Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Another day of work

Spent the day Saturday over at Just Miata taking care of race prep for this coming weekend. I installed my cool suit plumbing, the window net, cleaned all the wheels and tires, inspected the brakes and suspension, did a few little things around the engine compartment, installed the fuel test port. Stuart worked on the cutoff switch wiring and mounting.

This Thursday, the car is going over to Cars and Concepts in Tampa for alignment and corner weighting. Then Friday afternoon I'll head down to Sebring. The weather is looking ok for this weekend - just scattered showers. Most likely we'll have dry track. I don't have rain tires so I will skip any wet track sessions. No sense risking the car.

The goal for this race is to finish with the car in the same condition we started in, learn as much as we can about the setup, and get me back up to speed with racing. No heroics. It's been over a year since I ran wheel-to-wheel.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Gearing up

Trying to get everything ready for the race in less than two weeks time. We'll be at Sebring on June 4-5 with the SCCA. I still have to install the window net, cutoff switch, and a few other odds and ends. Stuart is going to help. This will be my first race on the Hoosiers. I'm interested to see how much (if any) faster I am in this car and on those tires. I need to be a good 3-4 seconds faster than I was last year to be anywhere near the front. I think it is doable.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


We took the car down to Sebring Sunday for a test day. It went very well. I put about 100 miles on the car. The only issues that cropped up were a loose exhaust pipe, a loose alternator bracket, and a very loud exhaust rattle. All except the rattle were fixed at the track. I did a short, 15 minute session on my new set of Hoosier R3S04's, to get them heat cycled. I then switched to an older set of Hankook Z211's for two long sessions. They don't have nearly the grip of the Hoosiers, but they are ok for testing and practice.
Overall, the car is good. This was just a shake-down, so we didn't bother with things like tire pressures or temperatures. We also haven't got quite as much camber as we would like, and the car hasn't been corner-weighted. Despite all that, it's quite neutral and doesn't come unglued over Sebring's bumps. It seemed to make good power as well. In fact, I almost ran out of 4th gear on the back straight, which I don't think I've ever been close to doing in the old car. We'll get it to a dyno soon and verify that it's making good power.

The next race is at Sebring in June. If I am to make that, I'll need to install my window net and cutoff switch, but I think that is all I need to do.

Here's a few pictures (Warning: these are BIG files)
Pic 1

Pic 2

Pic 3

and here's a quick video clip (also a big file)


Next time I'll get some in-car video.

I hereby declare this project officially done! Now comes the fun part - racing.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

So Close I Can Taste It

Last night, for the first time, the engine on the #89 Spec Miata was started. It was a little rough at first, but after a couple tweaks and it smoothed out and ran very nicely. Unfortunately, the gauges on the dash were not working at all, so we couldn't tell anything about oil pressure or temperature, so we didn't run it long. It sounds healthy, though. This weekend, before going down to Sebring for a Sunday test session, we have to fix the gauges (Stuart may have already done that as I write this), bleed the brakes, and get some sort of a reasonable alignment on it. That should be enough to get me on the track.

The car looks great, by the way. Stuart has done a lot of work on it, as have I.