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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:00 pm 
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Fair wrote:
That new helmet livery you had was MONEY. Liked the fade from checkers to maple leaves, left to right. 8)


Thanks for the shout out! I figure the helmet was worth at least a tenth or two. That design was floating around in my head for a few years and Tyler at Censport did a fantastic job bringing it to life along with the beaver on the back...eh!

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Allan - 2006 BMW M3 - 01 TTB


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:48 pm 
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PoBoyR6 wrote:
...along with the beaver on the back...eh!


Terry loves him the beaver.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:58 am 
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Project Update for January 26th, 2015: Our first race for Project DangerZone has passed and this is my "post-race report" along with some analysis of what went right and wrong.

I Need To Apologize for Trash Talking? Really?

Before I get into our first event results or talk about what we're doing to this car next I think I need to address some of my "pre-race performance speculation", aka: TRASH TALKING. Some say it was unnecessary or disrespectful, but it was done mostly in jest. Getting people to notice our projects takes some extra effort when its a 24 year old ghetto jet, so I took a gamble and "bench raced" my way to some predicted wins and track records. Where's the harm in that?

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This was how the car looked right before we loaded up to tow to Houston, sans NASA decals

This sport isn't an "everyone gets a trophy" kind of competition. There are winners and there are losers - that's kind of the whole point. Sure, racing is still fun when you lose, but winning is more funner. Since when do racers need to apologize for a little harmless trash talking? To those that were offended by any of that in my previous posts, all I have to say is "that's part of racing". If I chose to I talk up this project a bit and had it flopped the first time out, I would have looked like an idiot and had to eat some crow. That was the risk on my part, but this whole build is a calculated risk...

The Gamble: An Old Car And A New Tire

Building this 24 year old car into my primary race car for 2015 is a big risk, as it didn't really fit into the "typical cars we work on here". I've picked the wrong horse a few times but normally we can look at a rule book and class listings and see several underdogs that have unseen potential.

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But honestly, this car isn't magic. We could have picked a number of other low cost cars that could do very well in this class (TTC), like an E36 M3 or an S2000, both of which are proven winners in TTC at the highest levels. The point of this build wasn't to find the End All Be All car, but to show that as long as the classing is equal the car you choose doesn't matter as much as how it is prepped and driven.

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Am I saying the class could be won with any of these cars? Yes, I am. This 1992 Corvette isn't some super ringer, and we've prepped/won with both S2000s and M3s in this very class, with our own cars and customers' builds. Anyone can win if they start with a fairly classed car, prep the car to the limits of the class, test their set-up to maximize performance, use the best tires available (*tires are the biggest factor in any build!) and drive it well.

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Another reason why we chose this car (other than it was a sweet deal that fell into my lap at the perfect time) was to show some variety for our business here at Vorshlag. We have unfortunately become "known" for BMWs and Mustangs and Subarus, but the reality is we work on anything that can be classed for road course, autocross, rally or other racing uses: new and old, Domestic, Asian, and German, you name it. People didn't "know us" for Corvettes but we have owned, raced and worked on a lot of them, and use the drive trains from Corvettes in a number of V8 swaps for all sorts of chassis. Having owned this same model Corvette in the past I knew it has potential to handle, brake and accelerate well. To me this C4 was a fairly safe bet, but the fact that it was a 24 year old car made for the biggest gamble. Any number of "old-car" things could have failed at the first event and shut down the weekend before the car ever turned a lap.

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Left: The R7 tires were new when we got to the event. Right: After a race weekend with 5 sessions and 3 drivers - tires look great!

The tire was another unknown - the Hoosier R7 was relatively new and we had zero experience with it (I ran the 2013-14 seasons on the A6 in much larger sizes). We also chose to go with a narrow tire width (since there weren't many R7 sizes to choose from yet, as more sizes are being rolled out as the R6 sells out of inventory). Would a 3200 pound car be able to survive on a 245mm tire? It was another gamble. If the tire didn't hold up, we would have to revisit our choices.

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Some folks sent me links to this build thread discussed online and apparently a few racers were upset that a "big money shop" was coming into the "grassroots" TT letter classes and bringing a purpose built race car against their TT cars they drive to the track. To them I say: the NASA TT rules don't have any wording about this set of classes being for daily driven cars, and in fact the TT division shares the same rules as NASA Performance Tuning - which is for wheel to wheel racing cars - just without the safety regs. We already see PT cars running in TT all the time, because the contingency is good and the PTB-PTF classes are direct crossovers to the TTB-TTF classes. The same holds true for TTU/1/2/3 and SU/ST1/2/3. Time Trial is a haven for race cars but also allows cars without full safety gear to enter.

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As for this being a "big money build", that is hilarious and absolutely not what we have done here. This was a last minute option, "Plan B", eight day long race car build - that isn't finished. We had no other car ready for 2015 season, this deal fell into my lap, from a friend who I had brain stormed this car build with three years earlier, and I took this gamble - to have something to race. We have about $5000 dollars in parts/car purchase and about 60 hours of shop work (we log all jobs to the 1/100th of an hour) in this build so far. We worked on this car between regular customer jobs and only spent 8 days actually working on it, but it held together for the first race weekend (barely). We spent our time almost completely on the safety aspects the car needed and left everything else stock for this first event.

