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simontibbett
simontibbett New Reader
3/3/15 9:13 a.m.

New season and a new car! Last season was horrible for me, if you followed my previous build thread it didn’t last long. To make a long story short I decided to sell my IT7 RX-7 at the end of 2013 to buy a much newer 2005 Mazda3 that was a Showroom Stock national championship winner. By the way the RX-7 is on here as a rally cross car! The idea was to convert the 3 to T4. Well on the first “test” weekend I blew a hole in the block, although I did get over three hours of solid seat time in the car. I had a good spare but was just too bummed out and worried about the possible repeat so sold the car.

Fast forward to now and I have FINALLY bought something else and not even remotely related. It’s a 1983 Volkswagen Rabbit prepared to H Production specs. It’s something quite a bit different than my past cars and will be purely for sprint races where previously I was more interested in endurance races. I plan to go back to that at some point. So although the car is built, I’ll use this thread to update on its progress, changes I make, videos, etc. Call it more of a “log thread” than a “build thread” I guess.

I plan on racing the car in just a few weeks at the SCCA Majors Tour weekend at Road Atlanta. I'll be nervous running my first sprint during a Majors weekend and in a car without previously driving it but it'll be fun. The car itself has a 12:1 race engine, Ground Control coilovers, fuel cell, fiberglass hood, lexan, big rear sway bar and some other bar lol, Quaife LSD, yada yada. It seems to run strong so hopefully I have a fun trouble free weekend.

So the car arrived this past Friday to the shop:

Spent the weekend removing the old vinyl and checking things out:

simontibbett
simontibbett New Reader
3/14/15 9:33 a.m.

So not a huge update but we've been getting the car ready for the Majors next weekend. The car passed its annual inspection last weekend. The fluids have been changed and the car is nut and bolted, just waiting on getting the wheels and tires back from the tire store to finish it up mechanically speaking. I put it on the scales today and will need to add some ballast, too close to minimum weight for comfort. I didn't bother changing anything while it was on the pads. The goal first time out is just to drive what I got then tinker. I'm also switching from bias ply to radials after this event so that will warrant some alignment changes.

Interior has some changes. I added the right side net and also put in a new left side net with a different mount setup that's far safer in my opinion. The old one would've made getting out in a hurry difficult. Along with that I wired up the radio harness, added a drink bottle holder, and two mirrors. I also put in some high density SFI padding for my “noggin.” I may throw in a handheld bottle as well because fire is only cool outside of race cars (specifically in burn pits with old Christmas trees). Otherwise the interior needs a good cleaning and it'll be good to go.

Exterior wise we put all new decals on made in house and will be doing some final touch up work this weekend. I also bought some lexan polisher to try and get some of the scratching off. They're calling for rain at some point during next weekend and with no wipers I'll be using a lexan safe repellant and want the plastic as smooth as I can get it.

So now onto some photos:

Fun.

The new window net setup.

Getting the interior finished up. Right side net, PTT button, drink bottle holder, etc.

On the setup pads.

Threw a new mirror in as well and a smaller spot mirror on the driver side.

vwcorvette
vwcorvette GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/14/15 5:59 p.m.

Following this. Nice car.

Graefin10
Graefin10 SuperDork
3/14/15 7:14 p.m.

I fell in love with Bugeyed Sprites 51 years ago. HP is still my favorite SCCA class. I'll enjoy following this thread. Nice looking car!

simontibbett
simontibbett New Reader
3/16/15 9:57 a.m.

Thanks you all! I'm looking forward to racing Production, it's more of a race car than I have had before.

Small update...

So I thought I was about ready but then noticed some wiring issues and decided to dive into a re-wiring job over the weekend. For one the transponder was not getting power so I had to track that down which ended up being a cut power cable in the car. Secondly some connections looked old so I put new connectors and cleaned up some grounds. So I re-wired the transponder to a toggle switch mounted on the battery box and labeled it, I would have liked to mount it to the kill switch as is the usual method but I just didn't want to dive into that.

