

                  Optima had a rather large presence at SEMA this year, with the big Optima Prime trailer (below left) in a massive booth area inside Central Hall and two more trailers in Optima Alley (below right). This was a HUGE reserved area to park the Optima entries.

                  Most of the 100 cars invited to OUSCI were parked in Optima Alley, which was a road situated between the Registration building and the North Hall. On paper it looked like this was going to be a "low visibility" and low traffic area, but I was so wrong. There were several lunch trucks parked out there all week and the foot traffic consisting of newly registered attendees and hungry show folks was quite large - many thousands of people walked through this area, which ended up being a better spot for car visibility than the Ford out Front area. People could walk up to cars and look at them up close, with no bike railing or concrete walls in the way like our previous spot.

                  I started seeing our Mustang show up on social media - mostly with positive remarks, but a few "ricer" comments from the wing and splitter. There was actually a pretty good one on a "Mod Motor Mustang" page, with a lot of haters posting funny memes after someone put a picture from an unflattering angle of our car, covered in dust when we were parked with Ford. Luckily enough racers saw that and came to defend our honor, heh.

                  Since we only did the one USCA qualifier and don't have MavTV I never saw about 75 of the OUSCI entrants before, so I got to meet a lot of new faces and see a lot of crazy machinery in this area. Lots more late model sports cars than I expected (uh-oh), which was forewarning of things to come. It was in Optima Alley where I first saw then fell in LOVE with the LS1 powered Star-Quest of John Lazorack (below).

                  Look at this thing! Its just outrageous, with an 80s vibe, LSx V8 power, and a big dash of aero. Big, wide fender flares cover 315mm tires, which he made the himself. John is a designer at General Motors and used skills to scan/map the Conquest body, then designed new flares in 3D, then had molds made from his design. Fiberglass flares that bolt on are the result, and it looks killer. You can and should read more about this build in this article on Speed Academy.

                  After leaving the Ford out Front area Tuesday night, Optima Jim met me at the entrance to Optima Alley and we got parked and cleaned up that evening by 7pm. We were able to get our Optima event decals, credentials (a big carbon fiber badge), and a bunch more swag. Left that area and met one of our customers for a fancy sushi dinner at a swanky restaurant. We scored tickets from Optima folks to an exclusive Honda party late that night, but we got there too early and missed all of the Optima folks. Dancers in glass cages, dozens of escorts everywhere, it was off the HOOK. I saw Dennis there and he said "What the hell is going here on in here!?", heh. There were exhibitor parties like this every night of SEMA, if you have the stamina to party until 2 am and then be ready to work a booth by 8:30 am the next morning.

                  Another cool Optima entry I saw in the Alley was this purple E-body Chrysler. It had a big nasty LSx swap and TONS of custom touches. The flares are there if you know what to look for - allowing wider tires - but their placement really low on the body makes this car seem even lower than it really is. I had a 72 Challenger with a big block 440 in high school, among other Dodges, so I have a strange affinity for old Mopars - even one with LSx power. This builder had tightened up the bumpers, added a custom interior, great wheels and big Wilwood brakes. Amazing work - and there were probably 30 more cars just as well prepared at OUSCI!

                  If you are ever in Vegas for SEMA, plan on sticking around for Saturday and Sunday and spend the $30 for tickets to come see this OUSCI event. Even if you ignore the racing (which I should have done, ha!), just seeing the machinery there was worth the price of entry.

                  The C10 Truck (above left) had a tilt front end and all sorts of custom work, and was an OUSCI entry. This thing had active rear aero... on a truck! Craziness, but too cool. The Cuda (above right) built by the Roadster Shop was one of several amazing cars they had at the SEMA show, and it got one of the Optima Golden Ticket invites, and they ran this at OUSCI. I think it as boosted - you could hear the turbo(s?) spool on the road course. So sweet.

                  This Fuller built AWD 32 Roadster was originally built to compete in Optima events, but I think its just too damned nice to risk tearing it up at OUSCI. It has been under construction for 3 years and was being shown off in the Jet Hot booth at SEMA. Pushrod/inboard suspension, AWD, Boss429 power, big honkin tires at all 4 corners... what's not to like?! This thing is sick - and it makes the Ken Block "Hoonicorn" 65 Mustang look like it was only mildly modified. In person the craftsmanship was amazing on this 32.

                  This green 911 wasn't an Optima attendee, and it was a bit "hella flush" for my tastes, but it had a big LSx in the trunk. So that alone made it cool, in my book. A year ago we almost bought a Porsche Boxster that had a blown engine, for such a good price I couldn't pass it up. That would have been an LSx swap we tackled, but the seller flaked out after we had agreed upon a price, ugh. Someday...

                  Chevy had a decently sized and stocked display in the Central Hall. A partially completed 2015 COPO Camaro was there, with the windows covered up (probably wasn't finished inside). Biggest change was the switch to a supercharged powerplant. These drag-race COPOs are not that interesting to me, but folks were lined up to see it.

                  There was an orange 2015 Mustang in the HRE Wheels booth that Cortex had built, which got a Golden Ticket and ran at OUSCI. It was sporting what were supposed to be HRE's flow formed wheels, but I think there were pre-production CNC monoblock parts (long story). HRE has a new line of flow-formed wheels (like SSR, Kosei, D-Force, Forgestar, etc) that they are making now, but at nearly $700 each its a tough sell. We are set-up as a dealer, but with essentially the same offering from Forgestar costing about half ($350-360/each), I don't don't know how many we'll sell? If you love HRE this might be your solution, I guess.

                  Seemed like there were mechanical teething issues, and the poor driver couldn't find the autocross course to save his life, so this was one of the approx. 80 cars I actually beat at OUSCI. As with other Cortex cars, look for this one to be developed further, and it once it has a little more time to be tweaked, it should be fast.

                  continued below
                  Last edited by Fair!; 12-03-2014, 12:08 PM.
                  Terry Fair -
                  2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                  EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                  • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

                    More Cars from Optima Alley + Optima Booth

                    Left: Olof and Jon arrived Wednesday and hit the show running. Right: Our spot in Optima Alley was excellent!

                    Moving to Optima Alley was a big improvement, and Jason and I would pop out there a couple of times a day to check on the car and ended up talking to dozens of people each time. The Mustang drew a crowd, which was astonishing considering the level of hardware it was parked next to. We even had an impromptu filming with Chad Reynolds and the MavTV film crew one time when we were there, which I think showed up on the last show? The MavTV coverage of the USCA series in 2014 has improved all season, and our car made it into both the "pre-OUSCI" episode as well as the OUSCI episode, which is always good for exposure. Both of these will continue to air, so check your cable/satellite provider to see if you have the MavTV channel.

                    I could write a huge post just about other cars that entered OUSCI, and it wouldn't be at all boring. But I didn't end up meeting a huge number of the entrants. Its been about 4 weeks after the event now and some of the screwed up things that went wrong with how the event was run are becoming less irksome now. I regret getting so spun-up about how the event was run and not meeting more of the drivers and builders during the 2 days we were at the track. As a competitor its hard to turn off that part of my brain, I guess. We don't know if we will "build" for OUSCI competition in the future, but we will surely enter the local USCA qualifiers - which themselves were a TON of fun - and see how it all adds up for OUSCI.

                    There were plenty of imports in Optima Alley, including these two below. The MINI was a bit outgunned on the horsepower front but the rear engined VW had some extra power in the back seat!

                    So there was a rumor of a few Race Cars sneaking into OUSCI, and there were a couple. The interior of the car below at left raised a few eyebrows, but apparently not as many people cared about that as our splitter and wing. So there's talk of a "Vorshlag Rule" to do away with splitters and wings. Which is ridiculous, as we can and do regularly street drive our car on the street. Apparently there's a lot of leeway in the definition of a street car. Our car has real Air Con, Sat Nav, power windows, full interior, but gutted and caged race cars are all good. There was also a little bit of a thrash to install some parts in Optima Alley right before the SEMA parade. Looked like the intake was acquired at the last minute, and it was swapped in the parking lot. And it was swapped back about 2 miles into the parade when something went wrong, doh.

                    The Pro Touring Camaros were out in full force, with James Shipka's (below left) One Lap Camaro (OLC) and many others in attendance.

                    Mark Stiloh's latest 69 Camaro creation was called "Hellfire", and it was displayed all week in the Optima booth next to Hobaugh's Corvette. These red terrors were both amazing builds, and both fast on track (quicker than I was!)

                    Random SEMA Cars

                    There were hundreds of other cars I took pictures of at SEMA, both inside in booths and outside in show areas. I cannot hope to cover even a fraction of those - you can see some for yourself in the SEMA gallery - but here are a few.

                    This DTM-prepped BMW was in the Akrapovic exhaust booth, and I got to take some close ups during Load In Day before it was moved behind ropes. Neat aero tricks abound, but you always have to remember - even DTM has rules restrictions, and some of the biggest design elements are compromised to fit within that series' rules. Still, very slick little tricks here and there (the side mirrors even had a wing!)

