24 September 2011
Sebring International Raceway (Sebring, FL)
The 14-Hours of Sebring
Video of the car at CMP http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9dSaaUhKiE&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL
24 September 2011
Sebring International Raceway (Sebring, FL)
The 14-Hours of Sebring
Video of the car at CMP http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9dSaaUhKiE&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL
After spending a weekend with the car getting an Accord radiator to fit in our tiny CRX I thought I would give a complete list of what still needs to be done and what’s finished…. a checklist of sorts.
We now have a 3rd CRX. It’s a 91 si with rear disc brakes, 17-inch wheels and a racing steering wheel. The best part…. It was FREE. This car came to us by a friend of Justin’s. The engine is blown and out of the car and still near Tallahassee. The plan is to have what’s left of the engine and transmission to my house this coming weekend.
Brakes: I’m getting closer and closer to just running the stock front calipers. I am hitting dead ends everywhere I turn. I even have a set of Type-R Integra front calipers, but I can’t manage to find a bracket to make them work. Building one is out because the tolerances are just to close without a machine shop. If we go with the stock brakes, we will have 3 sets of calipers that we can burn up. If the Type-R’s get mounted there will be no backup. Whatever we go with, we still need rotors and pads. I suggest we go with a racing rotor and pad.
In the rear: Still need to move the discs off the 91 to the racecar. Replace the pads and rotors with OEM stock stuff. Not near as important as the fronts.
With the addition of rear discs we will also need to move the Master cylinder and the Brake equalizer from the 91 to the racecar.
Radiator: Currently the car has a 94 (I think) Accord 2.2L radiator. It took too long to make it work, but it’s in there. We have no backup. The small aluminum one that came with the 89 si has a leak and the 91 si has issues also. Chuck do you think you can help here? Can be no more than 17 inches tall and 30 or so wide. Another cheep small aluminum would be great (ebay) or another used Accord would work…as long as the car doesn’t get too crunched in the front end. That’s why I believe a smaller one should be in the backup plan
Seat belts and seat: I’m not real happy about the way the seat fits because we can’t slide it all the way back, because of the roll bars. I’m 6’2” and have plenty of room with it all the way back. The problem is… without the ability to slide it back as far as it can go it will make getting in and out of the car more difficult. The brackets are welded in for the seatbelts. The seat is not yet in the car because we still need to weld the bracket for the window net.
Rear wing: Still working on a way to build a fully adjustable wing from inside the racecar. This has proved to be more difficult that what I ever imagined. This will be put on hold until everything else is complete.
Paint and theme: Have the materiel for the tail and wing just haven’t had time to work on it. The paint will happen; we just need to finish the car first! The car numbers will be completed before the race. Trying to have them create a sticker with the flying teeth….. not sure if they can… I will find out later today.
Fire extinguisher: We have a bracket but it’s not mounted. Still need to purchase a fire extinguisher….. A:B:C extinguisher, 2.5 lbs or larger. Ken will be bringing another one for fueling on Pit Road.
Brackets: Still need something to mount a radio and camera to the inside of the car.
Radio communications: Chuck are we good to go here?
Tires: With the 91 si we have a set of 17’ wheels. The racecar has 16’ currently. We will be doing our best to match the rollout (Height) of the 16’ before we order a new set of 17-inch tires. This needs to be done this week. Cost around 350 dollars.
Paint and theme
Cotter pins Front suspension
Tidy up the wiring around driver….rest of the wiring is clean
Any questions please ask…. We are running out of time.
AAR LeMons Racing Team’s application to race our P-40 Flying Tigers themed Honda CRX si at Carolina Motorsports Park has been approved!
For those looking for a lap around CMP in LeMons form, here’s one. if you’ve look at the track map, you’ll notice they used the squared off versions of 12 and 13, and the triple apex version of turn 1. Also notice the chicane on the front-stretch.
