HandyNZL

Nz Festival Of Motor Racing 2012

12 posts in this topic

Well, tis that time of the year again when this lil 'ol country put's on it's two-weekend Motorsport Festival. This year's reason for celebration is BMW, being that they have been in motorsport for 40-years this year (which doesn't seem all that long). Previous celebrations have been Bruce McLaren (2010) and Chris Amon (2011), and next year will be Denny Hulme.

My old man has been driving my Formula Ford car and his 1965 Formula 3 this festival. He's getting some seat time as we have not been racing this year due to him getting cancer again...he's out there having fun just a day and a half after a round of chemotherapy....we call this petrotherapy....so he's not pushing the car's, just content to be out there...

But these guys are pushing their cars...

First up a few pics of the son of the guy that does some of our car prep work. Alan is the youngest driver in the Formula 5000 field, driving the oldest car in the F5000 field (of 39 entrants this year), a Lola T142, complete with high, suspension mounted wing. Being that it is one of the eldest F5000's, it is not the most slippery in terms of aero...it's suspension design leaves a little to be desired...and the worst aspect is that Al is burning his feet off as the radiator is mounted in the nose, and they are having heating problems, as in too much heat! And as the rules state "as it was, so shall it be", you can't go chopping and changing things around just to overcome a mild nuisance like third degree burns on your feet. Al qualified in P12, ran as high as 6th in the first race before dropping to 9th, and finished again at the business end of the field in the second race on Saturday (from which these pic's are taken). He finished 6th in the first race today.

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Ok...having problems with the pic uploader...shall get more up when it starts working right...

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Below is a guy I grew up with, Aaron, in his McRae GM1 F5000. The McRae was designed by New Zelander Graeme McRae, and was one of the quickest cars ever to compete in the F5000's, taking it to the more financially secure marques such as Lola and McLaren (although almost all McLarens were actually spec made Trojan's). Aaron also has a Talon F5000 which is the car Chris Amon used to drive when he raced F5000 in the USA.

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This is Eric Haga in his Lola T192. Eric was the very first owner of this car, running it in the US F5000 series in the same colours (though was number 8...he is running 81 whilst in NZ). He ran it as part of a two car team, and they would use a Lola T200 Formula Ford to recce the race track before taking the F5000's out. He was kind enough to show me his scrapbook of the cars and his racing, with one anecdote being that after they uplifted the two F5000's from an LA car show, they were heading out to their first race, and whilst on the way, the driver of the pickup rolled it and the trailer containing the two cars over on a highway. So before the car's had ever turned a wheel in anger, they had been rolled! Eric found this car a few years back and it was in a sad state, but he has restored it magnificently.

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And this is NOT what you want to do in one of these cars....

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...will have more pics and reports from the upcoming weekend when I don't have my 4-year old with me and I can go through the main pits. She makes for a good pit chief though, helping me with tyre pressures and refuelling and stuff :)

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Cheers guys...going to get more "under the cover" shots this weekend...so everyone can drool over chrome and pistons :)

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Ok...so I've kind of recovered from the weekend...talk about earning my stripes...

So, Pop's comes in after the first race on Saturday, and I do my usual after race checks and find that both rear brake rotors are cracked, one in three places, the other in two. So, we certainly can't race with cracked rotors, as cracked rotors become broken rotors, and broken rotors become airborne missiles to following cars and/or track marshalls.

For the remainder of this story, please bear in mind, that the below is undertaken on coarse gravel, under an Ezy-Up tent, in 27-deg temperatures, between the hours of 9:30am and 8:15pm at night...

So, I tell the old man to head home and get the spare rotor's that we got when we imported the project car (which, incidentally has only been touched to steal the oil pump off of since we imported it a year and a bit ago), and I would start stripping the rear end to get the old rotor's off, and the new rotor's on. Saturday afternoon race was out, but if we got it done, we could still go racing on the Sunday.

So off Pop's drives home (45mins up the road), and I set to pulling off the rear end...literally. To get to the rotors, the easiest thing to do is to unbolt the CV joint/half shafts from the transaxle, remove the bottom wishbone of the suspension from the frame, remove the front ends of the two tie rods (trailing arms), remove the top of the shock from the frame, and also remove the camber rod as well...in other words, completely remove wheel and suspension on both sides of the chassis.

Next step was to unbolt the rear crossmember upon which the gear box is hung from, unbolt the engine mounts onto the chassis, and awkwardly maneuver an engine crane over the engine and lift said engine, and pull it back about 50mm (2" for our American and British friends), so enabling the rotor to be removed from the captured bolts on the CV joint / end of transaxle.