                    Other than the many fluff versions, there were some racey S550s in the Ford booth. The blue Roush car had some real track prep parts, and I hope they try to focus more on the handling/downforce/safety aspects than just superchargers and dress-up stuff. The Watson Racing S550 was a drag car, and it looked pretty solid, too.

                    Another amazing Roadster Shop build, this 2nd gen Camaro (below) had lots of "road race" inspired custom work. Was it a legit track car? I kind of doubt it, at the level of craftsmanship that was used, but who knows? They beat the heck out of that E-body Chrysler they built at OUSCI! There's a great article on MotoIQ covering SEMA (a Nerds Eye View: SEMA 2014) that has a lot more pictures and info on this Camaro below.

                    Turner Motorsports just came off a winning season in their Z4M Roadsters and they had one of the 2014 Season cars in the H&R booth in the South Hall. The car had some sexy curves (and no, I'm not talking about the Turner booth babes) and I took a bunch of pictures of the flares and aero. Why? Because we have a Z4 chassis sitting in my home shop awaiting its turn to become an LSx powered track beast. I saw Will Turner in that area and we chatted briefly a bit about the 2014 winning car as well as their 2015 season plans (they are building two more Z4Ms from new BMW Motorsports chassis).

                    Scion had a booth with several cars built for a Scion "retro" themed contest. The two I liked the most are shown below. The Toyota race team livery FR-S was a real hit, and won the overall award from Scion.

                    I've included these two FR-S cars for two reasons: first, this was the most popular car at SEMA, by far. While the S550 was the "Car of the Show", the FRS/BRZ 86 twins were more abundant, and after 3 years of production this is saying a lot. Second, they were both well made show car builds. And while not what a racer would probably own, they are part of the overall "car culture" and both examples here had many race-inspired parts and overall themes. Cool pair of cars.

                    Toyota commissioned somebody to make this "Camry" bodied race car with a flip-up body that looked surprisingly stock and steel. It was a tube frame chassis with a Toyota based V8 with a big honkin' supercharger on top. Why would Toyota want to build and show this car at SEMA? #BecauseRacecar

                    Another Ring Brothers creation graced the Barrett Jackson booth, this time a highly modified Pantera. It was a work of art. The ugliest car of the show has to go to the Ken Block "Hoonicorn" 65 Mustang, though. Yes, its an amazing creation that makes 845 hp, is AWD, uses a Sadev transaxle, and made for one wild ass Gymkhana video... but in person, the proportions were all wrong and it looked ridiculous. But "ridiculous" is kind of the Ken Block trademark... style and beauty often don't go hand-in-hand.

                    Instead of going on and on about SEMA cars for days I leave you with a link to the Vorshlag SEMA 2014 Gallery as well as the MotoIQ coverage of the show. Enjoy!

                    Cool New Products

                    Of course we go to SEMA really to see new products being offered for the first time (ditto for the PRI show), and we found a lot of new items we're going to be selling at Vorshlag and/or using on our own race cars. Here's but a few...

                    So we've been working with Forgestar since 2012 and have really been moving a lot of their custom wheels to racers and street guys alike, especially in the Mustang crowd that wants 10" and wider wheels on both ends of the car. We hit a wall on their F14 series wheels at 18x12" - they don't offer anything wider, and to make an 18x13" would require a whole new set of tooling ($$$). Instead they have developed the M14 series 2-piece wheels using a version of the F14 center, shown above. Available in up to 18x15" widths in 1/4" increments, with light weights and BIG caliper/rotor clearance, and available in a large range of offsets, I think we've got the solution to our REALLY wide wheel problems! My next race car will have these M14's on both ends, sporting 18x12" up front and 18x14" out back.

                    With prices getter more competitive and programability getting easier, digital dash displays are starting to show up in more race cars (and even grassroots level stuff). Of course we saw the stuff from Racepak (above left), and we already sell AIM, but there was some really nice offerings from some new players, with more OEM-looking gauges. The VDO "Analog" gauge cluster (above right) was all digital, has flexible configurations, can be had for $700-900, and looked like it would fit in a typical BMW binnacle. There were also lots of "analog" style gauge cluster offerings from Dakota Digital that were showing up in many cars on the SEMA show floor.

                    Electrical wiring isn't glamorous but it is often necessary to re-wire a car when it becomes a race car. The OEM electrical connectors are designed to make 5-7 connections in a lifetime, and after a decade underhood they can often become brittle from heat and age, causing broken locking tabs and water leaks - which lead to electrical gremlins. We've seen that too many times! But race-quality electrical components are very different, and we've been using MIL-spec connectors and higher end solid-state electrical parts in race cars for years. We saw some cool new bits from a few manufacturers, and recognized a lot of things we had already been using. The "smart wiring" programmable CAN-BUS solutions are becoming more common as well, and everyone from Motec to Holley had something to show.

                    The folks at GM Performance are taking a page out of the Ford Racing playbook and are offering Z/28 and ZL1 Camaro upgrade parts for 5th gen Camaro SS and owners. The displays of the parts and of a car on the side with highlighted bits was identical to a Ford displays from years past, but like they say.... "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

                    OS Giken had a damned nice display with a lot of parts, especially considering how small of a company they really are. They had good exploded views of their popular limited slip diffs, various versions of ramp angles, as well as examples of LSDs for the Ford 8.8" and Chevy 10-bolt. Good stuff, if a bit pricey.

                    continued below
                    Last edited by Fair!; 12-03-2014, 12:14 PM.
                    Terry Fair -
                    2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                    EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                    • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

                      continued from above

                      Whiteline had an S550 in their booth and Jason and I chatted them up on 3 different occasions. It was nice to see our S197 in some of their literature as well as playing on their video monitors, ha! We met their head of domestic parts development Jan (shown below at left talking to our engineer Jason) and we picked his brain about what they have coming out for the S550.

                      What we didn't expect to see were so many new S197 parts! They have developed a "high angularity bushing" that is essentially a spherical bearing made of their hard elastomers, similar to a Johnny Joint or Del-Spehre. But unlike those two aftermarket offerings, the Whiteline "Max-C" bushing joint was easier to rotate through 2 axis, and their demo-part was right there to push on yourself.

                      They already had two brand new S197 lower rear control arm offerings (shown above) with this Max-C bushing, in fixed length and adjustable length. They hadn't decided to make a UCA using this bushing yet, but boy did we hound them to get to it! That's the one joint on this car that really NEEDS a bi-axis joint, and the Max-C looks like the perfect fix without adding the noise associated with Del-Sphere or all-metal spherical joints. Look for this part from Whiteline soon, hopefully in our hands for testing by the end of the year.

                      Mishimoto had a nice little booth at the show and we talked to their development folks for a bit. They had new S550 parts on display already, like this Ecoboost oil cooler kit. We've had great luck with their S197 aluminum radiator, slim-line electric fans, silicone hoses/bends, and some catch tanks and such. We tend to use their radiators in all of our LSx swaps in BMWs and the FRS/BRZ as well.

                      Speaking of S550 parts, Ford had many new offerings already on display, having found many weaknesses in the new chassis' independent rear suspension. Those 10 second quarter mile runs they've done on supercharged 5.0s? They had the aluminum subframe mount bushings and updated halfshafts, as shown above. The halfshafts use a low-cost variation of the 930 Porsche CVs, which are apparently stronger than the OEM S550 bits. Ford also had the new Mustang "tilted on the side" to show all sorts of silly things, like the "Trans Cooler Scoop" (aka: the gravel trap) and the Boss302 side exhaust (aka: silly and loud ballast). The real work seemed to be shown in the Ford Racing display out front, where a new "Ford" supercharger kit was being offered, as well as 2015 5.0L heads (which can be retrofit to the 2011-14 Coyotes for more flow).

                      With the good also comes the bad - at least a glimpse. There were a LOT of really ugly cars shown at SEMA, but I've kept them out of this write-up other than this 5th Gen Camaro on 34" rims (but you can see them all in the photo gallery!) There were really some goofy products as well. Most of the back half of the 1st floor in South Hall is where most of the worst displays are stuck at SEMA. Every Chinese tire manufacturer you never heard of and never will buy from is banished here, slinging 60" tall tractor tires and car tires in every color of the rainbow. Some of the company names are hilarious and do not translate well. Names like "Happy Luck Trustworthy Parts Co" (true story!) will make you smile... and pick up your walking pace.

                      Now this was an exception to the "funny name" rule, as this Vietnamese restaurant Pho Kim Long had excellent food. We noticed a LOT of Pho places that had goofy names in the same neighborhood, so I think this was intentional. Some days you need to venture away from the convention center for lunch at SEMA.

