Posted by leo | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 17-07-2013
Epic. Last weekend we took part in ChumpCar’s first 36 hour race. That’s right, 36 hours straight. Not only was this the longest race held by chumpcar, it was the longest for crap-cans, for sports car racing, for the US, in fact other then some minor mostly-irrelevant claim by some race in Germany decades ago, this was the longest race held ever. Period. We decided that for some reason this was a good idea and a good idea to do in our rolling pile of scrap.
Clearly our normal four person team was not up to the challenge. No amount of “powering through it” was going to take us through friday night, to saturday into the heat, then again all the way through saturday night to sunday. Our “regular” team included Leo, Nick, Chris, and Micah. Falling directly after 4th of July, it was difficult to recruit any more of our regulars. So we stole another team . Rae, Jamie, and Ryan (they have a stig!) joined us from Dirty Little Freaks Racing (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dirty-Little-Freaks-Racing/). Our 8 person roster was finished with Jerome from Mountain Goat Racing. All locals! They even helped prep! Team owners them selves, they all understood what needed to be done and made amazing teammates. Our ChumpCooks also joined us for this race (Thanks Dennis and Juva!). Honestly people, consider getting your race catered, its an uncommon gift.
There was only a couple of things left to prep (from our last blog post). Our cool shirt system was moved to a new location to make it easier to service. These fittings on the top were redone with the proper fittings. We discovered a broken dry break fitting at the last minute as well! I had to overnight parts to get them in time for the race. I’m glad we did so much prep and testing before this event.
Out headlights were aimed as well as I could in my driveway. They were also painted this fetching blue to prevent glare from sun and other headlights. That chrome was brutal.
The holiday made travel plans difficult. Not only did we have people spread all over the west cost (Bay Area to Seattle), we had people who had to work or attend to family on the 4th. It boiled down to many people flying in and me (leo) left alone with the tow up! Thankfully my new trailer lock friends were not a sign of things to come for the tow.
Our trusty 24′ trailer was packed up and sent off early Thrusday (7/4/13) morning.
My drive up was easy and went quick. I made it up from Eugene to Spokane by early afternoon with tons of time to spare. I ran into some of the regulars at the hotel and started getting into the race weekend mindset. After some minor drama that night with pit unloading and not as much sleep as I would have liked we started.
People starting showing up quickly and we got to work setting up the pits. Spokane is big, flat, and hot. Their pits are probably the worst we race at. Trailer parking is distant from the hot pits. We decided that it was better to make camp away from the hot pits and to spend most of our time near the trailer. You miss a bit of the action, but it could be disastrous to be away from a part/tool/crew member you need in an emergency. It was a good 5 minute walk between our two pits. You can barely make out our “cold pit” in the distant center of this picture with the blue easy up.
A first for this event for us was our real time telemetry system from Autosports Labs http://www.race-capture.com/. We have a basic sensor configuration right now. Aside from the built in stuff for speed, G’s, battery, location, time, and laps times we also added water temp, rpm, and oil temp. For more details on our build check out previous posts.
We also brought the live video system. It didn’t work very well and pretty much just got us video from the section of track you can see from the pits. This analog RF system is super picky about signal. You really have to have line of sight for it to work. This may be the last try we make to improve this. I suspect an internet based evolution will happen in the future. The race capture is actually more useful and reliable than the video.
We were unloaded early and tried to conserve energy for the start of the race at 10pm that day. We even sent crew out back to the hotel to get sleep to be ready for an all-nighter.
To facilitate fuel transportation Jerome and Ryan were pressganged into building a wally world radio flyer. Well worth its price. It’s going to be standard race gear for us now. You can see the data station in the background with screens for video, race standings, and telemetry.
As sunset drew near all we had left was to aim the headlights. Jerome spotted a misconfigured window net and fixed it for us.
Drivers meeting! At 8pm! It was weird to be having it so late. Don’t we get to sleep again before this race starts? No? No! This event had over 300 drivers. (More creative statistics available in John’s article here: http://bangshift.com/blog/lies-damned-lies-and-statistics-the-incredible-story-behind-chumpcars-36-hour-endurance-race.html)
Night 1: Game on. This what the hot pits looked like coming in from the cold pits. Pits on both sides with no separated walkway for pedestrians. Pets, kids, race cars, fueling all mixed together with no rules. It was a hot mess.
The race is on! Our night crew was up first…
To be continued.