Category Archives: Swift DB2

Weathertech International Challenge at Road America

Every other year we make the trip back to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. This year we went back for the Weathertech International Challenge the weekend of July 18-21, 2019.

Road America is by far my favorite track in the US. I have many fond memories of going there in the 1960’s and 1970’s watching some of the most famous names in racing compete on that track.

Here is one of my favorite memories from the 1960’s. Jim Hall leading the Can-Am race in 1968.

This year we made the trip with the Swift S2000 and my M3. I was looking forward to racing both cars on this fast and flowing track. I had also entered the M3 in the Friday night parade and concours.

I ran the Swift in the practices and did a best lap of 2:32 and change. The car had a tendency to trolly track in the cracks in the pavement going down the straights which was a challenge to say the least. Jim said it has enough downforce at that speed that it won’t go anywhere, but it still was not comfortable.

Road America has 3 places per lap where the car reached its maximum speed. It also has several long high speed turns that really stretch your neck.

Jeff Gerken and I get ready to go out for practice in our S2000 cars.

I decided to let Jim run the car in the feature race on Sunday as he was about 4 seconds a lap quicker in it than me. He had also blown out the diff in his Datsun on Friday so he was without a ride.

He ended up finishing 16th after the race was shortened because of an incident involving several cars.

As I mentioned, I entered the M3 in the Friday night parade and Concours. This is an incredibly fun event that is unique. The race cars line up outside Turn 12 at the track where they are inspected by the judges. Following that they head into town behind a police escort.

My M3 on the streets of Elkhart Lake. It won 1st in Group 4.

Someone told me that as many as 20,000 fans line the route into town and winding through the city streets. Once the cars are parked the fans descend on them en-mass. After a couple of hours the judges announce the awards for each division and the cars fire up and drive back to the race track.

The M3 was the winner of Group 4 so I was invited to present the car for the Best in Show judging on Sunday in Victory Circle at the race track.

I had some great laps in the M3 before the alternator fully broke and the motor overheated because the fan belt disappeared. In the interest of not making the problem worse we parked the car for the rest of the weekend.

I managed a 2:34 and change with the car in qualifying. It is a real joy to drive on this track. I really want to bring it back sometime soon. I bet I could get into the high 2:20’s with it.

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

HMSA Spring Race

We made the trip down to Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca the weekend of March 16-17 for the HMSA Spring Race.

It was a great weekend with lots of sun and fun. We took the Koepchen 2002 and my new Swift DB2 S2000 car for this event.

There were enough S2000 cars so that we had our own group. The 2002 was put in Group 5 which had a couple of other B sedans, an open wheel car, and a bunch of big bore Corvettes, Cobras, and Mustangs.

We made a change to the K2002 over winter that we hoped would make it quicker. We softened the springs from 400 lbs. down to 350 lbs. It made for slightly more body role in the corners but also increased the grip noticeably, as well as making the car feel more into the track.

This was my first drive in the Swift. I do fit in it a whole lot better than I did in the Chevron. There is a lot more leg room and room in the pedal box for my big feet.

I did have a problem during the first practice with the car jumping out of 3rd gear whenever I let off the throttle. Jim tried adjusting the shift linkage in an attempt to fix it. However during the qualifying race on Saturday it was still doing it.

A pan full of 3rd gear! This put an end to our weekend in the Swift.

About half way through the race I shifted from 2nd to 3rd coming out of the Corkscrew and 3rd gear stripped completely.

At the end of the day Jim pulled the transmission cover off and found a bunch of teeth and bits in the bottom of the case. We parked the car for the weekend. I did manage a 1:44.6 during the race. Not stellar, but ok for my first time in the car.

I had a much better run in the 2002. The softer springs helped a great deal. My best lap last year at this event was a 1:49.7. My best lap this year was a 1:46.9!

Both races went about the same. I started 2nd in the Saturday qualifying race and finished 3rd. In the feature I started 3rd and finished 3rd. I ran pretty much alone in both.

All they got for their trouble was my son’s dirt laundry.

The only bad thing from the weekend was that our car was vandalized on the way home. We stopped to have breakfast in Willows and while we were eating some low-life smashed the back window in our X5 and stole our son’s backpack. We were happy they didn’t steal any of the cameras, but it still makes you feel violated.

Here’s the video from the weekend:

Off Season Project Updates

Just a quick update on winter projects. All of this work is being done up at Racecraft by Jim and his fantastic team.

The before picture. Ouch!

