Archive for December, 2008

Photos and videos

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

I didn’t get to take many photos as I was too busy organizing our motley crew of racers and pit crew members, so here are photos and videos of our car and the general event taken by others:

In car videos:

And in my opinion, the best photo of the race which was taken by me:


Yes, that’s our favorite thimble-bladdered driver running from the Port-a-potty in full racing gear. Don is right, we’ll never let Kris forget this!


Thunderhill 2008!!

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

We’re number 32!  32nd place!  Thirty Second place.  Out of over 100 cars!  Heck, there were so many cars there that Jalopnik only showed the top 100.  The car ran great, the team kicked arse, and the results are frankly wonderful.  Obstacles were encountered and crushed.  Competitors were raced and passed.  Beers were drunk.  The Porcubimmer ran like a champ.  It was a glorious weekend.  Apologies now for details forgotten or misplaced.


Arse-Freeze-Apalooza 2008 at Thunderhill - the promised rain never showed, the temps never got quite as low as some feared they would, and everyone had a good time.  The team arrived in spurts over the course of Friday the 26th.  Kris and Reid were at the track when Mr. Malone arrived with the car in tow.  They tested it on the track and with honest smiles reported it primed and ready to go.  The rest of the team arrived and General Scott laid out the plans.  The level of cooperation was great.


Saturday morning dawned and the sky was heavy – leaden looking even, to sound a bit cliché.  I was thankful that we had a covered pit slot in case it rained.  Rich had food ready for everyone when they arrived.  We all walked the track.  Kris got suited up for the primo stint in the car.  He and AJ had the radios ready and handed out.  The car sounded AWESOME.  Seeing it queued up in the hot pits was wonderful.  Slowly, the track officials started to get the cars out and parading.  There were a lot of cars.  I really can’t stress this fact . . . seeing the parking lot develop on turn 6 . . . watching cars stall out on the hill up to turn 5 . . . it was comical.


And then came the radio call.  Kris had been parading for, well, some time then.  He had to make a pit stop.  Yes, he had to pee.  What an auspicious start to the weekend!  AJ said no, Kris said yes, AJ said No, Kris said YES!  So in he came.


Thankfully 3 things happened – he peed fast thanks to the team quickly helping him out and back in to the car, he got back on to the track while they were *still* parading the cars in prep for the start, and most importantly – there is photographic proof of him sprinting from one of the track spot-a-pots.  We will never let him live it down.


Other comical highlights of the weekend – boogie boogie Ratbert driving under a yellow . . . Reid’s ongoing and never ending commentary (“take yer vacation someplace else!!”  “get this effin fiat out of my way!”  “Surprise buttsex passing!”) . . . Ben packing 50lbs of dirt into the wheel wells after some rad work passing other cars . . . Kris buttering the sides and stuffing the car into places you wouldn’t think it would fit . . . Scott seeming to be in all places at all times – in the car, in the pits, talking with the judges.  Ben got a black flag for contact when car 45 – the Peoples Curse winner – but turned around by a fustercluck in 5 and right into him despite his best efforts to avoid the chaos.  Reid also had bad luck in 5 on Sunday when, during the dishing out of the Peoples Curse, the track went from yellow to green and I screamed this at him over the radio and off he went passing cars . . . and a slow mustang turned in front of him in a state of total obliviousness to the actual state of the race.  I was one of like maybe 5 people in the tower spotting right then.  We got lucky with black flags and penalties overall – the worst we had was a 10min timeout and driver change . . . much better than some other teams earned.


Mechanically we had a return of electrical gremlins late on Saturday.  Rich was driving and the car started sputtering and cutting out.  He brought it in and everyone descended on it to figure it out.  The car would crank but not fire – is it fuel or spark?  We quickly found it was fuel – the pump wasn’t running!  We ghetto’d up a bypass to get power to the pump and got the car back out, running strong.  After racing ended on Saturday we fixed it proper and left the bypass in as an emergency fix ready to go.  Thankfully that was the only issue we had besides tires . . . and our tire changes were epically fast at about 2mins or so!  Beat That!


If Saturday was grand, the Sunday was simply Epic.  We started the day in 61st place.  We finished in 32nd.  The credit goes to our great drivers:  Scott, Kris, Ben, Rich, and Reid.  Mike Y, Mike M, Tyler, Cody, AJ, and I helped as best we could with spotting, prepping the car, changing tires, etc.  We Finished The Race!  Seeing the Porcubimmer racing under the checkered flag was the perfect ending.



Great Success!

Monday, December 29th, 2008

I’m a few beers in and my attention span is really short right now, so here’s the quick race wrap up.

Finishing position: 32nd

Laps: 290 (vs winner’s 335)

Black flags: 1 one Saturday for passing under yellow (wiped with “Get out of jail free” card won at junkyard scavenger hunt), 4 on Sunday for going off course and contact (one of which was B.S. and we shouldn’t have gotten it)

Penalties: 3 driver changes, 10 minute penalty box.

Mechanical issues: one blown fuel pump relay (which lead to us to manually rewire the fuel pump), two tire changes

Here are the official results:

The car ran fantastically other than the fuel pump issue, and all of our drivers did really well apart from some minor incidents that caused the black flags on us. We were out for about an hour total including all the penalties and repairs in the pits. Without that I’m convinced we could have been in the top 10. But oh well, we all had an awesome time and our car is still running great. Considering our car died out after less than 2 hours last time, this time was a great success.

Thanks to EVERYONE who made this possible. I’m sure Kris or AJ will fill in other details.


An amazing first day!

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

Today was a fantastic day of racing for Team PorcuBimmer.   The day started out with about 45 minutes of yellows - luckily enough time for me to come in, pee, and get back out there before the race started (Jay had reminded us to drink lots of water… I shouldn’t have listened! :)    We were holding steady in 20th and 19th place for 4 full driver changes.  The car started cutting out a bit on Rich, and when he pulled into the pits, it stalled altogether.   It wook us 20-30 minutes to diagnose and solve the problem (fuel pump wasn’t getting power.  We wired it up directly to a switched power source via a wire that was taped to the fender and door sills of the car.  We’re implementing a permanent solution as I type).      Reid went out and absolutely tore it up for our final stint… passed a few dozen cars.    At the end of the day, we ended up in 55th place.   Looking at the results throughout the day, there are a lot of really fast, unreliable cars out there (cars with great “fastest lap time” but in a low place).

I’m sure you can get more updates from on other teams.

Thanks for everyone’s support!  Here’s to climing up the ranks tomorrow.


Planes, trains, but no automobiles

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

The Porcubimmer was picked up by my buddy Mike on Tuesday and as of last night had passed the Grapevine on I-5. I was very happy to hear things went smoothly because the weather didn’t look so great over the mountains.

I, on the other hand, didn’t have such smooth sailing. First, one of my favorite parts of a great movie that accurately represents how I felt yesterday:

Driver Ben and pit member Tyler are both in San Diego to see their families for Christmas, then will be going to the race and after that will head home to Seattle where they both now live. I decided to go with them to Seattle after the race and stay with them for a few days over the new year. The best way to get there would be to rent a car one way, since flying to Thunderhill wasn’t a viable option. Back several months ago I booked an SUV through Advantage Rent-a-car at a really great rate. This would be ideal as we’d have 4 guys (including AJ who is driving to the race with us) and a bunch of stuff in the back, plus the possibility of renting a 4WD for the inevitable bad weather in the Northwest.

It was a great plan until I received an email from Advantage earlier this month saying they are shutting down several of their locations because they are filing for bankruptcy, but Hertz would be honoring their reservations. I called Hertz and they confirmed this. Fast forward to yesterday, when AJ and I went to Hertz and was told they were completely booked up and had no car for me to rent. I asked what I could do and they basically told me to pound sand. Fantastic. Luckily I had my laptop with me and I was able to find a weak wireless signal and look up car rentals online. SUVs were ungodly expensive, so we decided to settle on a “full size” car from National for $200 more than my original reservation.

National was right next to Budget, so we drove over and asked to rent the car for the price we saw online. The agent at the counter informed me the only car they had left to rent without a reservation was a convertible. I asked him if I made the reservation on my laptop outside and walked back in, would I get the car at the price I wanted? He said yes. Sooo stupid. Given the wireless connection on my laptop was flaky, I called Ben and he made the reservation for us. A few minutes later we were behind the wheel of a big pimpin’ Impala. Pretty roomy interior and a big ass trunk. That’ll do. One consolation is that National doesn’t charge extra for an additional driver, so I added AJ to drive. We briefly considered renting an AWD Fusion instead, but the tires on them didn’t look so hot, and considering it’s probably going to be solid rain/snow from Thunderhill to Seattle, we wanted some good rubber. We were also lucky to find a set of lightly used snow chains on Craigslist for $40 since I’m sure we’ll need them. So we’re all set to go.

Let’s hope this is the most drama we’ll face this week! Today I will humor my girlfriend in participating in this “Christmas” thing, while the Porcubimmer will make its way up to the track. Big thanks to Mike for towing the car, and Merry Christmas to all!


Judgment Day is inevitable

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

Today brought the last little bit of work on Porcubimmer 2 so Scott, Vince, and I once again gathered to drink beer, eat California burritos and maybe… just maybe work on the car a little bit.

Mainly we just had some little odds and ends to tie up.  Vince and I bled the brakes.  Scott touched up the paint on the quills.  Scott and Vince chained down the engine to try and prevent a repeat of last race’s clutch explosion.  I pulled the ABS relay which had its fusable link fried when someone *cough* Ben *cough* hooked up the jumper cables backwards prior to the AMP race.  A quick solder job later and our car once again has ABS which will be quite nice if when it rains at Thunderhill.  I spent some quality time under the car double checking that all the suspension and cage bolts were snug as well as strapped our co-driver into his seat…

After that, Vince had to leave us for his long drive home to Mexico Campo, so Scott and I took a few moments to sort our spare parts and load the car…

And with that she’s all ready to go.  So all that was left to do was take some glamour shots in Scott’s driveway.  Without further ado, we at Team Porcubimmer proudly present Porcubimmer 2: Judgment Day:

So there you have it.  Once again I’d like to thank everyone who has donated to the effort, be it time, garage space, money, beer, or simply putting up with the fact that all of us tend to disappear for entire days on the weekend to work on this damn fool car.  We couldn’t have done it without you.

See you at Thunderhill!


Come with us if you want to live!

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

Not ones to rest on our laurels, when we applied for the next LeMons race we decided to tweak the theme of the car to give us a leg up on the competition in getting accepted. Obviously our premise worked as we did get accepted, so now it’s time to execute our idea. Since this is our sequel race, we proudly present Porcubimmer 2: Judgment Day!


We have learned that our mild mannered prickly BMW is actually a competitor-killing cyborg, the Cyberdyne Systems Model 325e! Okay, it’s just an excuse to make our ridiculous looking race car even more ridiculous, but only because we couldn’t figure out how to do Porcubimmer 2: Electric Boogaloo. So today AJ and I spent time with a bunch of spray adhesive (yes, you’d have to sniff glue to do what we’re doing) and aluminum foil to make the “skin” on the front of the car appear to be torn away a la Arnold in Terminator 2. We also installed a red “eye” which turns on when the car is running.


I gotta say, covering the car with foil was just as fun as painting it with a roller. AJ and I both agreed that we’d love to find the original yuppie scum owner of the car to show them what we’ve done. It’d probably knock their penny loafers off :) We also chained up the bumpers (to keep them on the car in case of contact damage), reconnected the front sway bar, permanently mounted the engine computer, and took care of a few other details.


Only two more weeks until the race! Luckily we only have a few more small details to take care of. The whole team is stupid excited. I thought my girlfriend felt the same way, but it turns out she’s actually looking forward to something called “Christmas” that’s happening around the same time. Sheesh, her priorities are so screwed up.


