Laguna Seca can be a tough track on a race car. The drop into the Corkscrew is like jumping your car off a small ramp, and at speed you pretty much bottom it out. Listening to the heavy big-bore cars go through there is downright scary, lots of sparks flying and metal dragging going on. Now do that for 50 laps and bad things happen… With the Wagon I had to switch to smaller spacers on the front wheels to stop the front tire-to-wheel well rubbing that was occurring. My post-race inspection found a bit more, I tore both frame rails at the TC rod mount. The direction of the damage shows the force was from the front end spreading upon compression. We had planned on putting a load-spreading plate on the frame rail prior to attaching the TC rod mount, but somehow that step was missed. So we now have added some reinforced plating and gussets. Thanks goes to The Moore Speed Co for their faithful assistance.
Archives for May 2011
This weekend the San Francisco Region SCCA club co-sponsored their annual Vintage race weekend at Laguna Seca Raceway with HSR-West. The combination turned out a huge event with almost 200 participants, and over 55 cars alone in the over-subscribed Small-Bore group (under 2.4L). Adding a couple more invited clubs such as the Factory Five Cobras and Spec Panoz’s made for some “interesting” interactions as drivers accustomed to several different sets of rules and regulations all had to share the track and paddock. The weather was great, the racing was tight, and the afternoon socials were well attended. The popularity of Vintage Datsun racing was evident as more than 20 of Mr.K’s little racers took to the track. Roadsters, 510s and 240Zs shared the raceway with their usual competitors: Alfas, Austins, BMWs, Chevys, Fords, Lotus’, MGs, Sunbeams, Triumphs, Volvos… phew, there were a lot of cars out there!
The Race Wagon had a good outing remaining within the top ten of Small-Bore all weekend. We got down in the 1:48s during Saturday’s Qualifying race, and even survived a punt from an ambitious inside pass attempt from a Porsche 356 Super 90. While my goon took a bit of damage, the instigator’s bodywork bill will undoubtedly surpass mine. On Sunday we finished 7th overall in the Small-Bore Final race, and two other Moore Speed Co 510s finished 2nd and 4th.
I always enjoy cruising the pits with my camera, meeting fellow drivers and looking at the great collection of vehicles that show up for race weekends. There always seems to be something special to stop and take pics of on the way to the track too…
The concept of karma is strong in sports, especially racing – it is the theory of moral cause and effect. In other words “what comes around, goes around”. Help a guy out in the pits, and he may be the guy who next time passes you clean when he could have spun you out.
Same thing goes with buying and selling race cars. I figure you better be straight up when selling a car because otherwise the next one you buy will be a lemon. This couldn’t be more true than with my old 240Z racer. I bought it from Bryan Lampe in 2005, he could not have been more of a stand up guy. He sold it at a fair price, disclosed all of its strengths and weaknesses, and answered a hundred questions afterwards during my first year of racing it. He had owned and raced the car from 1999-2005, and his good luck with it followed on to me. In 2009 I sold it to John LaChapelle, and according to him, the luck and joy of racing this car follows onto him as well. John has turned into a good friend just as Bryan did. This weekend at Laguna Seca, the three of us had the opportunity for a three-owner reunion with the Z. By the look on his face, Bryan’s son just might want a chance to own it some day too.