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frenchyd
frenchyd UberDork
9/27/19 6:30 a.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

Beautifully written. 

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
9/27/19 7:39 a.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

Thanks, frenchy.  Of course we hit a page jump just after I posted it.  

slowbird
slowbird HalfDork
9/27/19 7:47 a.m.

Hark! A thunderous roar tears through the hills! It's a thousand stampeding buffalo...no, it's the Plymford! laugh

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
9/27/19 8:16 a.m.

Better to jump the page than the shark!

frenchyd
frenchyd UberDork
9/27/19 10:51 a.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

Would you be willing to share a bit of what it’s like to run a LeMons/ Chumpcar team,  How many hours per race do you do compared to teammates?  What it costs you out of pocket, that you don’t recover?  Not just to build it, but maintain it? 

At the track do you have any down time to relax or sleep?  If so is it tent time, motorhome, or Motel?  How many hours to your typical tracks? 

What about pit stops?  You can’t be getting very great fuel mileage and with a mandatory 5 minute pit stop do you find your team falling further behind each extra stop you make?  I should imagine that fuel efficient,  reliable cars are most likely to “win”  but I’m not sure I want to do the mechanical thrash endurance racing older cars will demand.  Maybe we could “hire” a few younger guys to help in that regard? 

The local Jaguar bench racing and chowder society I’m part of want to run a few events. Naturally I have to build the car and they are getting along in years too so I doubt I’ll get much help from them.  

Mentally I budget about 2500 hours to build it. And a $5000 budget for safety gear and upgrades.  While I haven’t said yes, It’s tempting. But it would be real nice to have things spelled out a bit. Not that any 2 race teams are alike 

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
9/27/19 11:52 a.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

In order to give your request the full attention it deserves, my reply will have to wait until later this evening, or perhaps this weekend, when I've had a few Manhattans under my belt and am feeling up to the task.  

frenchyd
frenchyd UberDork
9/27/19 2:24 p.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

Thank you for even considering it. 

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
9/27/19 8:32 p.m.
frenchyd said:

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

Would you be willing to share a bit of what it’s like to run a LeMons/ Chumpcar team,  How many hours per race do you do compared to teammates?  What it costs you out of pocket, that you don’t recover?  Not just to build it, but maintain it? 

Might be easiest if I address these questions a few chunks at a time.  I've run over a dozen LeMons races, mostly as team captain, though I have "arrived and drove" a couple of times on a friend's team.  I have run only one Chump (now Champ) race, at Road Atlanta, as and A&D, on a friend's team.

I'm not clear on what you mean by "how many hours per race do you do compared to teammates?"  If you're talking about hours spent on the car- I probably spend more hours than everyone else combined, now.  This is basically an issue of geography- my teammates all live hours away, and I have the car.  Back when we did live all relatively closely, the work was split more evenly.  We tend to have 5 drivers run a race.  On an already built, teched car (That I'm not doing something crazy, like mounting a 1951 Plymouth body on top of), before a race the work breaks down into a few categories:

  1. Maintenance of stuff that ain't broke (tuneups, carb overhauls, etc)
  2. Fixing the E36 M3 that is broke (changing engines/transmissions/etc)
  3. Adding/ modifying stuff because we're insane engineers who are always trying to improve stuff (different wheels, bigger brakes, different drivetrain)
  4. Chasing safety rule creep (fuel cell rules, roll cage changes, fire suppression stuff)

Of all those things, 2) and 3) take the most time.  And money.  And they can introduce the most variables into the build.  As a rough estimate, again, back when all of us were living somewhat proximately to each other, it would take us 5 or 6 "work days" to prep the car for the next race.  Figure 5 or 6 hours of actual work, times 4 or 5 guys each time, so maybe 125-150 hours worth of prep per race.  Again, that's with a car that's already caged and passed tech at least once.  

Our costs per race generally averaged 700-800 per driver with the first, smaller car we had (a 1966 Volvo 122) and now are about 1000 per driver with the LTD/ Plymford.  Tires are more expensive, it uses more gas, and probably some other things.  We try to split costs as evenly as possible.  That said, I'm the guy with the garage, the tools, the truck, the trailer, etc.  You know how it goes.  

The upfront build costs will depend a lot on the roll cage.  We had our LTD cage done for about $1000, which is really really cheap.  If you have a bender, and skills, you can DIY for a few hundred in materials.  Next step up is measuring your car and paying someone to pre-fab you a cage kit that you then weld in.  That would cost $700 or $800 or so, and require you to make the correct measurements on your car.  Finally, you can have a pro shop cage your car, which typically runs $1500 on up.  But takes only as much of your time as it takes to drop the car off and pick it up.  

Apart from the cage, you've got fire suppression stuff ($400), seat belts ($100), racing seat ($300), etc etc.  Those are all low ballpark figures; obviously the sky's the limit on race spending, and all that stuff is budget-exempt.  Don't forget you'll need racing wear, too- $500 gets you a budget set for a driver.  Back in the ole days when we were all young and poor, we shared racing gear.  Now that we're all middle-aged and slightly less poor, we all have our own gear.  

