All posts by stewal46

Luigi Crosses the Bricks and Drinks Some Milk

The Holy Ground of American racing.

We made the trip back east to participate in  SVRA’s Brickyard Vintage Invitational held each year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

This venue is steeped in history. They have been racing at the Brickyard for over 100 years. It is mind boggling to think about all the drivers who have raced there over the years, as well as all that has happened there.

It sends shivers down your spine the first time you drive off pre-grid, under the “Gasoline Alley” sign and out into the canyon of the main grandstand along the front straight.

The track we used was made up of the front straight and portions of the F1 course. The twisty bits are pretty tight and are separated by 2 long straights. It is just over 2 miles around.

We took the 1800 and Luigi. The 1800 raced in Group 3, and Luigi in Group 12A.

I spent the Thursday  practice sessions learning my way around the track. It isn’t hard, but to get a good time requires some precision. It is very easy to overdrive some of the corners and your lap time will suffer.

Friday had 2 qualifying sessions for each car. Because it was hot (91 degrees and 75% humidity), I chose to just run the morning session in each car. I didn’t think the lap times could be any faster in the heat of the afternoon.

There were several other series racing with the vintage cars during the weekend. The SCCA Trans-Am series was there, along with the Pro Spec Miata series. It was fun to have a close look at the cars and to watch them on track. The Trans_am cars can really haul the mail!

The 1800 suffered down the long straights and I was able to only qualify in 10th with a lap of 2:01.5. Luigi, on the other hand, loved hooking-up coming out of the corners and flying down the long straights. He qualified on pole with a 1:43.8, 2.5 seconds faster than the 911 of Tom Clark.

The feature races on Saturday were in the morning when it was a bit cooler. I managed to finish 12th in the 1800 after a race-long battle with Allen Goode in his TR4.

At the drop of the green flag Luigi surged away from the field and never looked back. I ran the entire race with out any issues and finished almost 20 seconds ahead of 2nd place.

An all BMW podium. Bill Glavin in 2nd, and Kevin Ruble in 3rd.

It was very special to stand on the top step at Indy and get to drink the milk and kiss the bricks.

Sunday morning I ran the 1800 in the 1 Hour Vintage Enduro. It was wet and already pretty hot when the race started at 8:00 AM. I only ran about half the race as I had 2 more races to run later in the day. It was fun racing on a wet track with some big-bore cars. I could have fun with them in the turns, but then they would leave me in the dust on the long straights.

The 2 feature races on Sunday went well. I had back-to-back races, with the 1800 out first. As with the Enduro I only ran a few laps before coming in and cooling down before jumping into Luigi.

Couldn’t do it without Mary’s support. Thank You!

Luigi’s Feature race went just like it did on Saturday. I surged ahead at the green flag and never was challenged.

2 wins at Indy for the old guy- Luigi not me. After 40 years he still knows how to get the job done!

These are the guys that make it happen- Erik, Terry, and Jim (L to R).

Here’s the link to the video from the weekend:

Brickyard Invitational 2017- Groups 3 & 12A Highlights

Inaugural Spring Classic @ Laguna Seca

This year SCRAMP started a new race with hopes to build it into a premier vintage race in the coming years. It features cars from the 1970’s through the 1990’s. There were groups for  F1 cars, Atlantic cars, and big block Trans-Am cars. However, the largest grid for this first event was the 2.5 Trans-Am Sedans.

Group E was made up of BMW 2002’s, Alfas, 510’s, a Mini, and several Porsches. 34 cars total!

I entered my #34 2002. This car has always been a race car. It taken off the truck at Hyde Park Motors and built into a race car. In fact, it was the first BMW to win points in a Trans-Am race at Riverside in 1968.

34 got to mix it up with many of the same cars he raced against back in the day.

There were some fast drivers and fast cars in our group, including Sam Smith in a 2002, and Troy Ermish in his always fast Datsun 510.

The racing was some of the best I’ve experienced for several years. I managed a 4th in the feature race, which was not too shabby given the quality of the field.

