When 4 out of 5 cars from your team are damaged after a race weekend, you know that some stuff went down. We were really excited about this weekend at Thunderhill because the weather looked dry, albeit hot (105F), and we had just confirmed a week earlier while testing at Buttonwillow that any overheating issues had been resolved (we upgraded a lot of things after Round 4 at Sonoma in June). This would also be my first time driving the E36 at Thunderhill (since Graham had covered for me there during Round 2 in April while I was in Japan).
“Heidi” left for Round 2 of NorCal Super Touring Championship a day earlier than usual because Tom was in Japan - which meant that Graham assumed driving duties for this particular race weekend. We were excited because Jon had rebuilt the engine with brand new rod bearings, a new oil pump, and added an accusump system to help mitigate the low oil pressure issues we ran into at Sonoma in March. Shout-out to Jim from MMI Vehicle Systems and West Coast Ravenol for the fresh parts and fluids! On Thursday evening, Liam and Graham stopped by the shop to pick up the car and then they were off to Thunderhill.
After our successful test day at Sonoma on Friday March 1st, Graham and I brought “Heidi” down to SS Customs in Redwood City, CA that very same evening for the installation of this year’s livery. I was thrilled to once again partner with Adam and Scott from Skepple on the design, and my longtime friend, Shareef, from SSC on the print/install. The plan was that they would finish the car in time for the season opener, and boy...did they deliver!
This event marked our second attempt at the Sonoma 4-hour enduro, part of the NASA Western Endurance Racing Championship series (also known as WERC). Last year, we attempted to run this race with 2 cars (my ST4 Honda S2000 and Liam’s ST4 Honda Civic). Unfortunately, both cars had to retire early because of parts failures. I broke two differentials (my main and my spare) and Liam lost a gearbox.
July was a nice break month for us. With no racing on the calendar, we used that time to do a few things: Sourced (thanks, Graham) and began building another duplicate J32A2 engine with Supertech valve train (thanks, Martin), P2R fuel rails, and other performance goodies; Rebuilt a spare AP2 transmission with fresh OEM gears that we sent out for WPC coating treatment…
This past weekend (May 19-20, 2018) marked the third round of racing scheduled for this year’s NASA Pro Racing Super Touring championship series here in Northern California. I was thrilled to return with the team to Sonoma, because it’s close to the shop and it also happens to be one of my favorite tracks to drive at (I love the complexity, the narrowness of the walls, and the overall rhythm).
We left off in March after having just picked up our new (to us) J32A2 engine, and as promised we've been busy getting it ready for the demanding rigors of race conditions. We were thrilled to receive high-performance valves, springs, and retainers from my partners at Supertech Performance in order to do just that. These awesome parts allow us to rev the J32A2 engine well beyond it's OEM redline limitations, but safely.