Cars & Coffee October

Under overcast skies the C&C faithful met at Books A’ Million this morning. Amid discussion of the upcoming TT & PDX at TGPR next weekend, some interesting old-school hardware, including Der Panzervagon in for some upgrades with Brett at Fusion Works:

2015-10-03 08.20.55

and a Mikuni-carbed, headered, Panasported Datsun 510:

2015-10-03 08.18.42 2015-10-03 08.18.33

A Volvo 1800ES from back when they had quirky style:

2015-10-03 08.19.57 2015-10-03 08.20.33

and a very nice Boss 302, among other more modern machinery:

2015-10-03 08.19.38

Cars & Classes In The Silly Season

The latest news from Fastrack and SoloMatters has been more about what’s not changing than what is. My car, the standard C5 (that’s Corvette-5th Generation for those not in the trade) is not being moved up and buried in A-Street. So, I’m not being forced to sell my car and buy a C5Z06. Rats! Why did S2000’s have to place 1st & 2nd at Nats in B-Street?

The Acura RXS-S will also not move to STX and the 997 GT3 will not be removed from SSR. Whew! Dodged a couple of bullets there.

On the other hand, it seems that the SEB will put some P-cars (Por-schees, as my wife pronounces it, again, for those not in the trade) into STU, But, we will have to wait until the next Fastrack in December to find out which ones. I wrote a letter with some recommendations. Can’t wait to see if they followed my excellent advice!

Actually, STU is facing other changes as well, like increasing the allowable width of tires for the 4WD boost-buggies to 265mm after much moaning on the internet about how they needed it and, I assume, at least one letter to the same effect. Any new mid-engined or rear-engined (read P-cars) added to the class would be restricted to 255mm. Hmmm. Someone that’s got a 911 with 67% of it’s weight on the rear tires is going to downsize the rears to 255? Not bloody likely.

Actually, I just realized that the notice in Solomatters mentions only mid-engined cars when the original request for comment stated both mid and rear. Maybe just an oversight, but I bet when the list comes out no form of 911 will be on it. Bummer for some people over on the Rennlist autocross forum.

Most assume the 986S Boxster will be in. I also assume the 987 non-S cars as well. The only P-car I think that might get in that can actually hang with the C5 and 350Z if only given 255s is the 987 CS (Cayman S, for those…) but I expect it’s a long-shot. Personally, I would never own that car (don’t trust the engine) but a 981 (base or S) I could talk myself into.

Here’s the results of my rating system for a selection of current and possible future STU cars with mid-engined limited to 255mm. The C5 is set to 100 points and 4WD cars are not listed because I’m clueless about how to rate 4WD. (Some say I’m just clueless all around!)

Update: 350Z added

STU Cars Rated

STU Cars Rated

Coolness At Cars & Coffee

Lot of cool cars yesterday at Huntsville Cars & Coffee. (First Saturday morning each month, Barnes & Noble on the Parkway)

I promised a friend I’d post the pictures, so here are a few of the highlights.

First up, two brand-new 2016 MX-5s. I hadn’t seen one in person before:

2016 MX-5

2016 MX-5


A V8 Lotus Esprit:

Lotus Esprit V8

Lotus Esprit V8

A really nice Opel GT:

Opel GT

Opel GT

And a Viper GTS, complete with turbo-charged(?) engine and drag radials. For when the stock 645 horses isn’t enough!

Viper GTS

Viper GTS

Viper V10

Viper V10

Sewer pipes leading to duel intercoolers

Sewer pipes leading to dual intercoolers?

There was a 914-4 that someone had added a couple of extra air-cooled cylinders to, a modded RX7 twin-turbo that was down to one (big) turbo, a sort of resto-mod Camaro SS, super-clean and chromed-out, with “almost nothing original”, and a few others, including my Corvette FRC, still all stickered-up from Wilmington. I went home and de-numbered, de-stickered it now that the national tour season is over. Tomorrow I’ll be removing cone marks.

Huntsville C&C is becoming interesting!

B-Street At Wilmington: Most Exciting Class In Autocross?

I’m recovering at home today from an exhausting but exhilarating weekend at the Wilmington Champ Tour where B-Street, with 17 competitors, was a back-and-forth dog-fight that had the racers and the spectators going crazy.

dawn day 2 wilm. champ tour

Dawn on Day 2 at the Wilmington Championship Tour

Dawn on Day 2 broke with yours truly holding onto 1st place by a thread. I’d started  Day 1 Round 1 with a run fast enough for an eight tenths lead. Greg Vincent had coned his first run but came back in the 2nd round to go in front by .087 seconds. Kenny Tsang, Allen Chen, Nathan Young and Michael Bombard were all struggling through the first two rounds with the extremely long and fast course, but that wasn’t to last.

