(continued from above)
Saturday: Race Preparation
The entire crew spent most of Saturday doing a more through version of their normal check list. This includes going over every system in the car, including some repairs to the cooling system, removal of the splitter and front bumper to check all of the brake cooling and oil plumbing hoses underneath, verify the alignment and a complete "nut and bolt" of the suspension and drivetrain. The main radiator cap was bypassing at lower than normal pressures, allowing some water loss from the bypass line at the radiator. This bypass line was blocked off and the over-pressure bypass for the entire coolant system was then handled by the second radiator cap at the remote reservoir we added. This second cap worked fine and the car didn't lose a drop during race day.
This was all done in the motel parking lot, which is common for Pikes Peak teams during off days or outside of the designated practice times on Wednesday-Friday of race week. Lots of fans stopped by the makeshift "garage" to inquire about the car, the event and the teams' history.
An excellent pre-dawn picture of Brianne and Jeremy taking the finish line at the Peak, during practice runs.
Most teams bring two trailers to the event, just like our crew. The main enclosed trailer stays at the hotel and a small open trailer goes with the team up the mountain for each day of testing. Why? Navigating the switchbacks with a big enclosed trailer is a nightmare, and parking in the woods (aka: paddock) on race day is impossible with a big trailer. So plan on having two
trailers for race week at PPIHC, if you ever go. The team was originally going to rent a trailer in Colorado Springs, but JasonM managed to borrow an open trailer from another driver who's car broke earlier during practice (thanks Dave C!), and the Vorshlag trailer was used as the home base with lots of spares and more tools at the motel (shown above).
Sunday: Race Day Weather Fiasco
Here's some external video from several of the Time Attack class cars on race day, taken from Gilly's Corner:
In order to avoid any of the brand new 285/30/18 Hoosier A6 tires getting a puncture while driving through the woods (paddock area) to the starting line, they left the R6s on that were used during practice. Once the car was on the paved road area at the back of the starting grid, we hand carried the A6s down with the help of Bill Caswell
(1/4 mile away) and mounted them under Mike Ryan's
tent, a fellow PPIHC racer who drove the crazy Freightliner (see below). These A6s were driven about 50 feet and then were pulled off...
The conditions in the hour or so before her run were terrible, with rain and hail covering most of the mountain. What is it with Brianne and hail?
Much to my chagrin, the team switched to the skinny 245mm Hoosier rain tires moments before her run, right at the starting line. The team was prepared for potential bad weather and was ready for the switch. This was highly recommended by the race organizers, as the handful of competitors before her were sliding off the wet and hail covered mountain road left and right in the late afternoon. Seeing those skinny rains go on the car caused me physical PAIN
, after the days of work Ryan and our crew put into making the steel wide body fenders clear the 10" wheels, but it was the only logical choice given the horrible weather conditions.
Brianne and co-driver Jeremy blasted up the hill with a vengeance, rain be damned. Without windshield wipers or a defroster/heater, she couldn't see squat, but she never let up!