Here’s the video, I hope you enjoy the great tin-top racing:

SOVREN Spring Sprints

#34 ran well all weekend despite not having the best gear in the diff for this track.

I ran the #34 2002 at the SOVREN Spring Sprints held on April 28-30 at Pacific Raceway outside Seattle.

It was a fun weekend with lots of track time. I had some good racing with several other cars.

I should mention that this car has the old style long-neck differential in it. Because of that there are a limited number of diff ratios available for the car.

Seattle has a very long front straight and with the gear I had in the car I was hitting 8,000 RPM about 1/2 to 2/3 0f the way down the straight. So I had to feather the throttle and this was costing me about a second a lap.

Here’s the video from the weekend:

Another Try at the 25

The Racecraft Team is going to race the 25 Hours at Thunderhill again this coming December. We have purchased an E46 M3 that had been used as a track day car and are in the process of getting the car ready.

The 25 Hours of Thunderhill is becoming the premier long distance race on the west coast: https://nasa25hour.com. The race is put on by NASA each December. Because of the time of year the night is VERY long, and the weather unpredictable.

We ran the event in 2014 in a tired E30 Pro3 BMW and managed to finish 2nd in our class. It was a very fun event, and one that we all would like to enjoy again. Here’s the video I did of that event:

Below are the designs for the wrap we will be putting on the car. I will update the preparations going into the car from time to time:

David Love Memorial Races 2017

Two classic 2002’s at the David Love Memorial Races 2017

Our 2017 season began with the David Love Memorial Races at Sonoma Raceway on March 31 – April 2, 2017 put on by CSRG. I brought my Koepchen 2002 to run in Group 8, and my Chevron B16 to run in Group 7.

It was a beautiful weekend, mid 70’s and lots of sun. Quite a change from our long, cold winter here in Oregon. With all the rain they have had in CA the hills around the race track were a bright green. A perfect setting for a weekend of racing.

The K2002 performed well all weekend.

Let’s start with the 2002. I was trying a new set of the Avon ZZS DOT radial tires this weekend. They are a little wider than the Toyos we normally run on this car (215 mm vs. 205 mm). I found I liked them a lot. They were very consistent through a run, and didn’t seem to be as affected by temperature as the Toyos.

I love driving this car at Sonoma. It is a track that suits the 2002 perfectly. As a result the car punches above its weight. By that I mean it can compete well against cars it normally would be easily beaten by. I was able to turn a 1:55.3 on Saturday morning during qualifying! That is a lap average of about 90 mph.

The car runs in Group 8 at CSRG events. This group is made up of sedans and sports cars from the mid 1960’s up to the mid 1970’s. There are GTO Corvettes, Camaro, Porsches (911’s & 914’s), and Datsuns (510’s and Z’s). Quite a mixed bag of cars.

David Martin gets his GTU Z car out of shape in front of me in Turn 7.

I qualified 10th out of 23 cars and began the race outside of David Martin’s GTU 240Z. I was able to get ahead of him at the start, but on lap 2 he tried to out brake me going into Turn 7 and got behind on his steering and I was able to repass him.

I held off David and 2 other Z cars for the next 6-7 laps until he was able to out brake me again for Turn 7 and get by. Then down in Turn 11 the other 2 Z’s snuck by me. I ended up finishing 10th with a best race lap of 1:56.4.

I chase a Lola T-70 through Turn 2 at the David Love Memorial Races.

I also entered my Chevron B16 this weekend. I am still trying to learn to get the most out of this car. It is quite different than my other production based cars. My biggest problem is that I don’t fit very well in the car so I am not comfortable and confident. I really struggle with consistent footwork on the pedals. Jim @ Racecraft will be doing some modifications to the pedals to try and help.

The car runs in Group 7 with CSRG. This group is made up of both closed and open wheeled cars. There are a lot of Formula Atlantic cars, some Can-Am cars, an mid-1980’s F1 car, and a few 2 liter sports racers in the group.

I started 10th and finished 9th in my race, with a best lap of 1:48.7. My goal was to log laps and work on feeling comfortable driving the car. My best guess is that I will be turning 1:45’s once I get more experience with it.

