I got to race the Van Diemen at Laguna Seca last weekend with Pacific F2000 and SFR SCCA. Good weather, good friends, good racing, that’s what it’s all about! Took a first and a second in the National (Pinto-powered) FC class with some great dicing throughout. The Spec Racer Fords were out in force for their Festival weekend, seemed like 50+ cars. And it’s always fun to see the crazy exhausts required to beat the Mazda Raceway sound nazis.
This weekend I raced in the Pacific F2000 series at Buttonwillow Raceway Park near Bakersfield, CA. This entry-level pro series was running with the Cal Club SCCA Hoosier Super Tour Majors event for races 5 and 6 of their twelve race season. For the first time in this series’ history they ran a separate “National” class (Pinto-powered) for early F2000/FC cars. We only had three early cars in attendance, but hope to have the class grow as racers find there is a competitive place to run their old FCs once again. While the National class guys are mostly privateers, the modern F2000 class seems to be dominated by national level drivers with team support. These guys are serious: sticker tires everyday, mechanics, transporters, etc. Both fun and a little intimidating to race against them…
I’ve got all the big issues sorted out with my RF93, and was able to enjoy just racing as hard as I could this weekend. A fresh motor this winter, a fresh set-up and new tires this week, the right gearing, and a pit crew of one (me), it was now indeed ‘go time’. I enjoyed good dicing with some P2 and F2000 cars this weekend, and ran my best times ever on the CW25 full track configuration. I earned a Class win and took home my first cash winnings as a race car driver, who’d of thought I’d be going pro at 54.
VARA and SVRA co-hosted a great event at Willow Spring Raceway this weekend. We had 150 vintage car entries running in 7 Groups, and the Trans-Am West pro series ran with us as well. Good fun to see the giant tractor-trailers and pit carts these pro teams use. The weather cooperated with sunny skies, temps in the 50s-60s, and the usual spring winds.
I’m glad to report that my RF93 ran well and finished every session! After its frustrating start and a winter teardown, I was sure hoping for a good outing. I had the wrong gearing for Willow, I didn’t expect to run the speeds I was getting, so I was out of gear by T7 on the back straight and Start/Finish on the front straight, but she sure hauled the mail in the corners 😉 Since we basically just had to add fuel all weekend, we had time to enjoy doing the little things on the car. So now I’ve got some good data for gearing, ride height, tire pressures, etc.
The Van Deimen made it’s maiden voyage with me this weekend at SFR SCCA’s final race of the season at Thunderhill Raceway. It sure was nice to join up with my Group 4 brethren once again after a year’s absence from them. Following a week long flog to get the car ready, my buddy Art and I took it up for a test day and to get a new logbook issued. Lots of little issues every session – oil leaks, hydraulic leaks, electrical gremlins, etc, but at least the chassis and drivetrain “seemed” pretty solid. SCCA Tech made getting a new logbook issued for this car a pain in the butt (who would think that Halon fire bottles are now illegal?!?), but that’s the price to play I guess.
Racing however proved to test the car’s limits, with overheating issues occurring after a few laps each session. But while we were on track, we were at least able to keep the FC leaders in sight for a couple of laps. First time out with a new car is always a test of skill, patience, and yeah, your wallet. Hopefully next time out will be a bit better…
Photos by Privateer Racing
This week I made a new seat for the VD with a two-part SFI foam kit that I bought from the Speed Seat Factory. Gayle and Jody run Speed Seats out of their shop near Milwaukee, they specialize in building custom seats for their customers, but they also sell DIY kits. They will spend plenty of time with you via phone and email coaching you through the process, as you’ll have plenty of questions for them. I spent half a day prepping the cockpit – covering sharp edges, sealing off gaps, cutting foam inserts, getting the pour bag ready, etc. Then I had a couple racing buddies give me a hand with the mix and pour (you could get by with one, but two helpers makes it much easier). After letting it set up, removing the plug, and a couple of big cuts, it was time to start the next phase. This took the most time as it requires inserting and removing the seat MANY times to get the trimming and shaping done right. Now that it’s close, I’ve gaffer taped up the exposed foam sections and will try it out for a weekend before attempting to make the cover that comes with the kit.
I’ve been working on getting the Van Diemen ready to race again. I needed to relocate the battery and fire bottle to make room for a new seat I’m going to pour next week. Had to do a little plumbing/wiring and make a new cover to go over them. I’m gonna make a trim color change while all the body work is off, and add a few old livery details for fun too.
This week I picked up a 1993 Van Diemen Formula Continental from a fellow SFR SCCA racer who parked it a few years ago. No “big” work required, just the usual new car stuff. Battery, belts, seat, tires, some re-wiring and plumbing clean-up issues, etc, I hope to have it out at the track by year’s end. The car will race with SFR in FC, at least until I can dig a few other older FCs out of the woodwork and start a CFC Class. I’ll also race it with the west coast Vintage clubs in their Wings & Slicks group.