4/30/16 – 5/1/16 California CAM Challenge

This past weekend we competed in the SCCA California CAM Challenge, hosted at Autoclub Speedway, in Fontana, CA. The CAM Challenge is a relatively new event for SCCA autocross, and was our first experience with National-level competition. Saturday consists of a day of in-class competition, with three-run morning and afternoon sessions giving drivers many runs to reach perfection. Best times were combined between the two sessions to establish class rankings and trophies. Sunday starts with a morning session for each class, where the top sixteen of each class are entered into a forty-eight car bracket for shootout racing.

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Saturday started wet and ended dry. The course was fast and a lot of fun. Our morning runs were extremely wet, and traction was just a dream for us on our worn Bridgestone RE-71R’s. Our fastest time came on our third run, with a competitive 66.476, but a cone strike increased our time to a 68.476. For comparison, the fastest time was a 63.684 and the slowest a 87.938. The weather cleared up for our work session, allowing the CAM-T and CAM-S cars to run much faster with the additional grip.

The afternoon was dry with a lot of cloud cover. Angry clouds rolled overhead, but only provided a very light sprinkling at the end of our session. Our second run ended up being our fastest run, with a clean 61.560. Again for comparison, fastest was 58.598, with slowest coming in at 70.061. The dry tarmac really sped up the competition. Total time for us was 130.036, placing us in eight out of seventeen. Our work session was dry with just a bit of drizzle at the end, giving a few Corvettes in CAM-S a slippery final run.

Winning the CAM-C crown for the day was BTM-AutoSport‘s Brett Madsen, taking fastest in both sessions with a total time of 122.282. His Modzilla beat out Greg Nelson’s 2015 Camaro with a 124.319, and Raleigh Boreen’s loud and hard to miss yellow 1998 Mustang Cobra with a 125.140.

In the other classes, twenty-five classics shredded tires in CAM-T, with Mary Pozzi and her 73 Camaro running away with the crown, putting down a fast 117.158 overall, followed up by Mike Trenke in a cool 1982 Four-Eyed Fox Mustang at 119.732, and Jake Rozelle rounding out the podium in his 69 Camaro with a 121.499. CAM-S, hereby known as the Corvette class; was snagged by Steve Abbott in a C5 Z06 with a 116.481, local favorite Tom Kamman in a very similar C5 Z06 with a 118.983, and Randy Gonzalez in a C6 Grand Sport with a 119.274. Sixteen cars competed in CAM-S.

Our fastest runs of Saturday, in video format, below.

Going into Sunday, we started similar to Saturday, but an hour earlier at 8:00 am. We managed to whittle our time down to 61.465. Brett again led the charge with a blazing 57.972, while slowest was  72.211. After CAM-T and CAM-S had their fun, we met at the timing trailer and got the plan for the rest of the day. Each class was placed into a bracket shootout of 16 cars total. Fastest versus slowest, 2nd fastest versus second slowest, and so on. Then, the top of each class went head-to-head, based on their PAX-adjusted time.

We were placed into grid according to our results from the morning, and had two runs to beat our competitor. Once those initial runs were completed, we went to single runs run hot, keeping the tires warm and the competition fierce. We easily advanced to the second round, beating out a 2014 Camaro ZL1 convertible. Our second round, we faced down Chris Darquea in his similarly equipped 2006 Mustang GT. We got unlucky with a cone strike, but so did he. We lost by a hair to his 63.487, versus our 63.504. The rest of the competition was quite exciting, with Brett Madsen taking home first for CAM-C  in the BTM-AutoSport Modzilla, with a 58.259. His PAX time computed to a 49.425, while Steve Abbott took second with a 49.488, and Mike Trenkle rounded out the trio with 50.061.

Our fastest morning run, followed by our CAM Challenge runs, in video, below.

We really enjoyed the format and the level of competition presented by the 2016 SCCA California CAM Challenge. We learned a lot, made a lot of new friends, and are already making plans to up our game for the 2017 Challenge!

Ch-ch-ch-changes

A lot has happened since our last update. The garage has been busy as hell at SkunkRennWerks and the lineup has changed. Let’s dive into it.

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From a racing perspective, while we love the #Stealthbomber, it wasn’t a great fit for the household, and with a certain 1988 Mustang lurking like a specter in the shadows, the Bomber wasn’t long for our stable. Upon discussing the car’s fate among friends, a fellow Mustang enthusiast jumped at the opportunity to continue the legacy.  A deal was struck and our S197 Mustang went off to a new home in November.

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What is the next racecar? We would be silly to say we won’t race again. Our daily driver BMW e46 Wagon has been given the go-ahead on becoming the new race vehicle for SkunkRennWerks, and the moniker #racewagon has been adopted. Look for a future post on the history of our little wagon that could.