Talking about ricer excuses…

Monday, December 8th, 2008

AJ mentioned ricer excuses in the last blog entry to explain his driving performance at the autocross last weekend. Well I have discovered a bona-fide problem with the car that could explain some of it.

Long story short, we had to disconnect the front sway bar a few weeks ago to remove the flywheel inspection panel on the bottom of the transmission bell housing in order to fix the flywheel issue. A quick inspection today confirmed that we forgot to reconnect the sway bar! That would explain the somewhat “wobbly” handling of the car at the autocross, and may partially explain our limited slip rear diff not limiting the slip much.

Unfortunately for AJ, it doesn’t explain why he was * seconds slower than me under the same conditions, but we still love him anyway :)

We will fix the glitch and have no such excuses for Thunderhill, only great success!


Proof that Solo ain’t just describing our sex lives…

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

Well.  My sex life.  *ahem*  Anyway.

While some of the members of Team Porcubimmer NorCal were busy accumulating hose clamps and Get Out Of Jail Free cards at the Lemons Scavenger Hunt, Scott, Vince, and myself were off to the friendly confines of Qualcomm Stadium(’s parking lot) to shake down the car.  Again.  For real this time.  With less breaking shit.

I figured I would go first, this way if the car broke again we could blame the guy who thinks “driving stick” means his 3 wood.  I strapped on my helmet behind the wheel of an actual car for the first time in seven years, recited the racer’s prayer (”Dear lord, please don’t let me fuck up”), and gridded up.

And took the green…

…and damn if it didn’t go like a guy in a leather jacket with his butt on fire.  After my runs were done, Scott asked if I was shifting a lot, since he said it sounded like I was.  I was a bit confused, since I left it in 3rd for the whole course, since it’s more than torquey enough.  I said it was wheelspin and that I had been feathering the throttle a lot to keep from scorching the tires off of it.  Scott wasn’t entirely convinced based on my (rather limited) experience driving stick that it wasn’t clutch slip I was feeling/he was hearing.  Until…

…he went out on his own runs and proceeded to unleash a rolling burnout that would put John Force to shame.  We were all a bit curious as to why it was lighting up the tires so hard.  They only had about 80 laps on them at Altamont and hadn’t really been heat cycled that much, so they couldn’t have been completely dead already.  Scott started wondering if our limited slip differential had become simply a slip differential, so we vowed to watch closely as Vince strapped in for his runs…

…and we looked on as he too flung the most ridiculous car the local SCCA chapter has ever seen around some pointy orange things…

…and upon close inspection determined that, in fact, only the inside rear wheel was spinning.  Interesting.  We’ll have to do a bit more investigating into this.

Overall, however, it was a fantastic day.  The car ran like a champ, it handles beautifully, Vince and I got our first shot behind the wheel of the thing, and apart from our weird rear end problem (err… the CAR’S weird rear end problem, OUR rear end problems came from the breakfast burritos) the car is mechanically set for Thunderhill.  And we all had insane amounts of fun.  This car is so.  Much.  Fun.  To.  Drive.

What’s that?  Laptimes?  Well.  I’ll put it this way:  Scott is, in fact, the Stig’s fat cousin; Vince did an awesome job for his first ever Solo II; and I… proved why I’m a mechanic and not driving at Thunderhill.  The sun was in my eyes and I had to pee.  /ricer excuses

I also need to take a brief moment to thank for all their help with our flywheel issue, they were an incredible resource.  Also, I need to welcome aboard our newest sponsor, .  Thanks to both of these organizations!

Stay tuned, Porcufans.  We’ve only got 19 more days and a little bit of work left to do.  Next weekend brings the new decorations and tidying up some odds and ends.


Scavenger Hunt!

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

Today, Rich, Cody, and I went to the 24 Hours of LeMons Scavenger Hunt at the Hayward Pick-n-Pull… and came away with 2nd place, winning a Get Out of Penalty Free Certificate!

Although there were lots of obscure items worth 15-50 points, we took the low hanging fruit and grabbed as many hose clamps (2 points each) as we could.. and ended up with 156 of them!

All of the pictures can be seen here: