Topic: Our first race in the Turbo Sprint: Learning how to "Slow Your Roll"
Our first race with the Turbo Sprint turned out to be wrought with fail, but it makes for a hellofa Lemons story :-)
Thursday’s drive from Albuquerque opened with my tow vehicle (AKA, daily driver) suffering a locked diff as I was meeting up with the rest of the team. We assumed catastrophic failure since the pumpkin was ~330 degrees F and the wheels were locked side-to-side, so we started looking for a backup. Legit rentals were expensive, but we happened to be next to a little dusty car lot with a large, red, Econoline panel van staring us down. My race partner knew the guy who ran the place so we proposed a deal to the 80+ yr old man, where we would “test drive” the van for the weekend at $40/day for 4 days. He agreed to it for $200 cash (which is about all the van looked to be worth) and we were out of options.
The old man handed us a copy of his fleet insurance, installed the previous owners plate (which he first OK’d with said owner) and we transferred all our tools and gear into the van. We continuing our 10 hour drive in what turned out to be a 1988 model with spongy brakes and loose steering, all the while in a legal grey zone of registration and insurance. (Texas cops are cool with out of towners carrying dubious paperwork, right?) The race car was being towed on a dolly with its original 12” wheels and later suffered a blow out, which in the scheme of things now seems like a non-event. After all the lost time, we ended up arriving to the track at 4am Friday morning with the gates closed but had a survivable 4hours of sleep in the back of what was clearly a rapist’s van.
At the track things were going pretty well. We did slightly hijack a garage stall but squared up with the track later. After hustling last week to sort the head gasket issues, the car seemed to be running well. But on the track the fuel cut out was kicking in way too low and we couldn’t get up to speed. Turns out the open exhaust was allowing the turbo to spool up way too soon and over boost to 15psi. With no easy way to richen the mixture & control the computer, we solved this by severely crimping the exhaust pipe. The bigger problem we had was snap over steer on braking. And throttle lift off. And when turning. The third and final spin out happened late Saturday just as we were putting the final touches on our crimped exhaust. Unfortunately that’s when it got in the grass and rolled.
Being out for the weekend, we wanted to give the van maximum time to take us home. This turned out to be a grand idea because of the huge snow storm that was waiting for us. There are a lot of things Texans can do well (Thanks to Brandon for hosting an amazing get together with great food, plus all the other teams that wished us luck after we grass-stained the roof) but driving in a snowy white-out is not one of them. Ironically, we encountered a lot of rollovers. Drive time from College Station to Albuquerque: 18 hours. (We never did figure out what happened to my truck. I drove it home after replacing the gear oil but the leading theory is the locker rear end engaged for unknown reasons)
This was my 5th race and I’m still learning a shocking amount. We were lucky this weekend that all 4 teammates got a driving session and thanks to the amazing fajita party we engineers had a chance to be way more social that usual. I will admit I was pretty bummed about the “Why am I Upside-Down rule.” After racing a Celica I tried hard to find something the judges would love and even though we were one of the slowest cars on the track, my co-owner is now out for the year and the Sprint is not fit for a Chump race. I’m still chasing that IOE award but I’m not sure when we’ll make our triumphant return. Whenever that is, I think I’m going to change our name from “team Turbo Style” to “Team Turtle Style: Slow your roll.” :-)
more pics here: https://picasaweb.google.com/1106472376 … directlink
Team Turbo Style (RIP)