Chapter 166 - October 2010
GRM 2010$ CHALLENGE
Above: Matt, McCall, Fair, Costas
The car saw probably 20 folks helping at one time or another. A 'core' group of 8 or so did 95% of the work and these four went to the event.
This will not be the typical story for WDMS as WDMS was not the team on this car, Costas (me :-) was simply a helper and fortunate wheel-man on this project. If you are bored, can't sleep, love to read epic car threads or a combination of the three, this is an EPIC adventure. As usual, so many stories DON'T get told due to space, I'll be adding mine as I post up some pictures and my reflections on this grand adventure I was only too happy to participate in.
First off, Vorshlag Motorsports was the catalyst here. Terry Fair, the owner of Vorshlag, hatched this idea for exposure for his company by building a car for this event. I won't waste space or go into great detail here as you can easily find the rules online where the magazine Grassroots Motorsports does a budget event that is the polar opposite of their Ultimate Track Car Challenge. This budget challenge means you only get 2010$ to build this car. This competition has been going on for over ten years (it started with 1999$ IIRC) and keeps getting bigger. When I was invited to join the team, they had already selected the E30 325 bmw and we had a YEAR to get it going. Anyone out there who has actually built a car to a deadline already knows the ugly truth that we were actually fixing the car less than an hour before it was slid into the trailer and headed to the event...in Florida.
So, without further delay, this build thread garnered over a QUARTER MILLION pageviews on these websites. The thread was mirrored on several websites and it is interesting to see the differing point of views that are on the VOMO site, Corner-Carvers, Bimmerworld, r3vlimited, etc... The last few pages chronicle the event itself with some action shots and links to a few videos. ENJOY!!
Vorshlag's Official Thread here: http://vorshlag.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7295
WELCOME BACK! There were a few smaller sites that had the thread, but these are the major ones that provide the most hilarity and insight into what folks thought and how we as a team moved the project forward. Now...you're totally sick of reading and you've seen a TON of pictures of the build, so let's see MORE video!! I've already done the four official autocross runs and Fair jumps in the car to take a fun run!!
INSIDE: http://vorshlag.smugmug.com/gallery/4882794_PPm2C#1057803741_zGY37-A-LB "too much hooning" says Fair at the end...heh heh
This helmet has sat on top of a LOT of cars and safely protected my noggin for years. It expires in Dec 2010 and will be retired (tips hat to helmet!).
Another shot, better showing our steed!
Fun little car!! Matches mah helmet!!! :-)
I was so very happy to help with this project. It was a huge PITA to GET there as Fair's shop is right at an hour from my house, so every Thursday saw me drive two hours to work on the car for 3-5 hours. Ug. I get spoiled walking into my garage to work on Scratcher or whatever and spend a few hours and then step back into my house. But, that is why everyone up here in DFW says that I live in FArlington...LOLZ.
We left Wednesday after work to make the Thursday afternoon check-in and then the Friday concours/autocross. Saturday was the drag racing and then the long drive home. Luckily, I was only going out with the team and then flying back first thing Saturday to do the NASA event at ECR on Sunday.
I was very honored when Fair told me I was to drive the car in the autocross portion. He and Vorshlag are extremely popular at events and we (very correctly) anticipated that his 'extra' time would be non-existant due to folks who followed the forums coming up and talking, asking what all Vorshlag does, talking dampers, camber plates, etc etc. At the recent SOLO Nationals, he never got a clean walk through the course without having to 'front the business' and he didn't want to do poorly due to not enough course walking or time to focus. The autocross is the most important part of the event since the scores for autocross are weighed much more heavily than drag or concours (the other two parts of the scoring system). I took this task very seriously and had been autocrossing Miss a lot this year to keep the skills sharp. I was waiting for the autocross course to open and walked it continually until they kicked us out. I stayed to watch the 'pro' drivers for about an hour as our car waited in line for the concours, listening to their comments to each other and studying the course from all angles. The 'pro' drivers were a group from the local autocross club and ranged from guys who had trophied at nationals to (my guess) some locally known quick guys. Each 2010$ entered car gets four official runs. The team can drive all four, or the team can elect a 'pro' to drive one, or up to all their runs. Once the four official runs were done, fun runs could be done, but the time did not count. Now the benefit of using a 'pro' was that the 'pros' had dozens and dozens of autocross runs in their own cars before the event even started. If the car had been driven a lot by a team, the team themselves may do better as they 'know' the car better, but as all autocrossers know, having a lot of time on a particular course typically means instant fast times. Lots of teams relied on 'pros' and some others didn't. I saw a lot of 'pros' spin cars and break cars. In their defense, I'm sure a lot of these cars had some truly evil handling/braking tendencies and could likely have broken simply going to the tech shed!! Considering our car was completely untested and was fighting a few key issues (way too much rear spring rate, way too much rear camber, no rear toe-in, brakes horrible...for starters) we elected to take all our four runs with me behind the wheel. I did my best (no spins), got faster and was very competitive with the top times, typically about a second back. Sadly, fixing any one of our problems likely would have seen us at the top of the timesheets, we had to settle for what we got. After my four runs, we did let a 'pro' take a run and while he had dozens upon dozens of runs and didn't spin, he was nearly a second off my best time. Fair then took a run with an awesome spin and some seriously fun looking hooning, and McCall took a run and looped it too. The rear is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay loose. I tried to tell them! heh.
The car is insanely phenomenally incredibly fun to drive. When it gets put back together (the trans let go on the drags the next day) and the rear sorted, it will be a complete HOOT to drive. It has PLENTY of power, turns on a dime, is agile, etc. Fix the rear and the brakes and do some tuning and let's GO GO GO! I hope I get to drive it again soon!!
Saturday saw me at the airport at oh-dark-thirty to catch a flight to make ch167 happen!