By this stage, the old man had made it back, and was able to fit the new rotor's...first little hiccup (as if the above wasn't considered a hiccup) now ensues, with one rotor being tight on the bolt shanks and CV spigot, and thus requires tapping on with a drift and hammer. In so doing the bolts all splayed outwards, thus no longer aligning with the CV joint donut on the half shaft....so enter long hollow bar, and some *cough* subtle tweaking of the bolts by simple lever mechanics. Re bolt on calipers at this stage too, as you can't pull off the rotor's without removing them, and you can't remove them (the calipers) without first removing the half shaft and CV joint. All the fun of an open wheeler race car, built for speed, not serviceability.

Thankfully the second rotor had clearance to the spigot and bolts, and as such the half shaft and CV joint went on much easier.

Once both half shafts were attached, rotors bolted tight, and calipers also bolted tight, it was time to attach the suspension and wheels again...which was not too major a job until the camber tie-rods were to be put back in place.

The camber tie rods are bolted in thru the rear crossmember, the same one that has to be removed to move the engine. Said crossmember is bolted in with four bolts per side, eight total, none of which wanted to line up again with the holes. No matter if we lifted the gearbox, jacked the chassis, or released all the engine mounting bolts, would the damn crossmember go back in. At this point it was 6'ish in the evening...I had being going at this pretty much entirely on my own, and had had only a five minute break somewhere along the line at an unknown time to scull back a bottle of Coke....which was about when the brain is going "AAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH" and things take twice as long to think about...

So the old man says that since we can't get it back in, we'll take the car home and scratch from Sunday's racing. Me, I'm thinking that I haven't worked for nine-ish hours non-stop to just throw in the towel at the last minute...what once fitted, must surely fit again...plus I'm one stubborn son of a b'arch at times.

So everyone at this point is packing up for the night - the last race was about an hour previously - and one of the drivers in our division came to pick up his car that he is selling which was in the tent next to us...he say's that he didn't realise how much of a major "service" (for lack of a better word) I had been dealing with, and kindly offered to tow the car up to his apartment where we could hang the car off an overhead gantry and take all the weight off the chassis and hopefully get the crossmember back in.

So not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I quickly bodged together the loose bits of the suspension so I could be towed behind the golf cart up to the apartment, and hopped in the car and off we went.

And then, once the car was slung, the crossmember finally lined up and I was able to finish off what I had started at 9:30am at 8:15pm.

But at least the car was back on track at 9am the following day, and the old man (whom was driving to get some practise in before heading to the South Island for three consecutive race weekends) improved his times in every race from the first race from the weekend prior, to the last race on the Sunday afternoon.

At which point (Sunday afternoon), it was time for a beer and a sausage in bread whilst watching the 15-lapper F5000's, in which, sadly, Eric Haga put his lovely T192 (blue and yellow #81 in the pics above) into the wall along with another driver when they tangled.

Motor Racing....better than work, that's for sure.

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This is my race car (1974 Lola T340 Formula Ford), with the old man peering over the windscreen...seriously, he's sitting on padding and his head still hardly pop's out from the c#ckpit cowling :P

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Formula Fords cresting turn 3

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These two guys shared the podium in most of the races...Blair in #38 Lola T342 and Graeme in his 1977 ADF #3

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PRS Formula Ford...this car is currently third in our Championship...yeah, it's fast :P

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This car is FAST (although he kind of cheated too by booting it 150m from the start line on a rolling start)

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A rare Jensen

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Jaguar V12 twin turbo, unobtanium, $$$$ gobbling....oh and fast

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12-cylinders of grunt

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Business end of an F5000

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I suspect when you posted this someone posted in another thread and it got moved down the order to never be seen again. Either that or I'm just oblivious for having not seen it until today. :P

But I'm glad I found it eventually. Love that a competitor offered you help; see it all the time in the local stock car track garage (great place to hang out if only for the hideously inaccurate rumors that spread about how much one guy's sponsorship is worth, who is running tire softener, etc) and not surprised at all to see it here. Racecar guys are almost always good people; we just have a lot of guys who aren't real racecar guys in big league racing but I'll save that one for elsewhere.

Appreciate the story and pictures. I suspect this is a very, very awesome thing to be involved with.

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post-2666-015081700 1328077101_thumb.jpg

This car is FAST (although he kind of cheated too by booting it 150m from the start line on a rolling start)

post-2666-018545800 1328077196_thumb.jpg

A rare Jensen

post-2666-082531200 1328077285_thumb.jpg

Jaguar V12 twin turbo, unobtanium, $$ gobbling....oh and fast

post-2666-016816400 1328077392_thumb.jpg

12-cylinders of grunt

post-2666-071282200 1328077464_thumb.jpg

Business end of an F5000

I think the designer of the jaguar deserves jail and lifetime ban to make a sketch!!!!!

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