As for actual racing seat time, if the car doesn't break too much or too badly and the weather holds, we'll see 15 hours of total race time in a LeMons weekend.  A main goal of ours is equalizing seat time, so figure 3 hours of seat time per driver per weekend.  

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
9/27/19 8:48 p.m.
frenchyd said:

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

At the track do you have any down time to relax or sleep?  If so is it tent time, motorhome, or Motel?  How many hours to your typical tracks? 

This is a fun one.  And again, it's evolved as we've aged and circumstances have changed.  Back in the young/poor days, we all drove tot he track, and slept in tents, or in the backs of our cars.  Before we had kids, and my wife would come to the race, we'd have a small travel trailer she would tow (driving separately) and had that to sleep in/ cook out of.  Now we're all firmly in the "rent an RV" camp.  For $800 for the weekend, we rent a 40' motoryacht that is really the cat's ass.  It has a generator, so we never have an issue with power at the track, A/C, a galley, nice sleeping quarters, and a SHOWER.  Splitting that 4 or 5 ways for a weekend is the easy button right now.  

We do cook all our food at the track, which keeps costs down.  For roughly $50 per person for the weekend we do communal team meals.  Its fun, and we don't scrimp on food.  

We've had weekends where it was an all-night thrash Saturday night to have the very broken car race-ready for Sunday.  I've gotten as little as 2 to 3 hours of sleep before jumping back in the car to drive.  You run on adrenaline, and coffee, and bacon.  Other times there's a party going on- at least at the LeMons races.  So you maybe get 4-5 hours of sleep.  Plenty.  I'm sure there are more regimented teams that all get 7 hours of sleep and practise "12 hours bottle to throttle" but we are not those guys.  We come to have fun, and to race- in that order.  

We like to run at CMP (Carolina Motorsports Park) which used to be 3 hours away.  Now it's 8 hours from me (and varying distances from the other guys) so a bit of a haul.  I know some teams will go 12 to 15 hours away for races.  That's more than I'd do.  Probably.  wink

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
9/27/19 8:58 p.m.
frenchyd said:

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

What about pit stops?  You can’t be getting very great fuel mileage and with a mandatory 5 minute pit stop do you find your team falling further behind each extra stop you make?  I should imagine that fuel efficient,  reliable cars are most likely to “win”  but I’m not sure I want to do the mechanical thrash endurance racing older cars will demand.  Maybe we could “hire” a few younger guys to help in that regard? 

Mentally I budget about 2500 hours to build it. And a $5000 budget for safety gear and upgrades.  While I haven’t said yes, It’s tempting. But it would be real nice to have things spelled out a bit. Not that any 2 race teams are alike 

Chump/Champ requires the 5 minute minimum pit stop.  LeMons has no such rule.  That said, we manage to get about 1.5 or 2 hours on a tank of fuel, which is about when we want to change drivers, too.  So it really doesn't hurt us that much.  But man is the Plymford thirsty.  When I'm driving, I'll burn though most of 20 gallons of fuel in that time.  Some of our more conservative drivers might use only 15 gallons.  Figure 11-12 gallons/ hour conservatively- which is probably what a Jag V12 would get, too.  I hear tell the small 4 cylinder cars get 4 or 5 gph.  "Medium" cars like 6 cylinder Beemers are around 6 or 7 gph.  

I think 2500 hours seems a bit overkill for a build.  If you exclude the cage, I bet you could do a from scratch build in about 500 hours.  Providing you started with a car that already ran and drove and maybe just needs brakes and some suspension work and a tuneup and tires.  But your $5k cost is probably in the right ballpark.  

Based on arrive and drive costs I've seen...some teams seem to do about 600 to 700 per driver per race, while others can be double that.  Entry fees work out to about $300 per driver to start, and then you add in all the other stuff- gas/ tires/ fixing stuff.  

It's hella fun, though, so we keep doing it.  

frenchyd
frenchyd UberDork
9/27/19 9:11 p.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

These are friends of yours or customers?  ( maybe some of each?). 

Did you lay out the money for the car and sell them track time?  Or they  helped as money was needed?  

What happens if there is a time conflict?  Say job interference or medical issue?  Family problems etc?  Are there enough “ subscribers” to take up the slack or do things get frantic?  

How long are each session?  Is that based on fuel limits ?  How much do you trust your drivers?  Will they keep an eye on the gauges, do they know when to push and when be easy on the equipment?  

Do you have a lap time target, or is it as fast as you can for as long as you can?   

frenchyd
frenchyd UberDork
9/28/19 6:02 a.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

The XJS has a 24 gallon tank so perhaps I could squeeze nearly 2 hours out of a tank? You’re right 2 hours is about the maximum a driver should be pressed to concentrate.  Frankly I doubt I can still do that myself at that level. How consistent are your drivers lap times?  Would you say they are driving at around 80% or so of their peak potential? Or would it be substantially less?  

