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I also run a fan but it's mounted on the cooler, and my capacity is the same as yours. It's nice to see your numbers under 180 degrees.

I remember pulling a broken diff during a 24 hour race at 2am (14 hours into the race - broken teeth on the R+P). At 6am it was still hot to the touch!
We cleared the garage with the burnt gear oil smell!! it was horrible...
 

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After a strong outing at the Barber Champcar race I learned that Grumpy has qualified for the Champcar National Championship race to be held at Road America in April. The rules are a little fuzzy but we may need to participate in 5 "races" to qualify and we only had 3 so I registered for Road Atlanta.

Repairs and updates included a new clutch, a short shifter, the fuel pressure gauge, alternator belt tensioner, a new light bar set-up, and other small items. I had the car ready a couple of weeks before the race and finally built a tire rack and fuel jug carrier for my trailer. I also added a 48" locking tool box and brackets on my fuel drum. Now I can carry everything to the track on my own.



After a 3.5 hour wait in the Tech line Friday we were ready for some testing. I took the car out for a shakedown and all was well except that 4th gear did not like downshifts. It was fine under power on upshifts but the 5-4 shift was not happening. We just drove around the problem all weekend. We put a new driver in next and he learned the car and track quickly. Mike and Nabil put in about 10 Laps each and we scrubbed in a set of brand new spares (and gave them a heat cycle, which seems to be important for RE71s). We did some final prep and headed away for Mexican, some video review for Tom (the new guy) and a good night's sleep.

Saturday morning Nabil took the car down to pit lane 15 minutes before the start of the race and I noticed that the dash was flashing... and the voltage was 11.5. After checking that the alternator belt was still on and had tension we guessed it was a dead alternator and Mike zoomed to Advance out for a replacement and new battery (just in case). We replaced the alternator and fortunately there was a Black Flag "come-to Jesus" meeting due to some very poor driving and decision making in the first 30 minutes. Nabil went back out with 14+ volts and drove us into the Top 15. A new driver to the team took the next stint and turned solid laps for an entire stint with no issues except a slow oil leak. He came in a little early due to a loss of power which turned out to be a disconnected VTC clip. He also mention hearing a noise like he ran over something on track. It turns out that idler on the belt tensioner I built was not quite the same width as the belt and a narrow section that wasn't supported finally separated and was tossed around striking the VTC connector (and probably smacking the hood which caused the noise that Tom heard). I reconnected the VTC and added some duct tape to secure it and we sent Mike out with a full tank.

Mike started turning stellar lap times as he negotiated traffic. He broke the PR of the car at RA within 5 laps and continued to get faster, eventually turning the FTD for the entire race (1:40.7). After an hour he radioed that the car had lost power and came into the pit. It turns out that the sliver of belt that let go also damaged the crank trigger wires. None were broken but all were bare wires. I taped them up and sent Mike back out, where he continued his run of stellar lap times.

The slow oil leak had us adding 1/2 quart at each stop but the pressure stayed high while driving. I was next up and got myself buckled in while the team checked the oil.. and looked down to see the tensioner idler wheel missing! Since the belt drives the ALT and water pump we were lucky that Mike came in when he did, it wouldn't have taken long to overheat in a major way. The only way to tension the belt now was spacing the alternator away from the pump with washers which is a pain in the ass with the engine out of the car, and worse with a hot, installed engine. I finally had to leave the driver seat to help with the repair and we lost 20 minutes in the process.

I jumped into the driver seat and had one of the most enjoyable stints ever in the Supra. I came out of the pit behind the lead Porsche 944 and we proceeded to have a 30 minute respectful battle through traffic. The car was handling great and I went 1.2 seconds faster than ever at RA (1:41.7). I was a little disappointed when the low-fuel light came on after 1:40 of green flag running. I dove into the pit and we put Nabil back into the car with rain on the way. We also replaced the left front tire to give him the best chance for decent rain laps.

The rain started about 5 laps later and got worse as the stint progressed. He drove straight off in T10 and had the presence of mind to avoid the sand and drive up the grass along the wall. Then later he had a small off in the esses with minimal damage.

We decided to put me back in the seat next and I entered the track at dusk in the rain. Within 10 laps it was dark, and then the snow started. Cars were leaving the track in exciting places almost every lap and the tow trucks never got a rest. Around 6:30 the conditions were terrible and after 6 laps of full course yellow they finally brought the field into pit lane. During the last few laps the track conditions got worse and it was interesting to see cars struggle to find traction between T10b and the bridge, and finally a car hit the bridge under FCY. The race was called at 7pm and I would not have gone back out even if they decided to race more - it was dangerous.

We ended the race in P18, 3rd in class, and Mike Taylor ended with FTD.

It is now time for GB2!

Sample video with the race FTD

 
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