Final preparations

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Things are blending together at this point but I think I remember the general timeline.  Yesterday FedEx delivered the replacement seals for the valve block (after several attempts, tracking them down, trying to arrange to meet the driver and then him just showing up).  When we realized the delivery time was uncertain we decided to work on the D1 in the garage.  Our portable gantry lift came out of the trailer, got assembled and we tilted the car up on its side as usual.

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This makes it easy to remove/install the floor and get to everything at the same time.  The shifter valve block got removed in preparation for the seals while I messed around with figuring out how to re-flash the ECU.  The interface for that arrived yesterday from George Dean, along with a new program.  We also install a heavier wastegate spring to compensate for the altitude.  It takes many hands.

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Simultaneously the new tires for the D2 from Hoosier were delivered and Morgan went to get them mounted.  They would need to be heat cycled and scrubbed in, so we make plans for that.

The seal kit arrives and we remove the old seals and install the new.  Old ones don’t look too bad actually, but now the shifter works perfectly whereas before it didn’t.  We’ll take it.  Such a small thing, so much consequence.

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Once the D1 is back in the correct orientation I try downloading the fuel map and it works.  George also sent a spare ECU so we can have a backup in case the programming goes wrong.  I start with the spare, then once that is doing something I move on to the original.  It is now late in the day and we don’t have time to go to a track to test, so that will have to be Saturday.

Fast forward to Saturday, which is today – I think. Getting up at 6am seems a luxury and actually I did wake up at 3 ready to go and then went “oh…” and back to sleep. The plan is to go to PPIR.  The track itself is not available due to an event, but they have a big parking lot which we’ve used for testing – that’ll do.  We show up and after sorting out some logistics we are ready to test.  I have to figure out the ECU programming stuff and wrap my head around what it does and why, so Jonathan goes out and gets the new D2 tires scrubbed in.  The video below is a composite from the test so it’s a bit of a spoiler – yes I did get the mapping figured out to the point where the car is drivable.  It took 10 map iterations – 7 stationary and 3 that Jonathan test-drove.  When he offered Rodney to switch cars, I knew we’re getting somewhere.

There are a couple other teams testing at the same time, and it’s fun to watch them run.  But it’s WAY more fun, for me, to watch our own cars finally run 🙂  In this whole week I don’t think either car has made a test run at 100%.  It’s hard to tell if we’re there now but both cars are definitely the best they have been.  Ever.

In the Unlimited class some of our competition has been way faster than the D1 but then again the D1 has never run at anywhere near potential.  With the D2, we’re going to have a very close race with Layne Schranz, our nemesis from last year.  It could go either way – he is faster this year and us, well, we haven’t really run as well as we could this week but some improvements have been made, so we shall see.

After the testing is completed we pack up just ahead of a massive thunderstorm, which pummels us on the drive back to Colorado Springs.  Then up the Mountain to set up in the pit areas, and back down to the house to grab some food and a bit of rest.

Tomorrow will tell whether all this effort has been enough.  Wish us luck.

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