We added the ballast needed and cleaned up the interior. I also added some anti-slip tape to the floorboard.

Playing with wires..

The transponder switch, bets on I forget to turn it on at least once? I'll probably put a reminder on the dash. lol

The interior getting cleaned up. You can also see the anti-slip tape, good stuff especially if it rains.

New shift knob off a Viper. Not VW related but it feels good!

So really all I have left is to put the car back on the ground, detail it, and I was still going to throw in a handheld extinguisher just for a piece of mind. It has a suppression system as you can see (2 nozzle one towards my feet the other in the engine bay) but it's still nice to be able to grab a handheld if needed.

simontibbett
simontibbett New Reader
3/24/15 12:17 p.m.

So the first weekend with the new car is over and the car is back at the shop in one piece and without any immediate mechanical repairs. With that said the weekend wasn’t smooth sailing though! I also posted a video recap that sort of shows in a nutshell everything I’m writing here.

Our first on track session was Friday morning and it went well. The car was very loose on the first few laps, I’m not sure if it was a tire pressure thing, or maybe just that there were damp spots on the track. I expected some sliding as we ran bias plys versus radials but it was pretty sketchy for the first few laps. I wasn’t as fast as I would have liked but knew there was at least two seconds to be dropped later in the day. I was 3rd in class in that first session. So the second session comes up and an hour or so before it starts while checking over the car I notice a snapped wheel stud. There was no way to get it fixed in time so we missed the session. Lesson learned is inspect the car immediately after it comes off the track. That was my final session on Friday so in total I only got about 20-25 minutes in the car.

Saturday morning was a ten minute qualifying session and the last before the races. I went out but traffic was heavy and I couldn’t find a better time however we changed tire pressures and the car felt more to my liking.

Saturday afternoon rolled around and that meant race one. I got a horrible start losing power right at the start and then seemed to get some back coming up the hill from one. By seven the car felt like it had 60HP and I was going nowhere. I ended up pulling off in 10 and watching the race from the sideline. The verdict was a blown fuel pump. So we rushed to find a pump and a friend just so happened to know a guy five seconds down the road with a Rabbit race car/parts car. So we got the pump, got it installed, and had it running again. Sadly though our day was over and the only next session was Sunday and would be the feature race.

With Sunday came the rain. I love driving in the rain but driving in the rain in a car I just met and barely have any seat time in on tires I’ve never used before was a little concerning but exciting at the same time. I put wets on (Hoosier bias ply wets I bought Thursday) and a new set of wheels I also bought Thursday specifically to use for wet tires because the forecast indicated we’d see some wet stuff at some point. Start time rolled around and I was ready to go. As the pace lap reached turn seven more bad luck happened…my window net fell down! This is of course illegal and I would be black flagged. I tried my hardest to get it up but by turn 10 I decided to say forget it and just start the race with it down and come into the pits at the end of lap one. I got a good start and it just felt bad knowing I’d have to go into the pits and watch everyone go by. I did, the workers down there got my net back up, and I was back underway.

The rest of the race I spent trying to play catch up and I had a blast. The car was running great, visibility was amazing thanks to the Raincoat(R) Pro product I was using on my windshield (plastic): http://store.motosolutions.com/clear/A/RCSPP030.html , and I was slowly making up time. I ended up finishing 4th in class and would have had a podium if it weren’t for the net falling down. I can guarantee it won’t happen again though after I change the setup! The entire race was green which was impressive considering how wet it was, I think almost every other race had at least one caution period.

So with everything said and done I’m happy with the result, I wish I had more seat time but I got some fun little battles in and learned the car a little bit. I know there is more in it and I look forward to bringing it back out, probably for The Mitty next month.

Pictures:

Getting setup and ready to go on Thursday. No car cover so I had to make something work…lol

My helmet.

Getting to work on the broken wheel stud on Friday.

It was broken clean.

Random back end shot while working on it.

