Category: automobile racing



Video from John Baucom’s #86 Baucom Motorsports/Roadraceparts.com Mustang during the 2012 Road America Trans Am race.

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Mosport Trans Am 2012. Footage from John Baucom’s #86 Baucom Motorsports/Roadraceparts Mustang.

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In car video of the 2012 Road Atlanta Trans Am race. View is from John Baucom’s #86 Baucom Motorsports/Roadraceparts.com Mustang.

Enjoy.


Some of us can remember when 300 Horsepower was a lot for the street, even some pretty exotic cars were fairly hard pressed to meet that number. But in case you haven’t heard time isn’t the only thing that has moved on.

My first GT1 car.

My first GT1 car.

The car in the picture was my first GT1 car. It had about 550 HP, on its best day, back in the late 80’s. Not bad for a club racer but its 351 engine was almost certainly the best thing about it. The professionals however wouldn’t have considered it.

By the time the second coming of the TransAm series ended they were running 310 cid engines with rev limiters. These engines were, at least for those at the front end of the pack, in excess of 700 horsepower.

But now things have really changed. The 310 has gone the way of the dinosaur, replaced by the 358 cubic inch V8’s. Initially a lot of these were refugees from Nascar. Bought for less than one could build a 310 and producing big horsepower numbers. Initially some people just changed the cam, and maybe something with carburetion and exhaust and went racing. Worked pretty well and now the horsepower numbers were over 800.

But today the bar has been raised again. Some people have realized that an engine built purposely for road racing will out perform a converted stock car engine. This despite the fact that the horsepower numbers are the same.

And what are those numbers today? One racer who reportedly has about 830 HP told me recently ” I can’t pass them (the top cars) on the straight, but they can pass me.” His opinion is that he is 30 horsepower shy of the top cars.

So times have changed my friend, times have changed.

 


Roadraceparts logo

Roadraceparts logo

 

Probably all of us, or maybe just some of us can look back on some awkward moments.  For me at least they generally are of the beautiful plan gone horribly wrong category. as a case in point I offer the following example.

My first experience with a GT1 car was a sobering one. Having raced a ITA Mercury Capri for several years with indifferent results I had to take the plunge.  One of those times when you know you shouldn’t do it but everything works out so you can. An acquaintance had a Thunderbird bodied stock car chassis that he was about to give up on trying to make work. At the same time a guy walked up to me at Summit Point and offered to buy my car. So he became the proud owner of an ITA Capri, and I became the owner of a GT1 car. Well almost. To get it to where I could afford it, a lot of parts were not included. But with the help of my best friend, and a patient wife it once again became a car.

The first time it was out on the track was a drivers school, held in a monsoon, at Summit Point. The second was my second drivers school.  These revealed a couple of things in graphic detail. One we had a really good engine. Two the brakes, from a late-model stock car, were marginal. Marginal with a capital M. Lastly it was a pig. The handled was so bad I didn’t have a clue on how to make it better.

So, rather than address the handling I bought myself some brakes. Straight from the bigger is better school of thought (low buck edition) I bought the entire front brake setup from the #31 Mike Skinner Sprint Cup car.  They had run it at Sears Point that same year. A great deal, 2 giant Wilwood calipers, about 10 rotors, several sets of hats, and bunches of sets of brake pads. All for a reasonable, it seemed, price.

So we redid the caliper brackets, bolted everything in place, bleed the brakes and awaited our next race at Summit Point.

When the time came we loaded the car, drove the 126 miles to Summit Point, unloaded the car and awaited our turn to get out on track. When that time came we went out on the course feeling that this time it was all going to be good and we would be a contender.

That good feeling lasted for maybe two laps of practice. It became apparent to me that some thing wasn’t right. The car wouldn’t accelerate like it should, and the brakes were weird. So I pulled into the pit lane, my friends came out to see what was wrong, and after a short conversation we agreed I would go out and try it again.  It immediately became apparent that we had a major problem. The engine for all its power would barely move the car along pit road.

Finally after some head scratching and oohing and wtf’s? Somebody put their hand on the center of the front wheel. Wow! It sure wasn’t supposed to be that hot. So even to the rookies that we were it was obvious that we had a brake problem. After taking the front wheels off we were able to push/pull the car back to the pits. Obviously too hot to work on we went to find help. Fortunately a fellow competitor was not only able to diagnose the problem as a stuck front caliper but point us toward someone who had spares. (Of course we didn’t, after all we’d just gotten the brakes).

So now came the process of fixing the problem. Once they had cooled sufficiently the calipers were removed from the car. Before the pads were removed, a block of wood was inserted between the pads. Then an airline was put onto the fitting where the brake line attached. A slight puff of air and the pistons pressed the pads against the wooded block. Than the wood and pads were removed so that the pistons could be removed from the bores.

So now we had to correct the problem. The old seals were removed, and the pistons lightly sanded, LIGHTLY sanded, with a fine emery paper. New seals were placed on the pistons, which were then reseated in their bores. Calipers were bolted onto the front uprights and brake pads installed.

No more problems, and a very valuable lesson learned. Always check, no matter what the pedigree, new or used. And spares are necessary whether you need them or not.

