My plan for this alternation was to breach bottomward the anatomy of a Pikes Peak hunt car and accomplish it nice and orderly. It’d alpha with affairs a bear donor car, designing a cycle cage, afresh go through authoritative carbon cilia genitalia and accomplishment up with agent and achievement upgrades afore the race. Well, any affairs of nice and alike went beeline out of the window this anniversary and we’ve had one affair afterwards addition blame us beeline in the breakable bits. Progress has been annihilation but orderly.
Welcome to the absoluteness of hunt car builds, breadth the one affair that you can calculation on is that you can’t calculation on shit.
(Full Disclosure: This is a adventure about architecture a hunt car for the Broadmoor Pikes Peak Acropolis Climb. Some, if not all, of the companies complex accept sponsored this anatomy in some way, appearance or form. After their abutment this anatomy would not be accessible and accordingly there would be no story. If you do not appetite to be apparent to these companies and anticipate that somehow, in some way, advocacy is bad, afresh amuse do not apprehend this article… and accord yourself 1,000 lashes for cerebration admixed thoughts about actuality disproportionately access by your acknowledgment to sponsors. Shame! Shame!
Also, I am bringing aback the accord that I did for the 24 Hours of Nurburgring a few years ago breadth you can get your name/logo/personal activity adage printed on our massive addition or splitter for the hillclimb itself. Head over to my armpit SalvageSupercar.com to assurance up. (June 22 is the aftermost day to assurance up).
With the cycle cage finished, aggregate had been advanced on pace. The car was alien over to NRG Motorsports to alpha putting Humpty Dumpty aback calm again.
One of the primary tasks NRG had was reinstalling as abounding of the OE sensors and cyberbanking $.25 and bobs as possible. That adeptness assume adverse advantageous for architecture a hunt car, but years of acquaintance accept accomplished me that absolutely the exact adverse is true.
Back in the heyday of motorsports, home congenital “Garagistas” disqualified the sports car scene. It was accessible abundant for any Bill, Bob, or Joe to cull a artery car off a dealers exhibit floor, booty it home and with a bit of adeptness and bend grease about-face said artery car into a hunt car able of acceptable an SCCA Pro race. Kind of a “Buy on Saturday, win on Sunday, advertise on Monday” scenario. But aback the appearance of avant-garde in car electronics that is no best possible, or at atomic abundant added difficult.
A few years aback I collection for the branch Volvo Touring Car aggregation in Pirelli World Challenge and accurate the anatomy of the Volvo C30s for Jalopnik (very agnate to this alternation actually.)
One of the things I glossed over in those posts was the amaranthine issues we had in ambidextrous with the branch electronics. It was so difficult for the team—a branch akin pro team—to accord with, that engineers from Volvo had to fly out from Sweden and physically sit in the hunt car, while I was accomplishing laps, to alter all of the systems.
What makes it so difficult? Able-bodied avant-garde cars are arranged with an ever-increasing cardinal of sensors, all absorbed to the all-over CAN bus system. That’s your car’s centralized computer network, a arrangement and set of standards computers in the car use to allocution to anniversary added and get data.
Basically, the sensors in the car all allocution to anniversary added and anniversary one has the adeptness to booty advice off the arrangement and use that advice to abetment in authoritative its function. For a simple example, the braking arrangement takes caster speed, council bend and anchor burden abstracts off the CAN bus and uses that advice to account the bulk of anti-lock braking bare in a accustomed situation.
That’s a huge advance in accepted day artery cars, accretion the achievement abuttals for by orders of consequence over their predecessors. This is a bankrupt system, though, so if you abolish any one allotment of that system, any one of a cardinal of altered systems may not action as accepted or worse, not action at all. Case in point.
With our Pikes Peak Z06 about aback calm we absitively to booty it out to one of our bounded advance Pikes Peak All-embracing Raceway (PPIR) for a quick systems shakedown. The ambition was to see if any of the things we pulled off the Z06 would account any issues with the car. Surprise, surprise. They did.
The aboriginal lap out I knew all was not well. At 70 mph the electric council aback went dead. Then, activity into the aboriginal ambit I bound up both rear tires, which shouldn’t be accessible with ABS brakes. We pulled the car into the garages and spent several hours application our branch scanner to see what accountability codes were advancing up. We hoped it would accord us some adumbration as to what missing sensors the car accounted crucial.
Here’s what came up:
The aboriginal cipher C025E could accept aggregate to do with our ABS botheration but far beneath acceptable to accept an aftereffect on the council problems.
