Sunday, July 5th, 2015

Tim and Art helping me get the Crossle ready for the track.

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SFR SCCA was back at Laguna Seca Raceway last weekend for their second out of three visits for 2015. We had a good turnout, and the usual June weather in Monterey, cool and foggy mornings, warm and sunny afternoons. I started my weekend with a Thursday night visit to the Baja Cantina where there are always some cool bikes and hotrods on display.

I hung out with my racing buddies in the pits, enjoyed a nice stay at some local friends’ house, the Crossle was running well, and I lowered my best time, can’t ask for much more than that ūüėČ

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Some guys just like lots of stickers…

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1:40 lap in a 1980 Crossle 40f vs 1:05 lap in a 2003 Ferrari F2003GA
or 110 hp @6500rpm, no wings, hard slicks and club racer vs 930hp @19,000rpm, wings, sticky slicks and a Ferrari test driver…

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I enjoy just about everything at the race track: the noise, the smells, the cars, the rigs, the pit bikes, etc. You just may have noticed that through many of my posts. So here are three great links that feature some very fine race car transporters.

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Transporters one¬†¬† Transporters two¬†¬† Transporters three¬† Thanks to Mac’s Motor City Garage blog.

Had a great weekend with SFR SCCA at Thunderhill Raceway, we even had cool temps for May, in the mid-70s. The Crossle was running strong, and the fresh shock rebuild from Performance Shock in Sonoma worked quite well. Had some great battles on the track with the regular pack, and rolled it back on the trailer afterwards ready for the next race weekend, can’t ask for much more than that. We even had a Novice racer doing his first race weekend in his just-purchased Datsun 510, gotta love the old school race cars that just won’t quit!

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Close finish

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I got to use a cool new tool today, a pop rivet removal¬†tool¬†that prevents the rivet head from spinning while drilling out the mandrel. It wasn’t cheap but boy, does it do the job. During the last race at Laguna Seca, I was dragging the rear of my Crossle chassis through the Corkscrew, shaving my engine belly pan almost right down to the frame rails. When I tried to raise the ride height I¬†discovered I was already at max spring perch height. So while I had my shocks out being rebuilt this month (its been years since their last service), I installed some longer springs so I could get some more ride height out of the rear. Removing the old engine belly pan was much easier with the right tool. Now if there was an easier way to Hysol and rivet the new one on, that’d be great…

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A few cool pics from the 2015 VARA British Extravaganza at Buttonwillow Raceway.

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With the help of my buddy Mike, we’ve been assembling a fresh motor for the 710. The car came with a usable race motor when I bought it, but now that the car chassis is coming around,¬†it was time for a hi-spec, vintage-legal motor that I knew all the parts of. The ’74 710s came with a L20b engine, so that’s what we started with. The stock 85mm bore is allowed a vintage-legal 1mm overbore, so we’re using¬†86mm pop-up JE pistons in a fresh o-ringed block. Stock stroke is required, so we’ve got a lightened and knife-edged OE crank in use. We plan on revving the piss out of it so a fresh set of Carillo rods are in there too. A ported¬†OE a87 cylinder head with 38cc chambers and a secret grind Rebello cam tops it off.

During assembly we encountered a few interference issues, so we dug out the die grinder and sanding drums. The 37mm exhaust valves were tickling the cylinder bore, so we needed to eyebrow the bore just a little. The high compression pistons were touching the edge of the cylinder head chamber, so we decided to remove a little material from the steel head instead of from the aluminum pistons. And while we were at it, we confirmed the valve-to-piston clearance was sufficient. Fresh bearings, rings, gaskets, etc, finish it all up. For those curious about the math, that’s 1.99 liters displacement, and a 13.0:1 compression ratio. Can’t wait to give it a try next week…

*** ¬†Added note – I f**#ked up the motor install, and hopefully you can learn from my mistake. As I installed the new motor, the oil system lines lined up as they did during disassembly. Unfortunately the oil sandwich plate clocked itself 180 degrees off on the new block, meaning my oil flow was now reversed. Yes, I missed that the lines now went to the wrong ports. Oil left the block to the cooler instead of to the filter, thus causing oil flow to stop at the one-way check valve at the filter. I did not catch this error as the oil pressure gauge port is at the aux oil filter assembly, so I was reading full pressure while NO oil was returning to the block. I ran the motor for several minutes before it essentially seized up, cooking all the crank bearings and scratching up a couple pistons and bores. Motor is back out now being inspected, expensive and frustrating mistake. Lesson – start the new motor with the oil cap off so you can see if oil is making it all the way to the top of the system right away… ¬† ***

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This weekend I raced at Laguna Seca Raceway with the Crossle, it was the first time back on this track for me in several years. It took me a few sessions to get comfortable again, but things started to click by day 2 (of 3). Laguna is a great facility, big elevation changes, high speed and low speed corners, and of course, The Corkscrew! Weather was nice, foggy starts but sunny by 10am. Laguna has strict sound restrictions and our 9am sessions had a 101db limit. I started with my muffler on not wanting to miss out on any laps due to sound violations, the car seemed to run fine muffled and it sound checked at 91db. In the afternoon on Saturday I went out without the muffler and registered a 97db. The locals say a 97 can turn into a 101 under certain atmospheric conditions, but I never got the sound meatball flag the rest of the weekend.

In Group 4 we had about twenty cars with a pretty even mix of Club Ford, Formula F, and Formula Continentals. We had some good dicing, but with the speed differentials in our small group, it led to a bit of solo lapping. I needed the track time to learn the track again, but I’m hoping for some more cars to battle with on our next visit.

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