If the "speculative talk" in my first few posts here have people fired up to come join us in TTC - that's good! I'm hoping people look at how little money this car costs to buy and prep, how it has proven itself already, and "get the bug" to build a car for NASA Time Trial letter classes or Performance Tuning! This set of classes allows a lot of freedom to choose what you want want to concentrate on: suspension, tires, horsepower, aero. The rules are structured to limit your overall mods which in turn does limit your spending. Its a great series and I encourage people to look at the TT rules/PT rulesets, check out the car "base classing", and start hitting CraigsList looking for something fun to start with. It doesn't need to be a brand new car or an expensive car - look at the past and see how some of the best cars from the last 2-3 decades are classed.

As you may remember, I had proclaimed we could win TTC with this car its first time out, reset the lap record, and even predicted some bold lap times for our first event at MSR-H (1:46 clockwise). So, how did it all play out at our first NASA race weekend? Do I look like a stooge talking out of my hat, or was our guess work correct and did we prep the car in the limited time available in the right areas?

NASA at MSR-Houston, Jan 17-18th, 2015 - The Debut Event!

The old TTC lap record was a 1:50 here was set in 2013, which I showed in my last post on the Friday before the race. I had predicted a lap time of 1:46 but had privately hoped for a 1:45 lap. Let's back up to where I left off in my last post and get caught up on this debut weekend of racing for Project #DANGERZONE.

Friday January 16th, 2015 - Unloading and Tech

After Jon finished installing the decals and I fired off my pre-race forum post, we loaded the trailer and I left Dallas a little late, at about 12 noon - wanted to leave at 10 am. Took me a little over 5 hours to tow 300 miles to the south end of Houston, where MSR-H is located. Google maps has gotten better of late and it re-routed me around 3 construction zones or crashes, on a goofy route, but I never had to stop. It would re-route me on the fly, ask me to verify, then I'd go... which was nice. I got to the track at about 5:30 pm, at dusk, and Costas had a paddock area set-up with his trailer plus both of Matt's trailers. It was pretty far from grid so we did a lot of walking back and forth all weekend. We squeezed my trailer in near Turn 17 and I unloaded the Corvette and rushed to tech as the sun dropped.

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The tech guys got me in fairly quickly, right as it was getting dark, and they went over the car with a fine toothed comb. The only thing they could find were the side post battery terminals were uncovered... now normally I'd agree that a top post battery ALWAYS needs plastic around the terminals in case something gets dropped on them, but these were buried on the side and covered by the fiberglass body. Some duct tape and I was legal for this event. I will add the rubber terminal covers soon.

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Any time you have a new car teched for NASA Club Racing classes or NASA Time Trial for the first time you have to get a NASA Log Book and a NASA annual tech sticker. The log book cost me $20 and the annual tech decal cost me $10. From here on it would only need the annual $10 decal, as the Log book is good for the life of the car. We're working with NASA to be able to issue log books here at Vorshlag, which should happen soon.

They didn't have the scales set-up Friday night, due to a mix-up with the ramps, so I left the ballast in the car a bit on the heavy side (about 25 pounds over by my calculation) and figured I would weigh the car in the morning before we went out on track. Nobody likes to get a surprise weighing and end up underweight, so I ALWAYS try to weigh the car at the track on Friday or Saturday to make sure our scale numbers match up with their scales.

Reloaded the car back in the trailer, said hi to everyone hanging out, and shared half of a pizza, which I scarfed down on my way to Matteucci's at 7 pm. Crashed out at his place and dreamed of this track layout all night...

Saturday January 17th, 2015 - Race Day 1

I hastily made the TT map (below) for Motorsports Ranch Houston (MSR-H) right before leaving town Friday, which shows not only the track layout and direction we'd be running this weekend but also two special cues for the TT group. First is the "Bunch Up" line, which is between Turns T7 and T6. On the out lap in each session TT drivers can drive somewhat erratically to scrub tires and warm brakes from Pit Out to this line. When cars approach the Bunch Up line they need to quit screwing around and form a single file line with tight spacing. This is done to keep the field from getting spread out and hopefully prevent the front of the field from catching the tail.

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The second line to note for the out lap is the "Go Green" line, where the leader of the pack should get up to speed, this time so the field isn't bunched up too tight going into the first braking zone. Starting to go green too LATE only keeps the field bunched up on the first hot lap, usually making that lap slower than it should be for everyone. The TT field should be gridded fastest to slowest, in that order, and this order changes all weekend if a driver goes faster (but not if they go slower).

We had our TT meeting at 8 am Saturday right before our first TT session, called "TT Warm Up" scheduled at 8:45 am Saturday morning. In the meeting we met all the new TT drivers, talked about safety aspects, and went over two areas that will be policed as "out of bounds" and counted as a 4 off if the driver is caught with 4 wheels past outside curbing in two spots that are paved beyond the track limits. Its a long story but there's a shortcut going CW at Turn 1 if you drive inside a curb and knock over the cones they have there to separate the Pit In lane. Another area is between T16 and T17. Each Race Director (RD) makes these decisions and declares out of bounds for each Race Group. Our RD for Time Trial is Richard Wootten.

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Saturday's "TT Warm Up" is a unique TT session for the entire weekend. We grid ourselves by guesswork (since nobody has any lap times yet) and then the times from this session are what are used to grid the field for the first "real" TT session, TT session 1. Times from the TT warm up do not count for competition, but gridding well is important. Lastly, Saturday counts as a separate competition from Sunday, and each day we have 3-5 sessions to get our best single lap time in. The goal is to have the best lap time in class, and a first place finish in a given day nets you 100 points for the regional championship. Hopefully you win your class with enough competitors entered to score contingencies. The only one I care about is tires: to win Hoosiers you need 5 in class per day to score 2 tires for 1st place. With 7 in class they will additionally pay 1 tire to 2nd place. That's assuming the 1st and 2nd place drivers are signed up ahead of time with the Hoosier contingency program, and run Hoosier tires and decals all weekend.

