April, 2006

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Faster, safer

Thursday, April 13th, 2006

[photo of me in my Evo]

Took my Evo to “Big Willow”, the main track at Willow Springs International Motorsprots Park a few weeks ago. Since the previous event at Laguna Seca, I’d made a number of changes that I was eager to try out:

  • HANS head-and-neck support device to protect my head and neck in the event of a frontal crash.
  • Partial removal of the interior—carpet and some plastic covers to improve safety in case of a fire. (I’ve since removed most of the rest of the interior, including the head liner (“ceiling” of the car) and interior door panels.
  • Passenger seat removed; I did this mainly so I could haul a full set of race tires and six 5-gallon containers of 100-octane racing fuel in the trunk (which typically costs $7 a gallon at the track, and $4.80 a gallon from local sources). It also lightens the car by about 35 pounds, though I plan on eventually re-installing a lightweight racing seat on the passenger side.
  • New video recording setup based on a Neuros MPEG4 Recorder 2 solid-state video recording device, along with a high-quality Sony lipstick-style camera.

As with the event at Laguna Seca, I had a bit of trouble getting some fast laps in as I was one of the fastest car/driver combinations there. I managed a few laps in the 1:36’s, a respectable lap time for the track with my car, though later analysis with my DL1 datalogger showed I could have been a couple seconds a lap faster, which would put me close to some of the faster drivers in time-trial competition.

The video quality from the new recording setup proved disappointing; the view outside the car was almost washed out to white due to the high contrast between the inside and outside of the car. Looks like my search for a high-quality and inexpensive solution will continue…

This weekend will find me at Thunderhill where I’ll be trying for a new personal best lap time. If it doesn’t rain, this should be easy since my car makes about 40 horses more and weighs about 200 pounds less than when I last ran it there. Since the forecast calls for rain, I probably won’t meet that objective, but it should be a fun event nonetheless. I’m excited to see how the car feels (and sounds!) with the interior almost all gutted.

On Monday I’ll be taking the Evo to to get a full custom rollcage built for the Evo, which should finally make it into a “true” race car.