After third runs were complete the top six were separated by less than 0.7 seconds. Allen came back from coning his first two runs to stand 6th with a 74.948, Nathan was in 5th at 74.827, Kenny was 4th at 74.751, Michael, after a cone and then a slowish run to get his bearings, rushed into 3rd with a 74.523, Greg stood on his 2nd run with a 74.319 and I improved slightly to 74.271 to end the day at the top by .048. So, it was Corvette, S2000, S2000, Corvette, S2000, Corvette in the top six.

I need to say a special thank-you to Mark Pilson. Mark had been my main instructor at EVO school and has always taken an interest in my progress. After his runs on Day 1 I asked him for any words of wisdom. I expected a point or two about a key corner. What I got from Mark was a complete, corner by corner evaluation of the course that really helped a lot. Thanks Mark!

The Day 2 course was reversed, with significant changes and about ten seconds shorter. It didn’t flow as well as day 1 and was much tighter with a showcase decreasing radius turn that was throwing a lot of people way off the pace, including me.

After round 1, Allen jumped from 6th to 1st with a sizzling 65.253 for a total of 140.211! Nathan was also in the 65’s, moving from 5th to 2nd at 140.397. Kenny, Mike and Greg were all in the 66’s and stood 3rd (140.478), 4th (140.814) and 5th (140.989), respectively. I had center-punched two cones at the finish and was way down the list. I don’t want to even figure out where I was… too depressing!

Mike went out first for round 2 and slowed down. Then Allen threw down a 64.736, taking over the lead, and I’m thinking “64.7, are you kidding me? I can’t do a 64.7.” Sure enough I only manage a 65.311, which is just enough take the 2-day lead from Allen. Greg then does a 65.043 taking the lead from me. Nathan then goes Allen one better with a 64.622 which moves him to 2nd in the two-day totals. Not to be outdone, Kenny does the fastest time so far with a 64.604 and just like that he is in the lead! It seems like all the fast drivers are doing 64.7 or better except for me and I’m dropping down the order quickly.

Entering the 3rd round, it is now Kenny 1st, Greg 2nd, Nathan 3rd, I’m 4th, Allen is 5th, Paul Kolatorowicz and his Solstice has snuck into 6th and there have been so many lead changes we’ve all lost count.

Allen cones his 3rd run, so he can do no better than 5th. I’ve messed up the showcase turn both runs and know that unless I can fix it, I’m done for. (Scott Hurley had counseled me on how difficult the visuals were, so I really felt like I had been forewarned, but to no avail.) Finally, on the third try, I remember what Scott had told me, do it half-way decent and get my 64, a 64.422 in turns out, which slings me from 4th back to 1st. (You can see the video of that last run here.) Greg goes out and gets his 64, a 64.469, which solidifies him in 2nd, only .095 back of me over two days. Nathan, pushing for all he’s worth, spins right at the finish line, the back of the car comes close but does not cut the timing light, relegating him to 4th. But, what’s this? Nathan is doing a 3-point turn to get back through the finish, the corner workers are eyeing Kenny (carrying 2 cones) as he rounds the last sweeper, getting the red-flag ready, and I’m screaming “Get outta there Nathan… don’t you dare give Kenny a re-run!” Nathan clears the finish, Kenny does not get a re-run and ends up in 3rd place.

Man, was I drained. Top six were Corvette, S2000, Corvette, S2000, Corvette, Solstice, with the top five separated by a total of 1.001 seconds over two days.

Here are the top 5 trophy results:



The weekend proved one thing: there’s nothing exciting like a big class with a several folks all closely bunched at the top, trading the lead back and forth. B-Street may not have the name talent that SSR does right now, but it’s just as exciting, has 55 people registered for Nats, and the class is definitely getting faster.

Cars & Coffee – Huntsville

I went to Huntsville Cars & Coffee this morning. (First Saturday of the month, Books-A-Million at the corner of the Parkway and 72.)

Of particular interest were two cars. The first a ’74 BMW 2002, bought new by the present owner, until recently a daily-driver, in great shape and with, get this: somewhere around a million miles. The owner lost track years ago at 875,000! Four engine rebuilds over its life. Two Mikuni side-drafts on it right now.

The second car had just been imported from Japan under the 25-year rule: a 1990 Nissan Skyline GTR. Right-hand drive, twin-turbo, 4-wheel drive with rear-wheel steering. I’d never seen one in person.

An amazing contrast is how simple the first car was and how complicated the second.