I assume with that big engine you can pass a lot of the smaller more efficient engined cars  easily?  Is that an issue?  Slower cars failing to watch their mirrors properly? 

The guys who want me to do this are mostly around my age. I suspect they want to do this mainly for their children and maybe even grandchildren.  That frightens me. Drivers of unknown skills and unknown commitment.  

How did you handle it initially? 

With regards to the 2500 hours, my normal approach is to take it apart, put it on the rotisserie, and not only remove sound deadening, undercoating, clean and paint it, but pay attention to all the details.  

Weld seams that may only be spot welded. Cut out trim brackets and anything that hints at being extra weight is removed. The car starts out at 4600+ pounds!   Getting it down to competitive weight will demand ruthlessness 

With all the spare engines I have. Building a couple optimizing Jaguar’s  batch assembly technique  would be relatively straight forward. For example factory tolerance of piston weight is 2 grams. I’ve got a simple balance scale that I can get a whole lot closer than that. Without doing anything other than picking one over another. I suspect grinding or milling  is not only outside the spirit  of the rules but  blatantly illegal. 

If I still had my vertical mill I know I can make a massive improvement in rotating weight.  For issues of smoothness at idle the factory  weighted the connecting rods. According to one source there is 11 pounds  that can safely be removed from a set of 12 connecting rods without any weakening at all.  

In addition the stock crankshaft weighs 78 pounds. SEVENTY EIGHT!!!!!! A Chevy 350 weighs 22 if cast and 27 if forged.  ( the lite weight racing forging weighs 21 )  

Imagine  if  even 1/4 of that weight can be removed. One guy in Australia removes all the counter weights since a V 12 is in natural balance.  

I digress.  I no longer own the vertical mill.  

Taking apart and cleaning up a V12 plus reassembly is at least 200 hours the way I do it. ( but then I got decades of racing out of my BlackJack engine without a single failure ) 

So I suspect my 2500 hours is close.  

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
9/30/19 6:13 a.m.
frenchyd said:

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

These are friends of yours or customers?  ( maybe some of each?). 

Did you lay out the money for the car and sell them track time?  Or they  helped as money was needed?  

What happens if there is a time conflict?  Say job interference or medical issue?  Family problems etc?  Are there enough “ subscribers” to take up the slack or do things get frantic?  

How long are each session?  Is that based on fuel limits ?  How much do you trust your drivers?  Will they keep an eye on the gauges, do they know when to push and when be easy on the equipment?  

Do you have a lap time target, or is it as fast as you can for as long as you can?   

Sorry, busy weekend.  Our team is all guys I've known and worked with, and consider friends.  We've had a few other people cycle through, but never anyone who was a 100% unknown- always friends, co-workers, or close referrals.  Things have been a bit tight lately- we could usually count on 5 drivers per race, but now we're down to 4, and we don't have any back ups.  So we pretty much count on everyone to come through.  There have been a couple of races that were frantic- last minute business trips and weddings and stuff- but we always managed.  

Money wise, we all spent money on different stuff (I would tend to pay for most of the car-prep stuff, one guy would front the entry costs, the other guys would buy the food and gas at the race) and then post-race we'd do an accounting and square up.  

The typical race is 7 or 8 hours on Saturday and 6 or 7 hours Sunday.  We try to split that up so everyone drives once per day.  Again, our goal is having fun, not necessarily getting all the laps.  We fuel at every driver change.  A failure or problem with the car can always screw things up, but we adjust on the fly and try to get every butt in the seat for some time.  Our drivers are all pretty conscientious, they watch the gauges and give a report at the end of their driving stint for the next guy.  We tend to "drive around" problems, as much as they can be - i.e., if the car's running hot, try to take it easy, or if the brakes pull left, keep that in mind- it usually takes more time to fix stuff while the race is going on than you'll make up in faster lap times.  But at the end of Saturday session, we'll fix whatever we can to make the car as good as it can be for Sunday.  

No target times; everyone is different in comfort level and skill level.  Our youngest driver is in his late 30's now, and our oldest in his early 60's.  I'm the second youngest- 42.  As it happens, the two youngest guys tend to post the fastest lap times (2.05 around CMP) and the two oldest the slower lap times (2:15 to 2:20 per lap or so).  Traffic and a bunch of other factors will affect those times, of course.  Again, the name of the game is FUN.  You drive as fast as you can, while being in control and not making mistakes.  I don't really buy into that whole "x/tenths" thing...you just drive what's comfortable for you and try not to break anything, be a problem to other drivers, crash, or get hurt.  

frenchyd
frenchyd UberDork
9/30/19 7:51 a.m.
volvoclearinghouse said:
frenchyd said:

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

These are friends of yours or customers?  ( maybe some of each?). 