Here’s the video from the weekend. Thanks for watching!

2016 Season Recap- Part 4- The Hot Summer Months

A box among the Bats. My newly refurbished 1800 Ti got its first track test at the Northwest Historic in Seattle.

The mid part of our season consisted of races in Seattle and Portland, both events close to home.

The Northwest Historic put on by SOVREN are always a fun event. This year was no exception.

This weekend was especially fun in that I was able to track test my recently refurbished 1800 Ti. Terry Forland from Racecraft did a superb job of creating an homage to  proper mid-1960’s touring car. Here’s the short video I made of that test:

I had my trusty Koepchen 2002 at this event. The racing was very tight all weekend. I was in a large group of mixed production cars, sedans, and older sports racers. The grid of the race was mixed up because there was a rain shower for qualifying and some of the faster cars chose to start at the back of the field. Take a look at the video from the event:

The Portland Vintage Festival was the weekend following Seattle. I raced the 1800 Ti and my Chevron at this event.

The Chevron and I were still coming to terms. I was getting a much better feel for the car, but still needed to work on downshifts. I had a fun race with a Lola in the feature:

The race debut for the 1800 went really well. It ran flawlessly all weekend. I learned quite a bit about its idiosyncrasies and had a fun race with Steve Smith in his potent VW:

2016 Season Re-Cap- Part 3- Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival

brake issues we need to sort.
Luigi is still having some brake issues we need to sort.

Our next race was at the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival put on by SVRA. Held each spring, it is a great event with lots of great cars, and big crowds of spectators. SVRA does a great job with this event. One of the highlights each year is the R&R party they put on on Saturday night.

At this event I raced the Willis Special and the Luigi CSL. Both cars ran well all weekend, and I was able to finish 7th with the Willis and 6th in the CSL with a best lap of 1:53.4.

John Murray and Ed Matuisha are two people we enjoy spending time with at the races.

I ran pretty much all alone in the Willis. The car slots in between the much faster F1 cars and the much slower cars in the group. One of the great things about this group is the sites and sounds and smells of all the old cars that run in this group.

My 1935 BMW 315/1, “The Willis Special,” in turn four.

The Willis is a very difficult car to drive. It is extremely loose in the rear end. This trait is particularly noticeable in the Carousel where the road drops constantly as you make the 180 degree turn.

In the CSL I had a great race long battle with Bill Lyon in his 914/6 Porsche. We have raced together many times and we always have fun, close racing. At some tracks he is quicker, and at some I am quicker.

Sonoma seems to favor my CSL because of the torque the car has. I am able to really pull Bill coming out of the slower corners.

Here’s the video from the weekend. Hope you enjoy it:

 

2016 Season Re-Cap Pt. 2- April in California


 Our opening races of the year were down in California- the David Love Memorial at Sonoma, and the HMSA Spring event at Laguna Seca.

These races would be my first chance to drive my newly acquired Chevron B16 so I was excited for the season to begin. I also raced my trusty Koepchen 2002.

My 2002 races in Group 8 which is a mixture of mid and large bore production cars and sedans. Sonoma is ideal suited to the 2002 so they do very well there against the larger engined cars.

I started about mid pack and had a great race with John Murray in his 2002, and Gary Cook in his 240Z. My best lap time for the weekend was 1:59.3. Here’s the link to the video of that race:

This was also my first opportunity to drive the Chevron B16 I purchased over the winter. We had to make some modifications to the car so I could even fit into it. We trimmed the bottom of the dash for my knees, took out the dead pedal, and put some spacers in the drivers side window to give me a little more head room.

My first experience driving the B16. What a Ride!

My objective for this first race was to just get comfortable in the car. It is significantly different than driving my other cars. It is a purpose built race car with a lot more speed than anything else I own.

This Chevron has a BMW m10 motor in it. It produces about 220 HP and is very tractable. It pulls hard from about 4,000 RPM up to its red line. The brakes are phenomenal, much more effective than any of my other cars. It has amazing amounts of grip, yet is quite neutral and predictable in the corners.

The weekend following Sonoma we went to Laguna Seca for the HMSA Spring Event.