                      SEMA Ignited + Friday Parade

                      So the SEMA show was wrapping up Friday at 4:30 pm, and the plan was to have everyone meet at their cars in Optima Alley, roll out in one big group and join the hundreds of other SEMA display cars that would be parading to the SEMA Ignited event Friday evening. This was to be from about 5 pm until late that night, and every OUSCI entry was asked to be there with their car. This was one of the two parts of the "Road Rally", and counted for 5 of that 25 points towards the OUSCI champion, so we pretty much had to go. SEMA Ignited is open to the public (unlike the SEMA show itself), and showcases hundreds of the cars displayed at SEMA as well as many of the displays/trailers from a lot of the same sponsors that would be at OUSCI that weekend.

                      By Friday morning we had shop manager (and photographer) Brad on site, Paul Costas was here for another trade show starting Sunday, plus Amy and I, Jason, Jon and Olof. We all met up in Optima Alley for the driver's meeting before the Road Rally and got ready for the parade and SEMA Ignited. We had one checkpoint to meet up in the alley next to the Central Hall, then on to the SEMA Ignited parking, then we had to go to a restaurant to check in by a certain time to get our 5 points towards OUSCI.

                      The fuel level was pretty low when we loaded the car on the trailer back in Dallas a week earlier, and after driving around town a bit Monday, one parade to the Ford area, moving it to Optima Alley, and the Ignited parade it was getting dangerously close to running out of fuel. We rolled out and I held my breath hoping that the parade would run smoothly and without too much traffic.

                      Ha! When has a parade ever run smoothly?? It was bumper to bumper traffic that took 90 minutes to traverse about 4 miles. The indicated fuel range that started at "13 miles to empty" ended up at "zero" by the time we made it through the parade and into the SEMA Ignited parking area. There were a few cars that did run out of fuel, and a couple of other breakdowns along the way, including this famous rear end collision of a Liberty Walk Ferrari 458. Oops!

                      Once we were in the right parking area we were lined up two wide and bumper to bumper, almost all 100 OUSCI entries grouped together. Some cars parked on the show floor took a little longer to get there, but most made it. We got there right at dusk and night fell quickly - and our parking area got REALLY dark. We came back after dinner and there were portable lights set-up, which made car viewing a lot easier.

                      We had the Optima Umbrella Girls on hand at both ends of the parade, and they were handing out free OUSCI event T-shirts and trying to get spectators to show up Saturday and Sunday. A lot of the OUSCI competitors helped out and I ended up handing out 3 boxes worth of shirts and talking to people at SEMA Ignited for an hour or two. You know what makes you really popular? Even more popular than beautiful, leggy umbrella girls? FREE T-SHIRTS!

                      Eventually I went and checked in at the Tilted Kilt (a popular "Breastaurant") and met up with some of the USCA competitors I knew personally or from forums/online, and we all had a bite to eat. Optima had some free drinks for us, and while we ate they had one of the USCA qualifier event TV shows playing on the bar's screens with the volume cranked to 11. After we ate and drank a bit I went back out to SEMA Ignited for a while longer, but by 9:30 I was bushed - and I needed to be at the track at 6:30 am the next morning (to walk the autocross and speed stop courses!). Jon and Olof were nice enough to stick around until 10 pm and when they could leave they took the Mustang to a gas station a block away to fuel up with the 91 octane Premium they have locally (we brought plenty of 93 octane from Texas, but it was in the trailer), enough to make it to the track (25 miles away) the next morning. So I walked across the street to our hotel (convenient!) and got some sleep...


                      I'm jumping ahead to the Saturday night portion of the Road Rally from OUSCI (from LVMS to Shelby museum, all the way down the Vegas Strip - and worth another 20 points), but this is such a cool pic I had to share it here.

                      One of my all-time favorite automotive websites for beautiful pictures is Speedhunters, and one of their photographers shot a picture of our car cruising down the Vegas Strip. The photographer was riding in a Liberty Walk wide-bodied 911 Turbo, but he was hanging out for 4 city blocks trying to get a picture of our Mustang. We stopped at a light and he was giving compliments on our car. From a Speedhunters photographer. Riding in an epic 911. Craziness!

                      Eagles Canyon Toy Run 2014 -Saturday Dec 6, 2014

                      I drove 5 different cars at the 2012 ECR Toy Run, including 3 of my own cars! All for FIFTY BUCKS!

                      Last bit here, then I am wrapping it up until the next segment, where I will talk about the OUSCI event itself. This Saturday here in Dallas we're going to take our red 2011 GT out to Eagles Canyon Raceway to the annual "Toy Run" event, December 6th. This is an annual event where the track massively discounts entries for a one-day track event... $50 + an unwrapped $10 toy + two canned goods is all it costs to run 4-5 sessions on this 2.5 mile road course.

                      Event Details:

                      The low price brings out lots of folks, but its always a good time. The weather can be iffy in December, but the forecast this time looks to be 63 degrees and clear. If you are in the Dallas/Ft.Worth area, or even within a couple of hours away, you should come check out this track. Never done an HPDE before? No worries - they will have instructors. Don't have track tires? No worries - there are no times taken, this is just for FUN and to bring in gifts and food for needy children in the area. The owner of ECR takes a hit, but it brings in so much charity and goodwill everyone feels good at the end of the day. And you get to race all day for $50!

                      This event brings in the most eclectic mix of street and race cars, noobies and veterans alike. Its a super low cost way to check out HPDE for the first time or a cheap way to get some testing done, too. This is an event where we've corrupted a lot of local SCCA autocrossers and introduced them to the high speed thrills of road courses. Our 2011 Mustang will be there just to be shown off, because it is For Sale and all.

                      Come join us! Spread the word!

                      What's Next?

                      The wrap up of this 3-part mega series of posts will be in my next post. This is where I will cover the two hectic days (and nights) of the OUSCI 2014 event itself, and explain what went wrong with our entry (21st place, arg!) and some things that the newly expanded event (100 cars!) didn't get exactly perfect. All in all it was worth it, now that I look back on it, but it was a bit stressful learning the ropes at our first big Optima Shootout. If you have never done OUSCI and want to, read my next post so you can learn what rules really matter and which ones apparently don't, what prep you should do and the mods that won't help. I will also talk about our next race car and what we plan on doing with it...

                      Until next time,
                      Last edited by Fair!; 12-03-2014, 12:24 PM.
                      Terry Fair -
                      2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                      EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                      • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

                        Project Update for January 15th, 2014: This was supposed to be part 3 of 3 of our "lead up" + SEMA2014 + OUSCI coverage. This segment was going to be devoted to our coverage and personal impressions of the 2014 Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI) event. I took audio notes each day there and I've been transcribing that and trying to write this for over 6 weeks, and its complete. It is huge, it is in depth, but its brutal and extremely negative. if I posted this it would only make a small percentage of entrants and the organizers very angry, so I'm not - I can't see what good will come of it. Long story short: OUSCI was very frustrating to our entire group that went, which were all racers.

                        I wrote 60,000 words about this event - that I will likely never publish

                        I've written bad reviews of events in the past: The 2012 ASCS event which was a joke. The dangerous way the track event for TX2K events was run. I've posted about or trials with pig headed rules makers in SCCA. Some of you get something from this, but mostly it makes me hated by more and more people. In the end, its bad for our business, and there are 7 other people that rely on Vorshlag for their income. Nobody wants to hear the truth (not my "no holds barred" version of it).

                        Instead this will be a short S197 project update, where I will show some newly finished work on our 2011 GT, which is still for sale (and I've lowered the price) with a new listing on eBay. At the end of this I will cover what we are racing in 2015, which is an all new race car build that we started working on only 8 days before it's first outing. All happy news, all the time.

                        Vorshlag TT3 Mustang : New Updates and Lower Price

                        This image is one of my favorite views of this car, and in original resolution is my current desktop background

                        Right before SEMA/OUSCI we made a lot of changes to our 2011 Mustang, most of which were cosmetic but they also included some real aero updates - like the rear new wing uprights and end plates shown in the image above. Normally we would have reinforced the trunk lid to take all of these new, bigger loads - but we ran out of time and went with it "unsupported" for the SEMA show and OUSCI. This is what we did on a similar AJ Hartman carbon fiber wing element we made uprights for on Jamie Beck's ST3 race car, shown below.

                        A couple of weeks after we got back from OUSCI in November I asked Ryan to duplicate the trunk reinforcements he made for Jamie's ST3 Mustang - to put on our car. He started with some aluminum plate reinforcements that bolt to the bottom side of the trunk (including some through-holes to the mounting uprights) attached with stainless M6 button head bolts, as shown below.

                        The round aluminum tube design used was the same as the previous versions on Jamie's car. Ryan added riv-nuts to the bottom side flat edge of the tube structures, then machined custom Delrin bushings on the lathe and bolted them to the flats at the base of the trunk tubes.

                        These hard bushings press the trunk lid down onto a strong, sheet metal structure of the back of the trunk surround. This way the aero loads push the trunk down, with loads passing through these aluminum tube reinforcements, that then pass to the chassis structure. It seems unusual, and on a pure race car the wing uprights often bolt through slotted holes in the trunk and down to the frame, but we've used this design in the past and it works.