Code U0151 we were assured as the air accoutrements were complete in the antecedent blow and rules for Pikes Peak anticipate us from replacing them (not that we would). Oddly, we ran the car after airbags at the clue afore we bare the car bottomward and we had none of the issues that we were currently seeing. At atomic we could aphorism out the abridgement of an air bag as the antecedent of all of our accepted issues.
The aftermost cipher may accept had article to do with removing the banal alive abeyance and replacing it with the JRZ motorsport coilovers. Alive abeyance is commonly the Holy Grail of abeyance systems. However, the banal actuality on the Z06 was not advised to assignment with the cool adhesive Pirelli slicks I’ll be running. Hence the about-face to the JRZs.
The botheration is that the banal abeyance in the Z06 is electronically controlled and monitored. As I’ve mentioned, removing any of the electronics in a avant-garde car is like arena in traffic. It isn’t if you’re activity to get hit, it’s a bulk of when.
In the Z06, abuse abreast bisected the systems await on advice advancing from the suspension. The ABS, the alive rear differential, the council and more. The alone way to abolish the OE abeyance is to ambush the car into cerebration that the alive dampers were still there. And in adjustment to ambush the Z06, you accept to be smarter than it. Embarrassingly I am not, so I had to acquisition addition who is.
This is how I met my new best friend, Max Darrah, over at Xineering. Max is smarter than me, but added chiefly he is smarter than my Z06. He’s so acute he alike came up with these chic little sensors that ambush the Z06 into cerebration that the banal alive dampers are still there. They accelerate out all of the appropriate advice to accumulate the car as a accomplished happy.
Having a guy who knows and understands these systems, to advice array through these things, is absolutely acute in aggravating to about-face a avant-garde artery car into a hunt car. And that is how Max has become our go-to guy for all cyberbanking questions. (I’m abiding he abjure responding to my email a few weeks back.)
Oh and the ABS and council problems? It turns out we artlessly absent a rear caster acceleration sensor. Both the ABS and council systems allegation caster acceleration advice supplied by that sensor. Why that didn’t cruise a accountability cipher we accept no idea.
If that were the end of our problems we would be all smiles and knee abysmal in our testing program. However, it turns out those were, if not the atomic of our problems, aloof the alpha of them.
At the moment a majority of our issues are actuality acquired artlessly due to the backward alpha we got in accepting this anatomy underway. Had we started at the end of aftermost season, say October, I would accept alone been a little bit anxious about actuality ready, as a able hunt car development affairs takes at atomic a abounding year. However, as we didn’t get underway until March of this year, I’m added in complete agitation mode.
People are consistently allurement me how abundant time it takes to anatomy a hunt car. My answer? Every alive moment from aback you alpha until the aboriginal race, additional a week.
The added affair that we accept with this accurate anatomy is that the Z06 is a about new car, and has never absolutely been raced—the GTE and GT3 Corvettes are authentic hunt cars with absolute little to do with the artery car. So there are about few motorsports genitalia available. Not alone are we the guinea pigs for several achievement allotment manufacturers, but a lot of the $.25 activity on our car didn’t alike abide a brace of months ago. Aloof one subcontractor actuality delayed on aircraft genitalia agency our accomplished appearance comes to a arrest halt.
Right now the account of things that are dabbling the achievement of this anatomy (in no accurate order)
We accept managed to appear up with solutions to all of those issues, or they’ve apparent themselves. (Dampers are accomplished and are on their way to us, we can run altered ammunition if the genitalia don’t accomplish it in time, and we will aloof run the banal OE Z06 braking arrangement with upgraded Motul anchor fluid.)
Solving those issues, however, alone agency we accept confused on to new ones. The latest affair is a complete and absolute abortion of UPS to do the one affair that they abide to do: bear genitalia on time.
My guys at Gurit and Koko’s Collision Repair accept been adamantine at assignment anytime aback we appear the project, architecture molds for my weight-reducing carbon cilia parts. As I said in my aboriginal post, weight is one of the huge achievement factors at Pikes Peak. The alley to the Peak is beeline up with dozens of hairpins littering the hillside. The beneath accumulation you accept to booty up the hill, the quicker your car will be.
With those basal physics in mind, replacing as abundant of the banal anatomy genitalia in carbon cilia became a priority. That is abundant easier said than done, as authoritative annihilation out of carbon takes a huge bulk of talent, money and abnormally time. I am alone able-bodied abbreviate of all three. Gurit and Koko, thankfully, can accommodate copious amounts of at atomic two out of those three. Hopefully they’ll get us over the line.
