2008 Season in Review
We have had a history of engine problems at the first race weekend of the season in May and this year was no exception. We qualified well and were having a good fight with a 944 turbo in race one. About two laps from the end of the race the engine quickly developed a miss and abruptly died. Back in the pits we tried to roll the engine over by hand finding it would not go past top dead center. The second piece of bad news was we could not remove # 2 spark plug. The engine had to come out. Once we removed the exhaust manifold and found a valve completely missing it was not going to be an easy fix. After complete disassembly it was obvious that we would not get this engine quickly back in service.
a used engine from
to racing in July at
The competition in GT B was very intense with second through fifth running nose to tail for most of the races and swapping positions many times. Throw in a few GT A cars getting in the mix, threading our way through the slower classes and it made for very close and exciting racing.
We finished third in the first race. In the second race we dropped to fifth when a faster GT A car got inside at the start leaving us on the outside of the first corner allowing our competitors to take advantage and get the jump on us. We got our nose stuck in a couple of times but could not make a pass stick.
The third race was hectic with a faster GT A car starting behind us again on the inside. The GT A car got past us but could not make headway on the cars ahead. The 6th place GT B car took advantage in a slow left hander to get by us but we took the spot back in Quarry complex, a series of three right handers. We also got a good run up the inside of the GT A car to try and get some clear track to close on 4th place. I had to lift exiting the last right hander of the complex as the car got loose. This allowed the GT A car to get past us again. The 6th place car was taking every opportunity to harass us so we had to both drive defensively to keep him behind and offensively to try and get past the GT A and GT B car ahead of us. The GT A car finally got past the GT B car ahead on the front straight on the second lap. On lap 3 I managed to get the right spacing between myself and the car ahead to carry a speed advantage through Quarry and onto the front straight passing him on the inside into corner one.
I was now in 4th place challenging the third place car. Unfortunately on lap 4 I missed a shift exiting a slow left hander before a fast right sweeping turn called spoon. The 5th place car took advantage of his better drive and went around the outside of me. I have to admit it was a nice pass. For the remainder of the race 3rd place through 5th ran nose to tail and we weren't able to change that, finishing fifth in class. The in-car footage is pretty spectacular.
August 9/10 at Mosport was our next race weekend. Since the valve failure at the first race weekend we are running a stock engine with about 105,000 miles on it. This engine is down about 40 to 50 HP on the race engine. Even so we managed to qualify the car in 1st of the GT B class. Our time was about 1 sec slower than our best lap time (classified). Everyone else was also slower than usual so the slower time is probably more to do with the track conditions. We were able to set this pace with a HP deficit thanks to our friends at RS Barn. Just before the Mosport race they provided a strut tower brace and camber block brace. The braces have stiffened the front end of the car improving our cornering speed. After installing the brace we set up the suspension geometry for Mosport using Kingston Volkswagon’s state of the art alignment rack for accurate and consistent set ups.
race was going well and only the factory
The race was red flagged before half distance because of several cars stopped in hazardous locations. By the time the race was restarted it was raining. With last years crash in the rain fresh in our minds and seeing spray coming off the tires on the warm up lap it was enough to convince us it was time to get into the pits. We were not alone in our decision to save the car. Sure enough the race was red flagged a second time due to accidents before two laps were completed. The race did not complete enough laps to count in the points.
At the start of the second race the track was damp. A camero at the front of the pack decided to stand on the accelerator as the flag dropped immediately spinning on our side of the track. All we could do is jump on the brakes to avoid cars slowing in front of us and hope that no one goes into the back. We lost a huge number of positions as the right side of the track got away cleanly. We got going again and started to chase down the cars ahead. A 944 turbo had a big accident at the exit of turn one in lap 2 or 3 and the race was finished under yellow behind the pace car.
In the last race we were starting near the back of the GT B field. We were behind a black Porsche 911. During the race the 911, myself and a Prelude had a great battle. The driver of the 911 made his car very wide and drove a good strategic race. Even though I had the ability to turn a faster open lap time then him he defended corner entries well and could widen a gap between the exit of a corner and the entry of the next. I tried everything I could to get outside, inside, pressure him, etc to try and get by him but in the end he crossed the finish line just ahead.
After only the second full race weekend we are 8th in the points but the top 10 spots are very close. We are still in the hunt for a top 3 season finish.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my crew, Bruce Robertson and Brendan Bureau for all their help throughout the season.
Thank you to our partners that helped us stay on track and competitive after the setback early in the season. Without you we could not have recovered as quickly as we did.
VOLKSWAGEN Electric Supply
Continued in the next issue of Tach.