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Left: The R7 looks good after the first session. Right: The hope is to buy the first set and win 4 more each weekend...?

I got to grid fairly early at Warm Up and slotted in about 8th in line, behind Alan Page's TTB prepped E46 M3. Alan is a customer we know from previous work we've done to his car and he's also fast, with several wins and track records to his name. He was shooting for the TTB track record, set 2 years prior by another E46 TTB racer KenO. A lot has changed in the last 2 years, both to the prep level of cars in NASA Texas as well as the track and that day's conditions. Two years ago was COLD yet all of the old MSR-Houston CW records were set that year. We felt like many TT records would fall at this event, especially the TTC record of 1:50.534.

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Video of first laps ever in DANGERZONE - the Saturday TT Warm Up session

If you watch the video above you will see me learning to drive this car while taking it easy on a new set-up. Before that session I had never driven the car more than 100 feet. I guess I know MSR-H fairly well, having driven it maybe 5 previous weekends in the past 6-7 years, but its by no means an easy track. It is also run in both directions and the two courses are quite different, and I think I've done this config 2 or 3 times. The 2.38 mile course was run ClockWise this weekend.

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So I went out in the Warm-up and tried to follow Allan's TTB E46 M3, who had been there testing on Friday and was dialed in. He was also wearing his fancy newly painted helmet livery! He was on a sticker set of 245mm Hoosier R7s so I figured our grip levels would be similar, but his power-to-weight ratio should exceed ours so he'd probably pull away from me - which he did. Luckily I gridded early and got ahead of most of the field, including the other three TTC cars.

continued below


Last edited by Fair on Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:59 am 
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continued from above

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The other TTC cars included BJ Mayer's 2003 Mini Cooper S, from Clown Shoe Motorsports, above. This was his beefed, up daily driven, TTC car's debut. It has a better power to weight ratio due to the 205mm tire he runs (>245mm tire = +0.8 ) as well as it being FWD (+1.0), for an unadjusted ratio of (12.0 - 0.8 - 1.0) of 10.2:1 pounds per whp. This car had GAZ coilovers, Vorshlag camber plates, a header/exhaust, supercharger and engine engine mods to help it make more power. I think his race weight was 2550 pounds or so? He told me but I forgot. He was on the SpecMiata tire, which is a 205mm "SM7" Hoosier (essentially an R7).

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The TTC regular for the Texas Region was Herberto Ferrer in his 2005 RX8. This car is pretty well prepped and he runs the Hankook R-compound race tire, but I am unsure of the rest of his mods. This is a dedicated race car, though, and he is at almost all of the NASA Texas events running TTC. We also had Bryan Leinart who brought his CMC 4th gen Camaro into TTC for two sessions (Warm up and TT session 1) on Saturday and Sunday.

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The ugly side of the Corvette. We're working on it.

I took my first two laps pretty easy in the TT Warm-up and tried to follow Allan, as planned. I was still feeling out the car, shift points, brakes, and tires when I botched a downshift going from 5th to 4th into the Courusel, T2, on hot lap 2. Instead of grabbing 4th as I had hoped it went into 6th, but I didn't realize that for a few hundred yards. The motor made all sorts of grumbling noises and had ZERO power. I coasted for about 400 yards around the long 270° corner dubbed the Carousel (Turn 1) and even past the start finish line. I had seen a 1:49 on predictive timing flash by on that lap, but with the long period of coasting it made for only a 1:50.692 lap. I finally figured out what happened by T17, downshifted into 3rd and set-up for another hot lap. Then I caught the back of the field pretty quickly and started smelling some oil smoke, so I came in early.

What I had found when I went into 6th was what the engine tuner warned me about - there's a massive dead spot in the engine between 2000-2200 rpms. Nothing happens - it makes no power. This makes the car drive poorly at these low RPMs, as when you hit 2000 it wants to die. So I made a note to keep the revs above that range, even on the warm-up and cool down laps, and it didn't happen again all weekend. Kind of freaked me out when it happened, though. "Old car stuff"... probably a worn out sensor or something, but the 1992-only engine computer is really limited and hard to diagnose issues with.

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Once I came in I went back to my paddock spot and Matteucci and I looked at the smoking issue. Just as he had warned me it was the rear main seal leaking. He had already replaced the RMS once, so I figured it had to be something else. After power washing the bottom of the car to clean all the oil residue off, it never leaked another drop when idling at the shop... but after a few hot laps on track it was clearly a leaking RMS. After we let the car cool for 20 minutes with the hood up we moved the car to get it in the air, and the oil spot (see above) was the extent of the puddle. Not much, about the size of my hand, but every drop that leaks out while driving on course hits the exhaust 4 inches away and made for a SMOKE screen. Luckily this only started after two hot laps.

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Times from TT Warm-up - I was in 4th out of 4 in TTC!

I thought we would be sitting up front of the class, even with the 1:50 time, but that was wrong - I was in LAST PLACE out of 4, ouch! I quickly got some text messages from people who weren't at the event asking me why I was so slow, hehe. It's easy to armchair quarterback something when you are hundreds of miles away. The fastest TTC car was the CMC Camaro (1:48.069), followed by BJ's Mini (1:49.768 lap), then Herberto's RX8 (1:50.324) then my coasting time of 1:50.692 bringing up the rear. I suspect my first session times may have lulled some folks into thinking we'd be eating dust all day, but I honestly wasn't worried. Much.

