Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Back from the dead!

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The race car is back from the dead! It is almost unbelievable... Since the beginning of spring, I was waiting for my Trac to start working on the car to get it ready for the enduro at Mosport on May 17. There were several factors woring against me: Trac had lost some staff, they were coming into their busiest season of the year, the hydraulics of the race transporter where my car was stored had failed and the batteries in the truck to which the transporter was attached had exploded over the winter. By Thursday last week, the car was still stuck in the transporter. I was beginning to think it could not be ready for Mosport. Then Friday, my new co-driver and fellow Civic enthusiast JP Dumoulin somehow managed to get the car out of the trailer and assess the damage. I knew that some petty thieves had stolen my air intake and a couple of small items in the fall of last year, but I did not know there would be so many parts missing from the car. Some parts were stolen, while others were returned to other cars from which they had been borrowed. Here is a partial list of what was missing: battery (stolen), alternator (dead), throttle body and sensors (borrowed), air intake tube and filter (stolen), spark plug wires (stolen), cap/rotor (???), ignitor and coil (???), tachometer (stolen), injectors (borrowed). Basically, it wasn't looking good.

I had reserved part of my Saturday to meet with JP and see what we could get done on the car. He had already devoted Friday to the project and the car now had spark plug wires and a few other small items installed. On Saturday, JP removed the dead alternator and I tried to secure the front and rear bumper covers, which had seen a lot of abuse with Stephane driving the car in 2006 and 2007. We headed over to a scrap yard nearby to try to get a coolant plug, fuel rail, sensors and ignitor. When we arrived at the scrap yard, the owner sent us out back so we could search for parts, but someone had forgotten to tie up the dogs and I got bitten by a German Sheppard on the hand. I was pretty pissed off, but we left there with a distributor and coolant plug. We installed a Type R throttle body and injectors but we were still a long way from being able to start or drive the car. I was not too hopeful that it would be running by Monday night, the first Monday of the year for TLC lapping. It turns out I had underestimated Carl's ressourcefulness and JP's determination. Carl managed to get the sensors and rebuild the alternator while JP worked on the car all day to get it up and running. When I got to the track at 5:00 pm and saw that my car was nowhere to be seen in the shop, I couldn't believe it... imagine my surprise when I headed out to the track and saw that the car was actually running! JP came in at the end of the session and I took the car out for a few laps myself. Everything was working on the car and the overall package was great, especially with JP's 225/45/15 race tires.

Between the tow of us, we went through a whole tank of gas last night. It was mostly JP driving as I was busy instructing 3 different students. One of my students had a Ferrari 360 Challenge. It was hard to communicate in the car, so I decided to let him follow behind me in the Civic to learn the line. It was fun. I was driving at about 80%, watching my mirrors and seeing that the student was getting the hang of the track and keeping up. All in all, it was a fun night. I faxed in our registration for the enduro as I'm sure we can make it now.

Stuff yet to be done before the race:
change rear view mirror
work on the car's appearance
install a tachometer
oil change

Stuff to be done on the street car:
fix the radio/speakers... there seems to be a short or something

Cool cars spotted this week:
Lamborghini Gallardo
Ferrari F430
Mercedes 190e 2.3-16
Porsche 997 turbo
Porsche 997 GT3 RS
Skyline R32 GT-R

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