NSU- The repairs are coming along nicely on the NSU. You will remember that I crashed the car in its initial race at Seattle in July. I lost the car in the rain and hit the dirt embankment outside Turn 2.

We were able to find a rusty but useable donor car in Seattle. Who would of thunk it. It had all the bits we needed plus a spare engine and transmission. I was able to donate the rest to a friend who is restoring a street car.

The car will head off to the painter next week!

All the metal work has been completed and the car will head off to the painter soon.

The spare engine and transmission is up at Ivey Engines in Portland. Jay Ivey is the premier FF engine builder in the country. He will be using his considerable experience to build a hot-rod motor for the NSU. All the go-fast parts are available for these engines in Germany.

Asahi M3- Terry Tinney has completed the rebuild of the S14 engine for the M3. You may remember that we cracked the block during the Rolex Races in Monterey last year. We were able to find a donor block for the car along with a complete race motor. The race motor came from England and will serve as a spare in case we have another problem. The new motor will be shipped up to Racecraft next week and go back into the car.

The wrap guy came through finally. Here’s the mock-up of what the car will look like.

Swift- A new color wrap is going on the Swift DB2. The new color is turning out beautifully. The guy doing the wrap is tough to keep focused. We have been waiting a couple of weeks for him to come back and put on the accent stripes and numbers. He does great work, but  .  .  .

Luigi CSL- Luigi is getting a new transmission this winter. The original Getrag is getting pretty long in the tooth. I have decided to replace it with an Elite transmission out of England. It is a modern recreation of the old ZF 5 speed but with stronger internals. These transmissions were homologated for the CSL back in the day so it is a legal replacement. It has been ordered and should be to the shop sometime next month.

The Elite 5 speed transmission is an exact reproduction of the old ZF transmission from the early 1970’s but with stronger internals.

Street 2002- Terry has been hard at work on the street 2002 he has been building for me. The S14 engine is in the car after some complications. Terry had to fabricate custom engine mounts to get the engine back and lower in the engine bay. One issue when putting an S14 into the 2002 is clearance between the oil pan and the front crossmember. This is solved by fabricating a new oil pan. It also requires moving the engine back to give clearance between the front pulley and the radiator.

The fuel injection guru stopped by the shop last week and went over everything with Terry. Terry has everything we need ordered and once it all gets here he will install it. The FI Guru will then come back and do the fine adjusting. 

The #34 2002 is in transit back from SC. Once it is back at Racecraft Jim will swap the transmission with the transmission in the K2002. I won’t be racing the #34 much this coming year. I am thinking about taking it back to its original Hyde Park black and orange livery.

Installation of the S14 engine is going along smoothly.

That about wraps up the winter projects. Our first race of the season will be the HMSA Spring Event at Laguna Seca in early March.

New Car in the Garage

I have always felt like I had some unfinished business regarding the beautiful Chevron B16 I sold. I never felt like I got the most out of the car because I was never completely comfortable in it. I guess trying to stuff my 6′ 3″ into a space designed for someone 5′ 10″ had something to do with it.

I need more headroom!

If you look closely at this image you will see that my helmet completely fills the Gurney Bubble in the window above my head. That meant that my head was about 3-4″ above the roof line of the car. This was in spite of taking the padding out of the seat and spacing the window open 1″ more than stock.

At my other end, my feet were too large to fit comfortably in the pedal box. I had to really do an awkward dance to work the pedals. Heel and toeing was difficult at best and I would occasionally miss shifts because of this complication.

After talking with Jim extensively about cars/classes/options I settled on a S2000 class car to replace the Chevron. S2000s are relatively inexpensive to buy and pretty inexpensive to operate, but are every bit as quick as the B16.

1986 Swift DB2 fitted with DB5 bodywork.

After some searching I bought a car from Tacoma, WA. It had a good history, having run in the American City Racing League for many years. Having run in the ACRL meant that it had the Cosworth 4 valve, twin cam head on the Ford Pinto based 2 liter engine.

The Cosworth 2 ltr. Ford. This engine features the twin cam, 4 valve head and makes about 220 hp.

The first thing you will observe is that I have a lot more headroom in this car compared to the Chevron. The former owner was 6’3″ tall like me so the car is already set up for someone my size.

My new Swift arrives at Racecraft’s shop.

The car arrived at the Racecraft shop where Jim and Co. will give it a thorough going over prior to our first event in the spring. I have also commissioned a new wrap for the car as black has never been my favorite color for a race car.

I will post additional pictures once it is ready to rock & roll.