                        The finished trunk reinforcements make the entire trunk / wing struture more rigid and it closes more easily now, too. We're going to leave the tubular reinforcements in raw silver on this car. Looks good and goes well with the red and black on the car for the trifecta of "Vorshlag colors" (red, black, silver)

                        These pre- and post-SEMA updates took some time and a bit of cash. Replicating these front flares and fresh paint would have been about $6000 to the normal guy. The custom wing uprights, larger end plates, and trunk reinforcement work would cost another $2000. With all of that included we felt like it justified the $48K price we were asking for the car. Well, the car hasn't sold so we're going to eat a lot the costs of these updates and lower the price to $44,500.

                        New eBay ad with buy it now price of $44,500:

                        The purchase still comes with the buyer's choice of tires and wheels (we have two matching sets of Forgestar 18x12" wheels, one with a fresh set of 335mm BFG Rivals and the other with fresh 335/345mm Hoosier A6 tires), and of course Vorshlag set-up and parts support to the buyer. If you know of anyone that's looking for a unique, fast, well sorted, and beautiful Mustang like this, please send them our way. If this for sale page is still up, then the car is still for sale. We've stopped racing the car, it is now being stored in my home shop, but its ready to go for the 2015 racing season. If interested, call Vorshlag and ask for Terry... Thanks!

                        What's Next?

                        As much as I'd like to take the 2011 Mustang back to the USCA event in Texas in March, they have banned all of the things that made it fast. We've also proven all of the theories and parts we wanted to test on this chassis in NASA TT3 competition, so that car is in storage awaiting its sale. Again, check the For Sale page here or the eBay auction through Feb 4th. We kept this test mule for over 4 years, which is twice as long as we tend to keep any chassis here at Vorshlag.

                        Having this car for sale and no new race car ready for the 2015 NASA racing season left us with few options for this year. I was going to sit on the sidelines and watch until after the 2011 Mustang sells, then we could finally finish our LSx swap E46 BMW build that is started. That car is just at the point where it needs a five figure cash infusion, to pay for the motor, transmission, wheels and shocks, so its "on hold" until the Mustang sells.

                        In the last week of December a friend of mine made a change in his race car plans. He wanted to get out from under a C4 Corvette track build we had been brainstorming for the past 3 years and move to a newer chassis, with fewer hassles. Can't blame him but I also couldn't let him just part it out and get rid of it. He had already done so much work to this car that it would be a shame to let it go in pieces, and, it was the exact right year and model for where it was classed.

                        So I bought this 1992 Corvette LT1 ZF6 car from him for a GOOD price and we put together a very low buck project plan with a very compressed time frame race prep. We had about 3 weeks to take it from a gutted interior car with no safety gear to a safe, reliable race car that could be competitive in a NASA TT class. We could have gone nuts with a TTB build but decided to keep it simple and build it for TTC, which is the base class for 1992-96 LT1 Corvettes. This project was initially announced on the forums as a "mystery chassis" and we had some hilarious guesses about what we were building, after giving about a dozen clues.

                        Today, as I write this post the Corvette has a custom roll bar, race seat, harnesses anchored, ballast box built, Hoosiers mounted, brakes upgraded, shocks replaced, it has lost 400 pounds, 150 pounds of ballast has gone back in (on the floor in the middle of the car), the car is at the tuner's geting dyno'd and some new livery decals are being cut. This was all done in a WEEK AND A HALF, 8 days at the shop, and our crew knocked it out of the park. We should just barely make the deadline for this weekend's NASA race at MSR-Houston, Jan 17-18th. We will continue to refine and tweak this project all season. Our class this weekend has a good variety (Mini Cooper S, Mazda RX8, and this 24 year old Corvette!) so I've got my fingers crossed that we can pull out a win and hopefully start the beginning of a string of new TTC track records. At the end of the season this car will (hopefully) be sold and help fund and finish our nasty TT1 V8 BMW monster for 2016. If a body in white S550 arrives soon enough that might change our plans, too.

                        Why a 24 year old Corvette, you ask? Well to start with its already 800 pounds lighter than the S197, when both are without ballast. It has a far superior OEM suspension set-up (forged aluminum A-arms, aluminum IRS), nearly perfect weight distribution (still 51%F/49%R with all of this weight removed), excellent brakes/ABS, and much less drag. We're racing it in a "lower" class and it won't put down the lap times the TT3 Mustang did, but its something new, something different, and we cannot afford to keep racing the same car year after year. Its bad for business.

                        We have torn this car apart, modeled all of the suspension bits, and measured for 18x11" wheels at both ends (see above right)

                        We also have been working on the new S550 chassis in earnest, measuring and modeling parts to help build new camber plates, shocks and wheels. We have already sold a bunch of 10" and 11" wheels for this chassis and the first set of prototype MCS TT2 shocks are due here in a few weeks and will go on the Dusold Designs 2015 Mustang shown above, who is helping us test these suspension goodies and wheel sizes. Look for more updates in our S550 thread located here.

                        Vorshlag is still working on a lot of S197 and Coyote powered cars, of course. With our new CNC machine room we have the ability to make more new products for this chassis, and there are many on the schedule already. I had planned on showing some new custom fabricated bits we have made recently for some customer S197s, but this post got out of control, so that will happen next time.

                        And don't worry - this "project build thread" will not go away. If we get another S197 chassis for a Vorshlag build, or do anything new to any S197, it will be featured here. Until then...

                        Terry Fair -
                        2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                        EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                        • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

                          Project Update for March 5, 2015: We have been crazy busy here at Vorshlag for the past month and I'm way behind in all of my forum build thread updates, including this S197 thread. Spent last weekend working on this update a little, between working on other stuff I'm behind on. It has been over a month since my last S197 update here, and it was a pretty short and sour post. We have worked on a number of S197s in the shop since then, plus we have some events lined up for our 2011 GT in March, so here goes.

                          Mustang Didn't Sell (Again) + Mustang "Treason"?

                          The eBay auction for our 2011 GT from last month had a lot of traffic (6600 views) and shout-outs from two websites for "best eBay ad of the week" kind of things, but ultimately the auction ended without a winner. So I decided to keep the car and had planned another class to race it in... then I got my hopes up again when another buyer called all hot and bothered, arranged to come look at it a couple of weeks ago. Then.... *poof*, he disappeared.

                          So I guess we will start racing it again, while keeping it for sale. Racing in NASA TT3 is what it was made for. In 2015 both the USCA and SCCA CAM classes banned virtually all aero (more on that below), so it cannot compete in those "unlimited" series without changes now. But I suspect it could still tear up TT3 class - so it will see some NASA events again this year.

                          The number of cars I currently own (above) now borders on ridiculous, so the Mustang won't be the primary race car - but it will get raced. Amy is going to run it at upcoming local Goodguys (AAS), USCA (GT) and SCCA (CP) events, and we're both driving it at COTA this weekend, with a few changes (mainly just removing the wing).

                          Look for this car at the 2nd USCA round for 2015 - with Amy driving!

                          Its a shame that we let it sit out of NASA events since June of last year, but we thought it was sold back then. And while I'm not going to try to preserve some perfect paint job, we will get a clear film paint protectant added to key areas. This Mustang has been a LOT of fun to build and race, but selling it has been a real head scratcher (it is still listed for sale here). I'm just not willing to give it away for pennies on the dollar.

                          Two Corvette Builds + One BMW Build

                          Since we thought the Mustang was sold, we have moved onto other builds. I have apparently irked some die-hard Mustang folks after we built the C4 Corvette in January (above), but the truth is I'm just not car model or brand loyal, and never really have been. I have never kept a car as long as this Mustang before, and my need to create an all new car(s) has been growing. Vorshlag covers a lot of car markets and just as some folks don't like that we're building non-Mustangs, others are tired of seeing just Mustangs, too. Just like with our V8 swap kits - we will use whatever brand parts fit the need: the 1999 Miata LS1 kit we're building has a Mazda chassis, GM and Ford uprights and brakes, a GM V8, a Mexican built Tremec T56 Magnum, and a Ford IRS differential. Blind brand loyalty only ensures higher costs or a very limited selection of choices.

                          As I noted in my last post, we already selected another TT car to race this season - you can read more about Project #DANGERZONE here, but in short: its a base model 1992 Corvette 6-spd we hastily built, and I talked a decent amount of trash before its race debut. Luckily we won both days on its first race weekend, reset the TTC track record at MSR-Houston by 7 seconds, and have more left to develop (we've barely scratched the surface). Its probably going to be re-classed next year, though...

                          Building the cage on the 1992 Corvette this week required cutting the roof off - temporarily

                          For as stock as the C4 was at the January NASA event, it was still very fun to drive. We've been working on it again this past couple of weeks, with Ryan finishing the cage (above) and doing some other tweaks in time for the next NASA event at MSR-Cresson March 14-15. And to make my "Mustang treason" even worse - we're preparing Mark Council's track-oriented C5 Corvette (below) and I'm racing it at the Texas round of USCA events at the end of March. Like they say - if you can't beat em, join em!

