Topic: Looking forward to our first race

Hello all!

My team is planning to run in the November 2017 race at MSR Houston.  Planning being the key word depending on if we can get our car up and running which happens to be a 1992 Ford Probe GT.  Here are some questions we have.

1.  Should we get the car ready and use this first race as a test to see what else we need to do?

2.  Should we go all out this first race and see if we can make a really good showing?

Thanks for any and all advice.

Mongo

Skip "Mongo" L.
Team DadBod

Re: Looking forward to our first race

I'm far from the voice of experience as we spent about 9 months prepping for our first race, which is at Barbers in a couple weeks. But here are our team's responses to your question.

1. We made it a point to make a track day before entering a race. It was well worth the money just for the peace of mind that the car would hold up to a 'little' thrashing. To add more advantage, have any teammates that have a decent car (no matter how non-racy) take it to the track day. We took an extra miata with us so that nobody would have to sit out too much. We had 3 drivers for track day and fees are paid by the driver, so we just rotated. Everybody got to drive the Lemons car, and every 3rd stint, you'd sit out. I recommend it.

2. Go all out if you want. We are planning on going about 85%. Conservative redline, No 10/10ths driving. The forum will tell you that you have no chance of winning as a rookie and we're ok with that. We are hoping to make a strong showing through reliability and hopefully clean-ish driving, but we have no hopes of winning. We just want to establish a baseline. If the car proves reliable, we'll push harder next time.

The first build of the car and procuring equipment, entering your first race, etc makes for an expensive venture your first time out. If you haven't been told - it will take longer and cost more than you're planning on. We didn't want to have that go up in smoke because we got too aggressive. We just want to enjoy it. And I think we'll enjoy being in last place as long as the car is still on the track.

Re: Looking forward to our first race

Since we talked you should by our Honda Accord and race in May!

Re: Looking forward to our first race

Do everything you can to make it reliable.  Reliable and slow will also give a you a much better finish than fast and unreliable.

Racing 4 Nickels - 1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera
2011 SHOWROOM-SCHLOCK SHOOTOUT  IOE Winner
2012 The Chubba Cheddar Enduro Class C winner
Facebook Page

Re: Looking forward to our first race

J,

We have talked and we are going to see what all is involved with getting the Probe up and running.  Our team captain has his reasons for trying to get it going.  We are keeping the Accord in mind though.

Skip "Mongo" L.
Team DadBod

Re: Looking forward to our first race

both the accord and the probe will have people say they are the way to go, and that the other will be nothing but problems.  Go with whatever you are most familar with.

Racing 4 Nickels - 1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera
2011 SHOWROOM-SCHLOCK SHOOTOUT  IOE Winner
2012 The Chubba Cheddar Enduro Class C winner
Facebook Page

Re: Looking forward to our first race

The Probe had been sitting in a barn for 10+ years.  We just got it this past Saturday and so far we have 75% of the interior gutted, emptied the gas tank, changed the oil, and made a ever growing list of what we need to do and get.

Skip "Mongo" L.
Team DadBod

8 (edited by VKZ24 2017-01-24 11:53 AM)

Re: Looking forward to our first race

I've been doing this for 9 years now, but take my advice for what you paid for it.  To answer your two questions directly:

1. Yes, you should absolutely do a test day before your first race.  I almost guarantee you'll find a problem that won't pop until the car is pushed hard, so having the chance to discover that and fix it before the race is golden IMO.

2.  The short answer is NO, do not attempt go all out your first race.  Get a feel for ENDURANCE RACING, and how the better teams run, and are organized.  Ask questions, talk to other teams, listen instead of talk.  You will discover the Lemons crowd is very helpful for noobs who would have the learning attitude vs. the all-knowing one.  Notice and take to heart the bold wording above!

Other useful information in no particular order:

3. Don't worry about your car being fast.  Worry about MAKING IT LAST.  Imagine taking your DD and driving it as hard as you can for 7 hours straight.  How do you think it would do?  No imagine a car about 10% as well put together, and how it would do. That's Lemons!

4. The key to #3 above...make sure the car runs cool.  Besides penalties, overheating parks more cars than anything else.  Don't push the redline on every shift and make sure the cooling system is in good order.

5. Practice your pit stops.  No you won't be worrying about saving 5 seconds in your first race, but if you plan on doing this for a while and getting better, all the time you are stopped will hurt you 10X more than any speed you think a good lap time will gain you.

6. If you don't remember or give a flying shit about anything I or others here have said, remember its an ENDURANCE RACE.  More often than not, the fastest car doesn't win.  The teams that stay ON THE TRACK, and subsequently OUT OF TROUBLE are the ones that finish near the top of the standings.  This is accomplished by having the mind set of remembering you don't have to pass every car, in every corner on every lap.  Write it down, I guarantee you that a slower car will finish ahead of you in your first race, and probably even many more races in the future.

7. Have fun!  Don't take it all too serious.  The pay sucks so if you leave with a huge grin after finishing in 75th place, you have actually won.  I've been doing this for 9 years, with 6 different teams, and 6 different cars.  I've won (once) but have actually had more fun in every race other than the winning outing if that tells you anything.

Captain
Team Super Westerfield Bros.
#411
'93 Acura Integra

Re: Looking forward to our first race

Keep it street legal if you can, really helps out in the debugging & testing.

Re: Looking forward to our first race

Ross,

No title on the car and it would cost just as much to get it street ready as it would to get it race ready.

Skip "Mongo" L.
Team DadBod

Re: Looking forward to our first race

Put the Goal for your first race to be: The car ran all weekend and everyone got their time.

Unless you're a pro team coming in for some fun, you will not win your first time out. Winning is more about the team organization than the car, and you have to learn that for your team. A fresh newbie team should just focus on learning at the first event. If you've never raced before (track days don't count) you WILL be overwhelmed about an hour or two into the first day.

On the up side, you'll be in too much sensory overload to care that you're slow!

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL) https://www.facebook.com/groups/MBTLracing/
88 Thunderbird "What's the word? Thunderbird!", "What's the Price? Thirty Twice!"
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)

Re: Looking forward to our first race

Since the Probe is also a 626 here are some very detailed threads of cars built for Lemons/Chump that had some success.  Lots to read, but also great advice and some mistakes to learn from.
https://mazda626.net/topic/40901-93-626 … er/?page=1

https://mazda626.net/topic/45279-98-626 … er/?page=1

First race just get it running and build a great cage.  Beyond that just bring lots of beer.

Team Glue Sticks
00 Firebird, 02 X-Type, 93 NX2000, 00 Mazda 626 (Sold)
2016 NJMP Heroic Fix, 2017 NJMP Near Heroic Fix except we can't drive, 2017 Thompson I Got Screwed

Re: Looking forward to our first race

I'm going to update my original answer since we are now Lemons 'veterans' after Barber this weekend. We wanted to make it reliable and just get through our first race, but we didn't know how beneficial that strategy would turn out to be.

I'll put it this way: there were 110 cars at Barbers and we were the 80th fastest. Our car seriously lacks torque and none of us are experienced drivers. Despite that, we finished 29th overall....29th....out of 110...as first timers. That is WAY higher than we expected. Mainly because our junk ran all weekend. We had a fuel starvation issue when turning right with less than half a tank of gas so we had to pit about every hour to top it off. If not for that, we'd have finished maybe 5 spots higher.

Sooo, yeah. Make it reliable.

14

Re: Looking forward to our first race

Our first event we didn't run long stints on day 1. Did 45 minutes, came into the garage, and made sure everyone got some seat time. Second day we did 2 hour stints and all driver swaps in the garage and fueled at the pump.

This really killed our times, but we still were top 5 in class and something like P12 overall.

I'm glad we focused on getting everyone time and not pushing so hard, but you'll quickly see if the car/team has the pace to be competitive.

Re: Looking forward to our first race

I would suggest accumulating a good stock of spare parts. It would really be terrible to have all the time and expense wasted to be sidelined for a failed (Fill in the blank) that could easily be repaired with a spare. You cannot always depend on the local parts stores and more so as a car gets older.

Re: Looking forward to our first race

First off, you did great by allowing a lot of time to prepare. Be ready to spend some serious time getting ready to pass tech. Stripping down a car, removing excess wiring, and adding the necessary safety items takes a LONG TIME. Our team's only goal for our first race was to PASS TECH.

That said, if you have time, focus on reliability. Make sure the cooling system works well. Make sure there aren't any egregious things that could hurt you if they failed- ball joints, suspension bushings, driveline couplings. Write a pit checklist with key things to check before a driver gets on the track. Once you get a rhythm it'll be a lot of fun, but at first you want to be safe and follow directions. Steve gives a pre-race meeting for rookies- ATTEND THIS.

Lastly, DON'T WORRY. It'll be fun. Work hard to pass tech and you'll start the weekend off right, plus gain some respect from the organizers. Meet some other teams, don't be afraid to ask for help. Try to get everyone seat time. And if something breaks, so be it. If you can cobble together a fix, you might get an award. And with the boring safety stuff out of the way and a weekend of racing to test your car, you'll be ready for the fun "tuning" for race #2.

Giubo Grabbers #190 - 91 Mercedes 190E 2.6 Auto for silky smooth racing
2016 CMP Fall South "Heroic Fix" Winner

17 (edited by OnkelUdo 2017-02-10 03:56 AM)

Re: Looking forward to our first race

CarburetorIHardlyKnowHer wrote:

Stripping down a car, removing excess wiring, and adding the necessary safety items takes a LONG TIME. Our team's only goal for our first race was to PASS TECH..

All this is true but be VERY careful on the excess wire removal.  Unless your car can run with just three wires (pre-smog points car), if you are not 100% sure it has no interface with any aspect of the running the engine, leave it and tie it out of the way.  Allegedly there are German cars that have running issues if the emergency flasher circuit is not 100% functional.

Re: Looking forward to our first race

OnkelUdo wrote:

All this is true but be VERY careful on the excess wire removal.  Unless your car can run with just three wires (pre-smog points car), if you are not 100% sure it has no interface with any aspect of the running the engine, leave it and tie it out of the way.  Allegedly there are German cars that have running issues if the emergency flasher circuit is not 100% functional.

Couldn't be more true. I was lucky enough to have the entire electrical diagram for our Mercedes 190E and actually make markups of the final configuration before starting removal. I traced every wire by hand to be sure, because, indeed, Mercedes ran cooling fans through the climate control and other such nonsense. We still trimmed back and tied off lots of wires just in case we needed them later. If you can't find the electrical prints for your car, proceed with caution.

Giubo Grabbers #190 - 91 Mercedes 190E 2.6 Auto for silky smooth racing
2016 CMP Fall South "Heroic Fix" Winner

Re: Looking forward to our first race

Leave every wire!  They weigh next to nothing so nothing to gain by removing them.   Unless you are really good and know exactly what you're doing removing a wire or cutting it can only cause harm.  And when your buddies start hacking attitude make sure they know this too.  It only takes one guy to cut the wrong one or pull out and exposed wire and stuck behind something metal causing a short and preventing your can from starting.   This results in hours of tracing wires and looking at diagrams to figure out where the short is.

Team Glue Sticks
00 Firebird, 02 X-Type, 93 NX2000, 00 Mazda 626 (Sold)
2016 NJMP Heroic Fix, 2017 NJMP Near Heroic Fix except we can't drive, 2017 Thompson I Got Screwed

Re: Looking forward to our first race

If its a simple points type car where 3 wires run the whole thing, it's probably old enough that ripping it all out and starting over is prudent.  If it has an ECU, leave it all in unless you really, really know what you are doing.  I did it once on just an engine harness to get rid of the emissions stuff that was all gone and its a huge time suck for little benefit.  You could just cut out eating fast food to save the same weight and come out ahead all around.  IIRC the RoLex guys spent hours/days trying to get it to run only to find out it needed something stupid like the door locks attached to the harness to run.

1990 RX7 "Mazdarita" 
1994 Jaguar XJ12 (Winner C-Class 2013 Sears Pointless)
1964 Sunbeam Imp (IOE 2013 Sears Pointless)
1980 Rover SD1 (I Got Screwed 2014 Return of Lemonites) (Sold -> Houston.  Gone and forgotten)

Re: Looking forward to our first race

Definitely no harm in leaving wires. We left spares in the larger bundles and only removed the unnecessary to aid in troubleshooting 'ze complikated automobil!

Giubo Grabbers #190 - 91 Mercedes 190E 2.6 Auto for silky smooth racing
2016 CMP Fall South "Heroic Fix" Winner