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52nd Illgen Enduro - SCCA Thunderhill#75

Old 10-28-11, 04:17 PM
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Talking 52nd Illgen Enduro - SCCA Thunderhill#75

Every year, following the last regional race of the season the San Francisco region runs an enduro hosted by the Racing Drivers Club. Guy and I had always mumbled about running the enduro but never seemed to get farther then that. This year Guy was poised to do it in his car. Around August I came to the conclusion that due to work/time/budget constraints my season was going to be limited and that my car was much fresher then Guys. (not to mention faster :-) ) It seemed a no brainer to use my car for the race. So the wheels were put in motion......

My car, the #75 has a strong history of Endurance racing, with 4 Daytona 24hr race starts and two finishes. Of course that was in a much milder state of tune and 14 years ago. For the 4 hour race our biggest obstical to overcome was fuelling and mileage. The car has a dual drybreak system on it. It works great when you have a refuelling tower but we didnt'. Guy was able to source two 11 gallon dump cans with dry breaks from a vintage racer. These cans had been sitting around for a long time.
Once I got the bugs out of the cans, we went to work on modifying the cans and sorting the refuelling. I'll spare you the details and leave it at this....... It was saturday night before the race, the sun had set, Pete is holding the flashlight and fuel was pooring out of the back end of the car...... Were we going to pull this off?......Safety concerns aside there are huge time penalties for fuel spills.

Not having any data to go on for endurance running made planning the race strategy challenging. By my estimates and data accumulated from sprint races we were going to be hard pressed to make an hour of running before fuel. In theory, A 4 stop fuel strategy was not going to win this race. I was able to use my sprint race practice as an enduro test run. Running 1:59's at thunderhill, no full throttle, used up 10 gallons in 28 minutes. It looks as though we'll get an hour out of the tank.....an hour five if we push it.

On to race day. New tires and brake pads on both ends, 23.25 gallons of fuel stuffed into the cell....and holding. On to practice. Everything is coming together. Driver change practice, etc. We're going to make the show.

Race time......on grid with formidable competitors. A Ford GT40, A factory 5 Mulsaine endurance racecar, a Panoz GTS to name a few of the strong ones. The start comes off without a hitch, I gain a spot and keep my foot out of it with fuel conservation being the name of the game. I am able to maintain the 1:59 pace without much fuel burn and quickly dispatch the Panoz. My stint continues with open track and a solid, as planned pace. We get a two lap caution as the Factory 5 car decides to go sightseeing in turn 8 with a miata. During this time I start thinking that I can get to 1'hr 20 before coming in. We get back to green and I stay out. Each lap taking two minutes off the clock. I tell the guys to be ready and I pulll off another couple of laps....then at turn 14 the car hesitates and my low fuel pressure light flickers. Uh oh.....I know from sprint races that the flicker means one more lap.....I hope. I make it around and into the pits at 1hr 14 minutes. My stint is done. Here’s the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U92Ws7Z13Qs

Guy and Alberto have the fuel duties this stop. Pete is coming in as driver. This race requires two 5 minute pit stops. Plenty of time for the driver change....(around 1 min. 35 secs.) and to get her fueled up. Our fueling sorted out well. We ended up using the dump cans for for the first 15 gallons then spoon feeding the last 9 gallons. Our goal was not to spill and we didn't . Here's a video of our first stop.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvEVIg8ajoM

Slow and steady. We get Pete on track right at the 5 min mark. He gets the car on pace. We expected he would be a few seconds slower and perhaps have better fuel econ but weren't sure. What we did know was that we were in the race. Making the 1hr 20 mark meant a two stop strategy could work if things went our way.......and they did.

Half way in to the third hour the Panoz limped in , blowing smoke. They were done....... The ford GT 40 has turned up the heat and is now running in the 51's. 8 seconds faster. As the race continues Pete does a great job keeping the machine going at a great pace. Pete comes in after an hour and 5 min, totally spent, and we get Guy (fingerlock) in the car. Solidly in second place now with a two lap gap on 3 rd. We plan on a fuel stop to be sure and protect the podium. We agree at the 3.5hr mark.

With Guy 30 minutes in to his stint I look up and the Ford GT40 is now parked on the bypass. Done for the day. We are now P1 with 50 minutes or so to go. Guy eases the pace a bit to save the car.
At the 3.5 hr mark Guy comes in for fuel as planned. We decide on 9 gallons via the dump can. He makes the stop, the fuel goes in, and away he goes. No more then 20 seconds in the pit for 9 gallons. Total pit lane time 1 min 11 sec. Cool stuff and we retain P1 with 28 minutes to go.

Pete, Alberto and I are pretty stoked at this point. Thinking were actually going to win this thing. We go to the trackside wall to watch the minutes tick off. Nervously watching each lap go by. Guy does a great job of holding position and saving the car. Then at about 3hr46 minutes into the race we see Guy slowing and pointing by Miata's and spec racer fords .............WTF!!. (no radio) Is he out of Gas, Is he broken? We scramble back to the pit and prepare for another pit stop. Fuel? He still running down the back straight and comes around and stays out. OK, must be the transmission. We nervously watch the minutes tick. The P2 car smells blood and works to unlap himself......but at the end there wasn't enough time. Guy crosses the line with P1 intact and a P2 overall. A great effort by all of us. Little enduro experience, lot's of desire and even more luck.