Did you lay out the money for the car and sell them track time?  Or they  helped as money was needed?  

What happens if there is a time conflict?  Say job interference or medical issue?  Family problems etc?  Are there enough “ subscribers” to take up the slack or do things get frantic?  

How long are each session?  Is that based on fuel limits ?  How much do you trust your drivers?  Will they keep an eye on the gauges, do they know when to push and when be easy on the equipment?  

Do you have a lap time target, or is it as fast as you can for as long as you can?   

Sorry, busy weekend.  Our team is all guys I've known and worked with, and consider friends.  We've had a few other people cycle through, but never anyone who was a 100% unknown- always friends, co-workers, or close referrals.  Things have been a bit tight lately- we could usually count on 5 drivers per race, but now we're down to 4, and we don't have any back ups.  So we pretty much count on everyone to come through.  There have been a couple of races that were frantic- last minute business trips and weddings and stuff- but we always managed.  

Money wise, we all spent money on different stuff (I would tend to pay for most of the car-prep stuff, one guy would front the entry costs, the other guys would buy the food and gas at the race) and then post-race we'd do an accounting and square up.  

The typical race is 7 or 8 hours on Saturday and 6 or 7 hours Sunday.  We try to split that up so everyone drives once per day.  Again, our goal is having fun, not necessarily getting all the laps.  We fuel at every driver change.  A failure or problem with the car can always screw things up, but we adjust on the fly and try to get every butt in the seat for some time.  Our drivers are all pretty conscientious, they watch the gauges and give a report at the end of their driving stint for the next guy.  We tend to "drive around" problems, as much as they can be - i.e., if the car's running hot, try to take it easy, or if the brakes pull left, keep that in mind- it usually takes more time to fix stuff while the race is going on than you'll make up in faster lap times.  But at the end of Saturday session, we'll fix whatever we can to make the car as good as it can be for Sunday.  

No target times; everyone is different in comfort level and skill level.  Our youngest driver is in his late 30's now, and our oldest in his early 60's.  I'm the second youngest- 42.  As it happens, the two youngest guys tend to post the fastest lap times (2.05 around CMP) and the two oldest the slower lap times (2:15 to 2:20 per lap or so).  Traffic and a bunch of other factors will affect those times, of course.  Again, the name of the game is FUN.  You drive as fast as you can, while being in control and not making mistakes.  I don't really buy into that whole "x/tenths" thing...you just drive what's comfortable for you and try not to break anything, be a problem to other drivers, crash, or get hurt.  

Wow, excellent summary . You really answered the main questions. 

Given the age of most of those who want to go racing I think I’m going to sell shares in the car.

$100 a month per share.  6 racers maximum.  Shares can be transferred subject to approval.  

That should provide sufficient cash to get the car ready and have spares such as engine, trans , rear end assembly,  alternator, brakes.   wheels.  Etc 

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
9/30/19 11:00 a.m.
frenchyd said:

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

The XJS has a 24 gallon tank so perhaps I could squeeze nearly 2 hours out of a tank? You’re right 2 hours is about the maximum a driver should be pressed to concentrate.  Frankly I doubt I can still do that myself at that level. How consistent are your drivers lap times?  Would you say they are driving at around 80% or so of their peak potential? Or would it be substantially less?  

I assume with that big engine you can pass a lot of the smaller more efficient engined cars  easily?  Is that an issue?  Slower cars failing to watch their mirrors properly? 

The guys who want me to do this are mostly around my age. I suspect they want to do this mainly for their children and maybe even grandchildren.  That frightens me. Drivers of unknown skills and unknown commitment.  

How did you handle it initially? 

With regards to the 2500 hours, *a bunch of anal retentive stuff about car prep*  

I digress.  I no longer own the vertical mill.  

Taking apart and cleaning up a V12 plus reassembly is at least 200 hours the way I do it. ( but then I got decades of racing out of my BlackJack engine without a single failure ) 

So I suspect my 2500 hours is close.  

I think you may be overthinking the whole concept of endurance racing.  In general, reliable LeMons drive trains tend to be ones that are not all cheated up and high strung.  The LeMons "scrutineers" in particular won't care one iota if you shaved pistons or conn rods and they'll *still* stick your crapheap in Class C.  

You mentioned a few times about your own driving talent, and that a lot of your chowder-eating comrades are likely your age or thereabouts.   And that they aren't likely to assist too much in the mechanical department.  So if you're staring down the barrel of a 2500 hour build, that means that, working full time on the car, you aren't going to be going anywhere near a track until sometime in 2021.  Among my cohorts in the engineer world, a phrase we like to toss around is "The Perfect is the enemy of The Good."  An endurance racing car with 2500 hours sunk into the build is going to be maybe 25% better than one with half as much time.  Provided you don't touch something and do more harm than good.  

