350Z SCCA racecar - Page 13 - Nissan 350Z Forum, Nissan 370Z Tech Forums
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post #121 of 130 (permalink) Old 04-17-2019, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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Second place again in the wet, but it's clear the Z was more fun to drive in T1 trim. As expected, the Z06 had less of an advantage on a damp track, but top end gave it a decided edge (150 vs. 130 MPH) going into the turn one passing zone. Still, the fact that the Z still finished only 20 seconds back after a 40 minute race was notable.
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post #122 of 130 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Reading the most recent posts to this forum, I think the alternate title to this thread should be: "Do you like racing?" After all, this is an automotive forum dedicated to 350Z owners and the 350Z has a long and successful racing heritage. The second race of 2019 is the Rocky Mountain Division SCCA opener at LaJunta called The Ice Breaker. This is a short 1.3-mile airport circuit that takes about a minute to lap seven turns in. The opposition is yet another Corvette Z06, built by Phoenix Engineering out of Pennsylvania and driven by a veteran racer. The Z has an advantage in reliability, otherwise, the power-to-weight ratio of the Z06 will be tough to overcome!
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post #123 of 130 (permalink) Old 05-06-2019, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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Update from the LaJunta SCCA races: four races with one first and three second place finishes. The Z was competitive, but the Z06 had the top end power to hold the lead on this fast and bumpy airport circuit.
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post #124 of 130 (permalink) Old 05-07-2019, 10:56 AM
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Update from the LaJunta SCCA races: four races with one first and three second place finishes. The Z was competitive, but the Z06 had the top end power to hold the lead on this fast and bumpy airport circuit.
I'm always lurking from the shadows, but I gotta get out and congratulate you, well done!!!, keep it up!
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post #125 of 130 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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I'm always lurking from the shadows, but I gotta get out and congratulate you, well done!!!, keep it up!
Thanks, I plan to keep racing as long as the enjoyment is there!

One other issue of note is the scaled weight at the SCCA impound last weekend. After subtracting my weight, it appears the T1 race Z is down to 2,890#. That's with a fully stripped interior, but with intact door bars and rear hatch (glass, wiper and motor), along with SCCA-compliant six point rollcage and fire system. T1 weight for a Z33 is 2,450#, which is a laugh, as there's no way to get down to that weight. Plus, I'll be reinstalling the cool suit tank as the weather gets hotter for the next few races.
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post #126 of 130 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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Memorial Day 2019 race weekend report from Pueblo Motorsports Park in southern Colorado. The 350Z scored two second place SCCA Majors finishes in Touring 1, but that was far from the entire story! The Z ran well on Saturday but could not match the pace of the GT1 twin-turbo Porsche 911 or the T1 Corvette GS that finished 1-2 both days. There was plenty of racing action both days, but my biggest problem came mid race on Saturday when a BMW Z4 M-coupe hit my RR wheel/tire attempting a pass. The impact threw me across the track and it took me several turns after the hit to determine whether the damage was terminal.

The Z is one tough car, so I decided it was worth the gamble to continue. I took off and began hunting down the BMW and the Porsche Boxster ahead of it. Applying pressure once I caught up, I ended up making two clean passes to finish fifth overall, but the real surprise was when we got to impound. The RR Enkei RPF-1 wheel was badly damaged, with part of the outer rim peeled back and exposing the bead of the BFG R1-S tire. If I'd known the damage was this bad, the Z would have been retired immediately! After a short talk with the BMW driver and the race stewards, he apologized and I decided not to protest his ill fated pass attempt.

Inspecting revealed more damage. the wheel-to-wheel contact had banged the wheel bearing hard, but also sent a shock wave up though the half-shaft to the NISMO diff. Continuing in the race, had allowed some of the loosened diff bolts to shift and knocked the RR ABS sensor to shift. This didn't come to light until Sunday when the ABS diagnostic system gave me a C0010 code and we figured out that the ABS system was compromised. Unfortunately, by this point, the sensor harness itself was shredded and that's not a component either myself or any of the other Z teams had in their spares. So, no ABS for the Sunday races.

In a separate issue, one of the rookie drivers who'd been racing a H Production Datsun 1200 came up with a show-stopper. His A-series engine had suffered a bent pushrod and his crew had spent the night trying to repair the damage, only to determine the damage was terminal. This driver needed a finish to qualify for a racing license and I decided to help. Although our races were back-to-back, we got him fitted to the car and changed his entry to allow him to race the Z. The driver, Ian Sullivan, is a friend of mine and he went on to do a nice job driving the car smoothly to a finish and bringing it back to the paddock to be refueled and into the next race. Starting the Sunday race, it was clear the grip and race pace was down from Saturday. My goal was to make half distance and get the finish, but never got the signal.

On lap 14, the brake monster got me, and I locked up the fronts going into T1 at about 118 MPH. My usual line takes me deep into the turn with threshold braking and the fronts locking put me in immediate danger. With so little track space to recover, I was off the lip of that banked turn in a flash. Flying through the air, all I saw was sand and BIG rocks in the runoff area! Landed with a crash and kept the steering straight to prevent any dig in and potential rollover. While I covered enough laps to be counted a finisher, that was the end of my third race weekend of the year. Loading my sand-covered Z into the trailer, lots of work to be done before the next race in July.
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post #127 of 130 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Assessment of the Z revealed more damage: the stamped steel oil pan on the HR was smashed in the front and dented. Worse, the rear swaybar was bent by rocks to the point I had to pull it. Exhaust pipe from headers to muffler is twisted and bent. Plenty of other small dents, dings and other damage on the underside of the Z and lots of damage to repair- this is the reality of racing.
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post #128 of 130 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 10:53 PM
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Incredible experience I am sure, expensive endeavor, do you have sponsors?
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post #129 of 130 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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Incredible experience I am sure, expensive endeavor, do you have sponsors?
In racing today, there are contingency sponsors who will provide cash or product if you win races. Nissan, BF Goodrich, Cobalt Friction and Summit Racing are among the contingency sponsors on my Z. But covering race damage is not part of the deal.
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post #130 of 130 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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With one week to go before the next SCCA Majors race, the news on the race prep front is concerning. The titanium mid-pipe is dented and bent- not an easy piece to repair! Even more concerning is the ABS system diagnostics are indicating a problem with the system. After gambling (and losing) with a major brake lockup at the last race, that's not a risk I want to incur again.

Looking at the current standings in the SCCA Mid-America Majors standings, my 350Z holds second place ahead of a turbo Mazdaspeed Mx-5 and Audi TT RS from the Midwest. However, a pro-built Corvette Gran Sport holds a sizable advantage and the points lead over all of us at the midway point of the season.
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