Targa Miata
September 13, 2011 - Talking over strategy.
Janel's is fairly simple: don't crash. Mine's not far off that. 80 cars were originally entered in the event. 66 made it to the start line of the Prologue for various reasons, including blown engines long before the race started. Unfortunately, Paul Horton's delicious Mk1 Escort was amongst those. Tomorrow, 60 cars are listed for start. A couple are back from the dead, such as the Audi 80 Avant that had such a bad start at the school. But others are gone, and a few of the remaining ones are looking a bit rocky.
The supercars are not part of the competition. They're running in a new class called "Hot Tour". It's a bit of an experiment on the part of the organizers, and is basically a group of cars escorted through the closed stages before the Touring class goes out. They're not just crawling through, but the speeds are kept in check somewhat by the lead car. They haven't done every stage either, but I'm not sure whose decision that was. Most notably, they missed the long, fast, bumpy North West Brook stage. The Saleen S7 is refusing to run properly so it's been put on the trailer. Still, you can't miss the Enzo as it goes whooping by.
I know Jim Kenzie's crew was working hard on resurrecting the MINI last night. Jim reported to us that the security system was now starting to give problems as part of his cascading failures, and he seems to be longing for the days of points and condensers while using satellite phones to download wiring diagrams off the internet. The not-inconsiderable resources of a factory-backed team are being thrown at the recalcitrant little car.
Both he and Stan Hartling with the Lotus Exige got lucky when the last stage was scratched yesterday, as they won't take any penalties. The Lotus is suffering some sort of electrical bug (no, really!) that's affecting the drive-by-wire throttle. Stan managed to zero all the stages we ran yesterday, but celebrated loudly when that last one was cut.
entry 963 - tags: 2011 race, day 1, MINI, attrition
September 13, 2011 - There's been a lot of work done to a lot of cars over the past 24 hours.
The supercharged Exige dropped a valve and underwent an emergency engine transplant. I've heard that the replacement engine is from a Pontiac Vibe. It fired up for the first time at 8 am and they just barely made it on to the stage in time to avoid any penalties. Obviously, a couple of parts were left for later! Until the last couple of stages of the day, they were still penalty-free. Amazing work.
A Porsche that ended up in the drink yesterday got a new left front corner and showed up missing a fender and a splitter, but running. Good work there.
Unfortunately, not all work was successful. Despite going to great lengths - pulling a brand new MINI off a dealer lot, for example, Jim Kenzie's crew was unable to get his car running again. So he's out.
entry 967 - tags: 2011 race, day 2, Lotus Exige, MINI, Kenzie