One of the many sayings I’ve come up with over the years is that ‘Competence can be taught, Brilliance requires talent’. In my quest to live the dream I’ve been fortunate to achieve a level of brilliance at some things and to painfully earn some semblance of competence in many others. The awareness of this has made me particularly grateful for the occasions when I can associate with someone way better at something than I am. Too often I’m tempted to do the StarTrek ‘Damn it, Jim, I’m an engineer, not a …. [fill in a hundred blanks]’. But there are times when I meet someone that makes me say ‘Hey, you’re …. [exactly what I need] – GLAD to meet you!’. Some of those people have even chosen to participate in the adventures over the years, to this day.

Driving of course is an obvious example. As much as I’d like to think I’m a great driver (and naively I did, long time ago), the truth is that competence is the best I can hope for in that regard. Fortunately I’ve had the chance to work with several great drivers and opportunities keep expanding. Even so, knowing what it takes and how cars work (especially my cars), I can help others improve. Yes, I’ve been able to ‘teach’ way above my level. And that is gratifying in itself 🙂 Specifics, you ask? In due time.

Another example is just getting the word out about what we do. Telling the story. May seem simple on the surface, but like any endeavor, there are some who do it and there are some who do it well. At this test day we had Andy from MyLife@Speed taking some pictures. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves (and more on this later).

So, the test day. Our crew worked diligently to install the drysump on the demo D2 so that Jonathan can push it harder. A few other bits too which included completely replacing the front suspension. It was done with hours to spare and we didn’t even have to stay at the shop till 3am as is tradition. M drove the car 130 miles in frigid weather to the track (picking up Jonathan at the airport along the way) while I trailered Neil’s D1.

The goals for the day were many. One was to establish a baseline for D2 performance both on street tires (NT01) and ‘R’ compounds (BFG R1) before we step up to the Hoosiers. I have developed a reference of how ORP lap time might relate to Pikes Peak time and have been eager to see where we stand now. Other goals had to do with D1 development and testing as well as helping Neil get more familiar with the car. He was also trying out his new camera and it seems to work really well, even the sound is good.

Jonathan went out in the D2 first on street tires, then on BFGs. The latter seem to be exhibiting some odd interactions between sidewall stiffness (or lack thereof), springs/shocks and the chassis overall. Bottom line is that he had to back off on the straights. Even so, a best of 1:44 and change is encouraging for the stock car. There are several weaknesses at this pace – primary being tires (just not right for the setup), also the brakes could use an upgrade when going this fast. Gives us a path to follow.

Another thing we did is have Jonathan do a half-dozen laps in Neil’s D1 to set a reference. It’s always tempting to speculate on where someone might improve and how much faster they could potentially go. Quite another thing to put a number on it and show exactly where and how it can be done. Not in theory, not armchair driving, but here, now and with cold numbers. Our digital dash (based on CMS Lap Timer) makes it possible. We looked at the data right there in the pits and Neil was able to use it to take a full 2 seconds off his lap time the next time out, with a clear plan on what to work on. This will be a valuable tool for us going forward as we evaluate strategies and modifications.

Overall a great day. Much was learned which is what testing is all about. We have many tasks ahead. An example is improving the brakes – this requires new rotors, and designing and making new rotor hats. Which in turn requires designing fixtures, writing programs and all that fun stuff. Which is how I spent my weekend. The new brake hat is substantially larger than the stock one (compare in the first picture) and it pushes the envelope of our machine. This requires some creative fixturing.

One side of four hats is now done, the other side is next. Then we mount and test the parts. Next outing is the 26th.

In other news, the bodywork design is done and I’m just waiting for some renders to get done before I present it. In the meantime I’m working on figuring out how the plugs will be machined, the total quantity of tooling foam to order and so on. Look for another update soon.

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