I've seen many a hopeful group of Lemoneers go down the rabbit's hole of overprepping a car, and the team either loses momentum and never gets to the track, or they finally arrive, years later, and something machined down to the gnat's ass fails spectacularly.

Successful teams don't expect to wring 9/10 lap after 9/10 lap out on the endurance racing circuit.  And further remember, there's different Classes.  If you bring pretty much any fully-depreciated old English iron, you WILL be in Class C - The Ugly.  That means you'll be competing with the likes of 1951 Plymouths on LTD chasses with RV big block drivetrains.  

My prescription for you and whoever you want to race with:  DON'T OVERTHINK THIS.  Buy the crappiest running and driving XJ6 you can find.  A 6 cylinder car, with the tried and true 4.2 litre.  Convert it to dual carbs.  Install an electronic ignition and ditch everything else.  The transmission is a TH400 or 350, IIRC, so all it needs is throttle position and a vacuum signal.  

Strip out every interior bit and all the trim and glass and everything.  Burn off the insulation and sound deadener if it won't chisel off.  Take it to a shop and have a cage that meets the rules welded in.  

Install your belts, electrical kill switch, fire suppression system, and whatever else it needs to pass safety tech.  

Give the car a quick once over.  Replace any suspension bits that are missing or broken or badly worn.  Do whatever you can do with the brakes cheaply and easily to make them last.  Get 6 wheels, and mount on 6 decent tires, with a treadwear rating of the 200 to 320 range.  Make sure the tires fit and don't rub and they're all the same size.

Get your driver gear sorted out and a HANS device or two.  

Read the rules online like a dozen times.  Print them out.  Sleep with them.  Take them to whatever shops you hire work out to, and have them memorize them.  

The official 2020 LeMons schedule isn't out yet, but the races usually occur around the same time and at the same tracks every year.  They means there will probably be the following races near you:

April - Autobahn Country Club - Joliet, IL

June & October - Gingerman - South Haven, Michigan

August - Heartland Speedway - Topeka, KS

If you get cracking now, and work through the winter, you should be able to make at least one of those.  

 

 

frenchyd
frenchyd UberDork
9/30/19 6:49 p.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

You are right about over building, too high strung etc.  my Black Jack  I built in 1975  using stock rods and crankshaft . I raced with that motor until I sold it in 2012  the new owner raced it several years after that and today it’s in the Packard museum. The only thing I ever did was upgrade the camshafts in 1984.  

The XJS will get similar treatment, stone stock parts but carefully sorted for optimization.  

I will downgrade the intake for reliability and well carbs are simple.   Fuel  rejection hides behind all those electrons. Too complex for an old geezer like me. 

It will cost me 20 horsepower ( difference between fuel injection and carbs)  but I’ll tune it to European specs and probably get  most of that back. 

At my age the rotisserie will save my back and a lot of time.  But I’m not foolish enough to cut corners or do less than my best.  I learned that lesson racing  my XK 150.  

Plus I refuse to go to the track without complete spares.  The best way to ensure reliability is to have a fully prepped and ready spare handy.  You’ll never need it.  

I’ll race using the Turbo 400  because it’s about as tough as they come. Even novices will have a hard time hurting it.  

My 5 speed Dog Ring Saenz  with the triple disk Tilton aluminum flywheel will stay on the shelf. As will other serious go fast stuff. 

But the car will be carefully prepared and chances are good I’ll have a spare back up ready in case someone wads up the first one.  

 

frenchyd
frenchyd UberDork
9/30/19 10:17 p.m.
volvoclearinghouse said:
frenchyd said:

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

The XJS has a 24 gallon tank so perhaps I could squeeze nearly 2 hours out of a tank? You’re right 2 hours is about the maximum a driver should be pressed to concentrate.  Frankly I doubt I can still do that myself at that level. How consistent are your drivers lap times?  Would you say they are driving at around 80% or so of their peak potential? Or would it be substantially less?  

I assume with that big engine you can pass a lot of the smaller more efficient engined cars  easily?  Is that an issue?  Slower cars failing to watch their mirrors properly? 

The guys who want me to do this are mostly around my age. I suspect they want to do this mainly for their children and maybe even grandchildren.  That frightens me. Drivers of unknown skills and unknown commitment.  

How did you handle it initially? 

With regards to the 2500 hours, *a bunch of anal retentive stuff about car prep*  

I digress.  I no longer own the vertical mill.  

Taking apart and cleaning up a V12 plus reassembly is at least 200 hours the way I do it. ( but then I got decades of racing out of my BlackJack engine without a single failure ) 

So I suspect my 2500 hours is close.  

I think you may be overthinking the whole concept of endurance racing.  In general, reliable LeMons drive trains tend to be ones that are not all cheated up and high strung.  The LeMons "scrutineers" in particular won't care one iota if you shaved pistons or conn rods and they'll *still* stick your crapheap in Class C.  