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So Matteucci and I got the car in the air on two jack stands and I crawled underneath to clean off the accumulation of engine oil, which wasn't much. A bit of brake parts cleaning and some blue shop paper towel and it was spotless underneath after 5 minutes. It wouldn't drip once the engine cooled off, but this was also wasn't something we could properly fix track side. The RMS repair would require removing the transmission, clutch and flywheel back at the shop. Once all that is out we could then assess the issue and probably install a "seal saver kit" for what is likely a ring scored around the back of the crank.

We went over the rest of the car and it all looked great - including tire wear (perfect) and oil level (still totally full). Brakes felt a little spongy but not enough to bleed yet. Warm tire pressures were 34-35 psi, which is right where the Hoosier A7/R7 "Tire Care Tips" article said to shoot for. After I noted that I had a bit of syncho "snick" going onto 5th gear, Brian adjusted the clutch pedal travel stop that he built, moving it a hair to allow for more clutch dis-engagement. These 3-plate clutches are tricky to set-up and a bit of a chore in the pits... I stalled it a few times until I got the hang of it. The release range is VERY narrow and with almost no flywheel mass the motor has less momentum - making it easy to stall at low speeds. But once at speed? Oh, yea it was worth it! You actually have to shift pretty quickly to allow the revs to match, otherwise the engine slows down too much and lurches even on upshifts.

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After checking multiple times that day the NASA scales were still not operational and we were told they would be down for the rest of the day. Knowing that we could have pulled all the ballast out but that would have been a douche move, so we left it all in and even topped the fuel tank off after each session, to keep the tank full and to count on the 120 pounds of fuel ballast. Limiting our runs to 2 hot laps, plus the out- and in-laps, the car was using 1.5 gallons of 93 octane gasoline per session. This was good to know since we were using extra fuel as ballast. I always wanted to be ready if the scales suddenly became operational - weighing under your declared minimum weight (3203) will DSQ the times from the session you just ran, as does a 4-wheel off or spin on course.

Matteucci was signed off for his TT license, since he had extensive SCCA club racing experience. Our "tactical plan" at the start of the day was that I would drive the first two sessions and he would drive the last two. But with the oil leak he declined to drive at all, and I changed my own plans to only take one or two hot laps per session, thereafter. The weather during the warm-up session was cold and I knew the track would get quicker once the sun beat down on the asphalt a bit, so I got geared up for the second TT session of the day, "TT Session 1", which I had hoped would also be my last for Saturday.

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Just part of the 32 car Saturday TT grid, lined up for session 2

I was 12th on grid, right behind BJ's Mini, and was anxious to knock out a better lap. I still felt that the 1:46 lap I predicted was possible, I just needed to put it together and avoid any mistakes. I left a pretty big gap to BJ on the out-lap and didn't do any tire scrubbing. The R7s don't need any warming on this car, and they just work. I really REALLY like this compound and I am glad we made this choice. They wear well and grip was well past 1.2g lateral, in the data logging. Dyson Pham had something like 22 heat cycles on his R7s and still won TT3 on Sunday.

Went out and the first lap was a 1:47 and gobbling up the gap to BJ pretty hard. I went ahead and took a second hot lap and finally nailed the speed into and out of the big Carousel, which plays a big part in any lap at MSR-H. The speedo was showing 110 mph at the "Launch" (T13-14), 119 mph entering T6 on the back straight, and 113 mph entering the Carousel (T2) and 86 mph though that crucial turn. When I saw the AiM SOLO show my second lap at a 1:44.956 I knew that had reset the old lap record by nearly 6 seconds, so I took a cool down and came in.... with the biggest smile on my face in months. :D

Saturday TT Results: http://timingscoring.drivenasa.com/NASA_Texas_Region/2015%20-%20Official%20Results/MSR-Houston/Saturday/

After seeing the times from that session I noted that our car was the 7th quickest TT car out of 32 entrants so far. But then I noticed we only had 4 in class, so I went looking for a TT driver and instructor who hadn't run TT yet that day. Once you declare a class you have to stay there for the rest of the day. An old college friend Chris Ramey had been having fun in his TT1 Corvette on street tires, running in HPDE4 that morning, and jumped at the chance to take a ride into the #DANGERZONE! Ramey owns 4 Corvettes at the moment, including a C6 Z06, a C5 Z06, an '87 Z51 C4 and a Callaway Twin Turbo C4. Our TTC prepped C4 would be one of the slowest cars he had driven in a while, heh.

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After getting the car reset to drive (jack up, clean oil, etc) and adding his registration as 192 TTC, attaching my second (battery powered) AMB transponder to the car and switched off the primary AMB, we had our 5th unique TTC entry. He strapped into the car and asked me what the target lap was. I knew Chris would be fast, and he has a tendency to go "Faster than you'd expect" so I told him to run a 1:46 lap. And asked him to only take one lap, due to the smoke. He got to grid for the 3rd TT session of the day and promptly put in a 1:46.165 time on his first and only lap, watching the AiM SOLO predictive timer closely. Normally I'd have told him to go for broke but he wasn't signed up with Hoosier contingency and I was, so we held him back... Chris told me he felt a 1:43 was possible. Yikes!
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End of day Saturday TT Results - #DANGERZONE takes P1 and P2!

The rest of the TTC class didn't get much faster and the sun went behind the clouds right after that session, which cooled the track down. I felt fairly confident that the times would slow down in the 4th session and we sat out the last chance to put in a lap that day. That always makes me nervous but the cooler temps did indeed slow everyone down and my one timed hot lap for the day was enough to win the class, and Ramey's handicapped lap was still good enough for 2nd. BJ and Herberto got quicker after the Warm-Up and beat the fastest entry from that session, the CMC Camaro of Leinart, and every single TTC entry that day clobbered the old class track record.