                          Mark's 2002 Corvette is has a lot of upgrades - and we're taking it a step further this month

                          Last but not least, we have a brand new Vorshlag project that just kicked off this past weekend -our "Team Vorshlag" endurance BMW build, Project VorshlaggenWagen. This '99 E46 328i is going to be a race car that everyone that works at Vorshlag builds, drives and crews. We'll be covering this build on various forums (listed at this link) and running it in NASA GTS2, WRL GP2, and some other wheel to wheel classes and series.

                          Since these pictures were taken we have removed 435 pounds from this car - in two hours (much of the interior)

                          Yes, We are Running Optima Series Again + 2015 USCA Rules Changes

                          So I've had some time to cool off after our rather frustrating experience at the big Optima event in Vegas last November. Sure, there were some big mistakes made but they have gone to great lengths to fix them. The biggest issue I had were timing and scoring problems, but the report for many racers that ran the first 2015 USCA event at Thunderhill was very, very good. Timers worked flawlessly, they posted times after every run, and had printed times posted at the end of each day. They even had the official, final results posted online within minutes of the trophy presentation. Huge, huge improvements here and in other aspects.

                          I've also spoken with several folks from USCA and Optima about the Vegas issues and they took our feedback well, even when I was being an ass. They obviously have infinite patience to take my kind of feedback, heh. So I'm going to give them another shot by entering the March USCA/Optima event here in Texas. And to help them gain some exposure for the Optima series in front of a bunch of race fans, I'm going to drive our Mustang at COTA this weekend during the Pirelli World Challenge race weekend, taking VIPs around for laps on the F1 circuit between race sessions. We leave today (Thursday March 5th) for Austin and the guys are finishing the prep on the red Mustang now - should be fun!

                          After posting the big "roll call" picture above, of the nearly 100 entrants from the 2014 Optima Ultimate Street Car Challenge to Facebook - asking for folks to think about signing up for the Texas event, a big comment sh!tstorm started. It was only about 3 folks that got really worked up about the series rules, car requirements, and sometimes the exclusion of their personal race cars. And yes, this series is fairly unlimited but some aspects are very tightly controlled - like the tires, aero, and such.

                          As many of you know, defining what a "street car" is a very tricky proposition. The 2015 USCA rules changes help better define that and to exclude some radical race cars and/or aero buggies like our Mustang. And I get that. I was part of a group that created a regional autocross class in 1990 for "street tire" street driven cars and we had a total of 5 rules. It was a simple class idea that was nearly all-inclusive to all street cars, and yet fairly unlimited. When compared against the messy set of SCCA Solo classes at the time it quickly became THE most popular class in our region and often had 1/5th or more of the autocross entrants in this one class (and 25 years later - it still is the most popular class at that autocross club). Of course it got out of hand and we had to MAKE MORE RULES in upcoming years to keep purpose-built race cars from dominating.

                          Left: No longer USCA legal. Right: Frumpy butt version is totally legal - even with the splitter

                          That's what happens to ALL series that start with a simple set of rules - if they get popular, racers dream up wacky things to make an advantage, there is some general push back from the majority, and the rule book grows. It happened in NASA, it happened in ChumpCar, it happened in WRL, and it happened in the GRM Challenge. The USCA and Optima have done that as well, with the banning of tube framed kit cars a few years back (which I applauded) and with some additional rules updates in 2015 to reduce the "Raciness" of some entrants. My own Mustang had its "wings clipped" this year, and I was none too happy with that change - but I understand why it needed to happen, and in the long run I think it will be better for the series. Unless you write some very tight rules around aero (meaning: pages of rules), racers will find a way to sneak in ALL SORTS of downforce enhancing tricks.

                          The USCA series keeps almost everything else in check with the 200 treadwear rule - which was the same as our number one rule in our 1990 class called Super Street Modified. You can't USE a lot of horsepower without grippy tires OR without big downforce. Now they have both under control so it becomes a little more of a drivers series (well, other than AWD - which is SUPER emphasized in their standing start events like Speed Stop and Autocross, but don't get me started on that).

                          As for our 2011 Mustang GT, once the rear wing is removed it really does look like more of a street car - which it still is. It has a full interior, Air Con, sat nav, stereo, 8 airbags, and all of the factory interior panels and carpet. Sure, we're giving up some weight to more purpose built Optima cars, but that's OK. Sure, some folks with dedicated W2W race cars sometimes "drive on them the street", too, but there are limits. And some folks show up with gutted interiors to USCA events - and they get punished in the "scored" design and engineering segment. There are points automatically deducted for missing side windows, missing carpet, missing radio, etc. And they say they are not going to let some of the troll-ish street car aspects slide like last year - such as plugging a jam box into the dash and calling it "your radio" or sticking some floor mats in and calling it your "carpeted interior".

                          Anyway, if you get a chance check the schedule for USCA this year and if there's an event near you, enter and drive. If you are in Texas, sign up for the Texas Motor Speedway event. This is a somewhat unusual road course venue for some locals around here (not our traditional" road course tracks like MSR-C or ECR) but it is also the only place in Dallas/Ft. Worth that can house an event with this many competitions. In 2014 the autocross and the speed stop events ran simultaneously on Saturday, and the road course was held on Sunday. There's also a ChumpCar race at almost every stop on the USCA calendar during the same weekend. Makes for a lot of fun racing to watch and enter!

                          I said it last year and I'll say it again - the USCA qualifier events are the best bang per buck in motorsports, in my view. Two days of racing, 5 categories, lots of swag, only $250 for first timers, and almost anything that is street driven is eligible. OK, so how to save: There are some DISCOUNT CODES to use. Enter "FIRST" in the order notes to get a 50% refund on your entry fee, for first time USCA entrants. It takes a few days but it will be refunded. Next, if you are coming to the Texas event, please enter VORSHLAG in the order notes for a 20% price reduction (does not add to the 50% off tho). This applies to other USCA events as well - with 3 or more people signing up using the same shop name in the order notes, the 20% kicks in and applies. Again, its a refund after you enter.

                          We can park in the NASCAR garages for the TMS event, which is super convenient (climate controlled, electricity, well lit, etc). The Optima folks are super friendly and really try to make sure everyone is having a good time. Again, I'll be racing Mark's 2002 C5 Corvette and Amy racing will be in our 2011 Mustang with these folks at TMS in March. We have about 10 customers and friends signing up as well. Should be fun - come join us! And if you are at the World Challenge race at COTA this weekend, look for our red Mustang motoring around with OPTIMA decals all down the side. Gotta help spread the word.

                          continued below
                          Last edited by Fair!; 04-19-2015, 02:29 PM.
                          Terry Fair -
                          2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                          EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                          • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

                            continued from above

                            Before I wrap up this post I wanted to share some other S197 work we're doing in this thread, other than just our red Mustang. While I don't like our company being branded as a "Mustang Shop", we do have a number of these cars come through our doors for race prep and suspension upgrades, so screw the labels. This time I'm going to feature two customers who's cars we have worked on in our race prep shop. Lots of pictures below. But first, check out my latest "This Week at Vorshlag" video below to see some of these S197s as well as some other stuff we're working on at Vorshlag.

                            VIDEO: This Week at Vorshlag Feb 25, 2015

                            The past 3 months have been a bit crazy with our shop move, building out the new shop space, adding CNC machines, and learning to use those. We've also worked on a number of cool cars, some of which can be seen in the 8 minute video above. I haven't done one of these "This Week At Vorshlag" videos since last September, but with the construction wrapped up and CNC parts finally flowing, I took a few hours to make this video.

                            Other Cool S197 Work

                            If you watched that video above, one of the recent S197s upgraded here is James Meeker's 2014 Roush Stage 3 Mustang. This car already had an Ford Aluminunator (forged internal) 5.0L crate motor and big supercharger, but after he got the HPDE bug he found Vorshlag last year and we have done a lot of upgrades to it beyond what Roush installs.

                            James both daily drives and tracks this car all over Texas. His first "want" was more grip, so one of the first things we did to it was a wheel/tire upgrade + our Bilstein StreetPro suspension. The 18x11" Forgestar CF5 wheels are wrapped in the "big" 295/35/18 BFG Rivals, and they fit well under stock fenders.

                            The brakes have been upgraded to slow this big car down, with our GT500 14" rear rotor upgrade, Carbotech pads at both ends, our 4" oval ducted front backing plates, and custom 4" front inlets hidden behind the Roush lower grill.

                            It is explained better in the video above, but basically we made something like our 3" dia front inlets ducts for the '13-14 GT/GT500, but customized them for the Roush grill as well as to be 4" in diameter.

                            It is a tricky routing on this car, which has an intercooler, radiator and pump in the way as well as routing of oil lines for the massive oil cooler we added.The windshield washer bottle also makes routing of these big 4" brake hoses tricky, but it works and brake temps dropped dramatically.