So if you want to avoid a similar situation give us a call at (804) 921-0902 or visit our store at http://www.roadraceparts.com


I know its been a while since I posted anything, and there’s a reason for that. But fear not a new article is on the way. But knowing you’re going to be busy, read really busy, until Xmas is over I think I’ll hold off a little bit. Maybe after Christmas you will actually have time to read it.

As you know I’ve been saying that you need to take a look at the brakes on the old race car over the winter, and doing a little maintenance on the calipers is a pretty smart thing. So I’m going to tell a story from my experience, with the new, at least to me, brake calipers I put on the car. I don’t want to spoil the story but a hint is that 500 horsepower sometimes can’t move your car down pit road.

So be prepared, it will be up for a New Years present.

 

 

 

 


Do you have a maintenance plan for your car? While many of us, if not all of us have a checklist that we go thru between races that may be it.

Do you know when various items on the car were replaced? You probably change the oil and filters on some schedule, it only makes sense. But how long have the rod ends on the control arms been on there? Or the spindles (that probably came with the car when you bought it)?

Part of getting organized is having a plan that includes every critical item on the car, when it was installed, when it was inspected, and when you intend to replace it. Yes, it can be a pain, but think what happens when a rod end or a spindle breaks. We all either have had it happen to a friend or ourselves, some little part breaks that should have been replaced a long time ago.

It will save you money in the long run.

 


Time is important to racers, particularly track time.  Lets face it most of us don’t get but so many chances to actually get on the track. Maybe a Friday test day, if the work schedule, and budget, allows.

And because we don’t have much time we go out and run laps, and think that maybe a new set of tires, or a different transmission or engine package is what we need.  But maybe that’s not the answer, maybe we could improve the car closer to its potential without spending a load of money. (Before anyone says anything I do exclude new tires from this, that is an area that there is no getting around) So how do you make the car better, given the limited amount of time?

Get organized. First, record what is on the car now. Make detailed notes of every part of the setup, sway bars, springs, tire pressure etc. Then record the results, and here you have to be honest with yourself. What did it do?

Then every time you go out on track, change something on the car,. What it is you and your crew can figure out. But try something different and again record the results. And record the data when it is relevant, as soon as the car comes off the track. You don’t know what it is  that may wake your car up.

But one thing is for sure if you don’t try you wont get any better.

 

 


Under construction. The lower portion of the chassis taking shape.

Under construction. The lower portion of the chassis taking shape.

Can you guess what type chassis this is under construction? Brand? Well the type is pretty obvious. Its a GT1/Trans-Am/IMSA style road racing chassis.

Brand may be a little more difficult, because it is only the second one built.

Everyone that is involved in racing does so because they have a passion for it.  And part of that passion is a dream. A dream to succeed at the highest level. And of course  we all love to tackle those projects that are a challenge.

Thats how it is for Mark K. one of the principals in Roadraceparts.com. A veteran vintage racer he had dreamed of driving a Trans-Am car. Not just drive it but own it as well. So when the opportunity came about to purchase the engineering drawing for a professionally designed chassis and spares he jumped at it. Of course, knowing that one car had been built and successfully raced made it a little easier.

a start

A start. one of the sections that will become part of the lower chassis.

So in this brief article you can see several photos of the chassis on the surface plate. Work continues and all indications are that the results will be well worth the effort.

A professional at work.

A professional at work.

Bottom section of frame completed.

Bottom section of frame completed.

So that’s our little sneak preview. Hope you enjoyed it.

Chicago Rawhide spindle seals.

Chicago Rawhide spindle seals.
CR26144 – their price $22.49 – ours $17.99
CR27271 our price $14.49

So give us a call at (804) 921-0902 or email at sales@roadraceparts.com


So, its almost the middle of February now, and the racing season is just about to get started. Now before anyone gets too excited I know that in some of the warmer climes they have already done a few races.

Baucom Motorsports Mustang

John Baucom and the Baucom Motorsports Mustang. You may recognize the name on the hood.

So what are your plans for the year? Are you going to compete this year, and if so to what extent? Seems like quite a few cars have been built over this past winter. If reports are accurate there were quite a few TA2 cars built. Whether all on them will race in the Trans-Am remains to be seen. Certainly there are other venues that they could be raced in. In addition at least two chassis builders are building cars which could be eligible to compete in either SCCA GT1 or Trans-Am.

Both of these are good signs and maybe it means that either the economy is doing better or people have gotten tired of sitting on their money and are going to come out and play again. We intend to put forth a stronger effort this year than we did last year on multiple levels.

BTW: before I forget, I spoke with a professional chassis builder last week about his plans. He is going to submit drawings of a new chassis to a sanctioning body. Why is that news? Because currently there is only one approved chassis for the class. I wish him well, he does good work and competition is always good.

Dont forget to give us a call or email if you need anything for your car. Check us out at http://www.roadraceparts.com. If you dont see what you’re looking for we are constantly adding stuff. Brake Caliper seals and kits for Alcon and brembo will be added today, Performance Friction in the next little while.

Safety Spring for Centerlok type wheel nut. In stock today

Safety Spring for Centerlok type wheel nut. In stock today required in the Trans-Am series. Their price $10.00 each. Our price $9.50