Over the years, my good friend Nick Cahill (who happens to be an award-winning filmmaker and national geographic cover photographer) has helped me tell stories through video about my passion for motorsport (which he also shares) and the Honda S2000 race-car I built from the ground up. Last October, I had a nasty rollover crash at Sonoma and while I was able to walk away unharmed; the car was a total-loss. This season, I debuted a BMW E36 M3 which has presented a new set of challenges. That's when Nick and I got together to brainstorm the idea of creating a short-film about this next chapter, and more importantly; the incredible people and companies who make everything possible. Watch it here:
After less-than-ideal results last month, the team regrouped as planned in an effort to come back stronger than ever. On September 6th, we returned to Sonoma Raceway; anxious to test some of the changes that had been made. In an effort to see if we had truly succeeded in making the car better, we decided to run the entire day on the same set of tires from Sunday (August 4th) at Thunderhill.
The Lotus Exige S is known for heat soaking and extremely high IATs (intake air temps). The stock intercooler is mounted on top of the hot engine and doesn’t get nearly enough airflow through the small roof scoop. It also doesn’t help that the hot air from the radiator exits in front of the windshield and makes its way into the roof. There are some things you can do to help like a larger intercooler, additional ducting from the side scoops, larger roof scoops, and adding fans cooling to the intercooler. These are all help a little, but the stock ECU will start to pull timing as low as 104F, and pull as much as 6 degrees as the temps rise. The last time we were at Buttonwillow in December, we logged peak temp of 167F while out on the track. Remember, this was in December when it was nice and cool.
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).
This past Monday, June 24, we decided to take a team day-off to go to the track with Golden Gate Lotus Club. In addition to drives, meets, and fun outings, GGLC hosts great track & autocross events. Only three run groups, so you get SEVEN sessions! Not to mention, they always offer snacks, coffee, fruits, and sometimes even lunch!
As a Lotus mechanic for the last 9 years and recently becoming a first-time owner, we were able to attend one of the days of the annual West Coast Lotus Meet this year! On Thursday, May 16, 2019, We participated in the trackday portion of the event, which was held at Thunderhill West, and hosted by Golden Gate Lotus Club.
“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.
It’s no secret that Reverie makes high quality (wind tunnel tested) aero parts for the Eliges and I’ve always liked their front splitter design. Although Reverie’s mounting solution works great and is solid, I decided to attach the splitter directly to the chassis, and not to the front clam. My reason for this is so that I can easily remove the front clam without having to remove the splitter first. This did require cutting the front lower portion of it so that it could just rest on top of the splitter…
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!
Following my crash at Sonoma last October I spent some time thinking about what I wanted to do next. I knew I wanted to continue racing with NASA in Super Touring because the ST4 class is growing steadily and we have great camaraderie amongst the competitors in the field. For a brief moment, I actually considered building another S2000 but realized after 9 years with the platform that it was time to move on and do something new. As such, in November we began tearing down what was left of “Irene” and selling any remaining/usable parts.