Category: SCCA Trans-Am



From RJ Lopez in car camera

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A second video from the in-car on John Baucom’s #86 Baucom Motorsports/Roadraceparts.com Mustang


In car video from John Baucom’s #86 Baucom Motorsports/Roadraceparts.com Mustang.


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


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.


rontsuspension at midohio

front suspension at Mid Ohio

Talking to the team before practice at Mid Ohio they were cautiously optimistic. They feel that the track was one where being down in horsepower wouldn’t be as much of a disadvantage as somewhere like Road America. However from the very beginning the car had a significant push. They would struggle with this all day Friday.

First order of business was to try to balance the car. To do so they took a little wing out, which required drilling new holes in the mounting brackets. Then a rear spring change was made to try to correct the push issue. But neither issue corrected the problem. All during practice the team had been running on used tires, which may have masked part of the problem.

For qualifying a new set of tires was mounted and the car picked up some speed. Unfortunately everyone else did also and John qualified sixth fastest. Ahead were the Corvettes of Tommy Drissi, Doug Peterson, Simon Gregg and Amy Ruman. Cliff Ebben qualified 5th taking the honor of fastest Ford. The push was still there, but this time a “clicking” in transition was heard, which would have to be addressed.

On Saturday morning, the first order of business was to inspect all the heim joints for play. Once that issue was solved a radical spring change was made in a last ditch effort to cure the push issue. Of course the results wouldn’t be known until the race.

Rather than go into a lengthy report on the race suffice it to say that John was able to finish 4th. One more restart, which didn’t happen as they couldn’t get Amy Ruman’s car out of the sand trap in time, may have allowed him to make a run at the 3rd place finisher. But it didn’t happen, so be it.

Great race, and the dicing at the front was serious but clean. If you get the chance be sure to go out and check out the Trans Am series. Good racing and it offers something that few series do.

 


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.

 


For the past several years one of the great sports in road racing has been the one of bemoaning the lack of success of the Trans-Am series. This series, once the best and most competitive road racing series in North America, had fallen on hard times.  There had been several attempts to rescue it from extinction, each perhaps less successful than the last.

And of course it seemed like everybody and his brother had the answer as to why it wasn’t working. No TV, no advertising, too expensive, etc., etc. The SCCA of course got its fair share of criticism for the way they were attempting to run the series as well.

Finally at the end of last year a group of people, all of them experienced in the series, either as racers or administrators took over the series. Now after a slow start it appears they are putting the pieces together to really give the series a fighting chance. They have a new website, a dedicated PR person, and yesterday they made a major announcement. GoRacingTV.com will be providing video vignettes during the race weekend as well as a weekly show on Trans-Am racing.

While some will be dissappointed that this isnt live coverage of the races it has proven to be highly successful in other motorsport venues. Look at “The Flying Lap” with Peter Windsor and his coverage of F1. If they can emulate him it will be up to the racers then.

Now if they can get a emagazine like they do for F1  life will be good!

Speaking of F1, the series starts this weekend in Melbourne and we can see who has what. Is Red Bull still got the dominant car? Or has McLaren caught up?  How much closer to the midfield is Caterham, and have they succeeded in reviving Williams?

Nascar in Bristol this week, not sold out again for the third year in a row I believe. I used to go every year, but no more.

And a question: What would be the reaction if a manufacturer sold you a car where the fuel injection system had as much trouble as the ones that Nascar is using?  Is it the great leap forward they claim?

 

 


Several quick things this morning before we go try to earn an honest living.

First, F1 testing is over and the teams have a short time to get ready for the first race in Melbourne. And not all is well with several of the teams. Two of the newer teams, HRT and Marussia, were unable to get their 2012 challengers ready in time to do the test. Obvious they will do some testing in the form of “filming days” or straight line tests, but hard to see where they wont be way behind at the start of the season.

A couple of the major players dont appear to be in that great a shape either. There are continuing whispers about how bad the new Ferrari is, and Red Bull is saying they will have a “B” spec car at Melbourne. The surprises of the testing have to be Lotus, (formerly Renault) and Sauber. But we will see the truth come the first race as to who has what. My money is on McLaren, while no fan of theirs they have the organization to take it to Red Bull.

On the Nascar front, to me the big news is not that ratings and attendance are back down to 2010 levels. Rather to me its this: the announcement that HMS has signed a Chinese Solar Panel Manufacturer to a sponsor deal on the number 5 car driven by Kasey Kahne. Think of the precedents this sets. To my knowledge there aren’t any other foreign sponsors. Multinationals sure, foreign no. But a interesting move nevertheless.

Speaking of sponsorship was the case of Kenny Wallace pleading for sponsors for his RAB Nationwide series car. Saying that they were broke, and that they could race on a 100k a race where others were getting 150-200k per race. Wonder does this show us why the Nationwide series is struggling? Many small and medium size companies just dont have that kind of money to spend on a race car, far away from their home market, unless they get a LOT of TV exposure. At some point Nascar, or the teams themselves, are going to have to address the issue of cost control.

Wonder is Aurora having trouble supplying rod ends these days? Have gotten a lot of calls both internationally and domestically from people I hadn’t heard from before.

Still trying who was the voice on the telecast from Phoenix last week who, right before Harvick “ran out of gas” came on the radio and said “we have a problem”. Remember according to the rules the teams are not supposed to be monitoring telemetry from the cars during the race. So, whose voice was it? Inquiring minds want to know.