April 16-17/2022, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Updated: Jul 24, 2022
The 2022 season started off with a hybrid test and tune/race weekend at CTMP. With one of our drivers having the common sense to stay home on a cold Easter weekend, a dedicated crew member took to the drivers seat.
Saturday's test and tune was less productive than we would have hoped. The car having not seen the light of day since October, had some bugs to be worked out. In an attempt to make tires easier to find, different size wheels were purchased over the winter to accommodate a more common tire size. The new Bassett "Racing Wheels" would not balance despite the best efforts of a few different machines, a few different operators and a few different techniques. The result was a violent vibration that made the car not much fun to drive at speed.
While our eyeballs were rattling out of our heads from unbalanced wheels, and despite the frigid temperatures, the engine decided to run hot. Upon further investigation, we discovered that the thermostat had puked out a rubber seal, partially blocking the coolant path. Despite being a relatively quick repair, it still ate into our seat time.
After a cold and uninspiring test day, everyone chipped in to quickly get the Saturday night prep done and we were off to eat and sleep at a decent hour.
Sunday morning started with brushing the snow off the car. The track appeared to be clean and dry however, and racing would commence at 9am. Having not been able to make 2 hours on fuel at our last attempt at CTMP, and with the tires making the ride uncomfortable to say the least, we started the day off with a more casual strategy. Drive until we run out of gas, or run out of enthusiasm, whatever comes first. To my surprise, enthusiasm and fuel made the full two hours for our first driver... and again for our second. Our third stint was interrupted half way by a very expensive looking car emptying its oil pan through turn 5, resulting in a 15 minute red flag for clean up. At this point we were approaching a 5 lap lead in our class and our Saturday struggles were starting to feel like a distant memory. I was thinking about how nice another one of those LDRC first place banners would look in my garage when a day ending call came over the radio. "The engine made a tractor sound, then it stopped". Just like that, with 2.5hrs left to race and sitting on a comfortable lead, our weekend was over.
Back at home, I would remove the oil pan to find that the "tractor noise" was the crankshaft beating the No.1 connecting rod to death. In the puddle of debris was a cleanly sheared connecting rod bolt, which appears to be the catalyst to our engine's demise.
On the plus side, I have to say that our newest driver put on a great show, hopping in a car he had never driven and running a clean and consistent 2 hour stint. We learned a lot this weekend as always, and we will be back at it to keep putting the pieces of the puzzle together.
Thanks again to the entire team for always going above and beyond to keep these weekends fun and affordable.
Another thank you goes out to Moto/ology magazine for their support this season. Check them out here and subscribe so you never miss an Issue.