The trophies for this race are large perpetual trophies that reside in a case at Thrunderhill. The names on the trophy, over 51 years worth, read like a whose who of regional and national drivers . Now addded to that list are Niles Baker, Guy Laidig and Peter Ternus. Special thanks to Alberto (Gracer7) for his pit help. Couldn't have done it without you. And great drives by Pete, and Guy.

One thing I really enjoyed was watching my car run....I never have as I've always been driving it.
Here's a rough I phone video of a front straight pass at about 135mph with Guy driving....turn up your volume. Forgive the camera angle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfVrYuJs-Cc
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Old 10-29-11, 11:04 AM
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My impressions of our goals going into the race were to have some fun and finish the race. We planned to run modest lap times and be conservative with the fuel and next thing we know we are running in second place overall.

It's funny how things just fall into place sometimes. I should have bought some lottery tickets at the end of the weekend!
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Old 10-30-11, 12:20 AM
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Yeah, you should have bought that lottery ticket.

You did pull both car numbers at the drawing.....
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Old 10-30-11, 04:21 AM
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Really cool stuff. Thank you for the videos. Great showing!
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Old 10-31-11, 12:52 AM
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Congrats Gents! Sounds like an awesome weekend!
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Old 10-31-11, 07:32 PM
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^^It was. I was crewing for these guys. Awesome show, race and car. 2-3 of those "reliable" V8 powered cars retired early with smoky engines. ;-)

Our neighbors in the next pit were running Spec Miatas. One car developed a wobble and one of the hubs was replaced in the hot pits. It was awesome to watch those guys wrenching hard and fast on SMOKING HOT brake and axles parts. Their second car came in sounding like a misfire. They replaced plugs and coil packs. Issue still persisted. Wound up being a blown motor.


It was surprisingly entertaining crewing. If you guys ever have the opportunity to help someone out in an endurance race, do so.
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Old 11-01-11, 10:55 PM
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Gracer ---- Thanks again for the pit work......It WAS a great time....Next time I promiss to keep you watered and fed....

They just published that write up in the RDC newsletter...... It's gone viral..... :-)
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Old 11-02-11, 06:56 AM
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So was anything wrong with your car on the last few laps?
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Old 11-02-11, 09:41 AM
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Yep, transmission lost third gear.....
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Old 11-02-11, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by SHPNOUT View Post
Yep, transmission lost third gear.....
AWESOME job fellas!

I wonder how that happened, I saw the previous days race vid lol
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Old 11-02-11, 12:02 PM
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Yeah, well...aah...third gear......I usually lose it on deceleration...but this one starting to groan on acceleration...I never went back into third gear again for fear of losing everything...

Fortunately, I have a couple more transmissions sitting in the garage...
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Old 11-02-11, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by finger lock View Post
Yeah, well...aah...third gear......I usually lose it on deceleration...but this one starting to groan on acceleration...I never went back into third gear again for fear of losing everything...

Fortunately, I have a couple more transmissions sitting in the garage...


I always have at least one spare on hand as well.

Like you guys I've lost 3 but each time it was while accelerating at around 7k RPMs and it's not pretty so you were wise to leave it alone. My last trans was awesome, wasn't making noise and was a joy to shift but it was super hot out and out of no where BOOM.
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Old 11-02-11, 05:29 PM
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FD Transmission + Fingerlock = Broken
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Old 11-03-11, 10:41 PM
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Supposedly the rotary is unreliable??? Seems like these results compared to some of the other contenders tell a different story.

You guys did a awesome job, I love reading and watching stuff like this.
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Old 11-04-11, 07:45 AM
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This reminds me of growing up watching Daytona 24, and Sebring 12 hour. Allll through the 70s and 80s, the Corvettes, and other Chevy/Ford V8s would ROAR to the front, and simply destroy the field in the early few hours....

Then they would all start dropping like flies by around 4 hours.
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Old 12-03-11, 07:48 PM
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Great job Niles and crew! was nice watching the videos


is this the same engine i built for you? curious as i like to keep tabs on my offspring. a little piece of me dies when i lose one of my motors.
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Old 12-08-11, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Karack View Post
Great job Niles and crew! was nice watching the videos


is this the same engine i built for you? curious as i like to keep tabs on my offspring. a little piece of me dies when i lose one of my motors.
Niles is away from the web for a while so I can answer this one for you. Unfortunately, no...the motor you built for Niles expired Labor Day weekend of 2010. Don't be sad though...Niles, and your motor, had just made a pass for the lead!

Guy

video of Niles flogging his car at Infioneon Sept 2010...

[youtube]UQqZubcq1Tg[/youtube]
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Old 12-09-11, 01:14 PM
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Nice

Here is the 2nd place trophy our team got in E3 for the 6 hour.



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Old 12-09-11, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by finger lock View Post
Niles is away from the web for a while so I can answer this one for you. Unfortunately, no...the motor you built for Niles expired Labor Day weekend of 2010. Don't be sad though...Niles, and your motor, had just made a pass for the lead!

Guy

video of Niles flogging his car at Infioneon Sept 2010...

[youtube]UQqZubcq1Tg[/youtube]
dammit! good video though, had me pinned as he was jockeying for the lead.
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Old 12-09-11, 05:09 PM
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Fantastic Recap. Thanks for sharing!
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