Category Archives: CSL

Monterey Car Week 2014- Part 1

Every year during the 2nd and 3rd weekends of August there occurs an event that boggles the automotive mind. It is called “Car Week,” and it happens on the Monterey Peninsula.

During the week there are 5 major auctions, 7 major car shows or concours, a dozen minor events, and the Rolex races at Laguna Seca. People come from around the world to attend the event.

Luigi on display in downtown Monterey on the Friday evening before the Pre-reunion races.
Luigi on display in downtown Monterey on the Friday evening before the Pre-reunion races.

This year I signed up for a couple of new events for us, including the Friday evening car show in downtown Monterey. About 25-30 race cars are escorted by CHiPS from the track into downtown Monterey and put on display for anyone and everyone. One of the local restaurants provides hors d’oeuvres for the participants. It is a very fun event that really kicks off the entire car week scene.

On the way back to the track the lead motorcycle officer cracked the throttle, and of course, we had to keep up with him. He had a big smile on his face when we arrived back at the track. Fun duty!

We raced the Pre-reunion race on Sunday. It was a bit of a disappointment because we only got 2 sessions on track for the whole weekend- qualifying and then the race.

We were still fighting some brake issues, but I managed to finish mid-pack. The group we ran in is was quite a mixed bag with a GTP Toyota, some big-block IMSA cars, and some tube frame Trans Am cars, along with the usual mix of turbo and non-turbo Porsches.

On Tuesday we again were part of an escorted group from the track. This time we traveled to downtown Carmel for the Concours on the Avenue. My grandson, Andrew, rode with me in the car. It was a lot of fun to come down from Highway 1 through Carmel to Ocean Avenue with crowds of people snapping pictures and cheering us on.

Andrew and I are part of the parade of race cars through Carmel to Ocean Avenue.
Andrew and I are part of the parade of race cars through Carmel to Ocean Avenue.

Luigi was awarded “Best in Class” among the race cars. Quite an honor and tribute to Racecraft’s work!

Racing began in earnest on Thursday. We had a practice session on Thursday, one on Friday, and then 2 races on Saturday. Luigi was in Group 5A- “1973-1981 FIA, IMSA GT, GTX, AAGT, GTU Cars.”

There were 2 other CSLs in the group, Henry Schmitt’s IMSA car, and the factory museum car. There was also the factory museum M1 driven by Randy Probst, along with Porsches, Datsun Z-cars, big block IMSA cars, an IROC Camaro, and Adam Carolla in is turbo 300ZX. Quite a collection of fast cars!

On Thursday I had the brake pedal go to the floor as I broke for turn 5. I was right outside of a 935 Porsche, and had to pump the pedal furiously to get the car slowed enough to make the corner.

I thought, “Oh no, here we go again!”

It turned out to be a new brake “problem.” It seems we threw a wheel weight, which struck the retaining clip for the brake pads, allowing them to move back out of position. How strange is that?

Friday’s practice went much better. I put in a couple of good laps and qualified 23rd out of 44 cars. I still didn’t have complete confidence in the brakes, and was breaking pretty early for turns 2, 5, and 11. After 5-6 laps the pedal was still getting spongy. Something was still not 100% with the brakes.

Saturday Mary and I arrived at the track early to find Terry, Jim, and Mike huddled over Luigi’s left rear brake caliper on the table in front of the Racecraft truck. It didn’t look good.

Bad Day at Black Rock- The Portland Historics 2014

MeinKoepchen@PDX_2014
Here I am sitting on pre-grid in the Koepchen 2002 waiting to go out for qualifying.

I had three cars entered for the 2014 Portland Historics, held July 11-13 at Portland International Raceway- the freshly re-done 700, the Koepchen 2002, and the Luigi CSL.

Right from the very first lap of practice on Friday the trouble began.

First to go down was the 700. On my very first warm-up lap in

Here I am being chased by John Murray in his 2002. Usually he is in front.
Here I am being chased by John Murray in his 2002. Usually he is in front.

practice the left side barrel separated from the block. Not knowing the cause, or if any internal damage was done, we decided it was best to park the car for the rest of the weekend.

