On the weekend of May 3-5 we raced in the SVRA Trans-Am Festival held at Laguna Seca Raceway outside of Monterey, CA.
I took the NSU and the E30 M3 down for the event. We enjoyed great weather and a lot of fun racing.
The NSU raced in Group 1 which has small bore sedans and sports cars built before 1972. It has one of the smaller engines in a group made up of highly developed Minis, 356 Porsches, TVRs, Austin Healys, and Sprigits.
I was still trying to feel out the car after my crash last summer. I am still just a bit tentative with the swing axel rear suspension and the short wheel base. As the weekend progressed I was starting to pitch it into the corners with much more confidence, and my lap times showed my improvement.
I did have one scary moment in the car. I was going up the hill into the Corkscrew right beside a Morgan during practice and the throttle stuck wide open. At first I just jammed on the brakes but quickly realized that wasn’t going to hold the car, so I quickly reached over and turned the kill switch. Frantically waving to the cars around me I coasted down the hill and back into the paddock. Jim quickly diagnosed the problem as a broken internal return spring on one of the Weber carbs. The piece that broke off had fallen and jammed the throttle open.
I finished 16th out of 24 cars in the Feature Race on Sunday. I had a great race with the Morgan, a TVR, and a Spitfire. Great fun! My best lap for the weekend was a 1:57.9.
The M3 was put into Group 10 which is made up of GTO and tube frame Trans-Am cars from the 1980’s and 1990’s. They have engines that are 300 CI and larger. Jim and John Murray also had their Datsun 240 GTU cars in this group. Unfortunately John had a transmission issue on Saturday and was unable to run on Sunday.
This was the first race for the M3 with the rebuilt engine. Terry Tinney did a great job with the rebuild getting over 280 HP at the rear wheels. It was immediately noticeable driving the car. I spent the test day sessions logging miles on the motor, keeping the revs below 7,200.
On Saturday I began to take the motor to 7,500, and then 8,000 RPM. What a glorious sound! And what power. The motor really switches on about about 5,500 RPM, and pulls hard all the way up to where I shift it. THANKS TERRY!
I qualified 8th for the Feature Race on Sunday. I got a great start and came out of Turn 2 in 6th place. I was able to hold my own until about 2 laps from the end when I spun in some oil in Turn 5. I managed to finish 9th overall with a best lap of 1:39.04. Jim finished 3rd overall with his Datsun. We finished 1-2 in the 12B small engine class.
This was the first event for SVRA at Laguna Seca. They brought along their West Coast Trans-Am Series. These cars are pretty quick with the leaders turning mid 1:20’s. Their races are 70 minutes long so tires and brakes have to be nursed to go the distance. The T2 race was won by the car that started in last place. They put on a great show.
I’ve put the video from the weekend up on YouTube. The link is below. If you enjoy these videos please give them a ‘Like,’ or subscribe. Your comments are always appreciated as well. Thanks for watching!