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eastsideTim PowerDork
9/12/21 8:56 a.m.
Pat said:

I do have one suggestion...stop testing and breaking stuff and your problems go away.  :-)



I have a suspicion the reason they do so well at the challenge is they break everything before they get there, unlike those of us that wait to test our junkers until we're in the parking lot at the raceway.  laugh

QuasiMofo (John Brown)
QuasiMofo (John Brown) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/12/21 8:56 a.m.

We aren't talking about o-ringing the block and heads or swapping in a built billet bullet. We are talking about drilling and tapping a couple of holes and adding studs. I'm going to say it's almost a non issue really.

The difference between what you have to do and someone replacing a bad junkyard 5.3 with a good junkyard 5.3 that cost the same amount of money is nothing and proven accepted. If anything your repair exemplifies the spirit of this event. Simply put, I know you worry about being branded as doing something shady but I view it as the opposite.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/12/21 10:46 a.m.

In reply to QuasiMofo (John Brown) :

Well said!

QuasiMofo (John Brown)
QuasiMofo (John Brown) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/12/21 11:06 a.m.

This being said if anyone has a built billet bullet I can swap into the Lexus I need to replace a couple broken exhaust manifold bolts that are broken inside the threaded part of the head sad

wheels777 UltraDork
9/12/21 6:55 p.m.

In reply to QuasiMofo (John Brown) :

I'm trying to be serious here John.  

wheels777 UltraDork
9/12/21 7:01 p.m.

9 positive and 1 negative.

Tom, How is court  handled?  Simple majority?  Or unanimous decision?

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman SuperDork
9/12/21 7:41 p.m.

I'd say you did plenty of testing on that engine to qualify for the emergency repair ruling. It was obviously a good and well tested engine that unfortunately had a failure close to the event and needed a fast repair. 


Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
9/12/21 7:49 p.m.

In reply to wheels777 :

Simple majority, looks like you'd be in the clear! 

cruisermatt Reader
9/12/21 11:13 p.m.

One more positive from me if it helps solidify further. (we competed last year and should be back this year).  

I see it as the same as Jonathan blowing up his 4.8 last year the day before and swapping in another long block with ARP studs. 


gumby GRM+ Memberand Dork
9/13/21 11:42 a.m.

Allowing dollars spent on an upgrade to be exempt under the Emergency Repairs/Wear and Tear clause is a slippery slope.

Replacing a 4.8 with a 5.3 is an upgrade, and has since been addressed with new language in the rule. Replacing m11 head bolts with 1/2" studs is an upgrade whether they are required or not, whether you are utilizing their potential or not. A Helicoil type thread replacement would be an emergency/wear and tear repair of the broken part.

Taking an exempt repair path to get a car back together vs. spending money on an upgrade is an individual decision with many factors. Each competitor must decide what is best for their car and/or budget.

In this particular scenario if I walked past the car, saw the studs and checked your budget, I would certainly discuss the claimed exemption with you. That's how self-policing works. Reading your justifications here, I would be unlikely to file protest as these parts are not specifically improving performance or finishing position, and the build was within budget to this point. But, that doesn't mean I agree they are properly exempted. I understand this is why you posted here ahead of the event, and give credit to you for that. I am also impressed you were able to drill and tap the rear bank with the engine in the car! I wouldn't have guessed there was enough space to get that done, but I haven't seen the car in person, yet.

I do believe the language of budget exemptions needs to be tightened up in the Challenge rules to prevent situations such as this. Terms like "as-close-to-identical-as-possible" are too subjective. Not clearly prohibiting exempt parts which may have a performance benefit beyond the repair leaves too much room for interpretation. Protesting on intent and potentially questioning a competitors integrity is a tough spot for anyone to be; and rule writing to prevent that is certainly difficult as well!

wheels777 UltraDork
9/13/21 1:44 p.m.

