Monthly Archives: October 2008

Season’s End

Our last race of the season is in the books, the Pueblo “Miller Time” race that closes
out the season here in RMDiv. It was an incredibly fun, if somewhat abbreviated year. Next
year promises perhaps as many as 10 of us to be regulars in CSR and DSR, it should be one
heck of a fun time. Read all about the race weekend, including video,
here.

Winter Projects

End of the season means its time for some winter projects. That said, the car doesn’t need
much done to it, so the list will hopefully be quite small:

  • Replace harnesses (they’ve expired)
  • Repairs to front diffuser and floor from the ‘off’ (see video)
  • Rebuild front shocks
  • proper setup, stiffer springs per Wayne’s rec’s
  • Finish off the seat
  • Improve ducting to oil cooler (230* temps on a cool day)

That’s about it for now, I’ll keep things updated as the winter moves along. Until then…happy
bench racing.

 

Preparation is Everything

VIDEO: Saturday Race
VIDEO: Sunday Race

Right around August 30th, Dad and I drove down to Atlanta (From Colorado), and picked up the Stohr, which left about six weeks to prepare the car. Other than the bodywork, not a lot of preparation to do – the car was in pretty darn good condition.

Everything came together with a few days to spare, including a new oil cooler and newly prepared and painted bodywork. RockySoft was kind enough to sponsor the paint
job and graphics, and the car is absolutely *stunning*.

The only slight delay was in getting the seat ready for the car. We did an initial shakedown
at the local kart track to break in the motor, and the only issue was a loose connection
to the fuel pump relay. In regards to the seat, despite some initial tension, a bit of cheapo foam was enough to secure the seat enough to drive the car.

Thursday night, we headed down to Colorado Springs to stay with Pat for the night. We made
one last-ditch attempt to add some foam to the seat Friday morning, but no dice. We packed up everything, and hit the track by about 12:00.

Friday

Friday was lots of good fun. I warmed up the car and got everything sorted out with some more foam, and the fit was good enough to go. Must offer a nod to my trusty crew chief, Angela, who helped buckle me in after I learned that it’s a lot harder to get yourself secured in the car when you can’t use your elbows!

But, the initial laps were great. No issues with the car, easy shifting, reasonable balance. The
only fixes were trying to get fit into the car a bit better, and changing the angle of my helmet a bit to get out of the wind. Either I sit a bit higher, or there is a lot more airflow off of the Stohr’s nose, but until I got myself a bit lower in the car, I felt like my head was going to lift off!

My best lap for the day was a 1:30.5, about a second quicker than I’d ever gone in the Radical. Not bad for an unknown setup, whatchamatires that came with the car, and first time out. So far, so good. Paul and I spent a few laps chasing eachother around, he in his Radical, and it tons of fun. Paul turned a new best of 1:32 trying to keep up with me, so he was stoked. Of course, we’re light years off of the 1:24 record that JR has set. I’m hoping there’s another 2 seconds in the car/driver combo, but we’ll see.

The only issues to mention were that it seemed like the car was rubbing a decent amount on the track, despite what seemed like fairly high ride heights, and that the car wasn’t handling the enormous bumps in T10 anywhere near as well as the Radical did. I suppose that’s to be expected, with nearly double the wheel rates…

In all, howerver, a very successful first outing.

Saturday

Saturday went smoothly for practice and qualifying. Fantastic weather, about 75* – far better than our near freezing temps for last year’s Miller Time race. I ran the entire practice session for fun, and to start getting better acquainted with my car. I threw the second set of whatchamatires on to see if they were any better, and they seemed about the same, I did another few mid 1:30’s. Qualifying was about the same, I did one 1:30 lap to make sure I had the pole, and came in.

As it turns out, good that I had, too, since Rob and Paul had both thrown down with 1:31 laps. Rob was loving his new Rilltech 1400cc – he was even getting wheelspin in 1st and 2nd gear at the starts…wow.

The start of the race was a good one. Me on pole, Rob outside Pole, and Paul right behind. We all knew Rob was going to murder us at the start, so I was trying to figure out ultimately how I might get back by. However, as we came around T10, Rob was *way* back for some reason.

The green flew. As it turns out, it didn’t matter even a bit how far back Rob was, he went flying by by the end of the straight. However, he didn’t quite get himself whoa’d down for T1, so I ducked inside, and Paul followed me through.

I spent the next few laps with my head down, running as quickly as I could. I gapped Paul before too long, and dialed back just a bit to click off the laps.

Everything was looking good, with about 4 laps left, and I started to come through traffic. Coming into T1, in retrospect, the front of the car felt just a tad strange. I went through 2 and 3 – left handers – with no problem. Up ahead, I saw Joe going slowly in the SR4, off line. I turned through 4 – another right hander- although barely missed Joe – felt like there was no grip on track. I assumed he’d had a motor problem and had oil down. I came up to 5
at full chat, turned in and….nothing. I’m a passenger. Straight off into the kitty litter, race over.

Verdict was a flat tire from a failed valve stem. Damn. Paul went on to win the Race, having gotten past Rob during the race at some point. He was extremely excited, to put it mildly!

After the race, we got my car back to paddock on the hook. I have to thank all the friends that helped me get the car ready – vacuuming it out, removing the bodywork to clean up, repairing the front undertray, and all sorts of other assistance. I can’t thank everybody enough.

Sunday

Since this was our last race of the year, and we had an Enduro to run the afternoon, the Wings-and-Things races had their starting order based on the finishing position from the race. Since I was the 3rd car out, although did not DNF, that meant I started 11th out of 13 cars. Pat had pulled off with overheating problems, which was to be the theme for his weekend. I didn’t figure I was going to win the race, but thought I’d have plenty of fun making my way up through the field.

The start was indeed lots of fun. I ended up behind several FE’s and FC’s. The starter threw a late green, and I nailed it, along with the FC in front of me. I actually broke the wheels loose just a bit at the start, and followed the FC through. I had to back off just a bit and figured my start was ruined, but he tucked back in after passing a car, and I was able to slingshot through. Amazingly, I turned into T1, already into third position!

I quickly attached myself to Paul’s rear wing, and kept close as possible. Lap 2 I was able to sneak down inside him in T9, and went about catching Rob. I was able to get Rob just half a lap later when he went wide in T7 – it looked like he got a bit loose putting power down.

So again, I was in a great position, thinking I was going to win this race easily. However, again around lap 12, disaster. Suddenly the brake pedal began to go soft. What the heck? that never happens in these cars!? I began to back off all of my braking points, but the pedal was down so much, even downshifting properly was getting challenging. It wasn’t long before Paul reappeared in my mirrors, and I spent 4 laps trying to hold him at bay. Finally, the combination of slippy tires and no brakes caused me to go wide at T8, and rather than
shut the door, I let stayed even on the outside of 8 to see how we’d do into T9. He managed to wiggle through, got a fantastic exit out of T10, and I wasn’t able to close up enough on the last lap to get back around.

So, 2 for 2 wins for Paul, but unbelievable fun racing him for those few laps. As for the brake pedal, I’m not sure what the cause is quite yet – will bleed the brakes for sure, but there’s some discussion that perhaps it is a wheel bearing going bad, or even something as simple as a loose wheel nut? I’ll check everything this winter and hopefully find a definitive cause. In retrospect, I think I remember the pedal also being affected on Friday or Saturday at the end of a session, but can’t be sure.

In summary for the season, what incredible racing with the group of guys that have come and joined in CSR and DSR. Between the close racing at La Junta with Joe, the opening laps with Pat last time at Pueblo, and all three days with Paul at Pueblo, what unbelievable close, fun, and clean racing it has been this year. I can’t wait for more. Thanks guys, see you next year!

 

Radical vs Stohr Differences

So a lot of folks have been asking me my impressions driving the Stohr versus the Radical,
which I drove for the past four seasons. I was surprised how similar they really felt. I’ll try to see if I can enumerate the differences I felt, and will post it here…

Differences:

  • Trail Braking – Aside from the increased high-speed grip, this is what I noticed
    most about the Stohr. The Radical did not like to be trailbraked. I suspect
    a lot of that was due to the excessive rear bias I could never work out of the car, due to the large rear calipers. The Stohr trailbrakes beautifully, perhaps also due in part
    to the 11″ longer wheelbase. T2 at Pueblo, I could turn in as I brushed the brakes, and the car would seemingly pivot around its nose. Speed there was awesome
  • Front Grip – Folks say that the Stohr tends to understeer with the tunnels
  • and the “standard” front, but I felt like the front was a bit more grippy than the Radical was. If so, I’m really looking forward to having the WF-1 style front-end some day – at higher speeds like T5 T6, it was always the front that washed out, not the rear.
  • Overall/High Speed Grip – There’s only one fast complex at Pueblo, Turns 5/6,
    and there the Stohr was way quicker. Almost flat every lap, versus hefty lifts in the Radical unless everything was *perfect*
  • Straightaways – The Radical always felt like it hit a wall at higher speeds. The
    Stohr definitely doesn’t as badly. Highest speed the Radical reported last time out was 132, and the Stohr showed 137 at least once – I haven’t downloaded the data to see the peak speed. That’s with the GSX-R versus the Radical’s busa.
  • Bumps – the Radical is MILES better at soaking up bumps than the Stohr. Some of that
    is four years worth of tinkering with the Radical’s springs and shocks, whereas the Stohr runs double the springrates, and I haven’t the foggiest where the shocks were set. I found bumps in T1 I didn’t even know existed!
  • Convenience – the larger cockpit of the Radical makes it much easier to buckle
    yourself in, and also, getting the rear deck off is an easy one-man job. Not so for the Stohr on either count.

Similarities

  • Turn-In maybe it’s just foggy memory, but I don’t feel like one car was way
    more pointy than the other. That surprised me given the difference in springrates, but perhaps the Radical’s anti-roll bars are at work here.
  • Ease of Maintenance – I reserve the right to change my opinion, but the Stohr doesn’t seem any more difficult to live with than the Radical, once the bodywork is off. Nothing seems confusing or terribly hard to get to, although I’m not looking forward to ever doing anything with the fuel cell. The parts generally seem to be much higher quality, although I’m sure that will be reflected in their expense when I have to replace them. But, the convenience of pulling the body off, and sitting on my favorite bucket to service the car remains, which I enjoy.

 

Months of Updates

It’s been an odd few months. After are Pueblo race, we’ve had a slew of race cancellations.

The Hastings race, to be held the week after Pueblo, was cancelled due to low entry count, as was the race at Miller Motorsports Park a few weeks after that.

Pikes Peak International raceway, having recently been reopened, was evaluated for running our September event, but had some safety issues in need of addressing. La Junta’s re-laid asphalt was reevaluated, but also deemed unfit for racing.

So, I find myself not having missed a single race, despite making some repairs to the Radical, and ultimately selling it to Mark Baer at SCR Performance.

Race Log Update

As mentioned, we’ve had only one race in this entire 3 month period, which was our
Pueblo July Regional.

Of particular note is some truly fun video of the first few laps of the race behind Pat, and some oil-trace pictures courtesy of Pat’s engine kerblammo.

Enjoy!

Final Updates

Pueblo’s race exposed a few problems with the Radical, which I’ve rectified before sending the car off to Mark.

The first is the fuel starvation problem that was manifesting itself. Since I had to replace the fuel cell anyway due to the bulkhead failure, I bought a new cell from Fuel Safe. They were kind enough to do it for me at their cost, despite the failure clearly being my fault. They really turned over a new leaf in terms of customer service, and the help and responsiveness I got from Gary at Fuel Safe was tremendous. Gary, many thanks, once again!

As an amusing aside, they may use my car in their 2009 catalog, which would be really fun to see. Here’s hoping.

At any rate, the new cell I had them build with proper return lines, and without a collector. Instead, I installed a fuel pot from Rilltech. A factory Suzuki pump lives in this pot,
and a small scavenge pump keeps the pot full, and fuel circulating, negating the need for an in-tank collector.

Mark will shake this down with the Radical next time it’s out, but I do not anticipate any recurring problems.

Moving On

As with the Corvette, and the Eclipse before it, I’m moving on to a different race car. This time, it’s to a 2002 Stohr DSR out of Atlanta.

It’s been almost exactly four years with the Radical, and a great four years it’s been! Running solo, a season of the SCCA’s first time trials, a track record at Hastings, the Rookie of the Year club Racing award, and so on. It will be hard for the Stohr to see me through so many milestones, but I bet it sure will be fun!

I may still be updating here from time to time, as the Radical is staying local, so we’ll see how the old girl does.

As for the Stohr, I shall continue my development log just as I have before…

Onward!

all_packed_up title2