                            Next, as with most Mustang owners, he wanted more power. While its the last thing this car needed, I really can't blame him. Horsepower is addictive. As usual, the header install isn't fun but it was knocked out in a day and the ARH catted X-pipe was tied into the OEM center section and the Roush rear exhaust. It was loud before but now IT WAS LOUD!

                            A supercharged engine will always run hotter than the NA versions on track, but we've done a great deal to keep heat in check - and we're still improving it. First up, we had the guys at Trust Street tune the motor after we added the headers to be "road course safe", avoiding any lean conditions at all times.

                            Next, we ditched the Boss302/Track Pack "oil heater" set-up and added a massive Setrab air-to-oil cooler to make a stack of heat exchangers four thick (engine radiator + intercooler + air con condenser + oil cooler), and that helped quite a bit. After his next track day he is coming back for the Mishimoto radiator upgrade as well as a Seibon carbon hood which is vented - and we will duct and vent further. I'll show that in another post.

                            It wasn't long before James decided to embrace track days and he outgrew the Bilsteins and lowering springs, so he took the plunge this winter to go to MCS RR2 double adjustables with remotes. We kept the spring rates on the soft side since he still drives it on the street and to track events across Texas, and the ride is surprisingly good. The remote reservoirs are all mounted on custom brackets we fabbed up and have cushioned clamps holding them down, with the rears passing through 2-piece "Seals-It" grommets for a weather tight trunk.

                            We also added Whiteline "everything" during the MCS install, with their Watts Link kit, LCAs, LCA brackets, and swaybars + end links at both ends. This set-up kept the Vorshlag camber plates from the StreetPro suspension, which has since gone onto his son's 2014 GT, and now we have the suspension pretty well sorted.

                            I showed pictures of the custom front splitter we built for this car in my last update. It's a stout, 6061-T6 aluminum plate unit like on my own car, but this time made to fit up against the Roush lower valance or "air dam" section. It was all hand built - carefully laid out on a template then transferred to aluminum and fitted to the car. No fancy high tech CNC anything here - just skill, time and a steady hand.

                            The black plastic Roush lower valance bit is flat on the bottom (necessary for a splitter) but unlike the '13-14 Boss302 lower valance, this one is fairly affordable and a bit longer front to back. We'll start using this Roush lower valance on '13-14 GTs that need a splitter from now on.

                            The bracket for splitter struts is hidden behind the Roush lower grill; it was tricky to make but required no big holes in painted bodywork (unlike my car). Very tidy.

                            Tow hooks are a good idea for any track car, but the bolt-on kits I've seen offered for the Mustangs are a bit kludgey and heavy. Likewise, the Ford Racing weld-in kits are a bit simple and require cutting holes in the painted bodywork to mount them. We've done several custom front and rear tow hooks on S197s and managed to make them work without cutting holes in painted bumper covers. We place them so they mount right to the bumper structure. In the rear we can just drill a hole in the black plastic rear lower valance piece (replaceable) to have it pass through the body. Likewise on the front, the tow hook mount is cantilevered off the front bumper and passes through the lower grill.

                            Other safety aspects include the addition of a roll bar and harnesses. For the 4-point roll bar kit we always go to Maximum Motorsports, who makes the best kit for an S197 by far. These kits come in pieces and have to be fitted and tack welded together in the car, then removed and fully welded. We always order them with the optional diagonal and harness bars. We removed James' rear seats and installed the Laguna Seca X-brace and seat delete kit at the same time, which we had bead blasted and all powder coated the same metallic silver as the body.

                            Schroth 3" cam-lock 6-point harnesses round out the safety gear. We have the lower anti-sub belts custom made to work with the factory Recaro seats (which don't have openings in the seat bottom) and it works like a champ. We made special brackets to add anchors for the lap belts and anti-sub belts also.

                            The custom exhaust we built was a good bit of fab work and I could devote a whole post to that, but here are the highlights.

                            If ever there was a Mustang that needed dual exhaust, it was this car! It was already making 600 whp with the 1-7/8" ARH long tubes and the blower, but it seemed a bit choked to me and it was crazy loud. A lot of what eliminates sound on a car is the shear size and interior volume of the muffler case. The Roush mufflers are itty bitty and only a 2.5" inlet/outlet. The rearmost MagnaFlow mufflers we added are huge in comparison, which you can see above, and have a 3" inlet and outlet. They flow more exhaust while eliminating more noise.

                            We added bigger 3" resonators ahead of the axle as well, to replace the squashed OEM resonators that Roush equipped this car with (the entire rest of the exhaust other than just the mufflers + tips was stock when it shipped from Roush).

                            The X-pipe had to be modified to get the most room for the 3" V-band clamps we added. After the X-pipe was tweaked and the 4 muflers mocked into place, then the 3" mandrel bends were spliced together to make the best routing for chassis and car clearance. The rear exhaust was tricky and was built with the axle tied up at "full bump", with the springs removed. We do this to ensure clearance when the rear suspension goes through its full range of travel.

                            It was a tricky bit of work but in the end it was worth it. The sound levels are MUCH lower yet the car picked up 33 whp with the new exhaust.

                            We also made a rear axle catch can system, which is plumbed from the top of the Whiteline rear cover and the "Vent" is vented outside of the trunk, through a small air filter. Keeps the fluid where you want and the smells out of your trunk.

                            Jamie's ST3 Build

                            Jamie Beck has been having a lot of fun on track in his 2013 GT that we modified last year for ST3/TT3. Recently it was in for a false floor and a digital dash install.

                            We're an AiM dealer and Ryan has installed these in race cars before. What we installed on Jamie's car was an older AiM Pixa unit that he picked up second hand. These are CAN bus driven and it wasn't all that difficult to install and wire up. It was about 3 hours for mounting, wiring and programming to get it to talk to the Ford ECM - and now any OBD/CAN channel can be displayed on the dash, with multiple programmable and selectable screens. Works like a charm and is has a built in GPS transponder so lap times and predictive timing are all in the same unit. It data logs as well.

                            The false floor was a pre-made unit that we modified to fit around the roll cage. It provides a flat floor surface above the oddly shaped stamped floor pans, with an air gap to the floor. If the floor ever gets hot from the nearby exhaust header the air gap to this false floor keeps that heat away from your feet.

                            What's Next?
                            • March 6-7 - Lapping rides at COTA. Running the '11 Mustang (Terry and Amy both driving)
                            • March 14-15 - NASA @ MSR-Cresson. Running both the '92 Corvette in TTC + '11 Mustang in TT3
                            • March 22 - Goodguys AAS at TMS (200 treadwear) Running both the '02 Corvette (me) and '11 Mustang (Amy) in AAS class on Sunday
                            • March 28-29 - USCA @ TMS (200 treadwear) Running both the '02 Corvette (me) and '11 Mustang (Amy) in GTS class

                            More soon,
                            Last edited by Fair!; 03-08-2015, 06:28 PM.
                            Terry Fair -
                            2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                            EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                            • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

                              Project Update for April 23, 2015: Over 6 weeks since my last post, and while I have been too busy to post an update, we have run our TT3 Mustang at a number of events (and I drove 2 other cars as well). As I posted last time in the "What's Next?" section, we did some "VIP ride-along" laps at COTA during the Pirelli World Challenge weekend, and showed the car in the Optima booth. Then Amy and I both ran the Mustang during the NASA @ MSR-Cresson race weekend, racking up another pair of wins (I also raced our C4 Corvette). The Goodguys event was rained out, but the following weekend Amy ran it at the Optima/USCA event at TMS (while I ran a C5 Corvette). I'll try to cover as much of that here, as quickly as possible, plus some work done to make the car legal for Optima. We have also done more work on some other Mustangs to show..

                              CNC Machines Roaring at Vorshlag

                              Much of why this update is so late is due to the fact that I've been feeding metal into our new CNC machines all day every day for the past 2 months. I have a laptop out there just to check emails, but with short cycle times and 3 machines to tend to I often don't have 30 seconds free every few minutes. Its crazy, but its part of the ramp-up needed to become more self-sufficient in our CNC parts supply, at least until we add more staff to cover this.

                              Not only have we made batches of S197 Mustang camber plates we are running most of the 20 other models we make as well. And we have to make the fixtures (tooling) to make the parts. And sometimes tools to make the tools to make the parts. And there are many weeks left before I get much relief - only reason I had a break to write this quick S197 update was we ran out of material last Friday, then had an autocross school we taught at on Saturday, but was free on Sunday for the first time in weeks. Whew!

                              During this whirlwind of activity, Vorshlag engineer Jason managed to design and machine our first set of S550 camber plates in 48 hours, from start of measurements, design work, final CAD drawings, CAM programming and machine work. We had some pieces laser cut overnight and Olof fabricated some parts as well. These went on Aaron Sockwell's 2015 GT from Dusold Designs and he ran the Optima event in this car with a podium finish the next weekend.

                              These are our prototype Vorshlag camber-caster plates for the 2015 "S550" chassis

                              We also installed the first MCS coilover kit for the S550 chassis on his car that same week, which was built from Vorshlag drawings by MCS in short order. This set of TT2s and the spring rates we chose, combined with the 18x11" wheels we helped spec and the camber plates we supplied, have transformed this already quick pony into something that can seriously compete with the best of the S197 Mustangs. Good stuff.

