More Than The Sum Of Its Parts!

by Frank Ewald

May 2010
Two Drivers. Their eyes on two Championships. One Car. A lofty goal for any team, for our Father and Daughter team some considered it virtually unattainable. And when the car being shared is a 1992 Nissan NX1600 with a GA16DE engine, it is a goal that most would suggest bordered on lunacy.

September 2010
Two Championships! Katie is one of two women to win a CASC-OR SoloSprint class championship as she won the Touring 3 division. She is also the first woman to be in the SoloSprint overall top ten with a sixth place finish. She beat me soundly at TMP and Mosport to win the Father and Daughter competition. I finished 14th overall and won the Touring 2 division.

Those two paragraphs sum up our season, but they do not even come close to sharing the excitement and drama that occurred during our 2010 SoloSprint Season – rebadged Time Attack for 2011  - with the Canadian Automobile Sports Club – Ontario Region. We had weather that ranged from very cold to incredibly hot, burning sun to pouring rain, small tracks to large tracks. Flawless running to zip-ties, prayers and coolant flying everywhere. In other words, 2010 was a wonderful season.

Katie finished the season with 605.891 points, well ahead of Frank’s 596 but 19 points behind the overall champion, Paul McFadden in his modified Subaru WRX.

For those unfamiliar with the terms, SoloSprint or Time Attack racing takes place on racetracks and the competition is against the clock, with no passing allowed during competition. This means that passing takes place as cars are placed on grid row, in order to ensure that individuals are not held up on track. In Ontario this season we drove at Toronto Motorsports Park, a couple of different track layouts at Mosport’s Driver Development Centre, Mosport International Raceway, Shannonville’s Fabi Circuit and Shannonville’s Full Circuit.

Our season started with participation in CASC-OR’s SoloSprint Instructors’ school at TMP and was followed by the SoloSprint School at Mosport’s DDC where we both voluntered as instructors. There is a lot of value in sitting in the right hand seat! This season we also had the opportunity to have instruction from Rob Stone (Rescon Racing), Scott Murfin (Can-Alignment) and John Paczynski. Rob and Scott are both partners with us as we have sought to improve our car and, especially, our own capability. I cannot stress enough the value of working with great instructors.

Sharing the car meant that we regularly ran with the fast group. On one wet track day Frank briefly held the FTD – then the sun came out!

At our first two events my strategy was to have us run on tires from the previous season. Winter did little to improve my 2009 season Hoosier R6s which were heat cycled out and the car slid everywhere. Our results were fourth and fifth, quite a disappointment. At the next event we used Hankook Z211 rain tires. They were also from 2009 but still had a lot of grip left. Our third  and fourth place finishes felt much better, but also helped us to make the decision to switch from running two groove R compounds (Hankook Z214 or Hoosier R6) to running street tires. It would have taken more than good tires to help us catch the Prelude and Mustang GT that were ahead of us. The car just did not have the engine to compete against their power. This weekend saw the start of mechanical issues that would challenge us throughout the season. The car stalled between heats and would not turn over. We had a dead battery due to a failed alternator and still a day’s event to run. John, another competitor, loaned us his Miata’s battery to finish the day while we put ours on a charger. We finished the next day by doing minimal runs and charging the battery between every session.

In 2009 we gave our tires a considerable workout, so why was I surprised when we slid everywhere when I pulled them out for use in 2010? The thing is, budget constraints meant that we needed to get a couple of events from our old tires!


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Sunday, February 20, 2011 8:57 PM
Love the write-up. Congratz on the win and I'm glad you guys had such a good time out together doing the thing you guys love. I wish my dad would share my enthusiasm for motorsports. Looks like it was an eventful year with the head gasket.
Monday, February 21, 2011 8:57 AM
Leon, glad you enjoyed the article. I absolutely understand how many parents have difficulty getting enthusiastic about motorsports, because there is always that element of danger. There are downsides to this, however, because it seems to me that Katie always gets more lapping time than I do!
Monday, February 21, 2011 9:29 AM
Congrats on the Championships! I remember Mike mentioning when we were at SEMA that you were going to fit a GTI-R motor. How's that coming along?
Monday, February 21, 2011 3:10 PM
the parts collection is well under way. The engine is pristine - I bought it from Will Chan who never got around to the project he had planned for it. It's been in storage for quite a few years. If all goes well the swap will happen in March.
Monday, February 21, 2011 9:13 PM
That's great, good read. That's what competition should be like, congratulations! :D
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 8:34 AM
Good read. Makes me yearn for a cheap car and track days. You don't need it to be fast to be fun!
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 2:30 PM
Thanks for the comments. We've all said it before - there's nothing like driving a slow car fast! This car is absolutely fun! However, if I knew how to knit then on the long, uphill straight at Mosport I could probably knit a scarf! Then crest the hill at about 100 mph and go flat into turn 8 ... talk about an Adrenaline rush!
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 8:49 PM
Frank, what are some other tires that you could use? Have you tried looking for a tire sponsor?
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 12:39 AM
Hi spdracerut,

Track tires have been 205 50 15s; I'll be looking at 225 45 15 for this year. Over the years I've used Toyo RA1's, R888's, and last year the R1Rs. In 2009 it was Hankook Z214 C51s, Z211 C51s, and Hankook R6s. A few years back I had a set of Avon Tech RAs. Not to mention a variety of street tires.
sponsorship is a challenge no matter what part of the country you're in. In the Toyo contingency event for 2010, between the two of us we won enough Toyo cash for a set of tires. If you have suggestions, send me an email.
frank_ewald at sympatico dot ca
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 2:45 PM
Sorry, I meant Hoosier R6s.
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