Global Tuner Grand Prix – Laguna Seca Raceway, October 22 – 24, 2010. The time leading up to an event is usually a frantic one. You always want to do your best, and there is ALWAYS more that you can do to your car to make it better, faster, corner, brake, and fly. So, true was it again this time. Since we now have a formal set of rules to follow, we have stuff that we have to do to be competitive, but we don’t want to do the true “racer” things, as that would go against the theme and objective for the car. We want to be fast, but don’t want start cutting holes in the car.
We planned to have three cars at the event (the BRR BMW 135i project car, the Porsche Cayman S, and the BRR Porsche GT3. The 135i needed to get some more cooling solutions….we have the power, but the turbo’s keep putting out too much heat, and overheat the car…..causing us to go into “limp” mode. So, we have to add more cooling, and we had added a secondary oil cooler, but that was still not enough. So, we worked w one of our partners, to prototype a new radiator for the BMW 135i….this would again be another first for the market, but like all new products, this one had teething issues, and we couldn’t get all the pieces to work together in harmony. So, late decision, but have to go back to the OEM pieces, which forced us to work around the clock to put the complete front end of the car back together….which took us to Midnight last night. Then, we got the car together, and went for a test drive down the abandoned Los Gatos streets…..only to not have the car work right….so, some software adjustments, and viola…..we have a full working car. We did get some new parts on the car for this event….new set of catted downpipes, new harnesses for the drivers seat, new gauges so that we can monitor all the info we need for a proper tune, new tires (we have to use true “street” compound tires, with a tread wear rating of 180 or higher….so, we’re trying a set of Dunlop Direzza’s. We need 2 full sets….shaved, heat cycled, and mount and balanced….which means multiple sets of wheels for all cars. Created new ducting for the radiator and intercooler….new ducting for the oil cooler. And, to boot, we have to run the stock hood on the car, so off comes the “vented” carbon fiber hood, and on goes the stock hood….so, we had to find creative ways to get additional venting w the stock hood without modifying the hood….figure that one out.
Added some more downforce…..BMW Performance rear lip…..so, that car was good to go.
Porsche Cayman S……our test day on Tuesday of this week with our Executive Experience customers was a real help, so not a lot that we needed to do, as the car was stable, fast, had grip, and the new parts were working great. We had added a harness bar, full harness set, transponder, new rear brakes and pads, changed more bushings, and added more camber to the front suspension. Did a great alignment, and that car was all set.
Now…all we needed was our GT3…..but that car was still in JAIL (meaning the dealer has had it for multiple weeks trying to solve the issue of why the car was running great, and then, all of a sudden, it just died….dead….it would turn over great….but nothing….dead). So, that car was being resuscitated, and we hope it will make it (more on that later). No new parts for the GT3 for this event. We just want the car, as the last test day showed the car to be a flyer. Lots of anticipation…..
Now…with the growing number of customer cars along w our own cars, we were facing a real issue of how to get all the cars, all the tires, all the wheels, all the spare parts, all the gear, all the canopies and tables and chairs….to any event. So, to solve that problem, we have a new truck and trailer……BIG…..real BIG. Not Pro Racing big, but BIG. So, more new elements to deal with.
So, we packed all our stuff in, and off to Laguna Seca we headed. Day 1 started out great (other than us missing our GT3), but the weather would be key. Started out cold, and we used the first session to validate that all the cars were running well, and setups were close. Track was dry, and Bruce was driving the BMW 135i. Lamar was driving the Porsche Cayman S. Both cars were running well, fast, and the track was dry. Ahhhh…..too quick to say that. We called home to see how the GT3 was coming, and heard that it was raining. Looked good here in Monterey, but hmmmm, and so the winds blow…..by the time our next session came….right in the middle of it, we got rain…..soft at first, and then it came. But, at least it wasn’t a down pour. We got two sessions in the dry, and two sessions in the wet. At the end of the day….we were in the top five with BOTH cars.
And, the great news, at the end of the day, we heard from our dealer….and the GT3 got released from jail…..and it RUNS. So, had more of our team go get the GT3 and load it up in the other trailer, and it’s on its way. We now found out that the original cause of the issue is a KNOWN issue w Porsche’s, and we ordered new parts (its the shift mechanism…..it flexes too much when trying to put the car into third gear…..which is the exact issue we had, as the car wouldn’t go into third gear, and then popped out. The solution is to change the whole gear shift assembly….to a Porsche Cup Car version, with different cables and solid bushings. So….we will have the car shortly, and then we get to pull another all nighter to do the parts swap…plus do the exhaust.
Ahhh…..the life of racing…..so, on to the next day, and our prayers for good weather. We had LOTS of people in our garages all day….so, lots of fun.