                              The first MCS coilovers for the S550 chassis were made from our drawings, fit great, handled awesome and rode perfectly.

                              We are working with MCS to make a batch of these S550 coilovers but we still need to complete the rear spring platforms, as well as make a batch of the S550 camber plates, then design the OEM spring perch solution for those. Lots to do...

                              Other Build Thread Updates (Corvettes!?)

                              I managed to sneak in an update on our TTC prepped 1992 Corvette (#DangerZone) since my last Mustang post, which shows the prep before the recent NASA @ MSR-C event. I will have a race report from this event below, covering this TTC car and our TT3 Mustang (I drove both).

                              Lots of cage and suspension work was done to this car, which is also detailed in this March 12th "This Week at Vorshlag" video.

                              Also kicked off a new project for Mark Council's 2002 Corvette which is now being built with an eye towards NASA TT2.

                              I raced Mark's C5 with almost no updates at the Optima TMS race, which I will cover... next time. The C5 build thread can be found here and we will post links there for other forums where we will update this one as well.

                              I'm really close to doing a build thread update on the Scion FR-S LS1 swap (shown above right), as it is almost done. We have also made some major headway on the much more comprehensive and complicated Miata LS1 swap (shown above left) as well. Will update those threads soon, if I can squeeze in an hour or two next week.

                              Driving around COTA during PWC race weekend with Optima, March 6-7

                              As much as I complain about the rules, I really do like the Optima "Ultimate Street Car" shootout and the USCA qualifier series they started last year to finally allow racers to WIN their way into the big show. We've done 4 or 5 of these qualifiers over the years now, as well as the the OUSCI shootout last November. And while I had some issues with that event, they took racers' feedback and made some big changes. So when they needed some former Optima racers at their booth during a World Challenge race weekend, Amy and I said we'd be there.

                              North Texas had some FREAKY weather the day before we left to go to this PWC event, as shown above. Snow, and lots of it, in March. I've lived here off and on since 1978 and I've never seen snow here in March. Made for an interesting drive to work in the truck and trailer, but the guys got the Mustang prepped and loaded as this mostly melted off before we blasted the 5 hours down to Austin Thursday afternoon.

                              Getting to take some laps around COTA is a good draw, as were the free pit passes. And no, this wasn't a "competition event" for our Mustang, more of a car show and a few fun laps around the F1 track.

                              We did have fun there on that Friday and Saturday of the Pirelli World Challenge weekend and met a lot of new folks there who follow this build thread. We helped round up three other cars for the Optima trailer display in the PWC paddock area (thanks Tim and Costas!), after some car owners flaked out at the last minute.

                              I'm glad we went to this, as it gave us a chance to talk with more of the Optima folks, as well as meet some other great vendors like the Recaro people and others. I happened to give the head of Recaro a ride around COTA in our 2011 Mustang, on street tires with NO REAR WING, and it was a handful. Amy drove the car Friday during the lunch break and I took laps both days; on Saturday I was in our car and on Friday I borrowed a racer's 2005 Mustang for some laps.

                              I have video of both days but these were more "80% pace" fast-ish parade laps and not as entertaining as a full-tilt video I would normally share. Such a beautiful track, and I wish more groups could afford to race here, but the track rental costs are still just way too high. When/if NASA ever has a race weekend here, then I'll come back and run this in anger.

                              The lack of rear downforce (Optima asked us to take the wing off to better represent what their 2015 rules allow) was abundantly clear, and I decided then and there that we needed to make a rear spoiler for this car if we were going to run it in the Optima at the TMS event. Having the car get LOOOOOSE mid-corner at 100+ is not fun! The car was also running pretty rough when I drove it, and Amy mentioned the same thing. Would clear up at WOT but part throttle was bad. Hmm.

                              We had hundreds of folks stop by and gawk at the Mustang, and it looked good sitting still as well as blasting down the back straight at "whatever we did" (not admitting to the speeds we drove when out of eyesight of the pace car). The PWC classes were also fun to watch practice, qualify and race, especially GT3 and GT4. The 2 minute video below shows the variety and awesomeness of the big GT3 class.

                              Turn up the volume for this bridge fly-by video of the GT3 cars

                              With virtually no spectators we could go anywhere and see everything, even on the bridges. I had friends racing in TC and several racing in B-Spec, and the hot pit passes Optima provided gave us full access to everything and everywhere. The B-Spec race race was... well, strangely entertaining? These are THE slowest pro race cars I have ever witnessed but they all seemed to be having a good time.

                              Sunday's weather was predicted HARD rain all day (which it did), so the Optima folks told all 5 of the folks showing cars at their trailer area that if we wanted to bail before Sunday, they didn't mind. So we packed up Saturday evening and headed back to Dallas. The tow home was less eventful than our tow down on Thursday afternoon, thankfully.

                              We watched some great pro racing, met a lot of cool people, took some fun laps around this track, the weather was reasonably calm and cool while we were there, and the Optima folks treated us great. We had free food all weekend in the PWC hospitality tent, which was REALLY good.

                              Mustang Prep Before NASA @ MSR-C

                              The shop was so busy working on customer cars and our 1992 Corvette that the 2011 Mustang got very little attention prior to MSR-C. We didn't even decide to enter TT3 until just 5 days before the event, after some things I had seen on the Corvette, so we had to scramble a bit to get the car ready.

                              I got 99 problems and.... not having enough tire storage tires is one of them.

                              Tires were a problem. The last set of four Hoosier tires I won in 2014 got botched and we received 4 rears (345) but no fronts (335). That was long after we had "sold" the car so I didn't worry about it, but when the sale fell through (3 different times) and we had this event pop-up, we had to go for a used set of fronts and some fresh A6 rears. Fronts came from last year's April TWS event, where we had a hard weekend with 2 drivers beating on the tires. We had another a new pair of 345 A7 rears, but with nothing but worn 335s for the front, I didn't want to make that big of a grip imbalance.

                              Fresh fluids went in, including 15W50 Mobil1 oil (not 10W30 as shown!) and Motul RBF660 brake fluid

                              I almost went with scrubs out back as well, but we are going to move to A7s soon so I wanted to use up the last of the sticker A6s. This car is also a real bear to drive with no rear grip, so we went with old fronts + new A6 rears, knowing it would probably make the car understeer or "push" a little bit - which it did. Calculated risk. Pads/rotors looked good so our guys changed the oil and pushed some fresh Motul 660 through the brake system. MSR-C is easy on brakes.

                              The wing went back on, of course, and Jon made some new TT3/197 decals for the side and Hoosier decals for the fenders. Other than that, this was the same set-up we ran at Optima back last November with almost no changes other than the tires. Since we would be running Optima soon, I had them keep the 2nd set of 18x12" Forgestars mounted with the BFG Rivals mounted on that. We brought a spare front and a rear (used) Hoosier tire along in case we had one go down on us and figured we could have it changed at the track.

                              The funky engine running issues were thought to be fouled spark plugs, as we haven't really driven the car in many months other than to move it out of the shop to work during the day. A new set of Bosch Iridium spark plugs were installed and it seemed to run fine, so maybe that was all it needed? Amy cut some red vinyl sheet and placed it in front of the fender flares at all four corners, to protect the new paint. Need some clear PPF applied....

                              continued below
                              Terry Fair -
                              2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                              EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                              • Re: Vorshlag 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 - auto-x/track build

                                continued from above

                                Pretty minimal pre-race prep, considering we haven't done a NASA event in this car since last June. So with the tires we had I wasn't expecting much better lap times than last year, when I ran that 1:17.3 TT3 record lap on the first weekend ever to try the 335/345 Hoosiers. That 2014 NASA Cresson event was a hectic weekend with Traction Control troubles but the car was blisteringly fast on the new "big tire" set-up, and probably my best showing in NASA during the 2014 season. The 1.7 mile course really favors aero so we hoped the new wing mounting and "lower drag" front flares might be an improvement? How close could we get to those 2014 times on two scrub tires?

                                Could we beat the 6 other cars entered in TT3 this time? Could Amy push hard enough to win the class on her own - when she had only ever mustered as close as a 2nd before (behind me)? She is closer to me at ECR but hasn't run the 1.7 mile course at MSR-C much, and never on the 335/345 Hoosier set-up. At least we wouldn't be running the dreaded 3.1 mile course, which is nothing but a giant traffic jam.

                                March 14-15 - NASA @ MSR-Cresson. Running the '92 Corvette in TTC + '11 Mustang in TT3

                                Since we brought and I drove 2 cars for this weekend, this portion below will be shared in both the TT3 Mustang thread and the TTC Corvette thread.