One of the things that I’ve read is a particular no-no is trying to jump in front of everybody at the chicane. It sounds like it can bottleneck pretty bad there, and inevetibly somebody tries to pull the lane closed ahead trick and jump to the front of the line…that kind of behavior can get your car crushed early. Remember the chicane is there to slow cars down on the run down to turn 1. Work on making passes by getting off of T14 good and clearing your competitor early before the chicane, or getting a good launch out of the chicane to be inside them before the braking zone for T1. Don’t try to out-brake somebody heading into the chicane! (Especially with CRX brakes).
The idea goes public, in private:
First you need to know that we’re really a bunch of racing nerds, that got together to form an All American team for an internet based Grand Prix management game (GPRO).
Brian comes to us with this simple thought:
24 Hours of LeMonshttp://www.24hoursoflemons.com/
My brother and I have been chatting about this for a couple of months. I would really like to make this happen one day.
I can’t think of a better way to wast some hard earned dollars. Just think… you build a race car and have it crushed because the track officials believe you spent more than 500 dollars on it….. Sounds like fun … Right?
I can see it now…… Red White and Blue….. something…. with American Aggression Racing covering the hood.
Of course everbody loves the idea, who doesn’t want to get together with friends and race crap cans, just ask Tony George. After some initial support, Brian starts to formulate the plan:
The way I see it we need a car that is lightweight and has great handling abilities and is screaming fast. The track at Carolina Motorsports Park, Kershaw SC seems to be tight with a few nice long open straightaways. After looking at the videos from a past race at CMP http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=O4Kd3wEVQJs it seems that these 2 cars would do just fine there….. This http://media.photobucket.com/image/lotus/bli8/Lotus_GT.jpg?o=15 http://media.photobucket.com/image/porsche%20gt3/Yogotta/Porsche/0112.jpg?o=49
But with the budget limited to 500 dollars(insert craigslist adds of rolling heaps)
This is probably more our speed
In the O’Neal garage I personally have 3 SHO’s http://s418.photobucket.com/albums/pp265/ilovemy97sho/ 2 97’s and one 96.
A 95 Miata (Wife’s old car) and a 07 Si Civic (also wife’s car). The Miata would be perfect for this race, but I have already been informed that it’s not available for me to race. One of the 97 SHO’s is wrecked in the right front (Wife wrecked it) it could be fixed to race…. Just not sure I am prepared to do that just yet. I also have an old ½ mile dirt track racecar available to me. It’s got a STRONG 350 in it (at least a level 6 engine GPRO humor) with a full cage, racing seat and everything else needed to run this race. It’s a Buick regal body on a 69 Chevelle frame. It would require a good bit of work just to make it go straight. It’s a 3700 lbs car that would be rough on tires and would be impossible to but large enough brakes on it to get it to stop quickly. I would need to also change the camshaft to something that would make finish the race….. The one that’s in it now will turn right at 7700 rpm’s with the power coming in at 5600 rpm’s ….. It’s not very streetable.
My brother Ken has a 4-cylinder manual Ford Probe that has just lost his will to live that might work with a different engine.
Building a cage and getting it race prepped will take some time to complete, but it’s conceivable…. The good thing is, my father-n-law has built many dirt track cars and seems to be very interested in this project.
I think it would be something to remember for a lifetime…… It’s going to happen
We still will need some drivers.
Lots of guys volunteer, but we’re all spread out across the country and nobody can really commit just yet. Hey, its still December so its all good. The more pressing matter is what to race.
We had thoughts of used 300z’s (we wish), old RX-7’s or early Mr-2’s (still not there yet), or to keep with our All-American theme, a Dodge Neon (doable, but now its a Fiat Neon so there went that idea).
In the end, Capt. Brian came to us with this gem:
A Honda CRX. Or as I’ve always called them, an oversized rollerskate. But beggers can’t be choosers my girlfriends always said, so CRX it is. I did have my butt kicked by several of them on the autocross course, so they couldn’t really be that bad. We thought we had one lined up in mid-January, but what do you know, the fool wanted to keep his scrap heap.
