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lotusf1

If you follow motorsport, this is a bittersweet time of year. Until the Daytona 24 hours there is almost no racing, and in fact precious little testing. Therefore up passes for news is generally pretty uninteresting, and obviously was a streetch on the authors part.

The exception to this is the constant flow of information about the two largest racing series in the world, F1 and Nascar. Before anybody starts to aim their digital flamethrower in my direction, let me say that I know F1 is far and away the king of motorsport. And as you look at the news articles you can see why.

But every now and then somebody does something to make you sit up and take notice. This time it was Caterham F1,one of the newer F1 teams, formerly known as Lotus F1. But lets not get sidetracked as to why they are Caterham, and the former Renault team is now Lotus. I can explain, but I wont.

As you may recall, every year all the F1 teams unveil, or launch, their new cars. And this is one of the highlights of the winter doldrums. To finally get to see your heros and the all new car which will, hopefully, win the World Championship. Its the motor racing equivalent of when we were kids getting to see the new model Chevy/Ford/Dodge. Remember those days, when the cars were brought to the dealership all covered up so nobody could see them? Well, those days are gone, but not the F1 launches.

I digress however. So why if this happens every year was I impressed by the Caterham launch? After all these things happen every year, and they have been done in every type of location from exotic to mundane. From elegant and understated to way over the top. In fact, I was beginning to believe that the only way they could come up with something different was to shoot it out of a cannon and land it in a bunch of Hooters girls.

But instead they did something so different, yet simple that you have to wonder why nobody (that I know of) had done it. They simply announced that their launch would be the first of the year, AND it would be on the cover of F1 Racing magazine. Only the most widely read F1 magazine in the world. And of course they would follow with Facebook, and other digital media.

Of course some people got their issue early and the news was broken a day early. Which I’m sure caused a lot of crocodile tears at Caterham. And now ScarbsF1 has a great analysis of the car, F1 racing had a article to go along with the photos, etc.

All of this is just a long winded way to say that in a time where we wring our hands and blame the economy for every ill in motor sport what was this worth? In the name of full disclosure I must admit that I have been impressed by this teams PR savvy ever since its inception. That said,how much uncontested FREE publicity did those guys get from just having a simple idea? If you were a potential sponsor what would you think of such out of the box thinking.

So, if you’re out there trying to get somebody to help you with your racing, and your by the numbers presentation isn’t working, maybe you need to think about a different approach.

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Another photo of the Capri

As millions of us get ready to take to the highways, remember safety first!


John Baucom's Mustang at 3Rivers. Note the "Roadraceparts" decal on the door

John Baucom's Mustang at 3Rivers. Note the "Roadraceparts" decal on the door


After the TransAm race at VIR yesterday I thought it would be appropriate to talk about how the cars have evolved over the years.
Of course in the beginning, the mid 60’s, we had the basic unibody cars. These were by the rules almost what we would call improved touring cars. They were so close to stock that with the Mustangs, they had trouble keeping the front ends in line. The reason? The stock tierod ends would stretch and flex. And these revelations caused the racers to push for changes. Like most other forms of motorsports, these were made in the name of “safety”. Of course with that came more creativity and expense. So much so that they slowly morphed into the fire breathing monsters/beauties that we love today.


Well the Thanksgiving holiday, like the 2010 season is gone, and some would say good riddance, while others were just hitting their stride when it came to a close.
So where do we go from here?
Some fortunate few are building new or modifying older cars. Most are going to run the same car, but it will certainly be better this year. The never ending search for funds be it from our pocket, or maybe a friend or helpful business goes on. Hopefully more people will realize that theirs money to racing than watching cars go in circles on Sunday afternoon.

As far as Roadraceparts.com goes this looks to be an exciting year. We intend to be more diligent with the blog, as well as the Facebook page and Twitter. The web designer has even promised (well almost) that the revamped website will be ready before the Christmas holiday.

We will be incorporating into these formats a series of technical articles aimed specifically at the road racer. This will be from information provided by a professional car builder and crew chief.

The big news will be the launching of a new program involving a presence at the track. The announcement merely awaits final approval by the sanctioning bodies represenatives. So stay tuned.

My first GT1 car


Chassis front

For several years I have had a bare GT1 style chassis lying around the shop. And admittedly I have been trying to sell it. Well, to be candid, I wasn’t exactly overrun with takers.

So after some deliberation I decided to go ahead and build it into a vintage GT1 style car. So after some consultation, I sent the chassis to Scott McLearen of 2M Engineering to lay the ground work.

First let me say that although I have the parts to make it into a true TA style, centerlok hubbed ride I choose not to yet. The reason being that I may use it for track days, or rentals first. And its cheaper to use 5 x 5’s. I can always swap to the centerloks.

Scott did a great job of fabricating the suspension and getting the car up on its wheels. He made brand new control arms and uprights, all the links, and trailing arms, etc. No used parts in the suspension at all.

Bodywork

Now I get to try my hand at fitting the body. The body I choose, is the correct one for this vintage of chassis, an 1987 Mustang carbon kevlar piece. This particular body was used, as you can see on the #65 AER car in 88. Still has the four National event win decals in place.
I’m just finishing trimming out the steel roof, required for these bodies. Mounting begins next week.

If you need good fabrication, or assistance at the race track I strongly recommend Scott.

Front Bodywork

Bodywork


Well folks we made it thru Christmas again.  Just New Years Day, all the football games and the countdown is on.

I want to thank the person(s) that was instrumental in reviving the GT1DA.com website. After a short hiatus it is back, and I understand there are exciting things coming with the website.

Now it wont be long before its time to  get serious about getting the car ready for the season ahead. Plans to be made, priority of parts to replace or purchase. Maybe the most enjoyable time of the year.

Of course there are some, (not me of course) who are already prepared, just counting down the days. To them I tip my hat, but I think I will wait just a little longer.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy New Years.


Welcome to the first blog about Ground Pounders and other tube framed Monsters.

As part of the business of Roadraceparts.com I spent a couple of days last week at the shops of Derhaag Motorports in Shakopee Minnesota.  As many of you know Jim Derhaag  has been competing in the TransAm Series, first as a driver and now for many years as a car owner. I wont even attempt to list the drivers who have been in his cars over the years. Now he is heavily involved in the TransAm  and National level SCCA racing.

In addition to have the opportunity to view all his shop, and a very impressive fleet of state of the art TransAm cars ( photos of them will come later) he shared his thoughts on the upcoming 2010 TransAm season.

The TransAm series is once again part of SCCA Pro Racing. This means that now they will be scheduling races on weekends and locations with other Pro Racing Series such as the World Challenge Series, and Pro Sports Racer as well as others.

The tenative schedule is for at least ten races, which in addition to domestic venues, will at least include Mosport Canada.

There has been some tweaking of the rules, which will be announced shortly. The highlights however seem to be that (a) minor adjustments to the weight rules for the various engine sizes. and (b) the aero rules have gone back to what they were in 2004.

We will continue with our chat with Jim with our next blog.