You mentioned a few times about your own driving talent, and that a lot of your chowder-eating comrades are likely your age or thereabouts.   And that they aren't likely to assist too much in the mechanical department.  So if you're staring down the barrel of a 2500 hour build, that means that, working full time on the car, you aren't going to be going anywhere near a track until sometime in 2021.  Among my cohorts in the engineer world, a phrase we like to toss around is "The Perfect is the enemy of The Good."  An endurance racing car with 2500 hours sunk into the build is going to be maybe 25% better than one with half as much time.  Provided you don't touch something and do more harm than good.  

I've seen many a hopeful group of Lemoneers go down the rabbit's hole of overprepping a car, and the team either loses momentum and never gets to the track, or they finally arrive, years later, and something machined down to the gnat's ass fails spectacularly.

Successful teams don't expect to wring 9/10 lap after 9/10 lap out on the endurance racing circuit.  And further remember, there's different Classes.  If you bring pretty much any fully-depreciated old English iron, you WILL be in Class C - The Ugly.  That means you'll be competing with the likes of 1951 Plymouths on LTD chasses with RV big block drivetrains.  

My prescription for you and whoever you want to race with:  DON'T OVERTHINK THIS.  Buy the crappiest running and driving XJ6 you can find.  A 6 cylinder car, with the tried and true 4.2 litre.  Convert it to dual carbs.  Install an electronic ignition and ditch everything else.  The transmission is a TH400 or 350, IIRC, so all it needs is throttle position and a vacuum signal.  

Strip out every interior bit and all the trim and glass and everything.  Burn off the insulation and sound deadener if it won't chisel off.  Take it to a shop and have a cage that meets the rules welded in.  

Install your belts, electrical kill switch, fire suppression system, and whatever else it needs to pass safety tech.  

Give the car a quick once over.  Replace any suspension bits that are missing or broken or badly worn.  Do whatever you can do with the brakes cheaply and easily to make them last.  Get 6 wheels, and mount on 6 decent tires, with a treadwear rating of the 200 to 320 range.  Make sure the tires fit and don't rub and they're all the same size.

Get your driver gear sorted out and a HANS device or two.  

Read the rules online like a dozen times.  Print them out.  Sleep with them.  Take them to whatever shops you hire work out to, and have them memorize them.  

The official 2020 LeMons schedule isn't out yet, but the races usually occur around the same time and at the same tracks every year.  They means there will probably be the following races near you:

April - Autobahn Country Club - Joliet, IL

June & October - Gingerman - South Haven, Michigan

August - Heartland Speedway - Topeka, KS

If you get cracking now, and work through the winter, you should be able to make at least one of those.  

 

 

I’ll run Elkhart Lake and maybe Brainerd.  I think Champcar runs Elkhart Lake and LeMons Brainerd  both tracks can be geared the same and reward high speed.  

Brakes take a real beating at Elkhart Lake  three really high speed straights followed by tight corners, then the hurry downs and all the other corners you come storming into . It’s 4 miles to cook those brakes before you start another lap.

Brainerd has one really  long straight followed with a banked turn which if you have a pair of big brass ones another straight before you need to lift and get into the brakes.  Don’t go wide following the banking there is a tree grove waiting for you if you do.  It’s A 3 mile track with a banked turn to discover how brave you are this time around. 

Both tracks are reasonable towing distance and have decent amenities. Although nobody beats the food at Elkhart Lake. 

frenchyd
frenchyd UberDork
10/1/19 11:30 a.m.
volvoclearinghouse said:
frenchyd said:

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

The XJS has a 24 gallon tank so perhaps I could squeeze nearly 2 hours out of a tank? You’re right 2 hours is about the maximum a driver should be pressed to concentrate.  Frankly I doubt I can still do that myself at that level. How consistent are your drivers lap times?  Would you say they are driving at around 80% or so of their peak potential? Or would it be substantially less?  

I assume with that big engine you can pass a lot of the smaller more efficient engined cars  easily?  Is that an issue?  Slower cars failing to watch their mirrors properly? 

The guys who want me to do this are mostly around my age. I suspect they want to do this mainly for their children and maybe even grandchildren.  That frightens me. Drivers of unknown skills and unknown commitment.  

How did you handle it initially? 

With regards to the 2500 hours, *a bunch of anal retentive stuff about car prep*  

I digress.  I no longer own the vertical mill.  

Taking apart and cleaning up a V12 plus reassembly is at least 200 hours the way I do it. ( but then I got decades of racing out of my BlackJack engine without a single failure ) 

So I suspect my 2500 hours is close.  

I think you may be overthinking the whole concept of endurance racing.  In general, reliable LeMons drive trains tend to be ones that are not all cheated up and high strung.  The LeMons "scrutineers" in particular won't care one iota if you shaved pistons or conn rods and they'll *still* stick your crapheap in Class C.  

You mentioned a few times about your own driving talent, and that a lot of your chowder-eating comrades are likely your age or thereabouts.   And that they aren't likely to assist too much in the mechanical department.  So if you're staring down the barrel of a 2500 hour build, that means that, working full time on the car, you aren't going to be going anywhere near a track until sometime in 2021.  Among my cohorts in the engineer world, a phrase we like to toss around is "The Perfect is the enemy of The Good."  An endurance racing car with 2500 hours sunk into the build is going to be maybe 25% better than one with half as much time.  Provided you don't touch something and do more harm than good.  

I've seen many a hopeful group of Lemoneers go down the rabbit's hole of overprepping a car, and the team either loses momentum and never gets to the track, or they finally arrive, years later, and something machined down to the gnat's ass fails spectacularly.

Successful teams don't expect to wring 9/10 lap after 9/10 lap out on the endurance racing circuit.  And further remember, there's different Classes.  If you bring pretty much any fully-depreciated old English iron, you WILL be in Class C - The Ugly.  That means you'll be competing with the likes of 1951 Plymouths on LTD chasses with RV big block drivetrains.  

My prescription for you and whoever you want to race with:  DON'T OVERTHINK THIS.  Buy the crappiest running and driving XJ6 you can find.  A 6 cylinder car, with the tried and true 4.2 litre.  Convert it to dual carbs.  Install an electronic ignition and ditch everything else.  The transmission is a TH400 or 350, IIRC, so all it needs is throttle position and a vacuum signal.  

Strip out every interior bit and all the trim and glass and everything.  Burn off the insulation and sound deadener if it won't chisel off.  Take it to a shop and have a cage that meets the rules welded in.  

Install your belts, electrical kill switch, fire suppression system, and whatever else it needs to pass safety tech.  

Give the car a quick once over.  Replace any suspension bits that are missing or broken or badly worn.  Do whatever you can do with the brakes cheaply and easily to make them last.  Get 6 wheels, and mount on 6 decent tires, with a treadwear rating of the 200 to 320 range.  Make sure the tires fit and don't rub and they're all the same size.

Get your driver gear sorted out and a HANS device or two.  

Read the rules online like a dozen times.  Print them out.  Sleep with them.  Take them to whatever shops you hire work out to, and have them memorize them.  

The official 2020 LeMons schedule isn't out yet, but the races usually occur around the same time and at the same tracks every year.  They means there will probably be the following races near you:

April - Autobahn Country Club - Joliet, IL

June & October - Gingerman - South Haven, Michigan

August - Heartland Speedway - Topeka, KS

If you get cracking now, and work through the winter, you should be able to make at least one of those.  

 

 

One good thing about your suggestion regarding an older XJ6 

and three not so good. 

Good the XJ6 ( or 12) is 400 pounds lighter than an XJS. 

4200 pounds to 4600 pounds.  Shocking, I know because 4 doors weigh more than 2 right?  

Not so good. The 4.2 has a red line of 5500 RPM and that’s chiseled in stone!! The stroke of the old Iron 6 is 4.17 inches. Nope, I’ve memorized that since I was a young boy.   

While the 3.4 & the 3.8 will allow 6,000 rpm without an issue and even 6500 briefly  above 5500 RPM the 4.2 crankshaft wants to snap between #5 &# 6   That’s because  they spread the bores in order to fit in the block.  The result is asymmetric loading causing snap!  

Not so good # 2 

the transmission on all those older Jaguars is the Borg Warner model 8.   one word, Studebaker. 

Not so good #3 

210 Gross hp in the 2 carb 4.2.  220 DIN hp 226 SAE net  on the fuel injection engine.   ( better manifold, bigger valves, straight ports.  Better timing, 

#4 ( sorry forgot)  the Iron block 4.2 is 30 pounds heavier than the aluminum block V12  all on the front axle. 

#5  the XJ6 doesn’t have vented rotors 

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
10/1/19 11:46 a.m.

Should we start frenchyd a build thread, and continue the discussion over there?

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
10/1/19 12:55 p.m.
sleepyhead the buffalo said:

Should we start frenchyd a build thread, and continue the discussion over there?

I don't think Frenchyd should be allowed to post another thing until his done a post on his current and past race cars.  We keep hearing them, but I don't recall seeing them.  Pics, including build pics or I'll start emailing Marjie that's he's spouting porn and politics!!!!!

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
10/1/19 1:34 p.m.
volvoclearinghouse said:

The air was crisp, with a hint of dampness, as the sliver of a moon hung above the soon-to-be rising sun.  Purple, followed by a bright, bursting red, followed by a hazy blue crept up the horizon.  

And all I could hear was loud.  

The first half of the trip had been dark.  But still loud.  After tanking up with 8.88 gallons of premium at the sign of the Tiger, I crested the big hill before the 4 lanes of the state road turned into the 4 lanes of the interstate spur.  The engine puttering along at about 3000 RPM.  Staying in the right lane and going with traffic.  Periodically I flipped on the "dome" light (a Harbor Freight LED light zip-tied to the roll cage) and checked the gauges.  185 degrees.  40 pounds of oil.  All was well.  

A periodic screeching noise caught my attention, and for a few seconds a light panic overcame me.  Then peeked over my left shoulder and saw the Metro train pacing me, steel wheels on steel track, down the highway median.

Relief.  Onward.

The Beltway was fairly easy- I'd taken care to wake up a little earlier than usual, and, coupled with the generally light Friday traffic, I only spent a few minutes creeping along at 10-15 mph.  Oh- yeah- turn on the fan!  Merging on the I-95 was a bit of a trick, but with patience I was able to resume a cruising posture in the second-to-left lane.  Once traffic opened up a bit, I got on her, nailing 4500 RPM for a brief stretch and the cacophony of the exhaust ping-ponging off the Jersey barriers.  As I coasted down the offramp, the side of my eye caught a brief flash, followed by a steady red light.  One of the fuses had popped.  I glanced around- everything seemed to be working.  I was about a mile from work, so I pressed on.  

After narrowly avoiding a clueless bimbo in a BMW SUV, I pulled into the work parking lot.  As I flipped off the lights switch, the red light at the fuse went off.  OK, popped lights fuse.  No biggie- Won't be needing those the rest of the day, hopefully.

As I walked into the office, I noticed my armpits were damp.  My ears were slightly sore- whether from the touch of chill in the air or the hour of exhaust thrubbing they'd just endured, I could not tell.  My hair was tousled, and I felt dehydrated.  I felt like...I'd just gotten out of a race car.

FYI, thank you for that, it is a beautiful piece of writing

frenchyd
frenchyd UberDork
10/1/19 4:11 p.m.
IAdrian_Thompson said:
sleepyhead the buffalo said:

Should we start frenchyd a build thread, and continue the discussion over there?

I don't think Frenchyd should be allowed to post another thing until his done a post on his current and past race cars.  We keep hearing them, but I don't recall seeing them.  Pics, including build pics or I'll start emailing Marjie that's he's spouting porn and politics!!!!!

The picture on my site here has the Black Jack leading a field of Testa Rossa Ferrari’s,  Dtype Jaguar,  the Corvette SS Duntov created back in 1957, Porsche RSK, old Yellow, etc. at Navy North Island in San Diego. 

My face book page has one of me working on the V12’s XKE with the BlackJack spl in the foreground. 

More pictures, someone will have to show me how to transfer prints into the internet. 

Edit.  There are some very good pictures of the Black Jack taken by Stuart  on  the internet. 

I believe if you look under Black Jack Special or 1958 Black Jack  something like that you will see it in pretty complete detail. 

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
11/8/19 12:16 p.m.

Last Sunday was the last outdoor car show of the 2019 season here in the mid-Maryland region.  And as is the custom, the Mid-Maryland Ford club held their annual "Show Before the Snow" at the Town Mall.  Something like 200 cars showed up.  As near as I could ascertain, only one of them was a 1951 Plymouth with a 1975 Ford LTD chassis.

The black '68 Camaro, incidentally, is Mrs. VCH's.  

The little VCH's were excited, if a bit chilled.  

We wandered around for a few hours, checking out stuff the kids wanted to see, and chatting up friendly folks.  Every time I glanced over towards the Plymford, there was at least one or two folks around it.  And often someone peering intently inside.    

We navigated our way back to our spots around lunchtime, plunked the kiddos down and gave them trail mix and hot tea.  We spent a good hour or so fielding questions from all sorts of amused, befuddled, and excited passers by.  Several told us they'd voted for the Plymford in the Rod class.  It would have been exciting to have stuck around and see if we won anything, but around 1 o'clock the little ones were winding down so we shuffled them home for naptime.  Daylight Saving Time is a real killer.  

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
3/29/21 11:40 a.m.

Zombie thread: AWAKEN!

Well, huh.  I guess some stuff has happened since the last update here.  Uhh...yup.  The 2020 LeMons season basically became the season that wasn't, for us and a lot of other teams.  Plymford's biggest outing last year was in October, when the local bowling alley held a "Trunk or Treat".  I dolled her up with some festive accoutrements, and handed out candy to excited children and their bewildered parents.

(Note the socially-distanced parking.  Not sure if this was due to fears of the virus, or tetanus)

After a protracted winter and some discussions, we finally made a plan to race again in 2021, and began working on some of the things we wanted to address prior to hitting the track.  #1 on the list was doing something about the loss of oil pressure in the big 460 on hard turns.  After some discussion, we decided the best way to solve the issue easily was by throwing an Accusump at it. 

Fortuitously, the 460 has a port in the front oil galley, normally covered with a pipe plug.  The accusump found a home mounted on the driver's side fender, and a little plumbing brought it all together. 

 

 

java230
java230 UberDork
3/29/21 2:54 p.m.

Yay! Glad to see him alive

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