The TTC win with 5 entries netted us 2 tires from Hoosier and 100 points for the regional championship. The Mini's time was still pretty close to Ramey's but about 1.4 seconds back from my time, so we were definitely keeping an eye on the Mini and the RX8 for Sunday. Anything could happen tomorrow, which was a whole new race.

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After Ramey's lap was done we got the car cooled off, up on jack stands, cleaned up the oil residue again, then bled the brakes (in the strange order you are supposed to on a C4) with some RBF600 and rotated the tires. We didn't need to do that last bit, but it didn't hurt and took no extra work. Chris had complained of a long brake pedal and he was right - the pedal felt like mush. Bleeding it didn't help much so it was something we'd have to keep an eye on all weekend and address back at the shop. The fluid looked perfect and the 4 corner bleed produced zero bubbles. Hmm. Matteucci found some RTV and pookie'd up the bottom of the bellhousing, hopefully slowing down the smoke - he was covered in black RTV when he was done, though.

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Left: The smoke looked like this after 2 laps, time to come in or risk a black flag. Right: Sunset Saturday at MSR-H

Very happy with the first result considering how little we did to the car. The tire wear was phenomenal even with only -2° front/-2.5° rear camber. Toe was 1/8" out up front and 1/8" toe in rear - Matteucci had strung the car himself and we left the alignment alone. The 34-35 psi pressures worked perfectly. The car was neutral if a bit loose, which is just how I like it. The brakes were far from perfect but replacing the 24 year old rubber brake lines might make a huge improvement, as would some real brake cooling (there just wasn't time).

The regular Saturday NASA party was great, with excellent bar-b-q and beer, trophies for the class winners, and pictures for the NASA newsletter. Dozens of people asked about the build and were amazed at the 1:44 lap time,and we had dozens more stop by the paddock both days wanting to see the car and admitting that they followed this build thread. After we had our fill of food we went back to the VERY dark paddock to load the car in the trailer... the trailer door was blocked. Hmm, car has no windows and I couldn't find anyone. After we left I texted Paul Costas and he added a blanket to the car to keep moisture/dew out - which we dubbed his "woobie". It looked hilarious the next morning, for sure.

Sunday January 18th, 2015 - Race Day 2

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Costas' woobie kept project #DANGERZONE warm and dry, hehehe

Matteucci was going to work on his C5 Z06 all day so I was on my own for Sunday, but Jaaon Toth planned to help me with the car in the paddock, plus he took a bunch of pics with my camera. I got to the track by 7:30 am, had tons of time, so I ran down to Buc-cee's and got breakfast burritos for everyone in our paddock area, a giant bag of ice for the coolers and filled up the F-350 with diesel. Was back by 8 am with the first session scheduled for 8:50 am.

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Left: TT3 racer Joshua Garcia brought his Toyota 1UZ V8 swapped AE86 and had a blast. Right: An E46 330Ci which used to be mine

Figuring the first session would be cold again, and still needing an extra TTC entry, I asked TT driver/instructor Jason Toth to take the first session in the Corvette as TTC 192. Since Sunday and Saturday are separate races, using the same number as Ramey did the day before isn't a conflict. We strapped the extra transponder back on and he got to grid for the chilly first session. I was again hoping the same cars from Saturday would enter and give us five in TTC so the winner would get two tires, whoever that might be.

continued below


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:59 am 
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continued from above

Jason's lap was a bit compromised due to a TT3 car that spun right in front of him on his first and only hot lap, shown above. He backed off but drove through the smoke and took a sedate lap, putting one in the books and keeping out of trouble. He said he felt a bit rusty and jumping into a strange car with such a crazy clutch was a challenge. I appreciate the effort and it would probably only take a few laps for him to be right there on times, as I've raced with him for many years.

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As the temps rose it started to smoke and it was dripping a bit when Toth went to the scales. The tech guys wanted to see the car again before we went back out so I took the car back to paddock, did the raise/clean/reseal trick after the car had cooled off. Once it was back to tech it wasn't leaking a drop and they cleared me for laps once again.

At this point I wanted to only take one lap and head home. A headache was starting (probably from sniffing brake parts cleaner for two days!) and looking at the weather it seemed that session 2 on Sunday might be the "golden session" where the best lap times of the weekend would end up. Got up to 70 degrees in the afternoon but was still low 60s for session 2.

Allan Page had run a 1:41.013 for a new TTB record in the morning but he also felt like session 2 would be faster. We weren't scheduled to go out until after 11 am, so we had a long break to reset the car. Meanwhile the sun did come out and warmed up the track. I got the transponders swapped back, got my suit and gear on, and went to grid sitting in P8 overall for this session, ahead of the rest of the TTC field and even some TT3 cars.

I was going to be putting in ONE hot lap, for the day, and it needed to be as perfect as possible. The goal was to go fast enough to ensure no other entries could touch the lap time for the rest of the day, so I could leave early with a little confidence. Ramey had predicted a 1:43 the day before but with the spongy brakes I wasn't sure. After frantically searching I realized that BJ had left Saturday night, apparently with a broken exhaust header. That left us with just 4 in class - Oh well, whoever won TTC today wasn't going to win any Hoosiers.

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In the video above from this session you can see that the front of the field was really slow to take the green flag on the out lap and it bunched up the whole field badly on the straight before the Carousel. I was behind Dyson's TTB S2000 (running light and racing in TT3 for the day, trying to beat my old TT3 lap record and win that class). I wasn't sure about his power levels or times, other than he was gridded ahead of me so he had to be running quicker. Still, I backed off a bit on the run up to the Carousel.

