Racing in 2016

27 September 2016

I’m going to plead fatigue.  I left the #27 RX-7 parked for the 2016 season and ran Spec Miata.  Very different experience from the 500+ HP turbo car to 115 hp of Spec Miata.  I’ve managed third place in the King of the Road mini-enduro series and according to the WCMA points I’m sixth in the Spec Miata series.  According to the MiatavsMiata points I’m a lot lower, so I’m going to pay attention to the WCMA points instead.  I’ve re-connected with how to be smooth on the track and the lap times were faster at each of the four events.  I would rate my current skill level as moderate.  I still have a lot of fast to find out there.

My current Miata is a 1997 with a 1.8L engine and I think it is a decent car, capable of top 5 lap times in the class, but not much better.  I have a theory the master cylinder is not allowing the fluid to return fast enough and the result is dragging calipers.  Next year, new master cylinder and more time tweaking on the alignment or bring the turbo car back out and see if smooth+500 hp can set some decent times.

I managed a really clean season up until the last weekend, where it went to shit.  I had a tire brush in the Sunday practice, which set the tone for the rest of Sunday.  I placed well in the points race, coming in fourth and sixth in the second race. In the GT race which had all car classes, It started bad as lap three a white BMW looped in front of me while the pack was still pretty tight. I braked hard and got hammered by Matt B.  Luckily I saw him just before he hit and I dropped off the brake and aimed for the grass.  He hit me solid and bounced me off the track a ways. After that I was down quite far in the class, but I pushed along anyway.  I managed to catch Matt and get past him, but after a faster car (thanks Bruce) passed me, Matt was able to sneak inside.  We were both held up by some higher horsepower, slow-cornering cars and I had another incident where I tried to go inside on corner 11 while the white BMW and the Slovo picked the same moment to go off-line and brake really hard, causing Gary Roberts to brake hard and avoid them.  The end result was Gary and I trying to share the same space in 11.  Minor damage to both cars resulted.  I think I finished pretty far down in the G3 group.  The racing was super fun and aside from the hits it was an awesome season.

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IT lives again

21 April 2015

After a few days of working on the car, about a dozen deep gashes and a lot of help from Conroy, the #27 is again rolling under its own power.  I still have some work to perform on the car and it needs a complete nut and bolt from front to back, but this is a great place to be in April.  I’ll have to remember the arcane process of setting the timing on the Microtech and then go through each of my electronic systems to ensure they are functioning properly.  I found what I think was a part of the problem last year, the main temperature sensor connector had dropped out the plug from the back of the connector and the two connections were free to short to each other at will.  This kept the temperature gauge reading cold even when the engine was not.  As the huge radiator mounted in v-mount is very efficient, the car is usually towards the bottom of the gauge most of the time. The good thing is the new engine and turbo should be good for a few years of track duty before anything else is needed.

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Long time no update.

20 January 2015

Since my last update I’ve had the car to the track twice.  The first was a time attack event, where I had a very hard time getting used to the car on the new track.  I discovered the gearing was horrible from the front straight, with about 150 feet of very slow off-boost acceleration after the dreaded “kink”.  The 4.30 rear gears simply are too short, putting second gear too high to use.  First gear is way too low, with any kind of power application the car is an uncontrollable mess.  I also suffered from a slipping Limited Slip.  I fear the ford racing traction lock just isn’t up to the task of slicks and turbo power, so I broke down and swapped in 4.88 gears and a TrueTrac.

My next event was the Leduc 1K where we ran the Bandit MK.II in an epic 11+ hour endurance race of 1000 km.  We had three drivers and three pit crew and we had an amazing time.  During the last half of my first stint in the car we developed a serious miss, which we tracked down 30 minutes later to debris in the fuel pump.  Despite sitting on the sidelines for 30+ minutes we managed a second place finish overall, first in our class.  Greg L. managed a last lap pass to move us into second overall and he ran the wheels of that poor car.

 

My final event for the 2014 season was a GT race weekend.  I managed a few laps in the practice session before having to pull off with no throttle.  I waited out the session on the side of the track.  A few minutes in the pit and we found the throttle cable bracket had bent and let the throttle cable slip free.  A quick minute with some pliers and the car was good to go for the next session.  I pulled up to grid for the next session and had what appeared to be a little spurt of coolant escape just as we were pulling onto the track.  In fact it was the last spurt of any coolant in the car and a lap later the engine terminally overheated.  I spent the rest of the weekend helping out in the pits with the other cars.