We continued looking, and while being spread across the country had its disadvatages, it also had some interesting benefits:
1) Mark B from Indianpolis was already angling for some used suits and helmets courtesy of some racing expereinces in the Indianapolis area.
2) We truly were scouring the country for cars and parts by using everyone’s zip codes to check craigslist (where else are you going to find junk that nobody else wants)
Finally, in early february we came across the carcass we’d need to get the job done.
So we were off to start buying parts to finish it…which was practically a whole ‘nother car. Brian would not be denied:
I am sure that some equipment will need to be shared. I have become convinced now that we need a complete running car that we can take parts off of. We just need too many parts other than just an engine and a trans. I believe that car we need is a 1990 to 1993 Acura Intrega with a manual shift trans. The engine would work perfectly in our CRX plus we can use the brakes off of it as well, along with many other parts. Remember our CRX is a 1991, so we need to get something close to that year so the wiring will not be such a pain. An even better option would be another CRX with a DOHC engine already in it….. DOHC being the key word here. I really need you guys to help me look for one. Remember we don’t care if it has a title or even been wrecked. I would actually prefer a wrecked car, because at least I knew it was running at the time of the accident.
Luckily we found another CRX in Mid-March, and it was on…
I will be picking up the other car TODAY from Savannah. It’s a 89 CRX si with a ZC SOHC engine. The clutch is shot and the valves need adjusting, but other than that it should work out just great. It’s going to cost us 400.00 so now we have 600.00 total invested in the 2 cars. I know the limit id 400.00, but this includes the roll cage, so by all accounts it’s still a 400.00 car all day long. I am so excited… I can’t wait to change the engine and all the other stuff we need, into the car with the cage.
This weekend I spent some time with the car assessing some of the issues. First off the alternator is making terrible noises. The brake calipers in the front are leaking and need to be rebuilt. If we cant afford real brakes for the car I will rebuild the ones on the car for a spare and just purchase new calipers to race with. I adjusted the valve lash for all the valves…. it seemed to quiet the valves some, but at a high RPM they make noise. I believe it’s because the timing is too far advanced. I just ran out of daylight to confirm that. The clutch is shot, but it will need to be replaced anyway. Rear main is also leaking, but that’s easy to do when the engine comes out…. plus inexpensive.
All in all the motor seems very strong with NO real concerns and NO smoke. I told Ken, I believe it will take my SHO in the quarter mile if the clutch was working properly.
Now all thats left is to actually fix the thing:
On April 17-19 we will be putting the engine into the race car. lots of parts will need to be purchased before the swap can take place. Clutch is the big one, but we will also need some engine seals.
Should be a fun weekend in Southeast GA.
Several team members make it to the work day. Hilarity ensues. Some work actually gets done and we put the video up on YouTube so try to convince our wives that we weren’t just sitting around drinking beer;
Brian updates the team:
By early June, the car is actually looking like, well, a rolling heap of junk. Its a thing of beauty.
Team O’Neal starts making test runs:
It all started around Christmas 08. We were discussing different racing events and discovered that both of us had read the February 2007 article from Car and Driver titled Beaters Rule, a feature written about the 24 Hours of Lemons race. After discussing this for months…. We decided this is something that we need to do. We figured that a car that cost only $500, a 24 hours race with 4 to 6 drivers could quite possibly the most fun we’ve ever had in our lives. The difficult part was to convince our wife’s not to file for divorce while we undertake this experience of a lifetime.
After contacting some of our closest friends and relatives to make sure were not completely nuts… Many were interested in the build and want to drive. In fact the response was overwhelmingly positive.
All that’s left…. Find the perfect car.
We had many options that were available to us without having to purchase or for Very little money. A totaled 97 SHO, 4 door auto Neon, 82 Buick Regal X dirt track car and my personal favorite an 82 AMC Spirit.
