CORVAIR CONVENTION TIME TRIAL REPORT
WATERFORD HILLS RACEWAY, MI
Actually it started several weeks before the Convention as I was flogging the car trying to get my remote oil cooler hooked up. Sounds simple but it required removing the drive train so the modified rear cover and oil filter adapter could be installed. After all the plumbing bits and pieces were buttoned up I primed the oiling system with my drill. It put out 50 pounds and no leaks at the time. Those came later...
I reinstalled the distributor and fired it up. No leaks even after a slow trip around the neighborhood. It was time to load up for the Motor City.
The trip up was uneventful. Roughly 8 hours with several stops. We used my wife's Tom-Tom GPS nav system. What a great tool! I finally learned to trust it and do exactly as it instructed. It even told you how to do a Michigan U turn. Ya see, it has a female voice and I tended to ignore it......but that's another story.
Tuesday morning we convoyed out to Waterford Hills Raceway. The morning dawned with overcast skies and some rain sprinkles which went away. Michigan is very dry and all the lawns look like straw. I don't know how long they have been without significant rain fall but they didn't get any during our stay.
This time trial was another big test for me and the car. The remote oil cooler, a rear sway bar and the new BFG R1 race tires and the carbon Kevlar brake shoes were all untested.
I was in the first run group and I was first on track. After the warm up/familiarization laps we got the green to go. Waterford is a narrow (23') twisty course with a very short back straight. Most of the corners have concrete apexes and curbs. There is no place to relax before the next corner. I ran it in third gear and could hit forth gear on the straight but by then you were at the braking point and it was hard on the brakes and down shift. My shoulders let me know later on that I was sawing on the wheel as it were.
The car was running very well but before the session was over I smelled oil. Not unusual in a Corvair but I was apprehensive of oil leaks and went back to the pits to check it out, Sure enough when the rear lid was removed there was oil all around the crank pulley area. Damn! We could not find the leak so I wiped it all up and went out with the second run group for more practice. This was due to Seth, my co-driver graciously giving me his practice time. Thanks man!
This time out I was behind Mark Aksmit in his very strong 110 HP car. I finally passed him took off after Bob Dunahugh in his Stinger. I finally caught him but by then I smelled the oil and decided to pit. Again oil was all over and the leak was determined to be under the oil filter adapter where the stock oil filter was cut off and the holes plugged with threaded pipe plugs. No amount of gasket changing, goop slopping or bolt torque would stop 50 pounds of hot synthetic oil from finding the leak.
I told Seth to take the car out anyway during open practice and run a few laps which he did. However, the leak had become obvious and the car was black flagged.
Neither of us got any timed laps as the leak could not be fixed at the track.
In retrospect the car performed quite well. I felt it was very controllable and the set up was good. The new BFG's lived up to the hype. I like them but then race tires are addictive! Also I valued Seth's input as he is way more experienced than I. At least this time he didn't have a chance to beat me in my own car!
Waterford was still FUN! FUN! FUN!