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In addition to the #racewagon, we’ve replaced the Bomber with something a lot more practical. Something that can go off-pavement and haul a lot of stuff. Something from across the Pacific.

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Yep, we just went full wagon. We picked up this 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium 6MT with a little under 50k miles in late November. Packaged in a pretty Azurite Blue Pearl, along with an Ivory interior, this wagon is our go-anywhere do-anything solution. In typical SkunkRennWerks fashion, we wasted no time in heading off the beaten path with it, venturing up Nate Harrison Grade to Palomar Mountain Observatory for Black Friday.

4/24/16 CSCC SCCA CAM-C Writeup

This weekend we ran with the California Sports Car Club region at Autoclub Speedway in Fontana, CA. This was another new venue for us, and we enjoyed it nearly as much as El Toro last month. This venue is similar in distance as San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium, but is east instead of south. Setup inside one of the many lots in the shadow of the Autoclub Speedway NASCAR oval, this venue has slight elevation changes and a relatively smooth asphalt surface. It’s no El Toro, but it is worlds better than the SDR lot. We ran third and worked fourth. With this event being the same weekend as the Crow’s Landing Champ Tour, the turnout was small and only four run groups were scheduled, with a record five runs per group – perfect! The weather was a windy and slightly overcast 78 degrees Fahrenheit, with just a very light sprinkling of rain right as we were packing up to head home.

The course was long, technical, and a blast to drive. We DNF’d the first run, then cleaned it up for our second and fastest run with a 68.120. Our only improvement in the next three runs came on our final run with a 66.734, but a pair of cone strikes knocked that time out of contention. Brett Madsen of BTM AutoSport piloted the famous Modzilla, along with a 2013 Camaro SS, rounding up our only competition. Madsen ran away with the lead with a blinding 63.503 (4th in PAX!), while the Camaro could only try to keep up with our galloping ponies with a 72.105 (we apologize for the pun).

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After discussion with Madsen and review of our video footage, we could see that we were merely maintaining speed for most of the course, not gaining speed. We had the complete GT500 brake setup after our recent rear brake update, but weren’t putting them to their full use by adding more speed. We also left too much distance from the cones, not taking advantage of the entire course. Our fastest run in video format below:

3/20/16 CSCC SCCA CAM-C Writeup

This weekend we ran with the California Sports Car Club region at El Toro MCAS in Irvine, CA. This was a new venue for us and we loved it. Located a mere 25 minutes from SRW Headquarters, the commute was easy, the weather was great, and the course was awesome! Getting to the track was a little confusing, but luckily we followed in a few other competitors. We worked in the first group and worked third, allowing for a much shorter day than our previous SDR adventures.

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The course itself is run on the retired airfield, with grid and paddock being setup on the adjoining runways. CSCC has large banners and abundant signage; making registration, tech, and getting into grid a clear and simple process. We pre-registered online, which gave us a look at the entry list beforehand. 9 cars were on the list, with one more being added day-of. The final entry list, not counting the Stealth Bomber, was as follows:

  • 1999 Roush Mustang
  • 2010 Camaro
  • 2006 Mustang GT
  • 2008 Mustang Bullitt
  • 1990 Mustang
  • 2015 Camaro
  • 2001 Roush Mustang
  • 2003 Mustang GT
  • 2012 Mustang GT

The most exciting entrant was the 1999 Roush Mustang, BTM-Autosport‘s Modzilla. Fresh out of the garage in CAM-C configuration, this beast came ready to fight with super-wide Jongbloed Racing wheels and fresh BFGoodrich g-Force Rival-S tires.

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The field was large and competition was hot. The course was Nationals-level good, with a fantastic choose-your-line corner and a lot of learning experiences. An exciting moment occurred when a C6 Corvette went off-course and performed some involuntary body work via wooden directional marker. In CAM-C, Modzilla stole first with a blazing 66.876, the 2010 Camaro grabbed second with a 68.902, and the Stealth Bomber rounded out the podium with a 69.941. The rest of the field couldn’t manage to break into the 60’s with times ranging between 71.403 and 82.408. The entire results list can be found here. Did we mention CSCC features live scoring? The tech used by this region was a great benefit, something sorely lacking at SDR.

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We used this event to dial-in our tire pressure game and test some experimental aero work. Results were great and taught us a lot about car setup. Overall the experience was great and we can’t wait to return to El Toro with CSCC.

2/14/16 SDR SCCA CAM-C Writeup

With two damp events, it was time for some typical socal weather, and the third event of the season certainly kept up appearances! Weather was clear and warm, with temperatures in the high-70’s all day.