Next up was the 2002. This car is pretty quick, however, the Group it was running in was made up of ‘B’ sedans from the 60’s and early 70’s, and since Datsun was the featured marque this year there was a whole bunch of very fast Datsun 510’s  up from California in my group.

I was able to qualify well, about mid-pack, and ran both races on Saturday without incident.

Sunday morning I went out for the warm-up session, and the motor did not feel right. Jim started to check the engine and found it had no oil pressure.

At first we thought that the drive gear had come off the oil pump shaft, but it turned out to be much more serious than that.

The motor went down to Terry Tinney and he found that the chain tensioner for the cam drive chain had broken and dropped down into the front of the timing chain cover. There it lodged in the chain and broke the crankshaft.

So we had 2 major engine failures. But wait there’s more.

Luigi working hard to stay ahead of some American Iron.
Luigi working hard to stay ahead of some American Iron.

That left me racing the CSL. You may remember that we had brake issues in Sonoma that almost caused me to wreck the car. Those issues reared their ugly head this weekend as well with similar results.

Jim had changed the brake fluid to a higher temp fluid. But the problem showed up again during my first qualifying race. Going into the chicane on the opening lap I almost wrecked it again when the front brakes didn’t work.

Jim put on some heat shielding for the next race, but still the pedal went mushy after a few laps.

The cherry on top of the sunday came on Sunday when a thunderstorm came through just before the flag race for the CSL. Since I don’t have rain tires for the car I was forced to sit it out.

Not a very fun weekend to say the least.

I did get some fun video though. Here are the links. First is the video from the 2002:

And here’s the video from the CSL:

Luigi’s First Race

Luigi CSL @ Turn 3
Luigi is back on track at the 2014 Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival.

In just over 90 days since his arrival in America, Luigi is back in action on track.

Last weekend we took him to the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma.

The weekend was not without drama. On Friday I came into Turn 11 and found I had no front brakes. I ended up spinning the car to the inside of the turn, missing the stacks of tires placed there to keep people from cutting the turn.

It turned out that there was a loop in the front brake line that went up over the transmission tunnel, but went way up high on the cowl. This was allowing air to accumulate there, making the front brakes ineffective.

Jim re-routed the line, bled the system, and all worked as it should after that.

The car is quite a bit different than my other CSL. This car is built from a factory motorsports chassis which is lighter and more flexible than my other car.

This car is also fitted with the motorsports suspension and brakes which are much more effective than the street suspension and brakes that was on the other car.

We ended up 11th out of 22 cars in my group. I am very happy with this result, especially since many of the cars were much younger than Luigi!

I am looking forward to getting to know this car, and learning how to getting the maximum performance out of it.

Here’s the video from the weekend:

Sonoma Motorsports Festival 2104- Group 13a

All the credit for the quick turn around for the car goes to Jim Froula up at Racecraft. He planned the project, found the people who could execute the work well but quickly, and effectively managed each step in the process.

Update on Luigi CSL Restoration/Prep- Part 2

The reassembly of Luigi is coming along nicely. Jim and his shop have been on top of every aspect of the rebuild. They do such a great job! Here’s some shots of what is going on presently:

102_1193
Jim and the Racecraft crew are hard at work putting the Luigi BMW back together. Our target race is the Sonoma Historics in May.

Here is the new fuel cell. The one that was in the car was a hill climb can, and didn’t have enough capacity for circuit racing, so out it came. We decided to not plumb up to the inlets in the deck lid for now, but that may be changed later.

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Here’s what’s going on inside the fuel cell. The picture is taken looking down from the top of the can. There’s is a catch tank that holds fuel under cornering and braking forces, a low pressure pump moves it from there into the black swirl pot which fills up and has a 10psi relief valve on top to provide a constant column of fuel available for the high pressure pump to draw off of so that air bubble free fuel goes up to the injection pump on the engine.

Jim Froula - inside of CSL fuel tank

Finally, the gauges are back from the rebuilder. The car had a stack panel that was installed during the rebuild of the early 90’s. We wanted something more authentic, so we decided to replace the stack panel with a fiberglass dash and then re-install the proper gauges. Yes, I know they are ‘P’ gauges, but that was what they used back then:

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Update on Luigi CSL Restoration/Prep

76stu
Here is the car at the Nurburgring in 1976 during the German round of the European Touring Car Championship. It sat on the pole but had an engine failure during the race.