In reply to gumby :

You're touching upon the exact concern I wanted to get in front of.  Someone could challenge that this mod was done to allow for improved performance.  We know what broke.  We know the only way to fix it was what we did ( short of a block replacement).  We know the mod is not necessary to run at the power level we are at... proof being well documented on the internet and the fact that we have 3 living examples at home.  Ultimately, the Challenge is a huge effort and our only get away.  I would rather get this out of the way now and allow our fun time to be fun. We are an open book, we had the problem, we did the fix, we disclosed and we asked for the court hearing to be done in advance.

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/13/21 3:19 p.m.

In reply to wheels777 :

Like I said, I like your integrity. 

However, asking for opinions now doesn't technically avoid the problem without a rule change. And we all would resist a rule change this late. 

The rules say:

"a group of nine event attendees will be selected by GRMstaff, and they will vote to determine whether the part replaced without budget impact was fairly exempted."

NONE of us have attended the 2021 Challenge, and none of us were selected by the GRM staff. It is still theoretically possible someone could protest and have to go through a trial at the event. 

This would certainly violate the "don't be a dick" rule, but someone could do it (and I am aware you have already been a victim of something like that). If someone posted the protest fee, according to the existing rule a trial would have to go on. 

Looks to me like the assurance you are seeking is not the input of former competitors, but a staff ruling that in THIS SPECIFIC INSTANCE a protest will not be allowed- the approval has already been given for the repair without a budget hit.


Looks like a Tom question. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
9/13/21 3:38 p.m.

Sorry, but if somebody wants to protest this at the event, we'll take their protest fee, find 9 competitors, and have a vote. Sounds like that would be a huge waste of everybody's time based on the feedback in this thread, but that's how the rule is written and how it will be applied.

We can discuss changes for next year during the town hall.

Toot New Reader
9/13/21 3:44 p.m.

I feel if anybody protests you for being honest and up front of your emergency repairs they should just stay home.  The whole event is basically the honor system anyway.   If you were trying to cheat you would have said nothing.   I personally don't care about winning it's all for fun after all right?


slowbird UltraDork
9/13/21 6:47 p.m.

In reply to Patrick (Forum Supporter) :

I'm with Patrick on this one.

Per the rule, if this got protested, I would vote to allow it. Also per the spirit of the competition, I wouldn't be the one to protest it.

Justjim75 SuperDork
9/13/21 8:00 p.m.

Recoup the old studs for scrap value?

Lol, j/k

wheels777 UltraDork
9/13/21 8:23 p.m.

In reply to Toot :

Sorry for the long reply.  I hope it's worth the time to read it..

I truly appreciate your zeal.  However, I did ask for commentary whether positive or negative.  I can easy justify things in my own mind as I have an infinite capacity to be self delusional.  And it is in that capacity that I would truly hope a person who questioned something would take a high road and ask first.   I personally have spent countless hours trying to answer every question asked of how we did what we did.  But, if one thought they saw poop and after seeking clarification thought it smelled like poop.... I absolutely want them to feel safe, confident and comfortable to raise their hand.  Similarly, I want the GRM staff to be neutral and welcome the question.  As SVRex stated, the questioner can't be a turd.

When we go home after the fun is over, the staff has to deal with the negative emails and comments.  If we the competition are combative to someone who raises their hand and/or the staff is not accommodating the protest in total neutrality, a person may stay silent at the event and cause damage in the background.  I am not naive enough to think it won't happen either way.  But the climate can not be a compounding blow.

Our goal as always is to perform at a high level.  In the past we built a car in one year.  This car is now into the 18th month of building and development.  With the extra time to sort things out we are getting closer to having a chance to do something really fun.  If we are successful, we will have something that many will question.  Our hopes are that questions are asked cordially and with a proper intent, and definitely without a protest.  I doubt too many things could ruin this great event more quickly then a protest.   But the credibility that the staff has to defend also has to be supported by us.