 

The current state is a new engine in underway, same basic built, TII housings and plates with REW rotors and gears.  I did upgrade to a new 5 lbs flywheel and new clutch disks for my tilton dual disk 7 1/4 clutch as the old disks had started falling apart (after five years of abuse).  All the remains is to finish the build, drop the engine in and then repair the wiring which melted on the top of the engine from the overheating.  Hopefully next year is better 😉

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May 12 2014

12 May 2014

Well, after yet another year of pulling the T2K apart (my joke name for the G-force T5 as it always costs $2K to put it back together, well $1300 this time) and buying new parts the car is back in one piece.  I ran it out at Castrol Raceway on the Saturday during the drivers school.  The car felt mostly good, there was a minor vibration under braking (Rotors might be ready for replacement, I’ve already bought them)  Running on my 8+ year old Toyo RA-1 trailer tires and on wastegate-only boost (14 lbs) the car felt quite good.  The driver, not so good. Having never run Castrol, I had no idea what to do out there and I was slow.  After spending the afternoon lapping with Josh in his RX-8 I have a much better understanding, now to map it to the #27.  The Sunday session it was snowing so I decided against trying to run the almost slick RA-1s.  I was able use both students to further develop my understanding of the track, having each try some variations through the more complex corners.  In the end I think the “kink” is just a poor section of the track, with no fast way through it. It was great to have an advanced student (Josh) as we were able to get to advanced concepts like moving the weight of the car around using the throttle and brakes between corners and using the weight positioning to reduce tire rubbing on the front fender. Having raced in the CC class for five years I’ve built a good deal of experience driving around a misbehaving car.  Always fun to pass tricks along.

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Well, the gearbox is now fully apart. I can’t tell if the dogs or the 3-4 slider broke first, but the result was carnage. I’ve ordered and received the replacement parts and will be putting the gearbox back together.

Four new gears, one slider and one shift fork later.

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Test run Aug 20 2013

21 August 2013

The car is finally running with the rebuilt transmission, new 8.8 diff and a shiny new stainless exhaust I TIG welded up. Or rather it was running. Second lap of my third run I suddenly lost the ability to select 3rd and 4th gear. No chunky sounds so I think it is just shift fork related. Here’s a picture of the new Hoosier slicks, pre break-in

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Howerton decals

1 May 2012

I’ve received the decals from my sponsor, Howerton Engineering. Jeff set me up with an amazing Aquamist system. Unlike most systems, Aquamist uses a PWM driver and uses the fuel injector signal to control the metering. Since HP produced has a direct relationship with fuel input, this is hands down the most logical way to keep an optimal mix going. With Jeff Howerton’s slosh control tank, the system performs flawlessly under very demanding road racing conditions. Hit Jeff up at (http://howertonengineering.com/) for a system if you want a bulletproof meth/water injection system.

 

 

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Ford explorer diff+ Ronin mount. Pretty much ready to press in the Delrin bushings and test fit.

 

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Also got in replacement rotors for my three year old set. 12.9″ x 1.25″, same as last time. Directionally vented for better cooling

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During the Indy I had a lot of smoke before the transmission blew up.  It turns out the freeze plug-style inspection cover had popped off and was allowing some fluid to drop onto the driveshaft.  I also had both dust boots on the inner CV’s develop large rips.  I think the 155 mph top speed had something to do with that.

 

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Along with replacing the CV boots I pulled the diff apart to inspect it and saw some troubling wear on the gear teeth.  Since there wasn’t a lot of filings in the fluid I think the problem is heat related and I’ve decided upon an upgrade to the Ford 8.8 differential (the $200 cost for ring gear replacement in the 8.8 vs the $650 for Mazda rind gears had a lot to do with the decision, as did the wide variety of available ratios for the Ford 8.8).  I’ve located a low mileage 8.8 locally and I’ve purchased an 8.8 explorer mount kit from Ronin Speedworks (http://www.roninspeedworks.com/powertrain/) and I’m trying to line up a good cooling option for both the diff and transmission to increase the longevity of both parts.

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New pictures from the Indy

10 November 2011

I’ve just managed to get and review the images my photographer took at the 2011 Indy.  In a few of the shots you can see the smoke coming our of the car as the gearbox start to puke fluid onto the exhaust.27-front227-smoking27-chase-jack27-front1

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Transmission is fixed

23 September 2011

After tearing third gear to little bits at the Edmonton Indy, we pulled the transmission out of the car to assess the damage. The transmission is a T5 with a G-Force straight cut dog-engaged gearset and the damage was bad. Third gear was toast on both the mainshaft and countershaft. As well, the countershaft bearings had oblonged the case. I had to buy new gears, new bearings and seals and a new case. It is all back together now and ready to go back in the car.

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Indy

25 July 2011

Well, another Indy is over. The car was working great and the speed was impressive, but the reliability wasn’t there this year. With five minutes remaining in the race I broke the transmission. Plan is to pull it apart sometime in the near future and see what all the grinding noises are about.