                                Vorshlag Event Photo Gallery:

                                We were pretty far behind on prepping the Corvette, and we saw some issues inside the motor with the oil pan off that worried me a great deal. Luckily I had signed our team entry "Team Vorshlag" up for a double entry with two cars (paid twice). This meant that Amy and I could both drive both cars in TT that weekend. So in case she wasn't winning in TT3, I could hop in the Mustang for a session and give it a go. Or if the Corvette had problems, which I suspected it just might, I could still get some seat time in the Mustang.

                                We didn't quite get the C4 prepped by the deadline I had hoped for, but our techs only work on Vorshlag owned cars when we have time between customer cars. Since we were slammed we had to squeeze in some time, but it was neither long enough nor soon enough. Since there was no time to track test the C4 after this big round of changes, this event would be the first time running this car with a brand new cage/nets, new spring set-up/ride heights, and then some items were unfinished. There were also some potential problems uncovered when we replaced the leaking rear main seal and oil pan gaskets.

                                You can see a lot of the C4 prep in this "This Week At Vorshlag" video from March 12, 2015

                                Scoring in the bottom of some cylinders was evident. A thick coating of metallic grit was in the bottom of the oil pan, which was magnetic so that meant it was ferrous. Likely this meant we had smoked a piston ring or two (or eight). But when the oil pan and trans were buttoned up, the car ran fine and had no smoke. More importantly, ALL of the oil leaks were gone.

                                The cage work was rushed and we ended up installing the SFI padding while loading the car onto Mike M's trailer at 5:30 pm, then loaded the TT3 Mustang into our trailer, and left the shop at 6 pm - about 6 hours later than I had hoped. It had been spitting rain all day but the predictions were clear for Sat-Sunday. We knew that this weekend was going to be crowded and both Mike and we were trying to get good paddock spots. Turns out it was a record attendance for ANY event at MSR-C with 220+ entries, many of whom got there early Friday to test, so we were parked in the grass when we arrived Friday evening. This made loading/unloading more difficult and we had to watch the splitter for scrapage on the paddock road, plus hot Hoosiers always got covered in dead grass when we came in off track.

                                We got Mike's 2012 Mustang and the Corvette unloaded off his open 2 car trailer, then our Mustang unloaded from our trailer right before dark. We then reloaded the Corvette (no side windows) into our enclosed trailer, since it looked like rain might hit over night. Amy, me and Mike unhooked the two trailers and we went to dinner in Granbury at the 1890, best restaurant in town. Amy and I stayed in Granbury at the Hilton Garden Inn, 15 miles from the track but it is worth the drive - not to mention the one hotel in Cresson fills up months in advance for race weekends.

                                I'm glad we brought both cars. We got to the track early, then scrambled to get both cars ready without any crew to help (mistake). TT meeting was brief, check tire pressures and fuel levels, then I suited up and climbed into the C4 while Amy got ready in the Mustang. I went to grid and started mid-pack for the "Saturday Practice" session, which doesn't count for TT competition but the times are used to establish grid position. Scrubbed in the used R7 tires from the January event and they felt great. I got into a group with the front cars that quickly pulled away on the first hot lap, with nobody behind as far as I could see.

                                The C4 felt FAST and the handling was much improved with the new spring rate set-up, but there was a LOT OF SMOKE coming out of the exhaust. I knew it wasn't the RMS or oil pan, and it wasn't leaking oil, but definitely out of the exhaust and only when under power. I took 3/4 of this hot lap at speed and no oil was getting onto the tires so it felt fine, but I knew I'd get a black flag. I feared there was something seriously wrong inside the motor - broken piston ring or ring land? - and excessive blow-by was pumping out through the PCV system, into the intake, burning it in the combustion chamber, then sending it out the exhaust.

                                I was driving my own line but watching the mirror for the exhaust smoke and watching the corner workers for black flags, thinking "Not AGAIN!", I lifted for the last 2 corners and coasted into the pit entrance way off the pace. This was somehow still a 1:25 lap, beating the old track record by 2 seconds. Coasting. GRR!

                                Video of the C4's first "throw-away" lap - which was the fastest it ran all weekend, and 2 sec ahead of the TTC record?!

                                After the Warm-up session my half-aborted 1:25.097 lap was was 9th fastest overall in TT and I was somehow in the lead over 5 other TTC cars in class, but the next closest car was only 1/2 second back. I knew this was going to be short lived and the time wouldn't stand because it was during the "practice" session.

                                I figured we could fix the issue and make it back out later that day. After getting fuel (filled up after every session to maintain weight - even through it never got weighed), I came back to paddock and climbed out of the car (wearing the HANs was torturing my back on the way out of the cage each time). Amy pulled up, also in from the session early? She said the engine was cutting out BADLY, just like at COTA.

                                So great.... now I had two broken cars to fix, when traditionally we have had near perfect performance week after week in the past 4 years. I started to think and remembered two years ago when the Mustang ran poorly at ECR in 2013 - it was a bad Wide Band O2 sensor. The front two O2 sensors are Wide Band and help the engine tune itself as it runs. The after-catalyst O2s just make sure the cats are working and don't do anything to the performance or tune.

                                We had replaced both of these wide band O2 sensors before, but it had been 2+ years. So we changed out of racing suit and gear, started up the F350 and ran into Ft. Worth looking for parts. We rounded up a new Wide Band O2 at Ford Dealer (after trying 3 parts places), paying too much but happy to find it. Then stopped at Wal-Mart to get more Mobil1 for the C4, then at a NAPA on the way to get parts to try to make a remote breather/catch can for it as well.

                                By the time we had gotten back TT session 1 was underway, but we had work to do. Parked in the grass we drove the Mustang up on the Race Ramps and I changed the O2 sensor, which was a back breaker, but it fixed the issue completely and it has run fine ever since. Initially I had hoped the C4 smoke was maybe a weird stuck PCV issue, so we pulled it out of the system and plumbed the crankcase to a big external breather. Sure enough, short test drives on city streets showed it was smoke free. After lunch on Saturday we took both cars out again, and Amy was fine but the C4 smoke was back, and worse than ever.

                                Amy was flying away from me as I took a single lap in the C4, immediately smoking. I came through Ricochet sideways at 100 mph, with a tiny bit of oil dripping out of the breather and getting onto the right rear tire. Doesn't take much! I immediately slowed down and pulled off line, waving drivers by. The smoke stopped but I was still getting waving black flags, telling me to come in for a "look". Pretty scary, horrible lap coasting and getting out of everyone's way. Called it quits for the weekend for the Corvette, as there was no fixing it track-side (needs engine internals).

                                My temporary "breather mod" only made matters worse, so I shut it down after less than a 1/2 lap. "....MEH..."

                                Amy went out and got it done, winning the class and two tires for the day. She let me drive a couple of laps in the Mustang in the final TT session at the end of the day, but it wasn't needed, and she won TT3 all on her own Saturday, with just one session driven in anger.

                                Amy likes using the curbs, eh? I kept calling her "Curby McCurbison", but there was zero damage

                                We put the Corvette back in the trailer since it looked like it might rain again, which was difficult due to the now lowered ride height of the C4, the angle of our paddock spot and the condition of my back. Lots of wood, ramps and cursing later we got it loaded.

                                The Saturday night NASA party started at 6pm and we all had some great food and drinks while they handed out trophies, took pictures with the NASA trophy girls, and all that. We also got our 2014 Regional TT3 championship trophy, since we missed the NASA banquet a few weeks earlier due to a different March ice storm (Thanks to Al Gore!)

                                Sunday we got to the track at 7:30 am. Unloaded the C4 again to make room for people in the trailer that day (great shelter from wind and sun) and we got Amy ready for TT session 1 in the red car. We forgot to refuel after her stint so I went to grid in TT session 2 with less than 1/2 tank, making it fuel starved badly. With the downforce the car makes and speeds in Big Bend and some other corners making for lots of lateral g-loading, we have to run 3/4+ tank of fuel, minimum. I fumbled my way to a 1:19.8, fuel starving for 3 laps.

                                After I fueled up the car fully, I went out again in TT session 3 after lunch, when the conditions were a bit worse. I ran a 1:19.1 in two laps before catching traffic, but by then the front tires were DONE and it was pushing badly. These well used front tires were not good enough for two drivers both days, so I was almost 2 seconds off my 2014 pace (on sticker tires). That's rule # 1 in racing: TIRES MATTER MOST!

                                I had a 1:19.4 on day 1 and got it down to a 1:19.1 on tires beyond "end of life" on day 2, so I guess that's some progress? Amy went out in TT session 4 but the tires were all gone by then and the times were off pace. We loaded up both cars onto both trailers by 5 pm and were on the road home by 5:30, tired but happy to have won the class both days. Amy got her first legitimate TT3 win on Saturday, so she was ecstatic. I was bummed about the C4, and my "practice session" 1:25.0 time (good enough for 2nd by only 2 tenths, and it was an ABORTED lap!) was bounced since it was the lone practice session, so I ended up down in 5th place on Saturday using my "smoking, limping, black flagged lap" in TT session 2 on Saturday, bah.

                                continued below
                                Terry Fair -
                                2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                                EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev