Testing in the clouds

Today is the final test day and we’re on the upper section again, at 13,000 feet.  Turned out to be a powerful reminder of how fast the conditions on the Mountain can change. It started with clear starry sky and spectacular sunrise.

Yesterday we spent 4 hours replacing the broken torque splitter on Rodney’s car, and messing with gearbox settings on David’s.  Many thanks to Under Pressure Performance for letting us use their shop.

Our custom portable gantry is pretty handy for this work.  It disassembles and mounts on the trailer wall, taking up virtually no space.

We had an issue with heat treat on this batch of parts but were hopeful they’d last anyway bringing a spare just in case.  And they do last in normal use, but not here.  You can see the brittle failure on the portion of the unit that was not supposed to be hardened.  We’ll make more.  Hopefully the new unit will last the race.

This morning we went up a bit earlier than last three days.  Setup was as usual, although much colder temperatures than Tuesday when we were here last.

Then the sun came up.

The first run is uneventful.  The goal is to scout out a better path over the bumps and to test a couple small aero tweaks we made.  Rodney took it extra easy and still posted a respectable 3:16, though way more conservative than his 2:57 run on Tuesday after the spin.  The cars completing the middle section were lining up below us for the return run as the sun came up.  It’s quite a view.

The second run started and couple cars went up.  As we were getting ready, clouds suddenly rolled in.  Here’s a video of how fast that happened.   We still lined up but a little bit later practice was canceled.

We loaded up, waited for what seemed like an hour, then descended some 5,000 feet in 10-foot visibility.

We’re now as ready as we’re going to be and feel cautiously optimistic about Sunday.  Hopefully the Mountain will be kind to us both with weather and luck overall.

This will be the first year that the race is going to be live streamed with over 20 cameras on the course.  You can register for free to watch the stream here.

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