After many weeks of reviewing the pros and cons of these cars, we decided against all of them for one reason or another. The SHO had some serious right front damage and it’s an auto. The Neon was also an auto. Racecars don’t have automatic transmissions! The Regal would have required less work than the others, but the engine would NEVER pass for a 500 dollar car… too radical for this. The AMC we liked, but we would have never got it running for less than 500…. Just too many issues that needed fixed and too little parts available to us to repair.
My brother and I have both owned CRX ‘s in our past lives… before kids. Both of us knew this would be the ultimate car, but finding one for 500 or less would be next to impossible. All I need to say is that Craigslist is your 24 Hours of Lemons best friend. After looking for only a week, on Feb 2nd I found a CRX in Jacksonville that had no interior, no engine or trans, no wiring…. But it had a roll cage, YES! I was so excited that the cage was within the Lemons specs, that I paid exactly what the guy was asking for the car $200 and never tried to get him lower. We were well on our way to building a CMP fall racecar.
After the roll cage car was purchased, a decision was made to look for a complete car to finish the build. The search was on for a 90 to 93 Intrega. Our search was not going well until March 12th. I found another CRX, this time in Savannah. It was a 89 CRX si with a ZC SOHC engine. The clutch is shot, valves need adjusting, front main seal is pouring oil, but other than that it’s perfect. He was asking $500 for the car and I was shocked when he told me over the phone that he would take $400. I drove to Sav that night to get the car. The car wasn’t quite as bad as the owner portrayed it to be. I even drove it on the trailer with very little clutch slippage. While he went to get the title to the car, I noticed it even had relatively new tires on 16-inch rims. He came back with the title and said “there is also an extra 5 speed transmission in the back of it if you want it. I felt as if he said there were gold bars in the back of the car. I couldn’t wait to call all my friends and let them know the good news and to tell them, “Were racing in Sept at CMP!”
The build is now well underway; the engine, transmission and complete rear suspension have been moved to the racecar. The car currently needs a radiator, larger brakes and a racing seat and that’s it. Were all so excited about how everything has gone so far. I’m so proud of the build that my personal car now sets in the weather while the racecar stays dry in the garage. Course the wife car sleeps next to it every night.
We have a put a ton of thought into the theme for the car. Knowing the CRX is not exactly the most favored car at Lemons, we needed a good one.
P40 Flying Tigers theme. Complete with a propeller that will also turn the alternator, tail section and a wing that will double as a speed brake. The speed brake will be movable via the brake pedal…. we think. Knowing the brakes are a major problem, this speed brake will solve all our brake issues…. in our dreams anyway. We already have the paint guy lined up and ready to go. This propeller will go in front of the bumper. Please let us know if that’s a problem. It will be made out of wood and not steel. I would also like to install 2 working paintball guns on the roof of the car. But I have a feeling we can’t use them during the race…but it would be fun if we could.
We understand that racing is only a small part of this event and that taking care of the judges is by far the most important part of the Lemons race. We will be bringing 2 excellent southern cooks with our entourage. You have never had shrimp until you’ve tried theirs. We have friends that shrimp for a living and have access to some of the finest and freshest shrimp in this country. Hot butter, little pepper, maybe some bacon…. I don’t want to completely give it away, but I can tell you they are to die for. Shrimp with a sip of some of good ole Georgia shine…nothing could be better.
This is truly something that my family and friends are looking forward to about as much as the team is. My mother is even planning to addend… I’m still in shock over that. Currently we have about 25 people committed to attend from across the country. I believe only 3 of them have ever even seen a car race live. We’re not a racing family, but we plan to be one on September 12-13.
American Aggression Racing members who have questions about registration to this site, please contact Daniel Harris on the AAR GPRO team forum.
From the office of Brian O’Neal:
I am really excited about the response we’ve gotten so far from the American Aggression Racing GPRO team. Having the full support of AAR will make this truly an experience of a lifetime for all that are involved. I hope we can get as many members as possible to not only driver the car, but attend the race.
Thanks again for everything you’ve done.