Monday, August 19, 2019

2019 Reboot

Totally shirked the blog last year and most of this year. Last season (2018) was actually a winning season though! That's 2 jackets now, and this time I had some more serious competition. My end of season however was less inspiring than some others... I clinched the title in August, and then proceeded to not win again, and for whatever reason I couldn't seem to stop hitting mystery cones in the Moss... so I wound up standing on a stupid slow run and didn't even try to match it in the afternoon, but rather just drove faster (I found 2 seconds vs the morning time which tells you how bad my morning was)... Although that catapulted me into last place in the moss with an epic bad consistency score, it turned out to be a good call since it was fun and 2018's moss featured the single most epic battle of moss competition I have ever seen. Nothing I could have done aside from repeating my times to the thousandth would have even come close.

First and second place were on an entirely different planet from the rest of the field. They both scored over 199 points out of 200 and were separated by some crazy small fraction of a point. The winner, Brian Kuehl put up a top pax time, and then duplicated it 3 more times in the afternoon to within 0.1s... absolutely nuts! for the speed/consistency challenge that is the moss that is AMAZING... and it almost wasn't good enough, because second place was just as consistent, but 2nd in pax by 0.088 seconds! On *ANY* other year Ryan Field would have been a champion with his 199.3 points... (winners normally have 196-198 points). If there were ever a case for co-champions this would be it, but that just isn't how it works.

So then winter set in, and as usual, not much happened with the car other than an oil change until after Christmas. Then in January, the prep for 2019 began...

  • Oil Change
  • Pads and rotors
  • Transmission Oil change
  • Front ball joints
    • Upper changed to pre-load adjustables
    • Lower changed to drop joints to enable lowering
  • Front wishbone bushings - apply the other half of the set of monoballs 
  • Penske double adjustable shocks
  • Custom carbon fiber wind splitter
  • Carbon fiber front lip.
  • Fabricated carbon fiber spats for the splitter 
  • Design/build detachable mounting system for splitter/lip combo
  • Check Alignment
    • Toe: front 0mm rear 2mm
    • Camber: just check for more than 0.2 degrees diff side to side, max otherwise
    • Caster: TBD, but so long as it's stockish and not wildly diff side to side I won't touch it because it's a royal pain to adjust.
  • Shorter Rear springs to prevent clash with body when lowering
  • Lower to 105mm rear 92mm front
  • Corner Balance
I got all that done, and after a little on-site fender modification during the test/tune, First event went well, and I managed a 0.95 pax Ratio vs a Billy Davis top pax and .96 vs the rest of the field. Event 2 however didn't go as well...

My ring and pinion was wrung and piƱata-ed. Thus events 3-7 and the NY tour featured me in a variety of fun STS and ASP cars, which were excellent cars, but definitely required some adjustment in style... Many thanks to Matt, Jake and Brian for their support during the repair period!

So the transmission went on vacation for a spa at Blackwatch Racing, where it ditched it's old and busted parts and acquired some new hotness... a 4.8:1 final drive ring/pinion set by Kaz. 

No point in not upgrading once it's all apart and the old part failed anyway... So hopefully the higher quality of the Kaz part will allow for some enhanced durability, and the shorter gearing will bring me up to speed a bit faster.

Got the transmission back and I had taken the clutch off to check it (since the trans was off and it was exposed), and when I initially re-assembled it, I put it on backwards. Unfortunately attempting to screw down the pressure plate then bent the clutch, so new clutch... and new friction surface for the flywheel. This mistake may have been a boon however since the friction surface though still thick seemed to have some dodgy looking warping and heat marks after I removed it from the flywheel...

So, waiting for new clutch and new flywheel surface delayed install and Friday afternoon before the race on Sunday I was still re-installing my fly wheel. A 4pm Friday through midnight Saturday effort got the fly/clutch/transmission all re-installed and all the parts put back on the car... which included starter, clutch slave, 3 out of 4 motor mounts, both axels, the entire left rear suspension, left rear brake, a couple bits of the right rear suspension that had been detached to facilitate axle removal, the exhaust header, the CAI (removed for access reasons), the gear shift linkage, the muffler, the rear clam, etc. 

Somehow I hadn't lost anything during the intervening 3 months and nothing went wrong other than tearing the oil pan heat sensor wire out due to motor sway while torquing flywheel bolts. That only attaches to an aftermarket gauge in the cabin, so not a show stopper. 

Shower and bed by 1am, up at 5am, to load the truck and on site by 7:45 am... And to my utter amazement, nothing actually fell apart or broke. The car had survived and performed well. My driving... well... I'm going to have to get used to driving an SSM lotus again. I had no clean runs but I did give Nik the opportunity to snap this awesome shot: