The Ted Race Team: Because Racecar

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Ted, Dec 18, 2020.

  1. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    About a month and a half ago I started a thread looking for input on the best ways to go about streaming racing:

    https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/community/threads/race-fans-which-channels-do-you-watch.129103/

    To which I received the following response:

    Well nothing gets my attention more than adopting some kind of vehicle in need of love. So we exchanged some messages, and a few thousand miles of driving later, I present the newly-adopted racecar:

    [​IMG]

    The picture makes it look rougher than I feel it is personally. The car is a 1st gen RX-7, which @Half Fast ran in SCCA races for a number of years before parking it some years back. The rotary engine is intact, the car has a full roll cage (a very nice one that gives good confidence). Although it will take a good amount of work to get going again, I think it'll be a great way to get started racing. My wonderful wife who is supportive of all of my hair-brained ideas thinks the whole thing is really cool and is wanting to drive it too (although she also thinks we should paint it, which I think we should too as it will be good practice for the Cobra). Our initial thought is something along the lines of the Mazda 767B colors:

    [​IMG]

    But not that complex of a paint scheme. Really the biggest purpose of painting it would be to get practice for the Cobra. More than anything, the exterior does need a good cleaning but the interior is really in quite good shape (in my opinion).

    Right now we're in the process of trying to get the new shop built, which I had hoped to have done by now. Of course it's not, and with winter upon us I doubt there will be much work done on this over the winter to get it running and driving. But my hope is to get at least some racing done in the 2021 race season. The question, of course, is what sort of racing. Not knowing a ton about what is 1) locally available 2) the different types and classes this car would fit into well, I need to figure that out before doing much beyond getting the car running so that any modifications I do can be targeted towards those appropriate rules.

    More than anything, my goal is to get time on a track with the car, having fun doing some real performance driving. Realistically, I won't be racing super frequently with everything else I have going on in life. So I also would like to have race days be longer time periods so that I get the most "bang for the buck" so to speak when I put aside a day for racing. Lemons/Chump Car sound very appealing to me on the surface, but I haven't looked into the reality of doing those yet.

    Let the games begin. Because Racecar.
     
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  2. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    Congrats on the new... well, toy/obsession/distraction or whatever you want to call it.

    I've never considered auto racing to be a spectator sport. I don't go to strip clubs for pretty much the same reason. But oddly enough, owning an ultra luxury car for the past not-quite-two years has me thinking about the same sort of thing. Why on earth would driving a 5,000 pound monstrosity with massaging seats make me think of race cars? Because it's got 600-plus pound feet of torque from a twin turbo V12 that earned it the nickname of "Rocket Sled", and I used to run SCCA Solo II, long ago. I need to divest myself of a couple of surplus vehicles, but I am seriously considering dumping two and eventually adding a track car to the stable.
     
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  3. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I've generally felt similar in terms of racing being best as a participant sport rather than spectator. At the same time, as I get older I also have come to appreciate more watching people who are really good at what they do doing what they do well.

    I've done autocrossing events a couple of times and really didn't enjoy it. Too slow of speed driving, over too quickly, not enough track time for the effort spent. Drag racing to me is even worse. To be clear, both of those have different driving skill sets and I'm not trying to take away from that, but it's just not something I enjoy. I like to be going lap after lap, working on improving my capabilities with the car, my lap times, catching up and passing an opponent. So I want to do something where I spend enough time and get enough laps to really enjoy it, get my fill, and be worn out at the end.
     
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  4. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    *Clears throat* FINISH THE D**N COBRA!! :)
     
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  5. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Yeah, that'll happen. At the same time, that's a long term project, and getting to do some racing in something lower performance first I think is a good idea.
     
  6. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    When I first bought my wickedly fasts Honda 954rr I thought about tracking it and even bought a race suit (seriously cheap off Ebay, still have it). But when I looked into the costs of racing a bike I realized I could fly or race, but I couldn't do both. I opted for flying. Personally I think the latter is somewhat safer.
     
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  7. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I know that parking lot!

    There's something to be said about having a car that if something goes wrong you just beat it with a hammer and add more tape.
     
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  8. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Beauty!! Rotary, very cool! Does Racing Beat still provide after market performance parts for these?

    Bang out the dents, spray it candy apple red, put big white numbers on the doors and get out there on the track. What are you planning to run for tires on it?
     
  9. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    Yeah... I finally left autocrossing because I didn't enjoy spending all day at an event for three minutes of seat time, and I certainly couldn't justify building something faster than the H Stock DD I was flogging. A that time there was exactly one drag strip within reasonable driving distance of there.

    But... we now have 2 or 3 drag strips within an hour of my house, and an actual road course. I'm thinking track days could be fun... and something that could do dual purpose as a bracket racer, if I find that to be fun. My son (30, total gearhead) keeps after me to pick up an old Fox or SN95 Mustang and drop a Coyote into it. It makes zero sense to me to do so... unless, of course, one wants to go racing for fun. Then all kinds of things start to make sense, in twisted and perverse ways. Like older Miatas, Rx-7s... old C4s...

    Where's the fun of actually finishing something?? (my wife would probably tell you I say this in my sleep)
     
  10. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I have no idea.

    I doubt we'll bang out the dents. To be honest that level of body work doesn't seem to be really value added, and I'm likely going to add dents of my own. I will change the numbers/decals on the thing and will paint it, but like I said, mostly as practice for painting the Cobra. Really there's no need to make this pretty, the point is to get it going again to be a good racer.

    Like the above question on Racing Beat, I have no idea. :)

    Some of that will depend on rules for what class(es) I target to race in, since they have their different requirements for wheel and tire sizes. Right now it has the stock 13" rims on it with a bit wider (but still meeting the IT7 rules that it was being raced under) requirements. Once I figure out what I'm racing it under, I can then also decide what to run on it for tires in terms of size/dimensions.

    Goal #1: Get it running and driving, do some initial drives and see how it does
    Goal #2 (in parallel): Figure out where I want to race it so I can target changes accordingly

    I've not played with rotary engines pretty much at all, which to me is part of the appeal of this car. I've always loved RX-7s and while I've played with all different kinds of engines, the rotary is one I've only driven a few hundred miles (3rd gen twin turbo, stock and mint condition) and not played with much. So, this should be enjoyable and I can learn something about it. It's easy to come up with lots of mods to do, but until I know what class I'm racing in and thus what I can do to stay within the rule book, no point in doing anything other than getting it running and driving.
     
  11. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    They do, but depending on what he has and what he is looking to do the amount of stuff they provide may be limited.

    Rotaries are simple, but I feel are largely misunderstood. I think interest in them has waned in the last 20 years and so has the volume of parts. The first thing you’re going to need to do is figure out what you have, because it isn’t as simple as having a 12A or 13B. Good parts for earlier motors are getting harder to find and are expensive, so hopefully you got some spares. If not I’d build a small stash of stuff if you plan on going racing.
     
  12. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Because racecar spelled backwards is racecar.

    I was driving through town one day and there was a flat bed tow truck with a Mazda Wankel engine strapped down to the bed. Now there's something you don't see every day, I thought at the time.
     
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  13. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Pavement is for parking lots,

    dirt is for runways and race tracks.!! :lol::lol:

    Rotary engine, interesting. They were so hard on my fuel business back in my racing days, with the gas mileage they get...:incazzato: :lol::lol:
     
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  14. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    That looks like it should be painted white, have the number 5 painted on the doors, and a red M painted on the hood.
     
  15. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I wouldn't be opposed at all to dirt track racing. Not sure what of that is around here and what classes exist I could participate in, either.

    You aren't the first person to suggest that...
     
  16. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    Pavement is for racing, dirt is for planting potatoes...
     
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  17. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    What Ted has is a 1983 12A core, stock housings and rotors, assembled by ASAP Racing and coupled with a 1979 intake manifold / carb and an ISC stainless header. Non-stock water pump pulley to prevent cavitation at high revs. All pollution control ca-ca removed of course and the stock fan removed (electric fan added, switchable from inside the cockpit). Also a 1979 oil cooler (the one that sits under the radiator). ISC lightweight racing clutch, stock tranny, 4.88 rear.

    I passed along some spare carb parts but I didn't have anything else for the engine. Mazda Motorsports still provides support, so he should be able to get parts very cheaply from them. When I was racing I could buy parts from Mazda cheaper than the local dealership could buy them.
     
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  18. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    And Mazdas go Zoom-Zoom except for when you're on your roof; then they go Wooz-Wooz.
     
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  19. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    A (big) part of me wants to just dive in and make the engine start going vroom vroom... because engine.
     
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  20. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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  21. Spring Ford

    Spring Ford Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I knew someone who had a beater RX7 mark 1 that I think was used for autocross.

    The rear suspension geometry apparently results in the axle being a somewhat stiff anti-roll bar. To resolve disconnect one of the top links at the axle end.
     
  22. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    Well, you have a car that was run in Florida in the IT-7 class, which is, or was, a regional subdivision of the SCCA's ITA class. Your car is certainly eligible for racing in SCCA regional racing, although they may ask you to do a little bodywork, that one's getting kind of tatty. I'm fairly sure you can run in National Auto Sport Association (NASA) as well, I'm not very familiar with them, I did almost all my racing with SCCA.

    Before you can enter a race, you'll need a license, For SCCA racing, you'll need to either atten an SCCA drivers school, or go to an approved professional drivers school (expensive). NASA starts you off doing driver education events. You work your way up through different levels, when you get to the highest level, you can do a competition school, then you go racing.

    Kansas is not exactly a hotbed of motorsport, but you do have some tracks in the area. Heartland Motorsports Park is probably the closest, Hallett (OK) is probably the second closest. Most of these the races these two organizations run are in the 20 to 25 minute ranges, but there are some endurance races. I've done exactly one enduro, that was at Daytona in July, many years ago, in IMSA's Racing Stock class, which would be about one notch down from the ST class in the current Michelin Pilot Challenge. Endurance racing is not only a challenge to drive, it's also a logistical and organizational challenge, you have to assemble a team and keep it together. I found I preferred the shorter races anyway, during an endurance race the cars get spread out and you're mostly just trying to run a lap time rather than race with somebody. I think you could run your car in ChampCar/Chumpcar, but I sure wouldn't start there. The other issue with Champcar or Lemons racing is that you have to travel quite a bit, which adds to the organizational issues of having a team.

    On the tire front, SCCA allow you to use any DOT approved 225 width tire. A quick check on TireRack shows two choices, you'd probably start with the Toyo Proxes.
     
  23. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    When I started, Yok 008s were the preferred tire, then the Toyos became the leader. The car has an old set of Toyos right now, but as old as they are I’m sure they’re hard and no longer good for the track.
     
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  24. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    Back in the late 80's, early 90's, I had access to Jim Downing's race shop in Atlanta. Between the engine guys and the chassis guys, they knew a lot about how to make a rotary go fast. They also did some custom (i.e. beyond the rules) work for a few of the NASCAR teams on aero-critical composite body parts. My buddy who worked on the team ran around in a beater of an RX-2 (rotary) wagon. Because of those connections, I held a wrench or two and occasionally got seat time in Daytona 24 winning cars. "Hey, Kyle, when you're done using our bead blaster, can you come over here and help bleed the brakes on the Kudzu..."

    Jim's Mazdas were not necessarily the fastest cars, but the team was better organized and prepared than most of the competition and fast enough to take advantage of any reliability or other problems the competition had. That's the great thing about racing a rotary. They are hard to break, therefore you're not rebuilding them as often as engines that go boing-boing-boing.

    One quirk of rotaries is the lack of engine braking. There's some, but not as much as with a conventional engine. When Jim's team ran 4 rotor GTO RX7's, the biggest limitation of the cars was braking. They eventually went to water sprays to cool the discs.
     
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  25. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer En-Route

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    Yes, the bind gets worse as the roll angle increases, your rear roll rate pegs and then it's oversteer city. Not sure what today's rules are, but when I ran an ITA RX-7, the stock Watt linkage for lateral location was tossed in favor of a Panhard rod. Very predictable handling thus equipped.

    Make sure your cooling system is up to snuff, as bad things happen when rotaries overheat.
     
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  26. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    The stock Watts link is offset, not centered, so the geometry is a bit funky. If you dramatically lower the rear suspension, the Watts is deflected from its normal position, as if there were already some roll. In that instance, under very hard cornering it will bind up and you effectively, and instantly, have a very stiff rear sway bar (and are probably spinning).

    Lots of folks removed the Watts and went to a panhard rod, but I never bothered. The panhard rod has the additional advantage that it can be made adjustable for rear ride height.

    The car as I ran it was fairly soft in roll, as I left on the stock front sway bar and removed the rear bar altogether. That made the car very neutral at track speeds, though if you tried to autox the car with that setup it would push at those slower speeds. It worked fine for me on the track, and I never had the binding problem. People who went to the panhard rod also installed a stiffer rear sway bar and a very stiff adjustable bar on the front. Some of those folks were faster than me but many were slower than me, so I'm not convinced there's a big performance advantage either way.

    As I was only racing 3 or 4 weekends a year, I thought it best to keep things simple in terms of suspension adjustments. Without lots of track time it's virtually impossible to tune a suspension for a given track. The car has adjustable Tokico shocks up front, adjustable camber plates, and adjustable coil-overs. That and tire pressures were plenty to keep me busy! :)
     
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  27. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    :yeahthat:

    As a matter of fact, I also gave Ted my copy of Downing's RX-7 book. Downing was the guy for making rotaries go fast back in the day.
     
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  28. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I'm going to be looking through the books you gave me as I rebuild the carb, which is going to be the first thing I attempt to do on the car (in my nice heated garage - I failed to stuff enough Florida weather in the RX-7 prior to hauling the thing north). I figured I'd start off by rebuilding the spare carb unless you have reason to believe I'd be better off rebuilding the one on the car. Ultimately I figure I should do both.
     
  29. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    The one on the car is a ‘79, but I’m not sure about the other one. I’d work on the one on the car.

    You might also want to drain the coolant, given your temps. IIRC, it’s water with some Redline Water-Wetter in it. I doubt there’s any, or much, antifreeze. For better cooling in Florida we usually omitted the antifreeze.
     
  30. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Got it, I'll pull that off.

    :eek: I better go do that nowish...
     
  31. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    While you have the carb off would be a good time to drain the gas tank and run the fuel pump to clean the old stuff out of the fuel line.

    Typically we mixed this stuff https://www.redlineoil.com/waterwetter with water. Sometimes I'd mix in 25% antifreeze if I planned on taking the car somewhere cooler, like N Georgia. Straight water will cool better than a 50/50 antifreeze mix, but will allow corrosion and rust. The Water-Wetter prevents that and also improves the heat transfer a little bit. Rotaries can tolerate a lot of abuse, but overheating will kill them.

    In your climate, though, you might want the antifreeze. Something to discuss with local racers.
     
  32. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    BTW, some organizations prohibit antifreeze. If it leaks onto the track, it's slippery as ice.
     
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  33. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Pulled the carb off the car. Now I have to disassemble and clean it...

    AFFBBCE8-C3C6-4C32-88AD-6730BED03EFB.jpeg 825C541B-44D5-42F3-95E0-7EEBFC107215.jpeg 7EDFF743-2E19-4666-8499-D54FC9B1898C.jpeg 29ADE3AD-4F62-458F-AA42-85025764DFE4.jpeg
     
  34. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Be careful with the floats. Easy to bugger up.
     
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  35. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Hey, Ted - any updates?
     
  36. Racerx

    Racerx Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Used to race Legend Cars when I was in high school. Ran them all over the country. Raced against current nascar drivers. All the cars are the same. Same motors, same shocks, same tires etc. Skill and set up. 1250 yamaha engines. They were a blast and would love to get back into it. And they look really cool too
     

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  37. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I’ve been in New York the past week helping my mom out after her fall. Stupidly, I forgot to bring the carburetor with me to clean while I was here! :)
     
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  38. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Heh - some people sit in the rehab waiting room and read, some knit, and Ted rebuilds carbs.
     
  39. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I've been shredding enough paper to make the garbage man think this is the secret Enron headquarters.
     
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  40. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I've never come across a track that allowed antifreeze on the premises. Of course, I was exclusively racing motorcycles where antifreeze on the track is pretty much an instant wreck.