We have begun the restoration/race prep of the Luigi CSL. We have decided to return the car to the same livery it wore in 1976, the year it won the European Touring Car Championship.

The first order of business was to remove the wide Group 5 fenders and the front air dam that were installed in the 1980’s.

Castrol Green
Grinding down through the old paint and bodywork revealed all the old layers of paint from former days. Automotive archeology at its finest.

It was interesting to grind down through the old paint and bondo and find all the old layers of paint the car wore through its racing career. Down at the very bottom we found the black/green/red paint from its original Castrol livery.

When we removed the front air dam we found that the front valance was in need of some repairs. We want to make the new air dam removable to aid in loading/unloading the car from the trailer and need a solid base to mount it.

Valance Repair
Here is the finished valance repair.

The old valance was cut out, and a new one was grafted in.

Once the old fenders were removed and the valance repaired, the engine was taken out and shipped down to Terry Tinney for a freshening. The car was then taken to the painter’s shop.

Jim Froula from Racecraft, visited the CSL recently at the painters.

He said that there is not too much progress to report except that they have stripped all the paint and filler from both sides of the car and it’s in amazingly good condition underneath all that mess that was there. No rust and only the slightest indication of contact at each front corner.

The fiberglass parts turned out to be a real disappointment. They are nowhere near close to fitting.

Trying to fit the disappointing fiberglass parts.
Trying to fit the disappointing fiberglass parts.

The rear flares are about 2″ narrower than the fronts, but the shape is okay so making them a little wider will be easy.

The front flares are just wrong in every way. The good news is that the fiberglass guy we have on the job can make anything so I’m confident it will look right in the end it was just a hurdle we didn’t expect.

The main reason for Jim’s visit  was to get really detailed about how the flares need to look, how much gap to allow around the tires, how far they need to protrude from the fenders, how they need to be attached, etc.

Luigi Castrol RR 3
Here is the look we will be trying to achieve. This is the #3 Luigi car from the race at SPA in 1976.

They  reviewed a whole bunch of photos, made a bunch of notes and measurements and they now have some clear guidance on how to proceed. More importantly they are still confident that our schedule is realistic and promise to meet our date for the Sonoma Motorsports Festival in May.

Jim has have allowed a month after painting to reassemble everything and maybe even get it out to a track day before we head south with it.

On the engine side of things. The injection pump and injectors are out to the specialist that will thoroughly clean them out and make sure they are flowing properly.

Terry Tinney should have the motor disassembled and inspected early next week so we’ll have more information on any issues there might be there.

Why Am I Selling the Jagermeister Car?

Some of you may be wondering why I am selling my CSL.  Well, I have an answer, and it is this:

Luigi@SPA1976
Here is Luigi chasis 001 at the Spa 24 Hr. race in 1976.

I have been able to purchase the #001 chassis Luigi BMW team car from the 1976-77 European Touring Car Championship series. A series Luigi and his CSLs won in 1976.

Here’s a link to the car’s race results during the 1976 and 1977 seasons of the European Touring Car Championships:

http://www.racingsportscars.com/chassis/archive/CSL-Luigi-001%23.html

You will see that it ran 20 races during those years and won 9 times, had 2 second place finishes, a third, and a fourth place finish. A pretty good record.

The Team Luigi cars at the Nurburgring in 1976. My car is second in line.
The Team Luigi cars at the Nurburgring in 1976. My car is second in line.

Needless to say, I am very excited about securing this car. It is currently painted white with the tricolor Motorsports stripes, and has the wider Group 5 body work.

My plan is to repaint it in the black Castrol livery and replace the wide fenders with the proper Group 2 fenders.

Luigi chasis 001 at the 1976 Tourist Trophy race at Silverstone.
Luigi chasis 001 at the 1976 Tourist Trophy race at Silverstone.

The car arrives in Seattle on January 28th. I will post pictures and a story then. I will also do a story on its history at some future date as well.