-Trent

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Aquamist is in

20 July 2011

After a late night thrash I managed to get the Aquamist water injection system in. Since it is a race car, I wired the injector signal to the secondaries and turned up the gain. During testing I was able to push to 19 PSI with EGT’s in the 1450 range. Previous 17 PSI attempts had EGTs over 1650. I think this setup will be a large benefit at the Indy.

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MSD is in.

18 July 2011

Well, in possibly the least painful replacement of an entire component of a car ever, I mounted, wired up and fired up my upgraded ignition. No problems once I got everything to fit and the car. It fired up and idled better than it ever has. Today is the new hood and the water injection.

-Trent

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Ignition Upgrade

12 June 2011

Given the planned addition of water injection, opinion is the stock coils will not deliver enough spark at high rpm to ensure ignition.

My solution is a double set of new MSD 6A Digital boxes (6201) and HVC II coils (8253) These will replace the stock leading coils and ensure a quality spark even up high.

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The problem is the coils are *HUGE* (look at the 1L oil container to judge size). I want the shortest possible plug wires, but there just isn’t much space between the brake lines, relocated alternator and the steering column. I’ll have to put the car up on the hoist and start taking measurements. From there I can likely come up with a plan. After the ignition, the Water Injection goes in.

-Trent

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Pre-Indy work

10 June 2011

So, here I am again, another year, another Indy and another massive list of outstanding work. Back to Triage mode, fix what must be fixed, ignore the less important stuff and get the car ready to go as soon as possible. Hopefully time will remain for testing.

Last year there were two outstanding issues, oil temperatures and oil loss. I’ve attempted to cure the oil temperature with a re-alignment of the turbocharger, making more room for the oil drain line, some titanium header wrap and an additional heat shield. To cure the oil loss problem, I’ve drilled a vent hole into the front cover and plumbed in back to my catch can to stop the engine from pushing oil up out of the engine on hard corners under boost.

My outstanding work comes mainly from work yet to be done to maximize the front end re-work and add in the water injection system.
I have to vent the hood so I can flow more air through the intercooler and hopefully add a little downforce up front.

I also have to re-work my three year old plywood splitter for the new front end. The old layout had the splitter routing air under the front bumper and into the rad. With the new ducting up front I’m looking to add a lip to the splitter, hopefully creating a high pressure area at the base of the lip, pushing down on the splitter and adding downforce. This is all with the goal of keeping the front of the car planted as we get near my guesstimated speed of 150 mph on the 1KM long straight. Should be a fun few first laps as I see how the car reacts above 135 mph (which is the fastest it has gone do date)

-Trent

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New Sponsor

4 June 2011

 

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I’m happy to announce a new sponsor to the #27. Howerton Engineering has come on board, with Howerton’s help we’re adding an Aquamist HFS3 to the car. The fine fellows at Howerton have also supplied a 5 gallon surge-resistant tank for the water injection.

Stay tuned as we get the kit installed and debugged before the Indy. I have high hopes for water injection on those crazy long front and back straights.
-Trent

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First Time Attack

4 June 2011

Friday night was the first Time Attack of the 2011 season. The weather was wretched, temperatures were 6 degrees and intermittent rain.

I chose to run my ancient Toyo RA-1’s instead of my usual Yokohama A005 Slicks. My thought was the Toyos might be better in the cold, moist conditions. I was able to run a few 64 second laps, with a best lap of 63.58 seconds. The time was enough for 1st place in Race tire. I had to turn the boost down to prevent traction loss in 3rd gear. The entire lapping session was an exercise in throttle control.

I’m happy to report the new cooling setup worked quite well, as temps stayed quite low throughout the evening.

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Ducting complete

3 June 2011

Well, the oil coolers and rad/intercooler are all ducted in. The chances of dropping a grinder have gone way down.

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Chump Car event

30 May 2011

 

As a way to get in a little more racing, four RX-7 enthusiasts got together and built a car for the Calgary Chump car race.

We managed a second place in the first race, despite long fueling times and we cut an oil cooler line in the Sunday race, pushing us down the standings. We also were assigned a 30 minute penalty when our fastest driver ran over some cones on the pit out, pushing us out of the top 5.

The event was a blast and the car we built worked extremely well, with good power on the straights and excellent handling in the corners. It also helped that three of our four drivers had a good amount of lap time at the track previously. Over the two days we each bettered the other drivers best lap times in our session, with the car running a second or so faster than any other car on the track. As a whole, a great event.

 

The bandit car was a 1989 RX-7 with about 3″ chopped out of the stock springs and some holes drilled in the stock sway bar to increase the leverage.

We also built some lower control arm extenders from some 3/8″ steel for more front camber.

These three simple mods paid huge handling dividends as the car was fast, composed and confidence-inspiring all weekend.

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