I had another great race with John Murray in our 2002’s. I was able to beat him this weekend by out braking him going into the Cork Screw and holding him off for 6 laps. A lot of fun!

The Chevron and I continued to get to know each other. Unfortunately I broke a half-shaft in the car during the race and had to retire.

Here’s the video:

Re-Cap of Our 2016 Season, Part-1

Celebrating 100 years as the ultimate driving machine! Our big event was the Rolex Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, CA.

It’s been a while since I have put a post up on this blog and for that I apologize. We have had a very busy year and I have neglected reporting on it here.

In all we attended 10 races this past season. Following the Amelia Island Concours our race season began in early April. We raced the following events:

Apr 1-3

Sonoma

David Love Memorial

Chevron, K2002

Apr 9-10

Laguna Seca

Spring Club Event

Chevron, K2002

April 29-May 1

Pacific Raceway

Spring Sprints

700, K2002

June 4-5

Sonoma

Sonoma Historics

CSL, 315

July 1-3

Pacific Raceway

Northwest Historics

700, 1800TI

July 7-10

Portland

Portland Historics

CSL, 2002TA

Aug 13-14

Laguna Seca

Pre-Reunion

2002TA, Chevron, CSL

Aug 18-21

Laguna Seca

Rolex Reunion

315, 700, 1800Ti, CSL, Chevron

Sept 3-4

Portland

Columbia River Classic

K2002

Sept 30-Oct 2

Sonoma

Charity Challenge

K2002, Chevron

Oct 28-30

Thunderhill

Fall Finale

K2002

I will endeavor to post a report of each race with a link to the video over the next few weeks.

Luigi Does the Amelia Island Concours

Hans Stuck drove Luigi at the 1976 ETCC race held at the famous Nurburgring.
Hans Stuck drove Luigi at the 1976 ETCC race held at the famous Nurburgring.

We had the privilege of attending this years Amelia Island Concours and bringing along Luigi. He was driven by Hans Stuck in 1976 at the famous Nurburgring in the ETCC race, and since this year’s honored driver was Hans Stuck we got the call.

Friday night after cruising the displays of trophies, auction cars, and vender tables all at the Ritz Carlton, we attended the BMW dinner in honor of Stuck.

Saturday morning we unloaded the car in time to catch the end of the Cars & Coffee before heading off to the BMW Drivers seminar.

The panel of drivers for this seminar consisted of Boris Said, Bill Auberlin, David Hobbs, Brian Redman, Hans Stuck, and John Fitzpatrick. It was a spell-binding 2 hours of funny stories, friendly banter, and great BMW history.

Luigi was a part of the official event photo honoring Hans Stuck's great racing career.
Luigi was a part of the official event photo honoring Hans Stuck’s great racing career.

Following the seminar we had too get back to the car and drive him out on the field for the “Cars of Hans Stuck” official photo shoot. The group included the BMW X5 with the 700 HP Le Mans winning V-12 in it that Hans drove around the Nurburgring in under 7 minutes.

We then parked the car in its assigned spot on the concours field and headed back to our motel for the night.

By 10:00 the event was packed. It was difficult to even walk around to look at the other cars.
By 10:00 the event was packed. It was difficult to even walk around to look at the other cars.

Sunday morning came with a threat of rain. We were told that all events would be wrapped up by 3:00 in hopes of beating the rain. The crowds poured in at 9:00 AM, and by 10:00 it was packed! I was told that over 35,000 people attended this year.

We had entered Luigi to be judged in the “Cars of Hans Stuck” group. Our judges included German driver Jochen Mass, former Porsche racing director Norbert Singer, and Steven Pastiener.

Luigi won an Amelia Award in our group!
Luigi won an Amelia Award in our group!

Needless to say we were floored when we were awarded Amelia Award for our class. This is a real tribute to the work of Jim Froula, Terry Forland, and the rest of the skilled guys at Racecraft.

Both Mary and I were thrilled to be a part of this spectacular event. It was a weekend full of wonderful memories.

Me and Stuckie
IMG_3873

Here’s a video of our weekend: