Monthly Archives: March 2009

Winter Madness

It’s nearly upon us – the 2009 racing season, and the first events at High Plains Raceway. There’s a buzz around here for the first event that I don’t remember from years past – everybody is really excited, and very nervous, at how things are going to go. I can’t wait for the first laps there…and I’ll have video here very soon.

This Tuesday I’ll be at HPR running a test day with Mike Pettiford. Paul Leonard is going to come down in his Radical, so we’ll play around a bit and shake the rust off a bit after such a long winter. For my own part, I am very excited to see how the car feels with all the details sorted out. What details, you say? Read on:

Bead Seat

Since my first attempt at seat-making didn’t go so well, I had to give it a second shot. This ime, it was with a “Creafoam Bead Seat Kit” by Bald Spot Sports, available from Pegasus. I got the “Medium” size, and it was about perfect. I spent a lot of time asking around on tips for how to do it, and I really have to credit Dean Turnbaugh and Pete Fowler for their help. Especially Dean for answering my questions on how to do it.

The instructions that come with the kit are quite good, but here are some additional tips from Pete and Dean:

  • Beforehand: The directions say otherwise, but IMO, this requires three people, including
    the driver.
  • Beforehand: Really spend the time to mask off the cockpit with tape and cardboard. This helped me immensely
    in fitting the seat well, and not having it “hang up” on things the first time we tried to remove it.
  • Beforehand: Put a pair of rachet or tie-down straps in the cockpit of the car. You can use these later to help pull up on the seat as you try to figure out how to remove it.
  • Beforehand: Also, Put a bedsheet above the straps, as again, this gives you some leverage to move the seat around after it’s cured.
  • After you get out (before the seat is 100% cured): Take as much time as you can to remove wrinkles/folds in the bag. This makes your life easier later when you cut (and optionally sand etc).

At this point, the seat is cut, and partially covered with tape. To remove the Seat, I made a crescent shaped cut from right-of-centerline, arcing down towards my right elbow. This this bit removed, the seat pulls out quite nicely, even with the harness bar in place. It fits very tightly, and is very comfortable. I am extremely encouraged for how this will help my comfort in the car, and therefore speed.

I’ll shake down and race the first race without the seat totally covered – it’s just covered with a layer of gaffer’s tape right now – and then put the OMP seat fabric from Pegasus on it during the break between races. Some in-progress pictures are here:

IMI Shakedown

I took the car out to IMI before leaving for Hawaii for a bit of shakedown. It was fairly undramatic. The ride heights I had set in the shop were too low, so I raised the car 2 turns (~1/8″) and that prevented further rubbing. I found a small water leak at the water pump outlet, caused by a clamp crushing the hose against a bead on the pump fitting. A
new Samco hose and a slight modification to the waterline solved that.

The only troubling issue was some low oil pressure on the datalogger. After talking it over with Rilltech, I think it was just low oil level, so I added ~1 quart (yeah, that much), and will watch it closely at HPR. As a consequence of this, I’ve also relocated the oil pressure sensor line to the main crank galley with the Autometer 2268 adapter that I used on the Radical, per Rilltech’s recs.


Since they’re a bit easier to get from John Berget Tire, my used tire guy, I’ve switched the car to Hoosiers. The front is slightly wider and slightly taller than the Goodyear 20×8, so I’ve readjusted the car to match (The rear is very similar). I’m going to run/test/shakedown on some R35’s, then race on R25’s, since it’s early season, and should be somewhat cool.

As an update to this, actually – not! As it turns out, with the WF-1 uprights, which move the front wheels forward by an inch, the Hoosiers are too tall, and too wide to allow turning the wheels when the bodywork was on, so I returned back to the Goodyear 160’s.

Intakes Complete

The Ram-Air intakes I’ve been working on are finally done. Grant finished the weld for me before I left for Hawaii, and I put them on the car. They’re made of Pegasus brake ducts cut down, and mounted on the headrest. Metal adapters bolt to the intakes on the GSX-R airbox, and allow for the ~3.5″ hose to duct straight into the airbox. Not bad!

Harness Bar Complete

The harness bar saga is complete as well. I painted it with a few coats of primer and rattle-can, and finished it off with a pair of aluminum split-collars from Lucas Industrial to keep the belts at the proper spacing. The great news is that with the new seat, thinner padding on the HANS, new harnesses, everything fits *great*. I can see the dash, the HANS isn’t riding on my helmet, the sliding tethers give me good vision…everything seems to be sorted out really well.

Tuesday’s track day will say for sure.

Winter Summary

So, since it’s the end of winter, I thought I ought to summarize for myself everything I’ve done over the winter. It doesn’t seem like any of this will directly make the car much faster, but hopefully it will come together to result in some nice speed increases:

  • New hubs/uprights/bearings
  • New floating brake rotors
  • Switch to Polymatrix A brake pads
  • Fresh Hoosier tires (previously was on unknown state Goodyears)
  • Actually set the heights, camber, cornerweights
  • Ram-Air intakes for airbox, and fresh-air duct from sidepod
  • New Harnesses & Harness Bar
  • Larger/Complete oil cooler duct
  • Coated headers
  • Freshened Shocks, stiffer springs
  • New rear splashguards (no rocks in radiator!)
  • Connection of the no-lift ignition cut box
  • Dive planes on the nose