The first MotoIQ Pacific Tuner Car Championship presented by Motul was an interesting start to my 2015 wheel to wheel race season. The combination of scrambling to get Project Civic EF ready enough to race, the predicted rainy weather in the forecast, and new unproven setup changes put a significant amount of stress on my shoulders. The added factor of being on a provisional race license and rookie status with the sanctioning body NASA left me in a mindset of "Finish without incident" above all else. The more positive aspects going into the opening rounds was that the competitors in the field mostly consists of friends so the likelihood of a bonehead maneuver causing contact or a wreck was lower, and Willow Springs International Raceway is my favorite local track.
by Per Schroeder
Heyward Wagner has been tasked with helping the Sports Car Club of America grow and with that comes a pretty official, yet nebulous sounding title as the Director of Experiential Programs. Just who is he and what the heck does he do?
Driven: 2015 Subaru WRX
The 2015 WRX is the first time in a long time the WRX has received really major changes. Sure, they changed the head lights, wing size, and the body style some over the years. But mechanically, the cars had remained remarkably similar for a decade. That has all changed with the 2015 WRX. The new WRX is so good (reminds me quite a bit of my 2005 Evo 8 actually in terms of performance), I actually recommend it over the STI if used purely as a fun daily driver.
With the first MotoIQ Pacific Tuner Car Championship race weekend approaching fast after the initial shakedown at Buttonwillow Raceway in part 2, Project Civic EF Racecar had a laundry list of modifications, parts installs, and safety preparation to take care of. In retrospect as I write this article, I’m truly shocked but also proud how it all came together. But during the process, I was under a lot of stress. With not only a significant amount of mechanical changes happening to the car, but also a big exterior overhaul, the scheduling had to be extremely precise. The collaborative effort between myself, principal sponsors, and contributing shops was the only way Project EF made it to the MPTCC grid. Here’s the story as to how it all came together, right down to the wire.
Project Fiesta ST's owner started to really get the track day bug after we did our initial round of mods by installing suspension into the car. He then shocked us by telling us he wanted to take the car off the street and turn it into a full time track car and eventual race car. He suddenly gutted a lot of the car's interior out of it and wanted a cage.
We decided that if the car was going to become a race car we had better go all the way and do it right. We enlisted the help of Scott Dodgion of SPD Motorsports to help us with his expertise in building real nice competition cars.
After the revelation in the first installment of this 2014 Mazda3 project that we actually spend two-plus hours a day in this car commuting to work, we’ll blow your mind a little more. We can’t autocross or do track days from November until well into April here in Ohio. The weather is just too cold and wet. That said, contrary to public opinion, there are plenty of car enthusiasts outside Southern California and we find our own ways to have fun during the winter months.
The Chevrolet Corvette is America’s sports car. The Dodge Viper may have a bigger engine and a cooler name, but the Corvette has history. The Corvette started an automotive dynasty that has lasted for 63 years, spanning seven generations. It is one of the longest running models in the automotive world and one that conjures up apple pie, baseball, drag racing, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. And while a Corvette Museum may seem like a bit of an extravagance for one car, the Corvette Museum does so much more than just show off a few cool cars. In fact the Corvette Museum is a living archive of everything Corvette. GM has supplied the Corvette Museum with all of the records for each and every Corvette ever built. If you want to know who built your engine and when, you can find out. The Corvette Museum also offers many gatherings and parties for Corvette owners and soon they will host their own track days.
Last weekend the second event of Rally America’s national championship took place. The Rally in the 100 Acre Wood takes place on the smooth, flowing gravel back roads surrounding Salem, Missouri, and is one of the fastest events of the championship. It is a favorite event that is looked forward to by many of the drivers. Last year had ideal conditions with temperatures hovering just below 70 degrees during the day and stages that were dry and grippy. This year was quite the opposite.
The Viper has a reputation for being difficult to drive and even (incorrectly) known as a bad handling car. Since the 2nd Generation Viper has not been reviewed by a magazine in close to 15 years, we took Project Viper to the track to dispel some myths and assess the car’s balance and handling ability.
When we last left off, our Project Focus ST had gotten a new set of coilovers from ST Suspension and a few other bits from mountune. Well, the owner of our car has just gotten the track day bug and decided to take the Fiesta ST off the street and build a race car out of it. The car has been getting converted to a real race car at SPD Motorsports and part of that conversion has been upgrading the brakes to bigger units from Gold Coast Automotive with some electronic help from Ford Racing.
"No way is this thing gonna start the car" is the first thing we said when we opened the box containing the Ballistic Battery we had purchased from Pegasus Racing. Even though the tech guys at Pegasus had assured us that this battery could easily start and run the big 8 liter Chevy engine in one of our race cars, when we hefted it's 6.5 lbs, we knew that there was no way it could!
So as we alluded to in our last article, our powerful supercharged Tundra without a limited slip was continually activating the Trucks electronic nannies. With the more powerful engine, the electronic LSD was working the rear brakes constantly trying to keep one tire fire under control and with the added cornering forces that our bigger tires allowed, the stability control was grinding away at the front brakes in tuns all the time. The electronics were probably causing the brakes to be used at twice the normal rate.
We had tackled some of the issue by limiting body roll with a Sequoia front and TRD rear anti sway bar and turning up the stiffness of our King Adjustable shocks. Adding an Auburn Gear Limited Slip Differential also helped a lot to keep the electronics from grinding away at our brakes. However our brakes and rotors were shot with the rear brakes worn to the backing plates and we had to replace those ASAP.
We turned to Stoptech for some help in the brake replacement department with some new rear sport rotors and some less aggressive brake pads in the hopes of reducing brake dust and rotor wear for this brake service period
by Jonathan Lawson
Headed up by Chris Castro, Castro Motorsports has a knack for putting out some high-quality work. If you haven’t seen the airbox on Pablo Mazlumian’s Project E46 M3, take a moment and give it a gander. It’s a beautifully crafted piece of art. Castro Motorsports is full of true die-hard enthusiasts with performance oozing through their blood. They do everything from custom fabrications to motor swaps and big-turbo builds, and speaking of motor swaps, who wouldn’t love flinging an LS3-powered E36 M3 around? Well, drifter extraordinaire and professional stunt man Jef Groff sure doesn’t mind…
For about a year now this 1971 GMC 1500 Long Box has been known as the Targa Truck. Mark Bovey and navigator Miles Markovic participated in the Classic category and finished in 2nd place. This truck has gone through more life cycles than Disney ever thought when they penned the song “Circle of Life”. It has been a farm truck, a teenager's cruising truck, a drag truck, a land speed record candidate truck, an autocross truck, a family hauler, and most important, at this time, a Targa Truck. When you hear the Targa Truck you are just in awe of the vibration inducing bass notes which pour out of the side exit exhaust. Lift the hood and you see a massive engine. It is a Chevrolet Performance LSX Race Block with 427 cubic inches that has been built for endurance and power.