Sunday TT Results: http://timingscoring.drivenasa.com/NASA_Texas_Region/2015%20-%20Official%20Results/MSR-Houston/Sunday/

I had talked with the TT3 driver gridded behind me, telling him I was going to be taking ONE hot lap than I'd get out of his way. But he saw me back off of the S2000 on the out lap and passed me. Technically we're not supposed to pass on the out lap (double yellow) but it wasn't a big deal... other than I had to back off a lot into that turn before we began the hot lap. I tried to gap him enough to avoid this, but as we took the start/finish I was gaining on him and had to brake early into T17. Crap, I figured my lap was ruined, but then he nearly spun off track in T16. He had some spin issues that weekend and I was ready for that. Once he got it straightened up he was way off line and I snuck inside him with a clean pass and got on with my lap. I probably lost only a half second there, at worst.

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That lap was great and the car felt hooked up everywhere. I still had plenty of driving mistakes like early braking into "the Launch" and probably the T6 corner off the back straight as well, but it was still my quickest lap of the weekend. As I came around for the start/finish on this first hot lap I felt like it would match Saturday's time but instead it was a solid 1.2 seconds faster with a 1:43.733. Booya! Thinking the pass slowed me down I took a second lap but it was slower at a 1:44.3. I didn't try to push my luck with a black flag for smoke so I backed off after that and came into the pits. Wootten was watching and sent me to the scales, warning me that this entry was under "special scrutiny" from the National level and if I was light my times would get bounced (which is normal).

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Before my session (at left) and afterwards (at right) in Impound, where I was scaled

I wasn't worried and just as expected I was 25 pounds over our minimum weight of 3203 pounds at 3228. That's exactly what I was shooting for - a big, safe margin of 25 pounds for this first event. For my first time to scales all weekend I was damned happy that our weighing and ballast had been perfectly in line on our scales as on NASA's. With constant fuel top offs after each session, this means we can run a good 15 pounds lighter next time (I'll always leave a 10 pound safety buffer over our minimum weight, at least).

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After I got back to paddock and changed into my street clothes I let the car cool down and then looked at the results and decided to skip the last two sessions. I still had that pounding headache and a 5 hour drive home to look forward to, so I started loading up the trailer. When the car was cool enough I drove it inside (which itself was a huge win!) and strapped it down, then said some goodbyes and hit the road. With a pair of wins, a track record reset by 7 seconds, two tires won on Saturday (only 4 in class Sunday means no tires were available), 200 points towards the class for the regional championship, and knowing that I was able to back up the smack talk. Whew, what a relief!

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Allan ran his best lap of the weekend in his E46 M3 and reset the TTB record to a 1:40.805, which was almost exactly 3 seconds quicker than my new TTC record. The overall results for that session are here and it looks like we were 7th quickest for the day, out of a total of 38 TT drivers for the weekend (we had several new TT drivers added after Saturday check-rides). I'm very happy with that lap time, and never thought we'd only be two seconds off of our old TT3 lap record in his old heap, but the track was fast that weekend and 6 new TT lap records were set - many of them on the Hoosier R7.

New MSR-H CW lap records set this weekend:
TTE - Team Black Armor - 1:49.525
TTC - Team Vorshlag - 1:43.733
TTB - Allan Page - 1:40.805
TT2 - Bill Woods - 1:38.550
TT1 - Raymund Guerrero - 1:37.114
TTU - Paul Costas - 1:34.301

Only the TTD, TT3 (our's) and TTF records remain unchanged from 2013.

So that was our first race report - probably too detailed and boring for everyone, but I wanted to explain the extra entries/drivers in our car, the challenges we had with the brakes and rear main seal, as well as show some of the competition we're up against. It should be a fun year!

Thanks Go To...

Big thanks to the Vorshlag crew for busting ass and getting the prep done in such a short time frame. Also thanks Matteucci for helping me at the track Saturday and letting me crash at his place both Friday and Saturday nights. He never got to drive the car due to the smoke and I feel bad that he didn't get any seat time. Sucks more because as he has a WRL race at MSR-H soon coming up.

I also need to thank him for the top notch car prep he did on the car for the years before we bought it. Matteucci owned, built and tested this car for three years and did all of the non-safety prep that wasn't detailed in my previous posts here. So much "old part replacement" maintenance, gutting the interior, got the car light, the crazy 3-disc clutch, the oil pan, the new Opti and more. We were damned lucky to get a car this well sorted to start with, as the work he did would have taken months to knock out.

Event picture and video gallery: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-Events/NASA-MSR-H-011715/

Five years ago Jason and I had seen the potential of this car and wondered why nobody had built one for TTC. When Matteucci wanted to build a TT car two years later I told him about the LT1 C4 in TTC and he jumped on it, found this car for a steal, and did all of this work to get it ready. After doing one RMS he found that it was leaking once again and just didn't want to mess with it - and neither did I, but I wish we had! I foolishly assumed it was something else, but was wrong. Would have been a much more enjoyable weekend without the smoke screen. ;)

What's Next + Remaining 2015 Race Schedule?