We know before we arrive we had to include something that can be misinterpreted as a mod needed to make what we want to do possible (1/2" head studs).  It was not needed for that goal (the trans will fail long before the engine makes the power level where improved head bolts are required), but the repair was required.  I accepted the potential for this claim and chose to disclose the details now.  

What we hope to do, we can do at the Challenge or at home.  That goal does not change.  I feel confident we will get there.  It is our hope that with our extended intense focus to build the car challenge legal and in the spirit of the event , we could share it with our Challenge family.  Had the sentiments been leaning towards this repair having an aroma, we would not consider bringing it.  These events are questioned enough.

Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos)
Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/14/21 11:23 p.m.

I'm probably not making the Challenge again this year, but I *really* want to go mostly because everybody I know (and lots that I don't) that attend seem to be upright people sticking to the spirit of the event. Even when all y'all don't agree 100% on the details, things remain civil.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/15/21 4:33 a.m.

In reply to wheels777 :

My biggest concern in following this thread isn't the head studs themselves, as I think that your explanation for the repair (a deliberate choice of word on my part) is more than sufficient. I'm more concerned that you might choose not to attend. I hope that doesn't happen.

Catch22 New Reader
9/15/21 2:06 p.m.

As a competitor in the 2007 and 2020 events.  I appreciate you wanting to get out in front of a potential question/issue/protest!  This is why I had over 110 lines of parts info in last years budget sheet, to better verify the cost of my build!  I care more about successfully completing my builds within budget than my finishing position, or testing of any kind apparently!

I will likely not even be able to attend this year, work out of state.  But I see the validity of your repair as just that.  But I do also see the possibility of someone, outside the spirit of the event, to take advantage of this rule!  But if they are wired to take advantage/be a kick, this would apply to any rule in the book for them!

Your integrity is not at all in question from me!

I hope you attend.

I hope you perform well.

I hope to make an appearance on Sat afternoon, depending on my flight home?

wheels777 UltraDork
9/15/21 7:30 p.m.

In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

Thanks.  I've received more than a dozen texts and messages with similar thoughts and concerns.  Right now the issue is this being our second car.  Our first-entry is still on course to make the event. We will finish testing the car in question here and then shift our testing effort to the Fiat.

wheels777 UltraDork
9/15/21 7:38 p.m.
Catch22 said:

...  This is why I had over 110 lines of parts info in last years budget sheet, to better verify the cost of my build!  I care more about successfully completing my builds within budget than my finishing position.....

Hence my ask for current and former attendees to comment.  The work to do this part is ridiculous.  

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/15/21 9:37 p.m.
wheels777 said:

In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

Thanks.  I've received more than a dozen texts and messages with similar thoughts and concerns.  Right now the issue is this being our second car.  Our first-entry is still on course to make the event. We will finish testing the car in question here and then shift our testing effort to the Fiat.

I'm relieved to see that. Although I only attended the Challenge for the first time last year, and then only as a volunteer, I've been talking about it for years.

Many of those conversations have included a mention of, "this family from Pennsylvania that builds really fast cars." I really want to see you guys come!


wheels777 UltraDork
9/20/21 7:13 a.m.

I want to start with thanking everyone for weighing in on this subject. 

Sadly we had something fail this weekend during testing and we can't bring the Talon to the Challenge.  The balancer ring walked off and that usually indicates a bottom end issue.  After making multiple runs over 150 mph and many events, we need to tear the  engine out to do a bottom end inspection and possible repair.  We flat out don't have the time or desire to do this.  

We accomplished a lot with the car.  First LS4 FWD powered vehicle to run 140+, 150+, 9s and we hold the records for ET and Speed for the platform.  We really wanted to do some amazing runs at the Challenge, but we are not willing to risk oiling the lanes and ruining others time in competition.

We have shifted our efforts to another car and still hope to have 2 entries there this year.

Again, thank you to all who weighed in on the subject question.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/20/21 7:35 a.m.

Tough break. I was looking forward to seeing this car, but I'm relieved that you'll still be coming. That's much more important.

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