Best worst idea

Endurance racing crappy cars naturally produces failure at an astonishing rate, so much concern for contingency plans is required.

The thesis for our Chevette racer has been pretty simple, light weight, good handling and simplicity. Power output has been an afterthought as high horsepower engines are actually detrimental and stress the drivetrain and produce a lot of heat that must be dealt with to ensure endurance reliability. Our stock 1.6 liter motor has two digit horsepower output so we are basically immune from any of those concerns. This doesn’t eliminate all our concerns about failure though, failure to pass anyone becomes a valid concern. Passing cars is obviously extremely rewarding and a major source of fun in racing. All of this concern has lead to the best worst idea for our team and the Chevette car.

Make the jump to find out the solution to all of our problems.

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Curing cancer Lemons style

Endurance racing with very cheap cars has a tragic pandemic that has affected every mechanic and driver, cancer. This is cancer of the chassis, more commonly known as rust. It is the bane of every person who spins wrenches on one of these crappy race cars. It makes almost every facet of working on these cars a huge pain in the ass. Broken bolts, rounded nuts, seized parts, and keeping your tetanus shot up to date are just a few examples of such frustrations.

Luckily for cars, there is a cure for this blight. A sawzall, some new metal, and a welder make a potent combination for dealing with this issue. Here’s how I cured a portion of the floor on our Chevette racer. As shown in the fuel cell installation, I basically suck at metal working and don’t have anything beyond basic hand tools for metal work, so I made the repair panel as simple as possible. I didn’t want complicated bends (read: any) so I cut out enough of the floor to allow me to use a flat piece of metal to create the patch.

After that, I used an air powered tin snip to roughly shape the 18 gauge sheet metal to fit the newly created hole.

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18 Gallons of Lemonade

Once we had stripped the car of the last remaining interior bits, we were ready to tackle another aspect of construction for our endurance racer, the fuel cell. From prior experience we knew that staying out on the track is of the utmost importance. Keeping this haphazard collection of nuts and bolts in one piece is one aspect of that equation, toting around enough gas to keep the engine supplied is another. We knew the stock fuel tank would be inadequate for our super sized requirements, so we super sized the fuel tank. We sourced an 18 gallon monstrosity from the discarded parts pile of a local touring car team and got to work.

We measured where the fuel cell would fit and not interfere with the rear suspension or try to occupy the same space as something that’s important, like a frame rail.

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Kelly Moss built 1994 World Challenge Porsche 968 Turbo 25L

Best known as the Midwest’s premier Diamond Star Motors (Mitsubishi/Chrysler) tuner, the wizards at AMS have really made a name for themselves in race prep for all manner of forced induction beasts.

Check out this 1994 World Challenge Porsche 968 Turbo 25L belonging to John Ricci’s. This Kelly Moss built race car competes in Porsche Club of America events and various track days.

Go slow to go fast

Our race team has encountered our first design question for our car.

The Chevette is an economy car, and as such was never meant to be driven at speed. The speedometer only goes up to 80 and the engineer was being extremely optimistic about that number. With economy, light weight, and light duty in mind this car sports some extremely small brakes. There are disks up front and rotors out back, there is no brake booster, and neither half of the car sports cooling features for the brakes. This is not the recipe for a race capable brake system, especially an endurance race system that will see high temperatures for extended periods of time.

The rules for the endurance race series we plan to enter are pretty generous towards brake modification as that is an extremely important aspect of safety and racing. This leaves us with plenty of options.

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Doing the dirty deed

Our race team is continuing to make progress on the Chevette/T1000 endurance racecar.
We tackled one of the more undesirable tasks this weekend, gutting the interior. In this car’s case, the interior is pretty trashed after sitting for many years with the windows up. It’s basically turned the interior into a petri dish for mold, bacteria, and other nasty stuff. The best part about this job is that we will both be removing all of the disease-riddled interior and taking another step towards racecar status.

Click the link below to see how the transformation.

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