These are the remaining Time Trial competition events we want to enter with this car in 2015:
  • February 14-15 - SCCA Club Trials @ TWS
  • March 14-15 - NASA @ MSR-Cresson
  • April 25-26 - NASA @ TWS
  • June 13-14 - NASA @ Hallett Summer Shootout
  • July 31-Aug 2 - NASA @ Laguna Seca - Western States Championships
  • September 4-6 - NASA @ VIR - Eastern States Championships
  • September 26-27 - NASA @ MSR-Houston Counter-Clockwise
  • October 17-18 - NASA @ "TBA" (???)
  • November - NASA @ "TBA" (???)
You may notice that I have removed the USCA and Goodguys events from our season schedule. After some rules changes I strongly disagree with (that were actually aimed at our car), and what I felt was a botched Optima event in Vegas, we won't be trying to sneak Project DangerZone into these "street car" events - even though there are much more gutted, purpose built race cars racing in both. I'm going to give USCA another year to get the bugs worked out in their series before we jump into that circus again. We had only planned to do Goodguys in this car to test for USCA, and without a set of different wheels and 200 treadwear tires, the C4 isn't legal for either series at the moment.

Even though people think all we do here at Vorshlag is "work on Terry's cars" that is not at all the case. We had to squeeze in this prep in between customer jobs or after hours and only had time to do the basic safety prep, the brakes and tires, but just ran out of time to investigate the RMS, upgrade brake lines and fabricate the brake cooling this car obviously needs.

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A dedicated track test like this is a MUCH better way to try out a new car BEFORE it is ever run in competition

And while this MSR-H NASA weekend was a great "Test" for us, and it was successful, the RIGHT way to do this would have been to get the car ready WEEKS before any competition event and test the car at a track somewhere, to work out the bugs and see where failures happen. Please don't take this one LUCKY example of us getting a car prepped in 8 days and winning/setting track records as the norm. It is not. Normally this quick-build process sans testing is a guaranteed way to look like a jackass and FAIL. But I'd rather be lucky than good...

The next event on our schedule is the SCCA Club Trials event, which we will likely miss. While I'd love to enter the Feb 17-17th event at TWS, which would be a great way to help that club grow it's PDX/Trials program and to test for NASA at TWS later this year, we're just too booked. We have some V8 swap projects we HAVE to wrap up for customers, plus the CNC machines are finally cutting metal, so Jason and I will be buried building hundreds of bits we need to fulfill backorders. There's no way we can work on #DANGERZONE in the next month so I have it stashed in my trailer for the time being. I will make NASA @ MSR-Cresson, however, and we will HAVE to do the RMS repair before that event.

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We had talked about swapping the metal-puck triple disc pack for a Kevlar twin disc pack while the trans was out (for the RMS repair) but I kinda like the metal clutch now and I think we'll keep it. Front brake cooling and a new set of BrakeQuip flex lines will be built, for sure. We have found some clever ways to cool the brakes on a customer's C4 and we will employ similar tricks on this TTC build.

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I'd like to address the body roll and brake dive this car has (see above), due to the stock swaybars and springs. The OEM replacement Bilstein shocks were also very "floaty" over the launch and anytime we touched a curb. The car handled like stock because it still had all the stock bits, but with 24 years of deterioration in many areas. The OEM rubber suspension bushings are disintegrated but we can replace those with non-metal bushings for zero points and $0 (Matteucci included a full set of poly bushings with the car). We still have 3 points left for mods - what do YOU think we should do with them? Here's a list of possible mods we might use the remaining points in TTC for:
  • Springs +2. This could be aftermarket or OEM springs outside of the BTM 1992-96 Corvette options
  • Swaybars +2. Burning two points would allow us to go with any aftermarket swaybar at both ends, providing its not cockpit adjustable
  • Shocks +3. This is an expensive way to burn three points considering we have stock bars and spring rates
  • Cold Air / Hood Venting +1. This is an unusual mod rule which allows all sorts of holes in the front bumper cover and hood for both cold air intake inlet as well as engine bay venting.
  • Headers +2 points. As much as I'd love to do this its almost impossible to add real headers without taking +1 for moving/removing/replacing the cars and +2 for after-cat exhaust changes. And we're already at the limit for power at this weight.
  • Adding 10mm of tire is +1 and adding 20mm is +3. That's tempting but I felt like we had more than adequate grip and tire wear was very good.

Give us your input - we'd love to hear what you think would make DangerZone faster. Remember: we have a very tight budget for purchasing parts and only 3 points left to play with in TTC. While I'd love to go nuts with an expanded TTB build of this car (and another 20 points of mods), that isn't in the cards this year.

Low Profile Build? Not So Much

This build thread has exceeded my hopes as far as how many people have read it (many thousands). We're posting it on 5 forums now (GRM, NASA Texas, SCCAForums, Corner-Carvers and Vorshlag) and I had probably 50 people talk to me at the NASA event and say they enjoyed reading it. One piece of potential bad news is that we now have some extra scrutiny at the highest level. We heard that the National PT/TT director Greg G has noticed our little build, as well as one other recently built Corvette TTC entry - Dave Schotz. Greg even called our TT director at the track and asked about our car. Uh-oh...

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We know Dave from both his owning SCCAforums (one of the places we are posting this build thread) as well as his many previous wins in SCCA and NASA. We found out that he quietly built a 1991 Corvette and ran it in TTC for the first time a week before we ran our car. He told me he has always wondered why nobody built a C4 for this class, and when the tire points changed this year he decided to build one to replace his TTC Camaro (shown above in 2013, when he won THREE national titles in the same week!). With minor race prep and a set of 275mm R6 tires he has already racked up wins and a TTC track record at his first event. I won't say any more than that as Dave is likely to run his car at NASA Nationals West and he doesn't have "public build threads" like we do. If we can, we'll run our car at NASA Nationals East and hopefully NEVER have to run head-to-head with Dave... because he has a LOT of national championships. :D

Unfortunately this car Dave built, and our car if it does well, will probably get the C4 Corvettes a lot of scrutiny at Nationals and if either one does well, it might get these cars re-classed next year. I hope that isn't the case, and I expect that Greg will look at Dave's previous wins in a number of cars as well as the work we're doing before he makes any big changes. This car has been classed in TTC (and even TTD) for 5+ years without any alarm bells going off. Just a fluke that two serious C4 Corvette TTC builds happened to debut one week apart... what can you do? I'm just hoping we can make it through this season without any road blocks or rules changes... I like the car and want to continue developing and racing it for this season.