My wife is a massive part of my racing efforts. A few years ago we had some “crew chiefette” decals made up for the RX-7 we had and I’ve been making them ever since.

On track.

On track Saturday morning.

First session out on Friday.

I got to the grid early for a qualifying session so decided to take a picture. I use Harry’s LapTimer on my iPhone so took a quick selfie since it was mounted to the dash. Amazing app for very accurate lap times and data.

The car dirty and tired on Sunday in post-race impound.

simontibbett
simontibbett New Reader
3/24/15 12:18 p.m.

WATCH IN HD YouTube killed the quality. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlhPCSEFHk8

vwcorvette
vwcorvette GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/24/15 7:24 p.m.

You know if you turn that Viper knob over it's a duck. Duck season, rabbit season. Can't even see my IT car, still under snow!

mazdeuce
mazdeuce PowerDork
3/24/15 7:37 p.m.

Very good weekend all things considered. You might think about replacing all of the wheel studs. Whatever abuse that caused that one to break likely happened to the others as well.

vwcorvette
vwcorvette GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/24/15 7:51 p.m.

Miss RA. Thanks for sharing.

jhockey4
jhockey4 New Reader
3/24/15 8:12 p.m.

Someone join him and buy this, I found it today skimming through Craigslist. I wish I had an extra 5 grand it looks so fun!

SCCA H Production Golf GTI

Stang_guy03
Stang_guy03 New Reader
3/24/15 8:31 p.m.

Cool thread! This is one I'll be keeping up with.

simontibbett
simontibbett New Reader
3/25/15 7:36 a.m.
vwcorvette wrote: You know if you turn that Viper knob over it's a duck. Duck season, rabbit season. Can't even see my IT car, still under snow!

Yep! Haha Thankfully the most snow we had this year was all of like 1 inch. We had some ice, that's about it.

mazdeuce wrote: Very good weekend all things considered. You might think about replacing all of the wheel studs. Whatever abuse that caused that one to break likely happened to the others as well.

I'm 99.9% sure the stud was snapped from the wheel spacer. We have to run very very thin spacers up front and it wasn't put on flush, whether it was upside down I'm not sure, but it was able to move and the spacer shows some pretty good signs of abuse meaning you can see where one of the holes was bored out some by the stud. Either way I'm going to check them all before the next event and possibly go back to just using wheel bolts. The studs are all ARP so they're pretty good quality, I like studs more than bolts but we'll see...

jhockey4 wrote: Someone join him and buy this, I found it today skimming through Craigslist. I wish I had an extra 5 grand it looks so fun! SCCA H Production Golf GTI

That is a really good deal. I was sort of hesitant of going to HP because numbers aren't always high but there were 10 entered this past weekend (a few bailed last minute) so there were people to race with which was great. I had a T4 car previously that I never raced and only 3 showed up this past weekend there.

Stang_guy03 wrote: Cool thread! This is one I'll be keeping up with.

Thanks!

simontibbett
simontibbett New Reader
4/10/15 7:53 a.m.

UPDATE.

So we're paid and registered to race "The Mitty" in just a couple of weeks at Road Atlanta. It has always been my second favorite event to attend and I'm excited to get the chance to actually race in it.

Luckily there isn't a whole lot that is needed to be done to the car. We decided to redo the air dam mounting just to make it a little less vulnerable in an off (or at least break off and not take everything else with it). I've also installed a new window net mount. I didn't really want to have to weld anything but hose clamps are illegal in the SCCA (Schroth sells a kit that's hose clamped on) so I found these nifty mounts. They're clamps like you'd use for a cage mounted mirror or something else, they're made for nets though:

So the real issue though wasn't the actual mount it was the upper bar, it was just a rod with a home built spring style quick release. So I opted to go with a rod with a built in spring specifically made for this, the new mounts were just needed because it's far shorter than the original welded on tabs.

So along with that I've also done a little rewiring to the car and still have some to do. There were some questionable grounds we ran across while diagnosing the fuel pump issue at the Majors so I'm trying to get rid of the un-needed and put new connectors on pieces that are older and in bad shape.

The lip:

I also found a couple of small oil leaks (don't worry not all of that is fresh leakage lol) luckily easily fixed and one due to a loose clamp on the oil cooler.

So other than all that the car mechanically is pretty ready to go. I'm going to clean it up the best I can since I'll be up against some beautiful machinery but we're just going out to enjoy the weekend and have some fun!

If I don't have anymore updates before then I'll post after the event!

Stang_guy03
Stang_guy03 New Reader
4/10/15 8:23 a.m.

Good luck at the Mitty. Remember it ain't the shine that wins the race, it's the go!!

simontibbett
simontibbett New Reader
4/13/15 6:30 p.m.
Stang_guy03 wrote: Good luck at the Mitty. Remember it ain't the shine that wins the race, it's the go!!

Thanks and very true! I'm just overly OCD about things being as nice as they can be. lol Low budget means I won't have a show car though which is fine I'd rather go fast!

Skervey
Skervey Reader
4/13/15 6:53 p.m.

Ill be looking for you at the Mitty! We are not racing, just going for the fun this year.

simontibbett
simontibbett New Reader
4/14/15 4:00 p.m.

Cool! There's a lot of awesome cars entered, I'm going to have a hard time driving and spectating. haha

simontibbett
simontibbett New Reader
4/20/15 9:38 a.m.

UPDATE.

Race cars are just never "good to go." lol So after re-wiring a lot and stuff we got the lip back together, then decided to fix a little bit of damage that we caused loading it onto the trailer at the Majors last month. I also started cleaning the underside of the car and will probably strip it down over the winter (yes long ways away thankfully) and repaint it. I did other little things too but for some reason I forget what I do. I know I'm not the only one.

Since The Mitty has some really nice cars I also thought I'd redo the left side headlight cover which was an old Florida licence plate spray painted and put in place. :p Awesome but I don't want to stick out too much. I did make a sweet decal for the back though. See what I did there?

Lastly I had to make some new number for the weekend, going to be 07 at The Mitty instead of 77. I also decided to put my aunt as "right seat driver in spirit" as she's in Florida with terminal cancer and can't make it up here.

Here's the damage fixed, yes it's not perfect but it's better than it was. What happened was the car slipped on a ramp and cracked the body behind that plate. The flares were molded into the body so it kind of screwed that area up. So we cut this, mounted it with plastic clips, and then painted it to match. Some orange racer's tape will make it a little more aero. :p

Cleaner than it was...

New headlight bucket cover. Not mounted yet but just cutting it to fit.

New vinyl:

See you all at The Mitty!

Automotorist
Automotorist
4/26/15 6:58 p.m.

Very cool! How'd it go this weekend?

I'm curious is the floor itself engine turned or do you have aluminum 'mats'?

Skervey
Skervey Reader
4/26/15 8:54 p.m.

I don't know how the weekend was for you point of view but it looked like you were running really well through the S's and up the hill. Here were some quick shots of you from Saturday morning, hard to tell but the track was still damp and they were running!

Stang_guy03
Stang_guy03 New Reader
4/26/15 9:10 p.m.

Nice action shots!!!

simontibbett
simontibbett New Reader
4/28/15 8:02 a.m.
Automotorist wrote: Very cool! How'd it go this weekend? I'm curious is the floor itself engine turned or do you have aluminum 'mats'?

I had an absolute blast! The car ran great, we had some tire issues (see post below) but other than that mechanically speaking I made it out for every session. It was awesome.

They're just sheets put in on the regular floor board by the previous owner, I guess it was easier to keep clean that way?

Skervey wrote: I don't know how the weekend was for you point of view but it looked like you were running really well through the S's and up the hill. Here were some quick shots of you from Saturday morning, hard to tell but the track was still damp and they were running!

Thanks for the pics, those look great!

simontibbett
simontibbett New Reader
4/28/15 8:03 a.m.

Well the 2015 Walter Mitty Challenge has come to an end and all I can say is what an event. Absolutely amazing!

We got there on Wednesday afternoon to setup and I'm glad I did because it was already a madhouse to get paddocked and unloaded. Thursday was a test day that I didn't run in but took the day to do some final prep work and spectate some.

Friday was day one of on track action for me starting with two qualifying sessions and then the Bob Woodman Tire International American Challenge race at the end of the day. In Q1 I just took the time to get adjusted to the car again and to get use to all the traffic. As Q2 came around a black flag came out and cut the session short so I didn't improve on time. The race at the end of the day was a wild show, I started way back somewhere as an alternate entry and the grid was sort of confused at the rear it seemed. It was a blast, I finished 55th, no clue where I started but I was definitely one of the lower horsepower cars out there. Those Mustangs and Corvettes sure do move!

Saturday was looking to be nasty according to the weather and it started out quite wet. As Q3 rolled around I decided to go out on wets as it was still damp but once I got on track it was clear I should have chosen slicks. The track was quickly drying and I couldn't find water to keep the rains cool so I stopped early to avoid slaughtering them especially if Race 1 later in the day would be wet.

As Saturday went on the rain continuously kept avoiding us and everything stayed dry. In fact is became quite warm and sunny which we thought would fuel some afternoon storms but they kept missing us. As Race 1 rolled around I came across quite an issue. My left front tire (dry tire) was massively worn down to the cords. I completely missed it when I put the rains on and didn't notice it until we were swapping to slicks when it was clear our race would be dry. So we threw that tire on the right rear which takes very little load around Road Atlanta and then swapped a couple of others around. We didn't touch tire pressures, I jumped in the car, and went to the grid. The race went green and I immediately felt like the car was trying to kill me. It was a constant battle trying to keep it going straight, it was extremely loose. It was only a 7 lap sprint so I finished the race and actually ran equal to my best qualifying time despite the handling issues. I finished 1st in class and 23rd overall out of 47. I had a fun time chasing an older IMSA Mazda but couldn't make a pass happen as he had just a bit more power than me.

Neither of the tire shops at the track had tires that I could use so I ran to my shop to grab a couple of spare slicks to have mounted and trashed the corded tire.

Sunday was hot and dry. I had a much better looking tire on the right rear now and the front tires were good to go all though very worn out, safe, but worn out. I only had the race on Sunday and that wasn't until 3:15 or so. I took the time to just ride around and take in all the sights and sounds. As race time rolled around it was luckily far less hectic than the day before. I would be starting 23rd and next to the Mazda I had fun chasing in Race 1. The green flag came out and I immediately tried to make a pass on the Mazda into one but he was able to keep position. I was then passed shortly by a car and then got held up quite badly in the corners by him or her until I was able to make a pass into one. The chase was then on. I tried my hardest to catch back to the Mazda (just a 7 lap race) and was able to close up on the last lap but just couldn't make a pass. I had a blast though and ended up running almost two seconds faster than my qualifying time. I finished 1st in class again and 18th overall.

Overall the weekend was a success and I made every session I was scheduled for without any real mechanical issues. The Mitty is an amazing event and the HSR puts on a world class show. I can't say that enough, I met so many nice people over the course of the weekend from race officials, spectators, other drivers, mechanics, even cooks! It was a blast to be out there and was sort of like making a small dream come true. I'm exhausted!

The next event isn't until June which is just a track day where I'll be setting the car up for radials and breaking in a set of sticker tires so I can finally knock some real time off at the next race. We're back racing in July with the SCCA. We plan to run the HSR Atlanta Historics in September and possibly the HSR weekend in Savannah in October.

So now for some photos...video coming soon!

Final Lap:

See the video for me driving my little heart out to catch back up. LOL!

simontibbett
simontibbett New Reader
4/28/15 5:42 p.m.

Here is the in-car video from all 3 races. So skip around if you want.

Watch in HD for best quality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qLhqMvRB1s

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