This event was the first with camber set to “kill” at -3 degrees. We also added in the bolt-in 4-point cage along with 4-point harnesses, to help us stay put in the stock seats. The course was fast and rewarded patient driving, resulting in a lot of muscle cars getting sideways. Our favorite! We enjoyed the course but had issues sorting out the back third, where a choose-your-own slalom kept throwing us off our game.

Entries for CAM-C consisted of a co-driven 2001 Roush Mustang (featuring Brett Madsen of BTM AutoSport), a 2006 Mustang GT (with a brand new set of Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R’s), and a 2013 Camaro SS.  An extremely tight battle for the podium resulted in milliseconds separating first through third. Madsen, in the Roush, came in first with a blazing fast 58.648, followed by the 06 Mustang with a 58.889, and finally the Stealth Bomber with a 58.925. Rounding out the field, the Camaro put down a 62.924 +1, and the other driver of the Roush with a 64.690. A bit more of a gap than last month’s rain event, which is to be expected. Unfortunately the CAM-C vs CAM-T battle was lost, with the fastest CAM-T car putting down a 58.579. Milliseconds of difference, but the score stands at CAM-C 1, CAM-T 2.

While this event was hard fought, third was disappointing. The plan is to verify alignment settings and focus on tire pressures for the next event.

1/31/16 SDR SCCA CAM-C Writeup

The second event of the San Diego region was quite the wet one! Rain throughout the day with spectacular conditions for our first 3 runs. The Bomber was set up in the “new” street configuration, running -1° camber and zero toe on the Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R 275/35/18 tires on Rotiform 18×10.5 ET45 wheels. While we brought the equipment to switch to track configuration, the rain dampened our spirits enough to prevent such adjustments. We did, however, take some time for glamour shots with Team BMO.

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CAM-C had a strong showing with five total entrants. Joining the Stealth Bomber was a 2015 Mustang V6 Coupe (driven by Brett Madsen of BTM AutoSport fame), a 2001 Roush Mustang, 1998 Mustang Cobra, and a 2013 Camaro SS. The course was on the west lot with two river crossings due to the rain. This meant it was a rare windows-up driving experience! The event was a flury of activity with two cars overheating and a CAM-S truck losing both rear wheels due to stud failure.

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A wet course and 200tw tires gave us pause, but the RE-71R’s performed amazingly well, unlike any performance tire we’ve experienced in the wet. Luckily, the course dried out for our fourth and final run, resulting in a 60.953+1, placing us mid-podium in second, while the 2015 V6 Mustang put down a clean 59.775 for first. Rounding out third was the 2001 Roush Mustang with a 61.368. Competition across the board was close, with the slowest time coming in at 62.148. Our CAM-T contemporaries lost this round of the CAM battle with a fastest time of 60.080. We’re looking forward to seeing how the Bridgestones perform under dry conditions and full camber.

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1/10/16 SDR SCCA CAM-C Writeup

The San Diego region of the SCCA started it’s 2016 season early, with the first event kicking off on the 10th of January. We headed out with the Stealth Bomber to see what times we could put down. The week before had been quite wet, so we were planning for a slip n’ slide at Qualcomm Stadium. We ended up with a dry course for our afternoon run group. The Bomber was set up in street configuration, running -1* camber and zero toe on the Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 275/35/18 street tires mounted on our AVID.1 AV-06 18×9.5” wheels. The changes to the car since the December event were adding a little bit more anti-squat in the rear, utilising one bolt hole lower of our Steeda adjustable lower control arm brackets. Additionally, we swapped out the GT500 wheel for the MOMO MOD88 racing wheel.

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Our competition in CAM-C consisted of a 2015 Camaro SS Vert, a 2013 Camaro SS 1LE, a 2005 Mustang GT, and a 2002 Mustang GT. The course was complex, with a few off-camber transitions and a Costco-sized Chicago box at the end. After a very intense battle between us, the Camaro Vert, and the 2005 Mustang, we managed to put in a third place time of 66.648 seconds. The 2005 Mustang secured first with a 64.698, and the Camaro Vert stole second from our grasp with a 65.032. The rest of the field was seconds behind with times in the 67’s. In comparison, the CAM-T group had winning times in the high 63’s running on 200tw Bridgestone RE-71R’s.

The podium finish was hard-fought, but demonstrates that more work is needed for the 2016 season. All three podium finishers were not on the 200tw minimum that is standard for a competitive CAM-C car, with both the Stealth Bomber and the 2005 Mustang running treadwear in the 300 range. We hope to have a new tire setup locked in by this weekend, to bring the heat to CAM-C, as well as give the CAM-T group night tremors.