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Building a Racecar Driver - Chapter 7

Building a Racecar Driver - Chapter 7

I’m currently on a flight from Portland, Oregon to Austin. Yes, I do take some time off here and there, and sometimes LA just seems too much.  Oregon has beautiful Rivers, Mountains and Trees, I enjoyed a few days there and even got to have lunch and some wine tasting with a good friend Gunner Mench! When I arrive Austin I basically have two weeks to finish prepping our racecar. You might ask, two weeks, anything can be accomplished in two weeks! No, not really, because I am pretty much the only guy that services the racecar and let me tell you, both the techs and I prefer the car to be ready when it arrives the racetrack. Racing is interesting, no matter how much time you have, there is always more items to do than time available, always.  Let me explain; I originally set up a service protocol per test or race weekend that includes the following list, and this includes our list for VIR: Prep #39 for VIR Test and Race Weekend -Set up in RV campground -Prepare servi ... read more

Building a Racecar Driver - Chapter 6

Building a Racecar Driver - Chapter 6

As I sit here in our team Motorcoach Monday Morning, in an RV park next to the river in Austin, TX reflecting on the last few weeks, it all seems a blur. We first traveled to Sebring, FL, then Birmingham, AL and now we're in Austin, TX for the Porsche Sprint Challenge (PSC) COTA race, yesterday. Being a new driver, DE as we call Daniel Espinosa, has had a number of ups and downs this year, commonplace with most any aspiring new driver. DE insisted on taking the fast track to becoming a pro-driver. While it might take a lifetime for some, DE has requested that due to his age and including his fathers age, that it be as quick as possible. Having said that, there is usually a definite point where it all clicks, where the driver gets it, on a subconscious level. COTA (Circuit of the Americas) was that point for Daniel. Becoming a pro racecar driver takes extreme diligence and personal responsibility. It takes a lot of hard work and only a lot of seat-time will get you there. We ar ... read more

Building a Racecar Driver - Chapter 4

Building a Racecar Driver - Chapter 4

Okay, so once we received the new racecar, this was the perfect time to start keeping record of every component on the car. Tracking every component even if it seemed menial, was essential to the driver’s and everyone’s ongoing safety. We keep a record of the run-time on all the components because there is not always an obvious answer as to when a component needs to be replaced before failure, the signs of impending failure are not always apparent. When a component has reached its usable life span, we call this “houred out” or “aged out” meaning the component has reached the limit of time that is allowed for it to be safely run. Sensitive data coming, here is the problem, the manufacturer does not always give you a real estimate of when a component should be replaced, meaning either because of the overall cost estimates of running the racecar, or because they might not even know. I have seen ridiculous estimates, like a recommended 5,000 mile eng ... read more

Building a Racecar Driver - Chapter 3

Building a Racecar Driver - Chapter 3

Prepping a brand-new racecar, where to start. So, we take our knowledge of the street cars and of the racecars and then combine everything we know, but as you might have assumed, a mistake can mean someone’s life, so everything relating to racing must be taken very seriously, never letting up, or you could easily get bitten. One team last year didn’t keep up with the TSB’s (Technical Service Bulletins) and by off clocking the rear brake caliper hoses just ever so slightly, created a fracture in one of the rear brake caliper hoses causing the car to lose its brakes, thank God nobody was hurt. These things can happen, but your team must stay ever so vigilant, never letting up. I live by the words of Mr. Harry Pellow, Murphy is my co-pilot. Note, Murphy’s law says “ if it can happen, it will”! Then Porsche holds your hand for the more complicated issues, such as dealing with the Cosworth ICD (Intelligent Colour Display) Instrument Cluster, bleeding th ... read more

Building a Racecar Driver - Chapter 2

Building a Racecar Driver - Chapter 2

Let’s get back to DE for a moment, he really didn’t have much race track experience, especially in a full-fledged race-car. He has ridden motorcycles quite a bit on the track but not automobiles, which I feel can give a driver somewhat a Superman like syndrome.  Once you get in a car, you’re all wrapped up in a cocoon of steel or Aluminum in the case of the modern Porsche, which can give you a false sense of security, maybe allowing you to push yourself farther than you actually should, who knows. DE had attended a couple of Callas Rennsport track days and even spent a full week at the Porsche advanced level driving school at the Barber Motorsports Park. So, needless to say, we had our work cut-out for us.  DE is a fearless street racer who likes to let it all hang out, but on the racetrack the loosie-goosey hang-it-all-out way is not the fastest and for sure not the safest way around a street course, not to mention it’s not so good on those big black ... read more