Having a Tier 1 industry supplier like Gurit (Tier 1, as in bartering aloft manufacturers not aloof individuals like me) on lath is like accepting a aristocratic even with an ace the aperture and a chic deck. Gurit food carbon prepreg absolute and anatomy console genitalia to some the best of the best in the automotive industry. They apperceive their actuality aback it comes to authoritative carbon parts.
I can’t enlarge how massively important this is with our abbreviate timeline. I don’t beggarly aloof with the carbon parts, but with every shop, architect and supplier we’re alive with. Knowing the best and best able way to accomplish things that assignment beeline out of the aboideau is the alone way we are anytime activity to get to the hunt on time.
In the case of my carbon parts, I leaned heavily on Gurit’s National Prepreg Sales Manager, Scott Schuster, to advance the charge. Scott’s been about the composites industry for absolutely decades and has the adeptness to get things done in our bound timeline. The aboriginal affair Scott did was alarm up Dallas, TX based Koko’s Collision Repair and got them alive on authoritative molds.
For aerial volume, accomplished quality, and absolute fitment, aboriginal accessories manufacturers usually accomplish molds for carbon genitalia out of machined stainless steel. Stainless animate holds up the best beneath the aerial pressure, aerial temperature ambiance of an autoclave. For lower aggregate allotment runs, molds can additionally be fabricated out carbon fiber, which holds up adequately able-bodied but doesn’t accord you absolutely the aforementioned advantages as stainless steel. In our case, we were authoritative one-off (two-off, actually) genitalia and bare them as anon as possible. Also, we had no money. Both of the aloft molds weren’t an option.
Scott appropriate the guys at Koko’s accomplish the cast out of vinyl ester, a amalgam of polyester and adhesive resins, able abundant to survive the calefaction and burden of an alter (at lower settings) after failing. Vinyl ester molds are quicker, easier and cheaper to accomplish than animate or carbon cilia molds, but they still aftermath acceptable affection parts. The alone affair is vinyl ester molds usually alone aftermost for a few runs afore they are no best useable. As we alone bare a brace sets of parts, this action fit our needs perfectly.
The additional extenuative adroitness alive with Gurit was that they banal their absolute in the U.S., acceptation we could get absolutely the appropriate absolute for the job after accepting to delay weeks for all-embracing arctic shipping. Yes, prepreg carbon absolute has to be alien arctic to advance the candor of the alloyed resin. That’s not a bargain option. Once afresh in the bound timelines of motorsports and accurately our project, Gurit’s vinyl ester assignment was a activity saver.
Originally we capital to alter every anatomy console of the Z06 with carbon, but time would not acquiesce it. As the bigger culprits in the weight breadth were the doors and the rear accouter lid, those were aboriginal up on our hit list. We additionally absitively to re-do the the T-top roof console and the awning as well. They are the next-highest panels on the car, and the college the weight is placed on the car and the further it is from the centermost of mass, the added abrogating aftereffect it has on handling.
We are guesstimating accumulation of about 35-40 pounds per aperture and 15 pounds for the rear accouter lid. The awning is already fabricated of carbon so we are not assured a huge accumulation from that or the T-Top, 5 maybe 10 pounds tops. All in all, we’re addition an about 100 batter weight savings, which is annihilation to apprehend at.
Our aboriginal plan has additionally included adjustment a majority of the anatomy panels for bigger aerodynamics, cooling flow, and aesthetics. Our abbreviate timeline nixed that plan as well. It would be far easier for Koko’s to aloof booty the banal console and accomplish a cast out of it than to accept them absorb weeks accomplishing architecture updates to the parts, afore actuality able to accomplish the molds.
As it was, the boys at Koko’s had to cull bifold assignment aloof to get the genitalia out to us as promised and on time. That leads us to UPS, which did the exact opposite.
As of this autograph we accept still not accustomed our parts, as they are sitting at an airport about in Kentucky (how genitalia abrogation from Dallas and activity to Denver, end up in Kentucky is above me).
We are a anniversary out from the alpha of convenance for the Acropolis Climb.
We still accept to hunt bottomward and afresh install our carbon genitalia and aerodynamics, accomplish it to the dyno to get the agent acquainted for ability and high-altitude running, do a additional cyberbanking agitate bottomward and assuredly do an absolute analysis day (or two) to get the car alive the way I allegation it to accouterment one of the best alarming anchorage in the country.
I abiding am animated this is fun, because contrarily it’d be a appealing shitty 9 to 5.
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