Until next time,

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:44 pm 
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The exhaust rules changed this year Terry, may want to look at them. It's alot tougher to piecemeal a part here or there for minimal points, it basically encourages you to do headers & all the way back for +5 and be done with it. You can no longer just do headers though. Besides, if you're right now just 2whp under the cap for your car & weight and stuff, you can't really use the power anyway like you said.

As an aside - the "full race" moniker people do use is funny though. What defines that? A rollcage? Something else? Where's the line?? Like you said some of these Street Car competition series struggle with that definition, especially as people prepare to the limits they set out initially.

I think you should do both Nationals, or at least go to one with some competition. It'll at least make the smack talk leading up to it more entertaing / outrageous I think. I think you may also get less backlash for it if you indicate it's in jest a little better. Could've fooled many... (see "wow full of testosterone" comments, etc) It wasn't clear to me and my biggest complaint wasn't that you were doing it but that it felt pretty disrepectful to those that had and/or currently did run in the class since the jest factor / for comedy factor wasn't clear to me at all. It is interesting to see that you did hit your targets though, so kudos there, even going farther than I thought the car could do that's for sure. Hopefully the coaching work I'm doing will get you closer competition throughout the year. :) Otherwise I'll have to do something dumb, like spend my "race car" nest egg on parts and do it myself :twisted:

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Ken Brewer - formerly 1994 Toyota MR2 #6 TTF, PTF, E3
2012 C6Z06
2010 RX8 R3


Last edited by kbrew8991 on Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:41 pm 
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Fair wrote:
We have about $5000 dollars in parts/car purchase and about 60 hours of shop work (we log all jobs to the 1/100th of an hour) in this build so far.


So you have more hours in these posts than the car build? :lol: Just pickin' on ya.

On a serious note, I do have a question...how real-world is the cost of this build? I saw a price list in a previous post and it listed a Quartermaster clutch for ~700.00. Did it require any supporting parts that weren't in the price list?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:56 pm 
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braknl8 wrote:
...On a serious note, I do have a question...how real-world is the cost of this build? I saw a price list in a previous post and it listed a Quartermaster clutch for ~700.00. Did it require any supporting parts that weren't in the price list?


That was a ballpark price because the car came with it. When I've done these in the past, it usually entails either a new flywheel, or a button flywheel and OEM flexplate, the actual clutch components, the clutch to flywheel bolts (they are usually AN bolts), new flywheel to crank bolts (I usually just go to ARP for these) and either a custom throwout bearing, or a throwout bearing adapter that mates to the clutch fingers properly. After all that, the setup usually requires a clutch pedal stop to keep from over traveling the clutch cover. Prices are all over the board from the expensive AP and Tilton parts, to the less expensive Quartermaster and 10,000RPM setups.

Real world price doesn't include the money the previous owner spent restoring all the stock parts that needed refreshing. He got discouraged and didn't want to mess with it when he had a newer car, and sold it most likely at a loss because it looked like a mess to most folks, and his friend Terry bought it and promised him a ride in it.

But really, so far we have bought inexpensive OEM brake parts, track pads, fluid, some used wheels, new Hoosiers, new replacement Bilsteins, and...can't think of anything else other than the safety equipment and the transponder parts. Oh yeah, we did a windshield. That's been about it. We've got game plans for the build to go a couple different ways, but the points available make it pretty inexpensive and the scrutiny we will face won't let us be clever with the rules (don't think we will need to).

The cost of the roll bar, and upcoming roll cage wasn't presented, but to build one right you have to cut some access holes in the tub and close them back up with fiberglass or aluminum panels. The cage is already tricky enough, but the additional cost of the closing panels brings it up another notch.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:44 pm 
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modernbeat wrote:
braknl8 wrote:
...On a serious note, I do have a question...how real-world is the cost of this build? I saw a price list in a previous post and it listed a Quartermaster clutch for ~700.00. Did it require any supporting parts that weren't in the price list?


That was a ballpark price because the car came with it.


Thanks for your detailed reply. I apologize for questioning. I was confused as in the price list there was a car purchase price of 3k then the qm for 599 (just looked back to double-check), as two separate line items. I took that as it was purchased along with the seat and other items that were purchased after the initial car purchase.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:28 pm 
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braknl8 wrote:
modernbeat wrote:
braknl8 wrote:
...On a serious note, I do have a question...how real-world is the cost of this build? I saw a price list in a previous post and it listed a Quartermaster clutch for ~700.00. Did it require any supporting parts that weren't in the price list?


That was a ballpark price because the car came with it.


Thanks for your detailed reply. I apologize for questioning. I was confused as in the price list there was a car purchase price of 3k then the qm for 599 (just looked back to double-check), as two separate line items. I took that as it was purchased along with the seat and other items that were purchased after the initial car purchase.


I think Terry's intent was presenting prices as if some random person was putting this car together. Not us with our connections in the community and parts sources.

And there's no issue with questions. That's the reason for the thread.


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