“The most self-defeating thing you can do is to take action with divided intention. If you are doing something while resisting, resenting, or complaining about it, you are ripping yourself off, along with everyone else involved. Nothing is more annoying than someone doing something and kvetching and whining as they do it. Either do something with a whole heart or don’t do it. If you agree to do something, then really do it. If you don’t agree to do it, then really don’t do it. Be total.“
~ Alan Cohen from Enough Already
Looking for a 3rd weekend
The GCR says to earn your full competition license, you must complete 3 weekends within 24 months. So far we (Andrew and I) have completed 2 weekends. Our goal was to graduate from the Novice Permit to a full competition license this year. Looking at the remaining SCCA events for 2015, after the runoffs there is a regional event at Gateway Speedway in St Louis in October that conflicts with the F1 race in Austin and there is a regional at Texas World Speedway in November. There are other races along the east coast and west coast, but those are way to far away.
Texas World is the only one that fits the bill, but it is still a 6 day commitment (2 days there, 2 days for the event and 2 days home) for about an hour of track time. It’s hard to justify the time/expense.
I have been working with the Scott Hannum, Jay Jacobellis and Jay Brickachec putting together a place in the SCCA where they can run their Formula First cars. Formula First is already a regional class, so the cars are not a problem. The issues involve the drivers. They are all graduates from the karting world and as such are only 14 yrs old. NASA (Dave Balingit) gave them time trial/training sessions during their events so they would have someplace to run. They have been running almost all the NASA races. We invited them to run the Air-Cooled Sprints during the HyPR Hot Regionals and they really enjoyed it.
Finally, in 2015 the SCCA recognized that these young racers and their families are a source of club growth and added a process whereby 14 yr olds can race in the club. Scott invited us (the FV community) to attend the last NASA event of 2015. NASA agreed to allow FV’s with the appropriate licenses to run in their TT Formula class.
Andrew and I were planning on running a lapping day at Pueblo Motorsports Park, before putting the car in “winter projects mode”, but we decided to accept Scotts invitation and run some laps at High Plains.
Might this constitute a 3rd weekend?
After the Air-Cooled Sprints we added some “Jess Valentine Shock Mounts”, I searched high and low for some Ron Chuck Shock Mounts, but none are anywhere to be had. Talking with Jess at the Formula Lites race at PPIR, Jess had manufactured some alternates. Jess’s mounts are just as functional, maybe a few ounces heavier, but his are available.
Jess Valentine Aerodynamic Shock Mount
Saturday NASA Time Trials
Andrew had to work on Saturday of the NASA weekend, so I had full duty. I would have to handle all at track prep, buckle myself in, get the car started etc..
Running a formula car at the track is not a one man job. It’s very hard to fasten the belts with your helmet on. You cannot see the lap belts, so you have to do it all by feel. Attaching the arm restraints to the the shoulder harnesses and getting them into the buckle is a struggle.
Next, the car is started using a external battery. The car will start using the internal battery but only once or twice (We use the smallest, lightest battery we can get by with). The generator has been removed so the battery needs to be recharged between sessions or the car needs to be started using an external battery. Once the engine is started, the external battery needs to be disconnected. I was hoping I could recruit someone at the track to assist.
Flinn Lazier and I were the only FVees on Saturday. I would be the 5 Formula First cars, Flinn and me. Scott had invited Bob Neumeister to drive the Vector Formula First car on Saturday, and his spare Murray Formula First on Sunday.
Saturday morning went off without a hitch, After the Air-Cooled Sprints, I performed the usual between race maintenance; changed the oil, adjusted the valve lash, adjusted the brakes, charged the batteries, obtain racing fuel (100 octane low lead) from front range airport etc..
The car ran well. I had overfilled the crankcase with oil, but that tends to fix itself in the flat four volkswagen engine. The engine uses a worm gear type front seal. The worm pushes the oil back into the case, but if you overfill, the oil escapes past the worm and gets slung all over the engine/chassis/track. Doh...
It was my first time at speed on the full course at HPR. I tried a new line around turn 6. I almost spun at turn 11 a couple of times, but otherwise it went well.
I can’t compete with Flinn Lazier (yet!). He is a much better driver. I was talking to his dad, and he agreed I was at a disadvantage. I have financial responsibility for the car, so it will be impossible for me to drive as hard as someone who is trying to extract the last ounce of speed regardless of what it might do to the engine.
I had never considered it, but it is true I spend a fair amount of time listening to the engine, listening for the slightest odd sound, and I pay attention to the tach and oil temp gages.
That was confirmed when, after a session, I asked Mario Jacobellis what his oil temps were? He didn’t know! He said he had never looked.
I finished all the sessions, improving my times each session.
Andrew arrived early Sunday morning, We adjusted the brakes, refueled and installed his custom seat. Flinn would not complete on Sunday, so Andrew was the lone FV in a field with 6 FFSTs.
The car ran well, Andrew also completed all the sessions without any excitement. We used it as a track day, to use up any remaining stickiness in the Hoosiers and to learn the track.
We packed up the car and all our kit and headed home. The list of car improvements continues to grow.
- Lower front end
- Turn drums
- Rebuild engine
- New heads
- Build a new seat
- Center steering box
- Thicker rods from Pittman arms
- Inspect/Rebuild rear axels
- Eliminate shudder
It is going to be a busy winter.