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Discussion Starter #81
So, here we are, 14 model years after the 350Z was first introduced and the car still has relevance in the racing world. Despite the handicaps the SCCA comp board has imposed, the 350Z has bested the latest V6 Mustang, MX-5 Cup and RX-8 Mazdas, Porsche Boxsters and BMW E46 Cup cars...and still not a SINGLE RESPONSE in 2017?

This on a board dedicated to the 350Z and just after it's once again proven its worthiness to the Z legacy.

Incredible...
 

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Discussion Starter #82
For 2018, my tentative race schedule with the 350Z is as follows:

May 5-6 T1 Rocky Mountain Div Regional LaJunta Raceway, CO
May 26-27 T3 RMDiv Majors Pueblo Motorsports, CO
July 7-8 T3 RMDiv Majors High Plains Raceway, CO
August 25-26 T3 RMDiv Majors High Plains Raceway, CO
September 29-30 T1 RMDiv Regional LaJunta Raceway, CO
October 15-21 T3 SCCA Runoffs Sonoma Raceway, CA

Racing will be in two SCCA classes: Touring 1 and Touring 3. Why? Due to recent rule changes (effective 3/1/18) the air restrictors on my VQ35HR went from 40 mm to 37 mm and minimum weight went up to 3450 pounds (from 3400 with driver). Moreover, T3 Z33 and Z34s are restricted to 245 max tread width. While the T1 class includes cars like the Ferrari F430 Cup, Porsche 911 GT3, Corvette Z06, Mustang Boss 302 and others, at least I can drop the restrictions and allow the Z to run without any restrictions in regional races. My plan is to work towards a flawless finishing record to achieve my goals in 2018. What's everybody else up to this year?
 

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Discussion Starter #83 (Edited)
Just added a race to my 2018 race schedule. May 20-22 at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kansas. It's about a 400 mile trip from my home and the first race back from injury. It's an SCCA Majors race for the Mid-America Conference with strong competition from Porsche in the Touring 3 class.
 

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So, here we are, 14 model years after the 350Z was first introduced and the car still has relevance in the racing world. Despite the handicaps the SCCA comp board has imposed, the 350Z has bested the latest V6 Mustang, MX-5 Cup and RX-8 Mazdas, Porsche Boxsters and BMW E46 Cup cars...and still not a SINGLE RESPONSE in 2017?

This on a board dedicated to the 350Z and just after it's once again proven its worthiness to the Z legacy.

Incredible...
That's cuz I didn't see your thread until now. Laff....



Just added a race to my 2018 race schedule. May 20-22 at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kansas. It's about a 400 mile trip from my home and the first race back from injury. It's an SCCA Majors race for the Mid-America Conference with strong competition from Porsche in the Touring 3 class.
You forgot Oct 16-21, Sonoma Raceway. In MY part of the country. You're lucky I don't fit my Nomex anymore. :wink2:

Edit: Ooops, you DID include Sonoma..... my last comment still stands. Hahahahaha.
 

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Discussion Starter #85
Mic- glad you're here! And there's still plenty of time to select a car from your fleet of Zs to come race with us! Nomex can be made to fit, my friend, and you've probably forgotten more about Sears Point than I know!

Or, in the current parlance: "Come at me, bro!"
 

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Discussion Starter #86
Success in my first race of the 2018 schedule. The Heartland Park Topeka (HPT) Majors results for T3 show Nissan 350Z in first, Porsche Boxster second and Mazda RX8 R3 third for both weekend races.
 

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Discussion Starter #87
Ready to leave for the second race weekend of 2018. For the Rocky Mountain Divisional opener at the LaJunta airport course, the Z will run in Touring 1 trim. That means no air restrictors, no extra weight and big, meaty (but used 275-35-18) BFG R1-S tires. There'll be no less than THREE races on Saturday and FOUR races on Sunday. Wanna win a 2018 SCCA RMDiv Championship? You'll be entered at this race!
 

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Discussion Starter #88
Monday race report from LaJunta Raceways: 7 races, 7 T1 wins. The Z's durability was a factor, and I won the final race overall after all the faster cars broke or packed it in for the weekend. For all those who say the 350Z and the VQ aren't a competitive package any longer, I beg to differ.
 

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Monday race report from LaJunta Raceways: 7 races, 7 T1 wins. The Z's durability was a factor, and I won the final race overall after all the faster cars broke or packed it in for the weekend. For all those who say the 350Z and the VQ aren't a competitive package any longer, I beg to differ.
Dayam, DM, the shunt didn't take any edge off did it? Awesome.

T1 even! That's seriously fast car country! Unrestricted intake trim as opposed to your "normal" T3 spec, yes? Regardless, proud for you upholding Nissan race heritage!!
 

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Discussion Starter #90
Thanks, Mic. Yeah, the Z33 in T1 (even T2) trim is a slightly different animal. But I'll never get it down to the 2,450# minimum weight, although I'd love to see how it would run with that kind of power-to-weight ratio! Most of the T2 Zs I've seen are stretched to the limit trying to keep up with the V8 Corvettes and Mustangs. Still, I'm happy to represent and be a part of the Z's storied race heritage!
 

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Discussion Starter #91
A comparison of lap times around the 7-turn, 1.5-mile LaJunta circuit turned up some interesting comparisons and memories. Back in '08, the last T1 lap record was set by Scott Tucker in a Ferrari Challenge F360 at a 55.521 seconds, while my 2018 best was a 59.429. While that's less than a four second difference, the cost to prepare, transport and race the two cars couldn't be more apparent.

Tucker had his own Level 5 Motorsports team transport the Ferrari to LaJunta and flew in and out of the airport on his Citation jet. Level 5 used a gorgeous black/red/chrome 18-wheel transporter with a huge awning and 4-5 crew to get that car to the track and prep it between sessions. Tucker went on to a successful racing career, winning several Runoffs titles, and competing at Daytona and LeMans with Level 5.

But there's a more ominous story behind it all: Tucker was running a payday scam operation, using Native American lands to flaunt Federal and state lending laws for years. While he made millions, he was eventually arrested and convicted under RICO and is set to serve 16 years in Federal prison. He's also been ordered to pay back $1.2B in illegal funds and has been openly unrepentant about crimes he perpetrated.
 

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Discussion Starter #93
Memorial Day weekend and more FUN racing the Z in 2018. The Home of Heroes GP at Pueblo Motorsports Park saw five cars competing for the T3 class win. Actually, only two cars had a good chance for victory as defending National Champ Derek Kulach and BMW driver Jason Ott were far faster at the 2.2-mile circuit. I spent the weekend racing a white 350Z NISMO (2015 Daytona Runoffs winner) for third place while battling overheating in 100 degree weather.

While I held on to take third on Saturday, Sunday was a bit tougher. Despite being quicker in the tighter sections of the track, the NISMO was stronger on the straights. I really tried to apply the pressure when he drafted past, but was about a car length back at the finish. Ott took his BMW to two wins over the weekend, with Kulach a few seconds back.

It's difficult to convey how satisfying it is to engage in such great door-to-door racing and not touch the other car. Racing clean and hard the entire weekend is FUN! Now, I've got to address a lingering overheating issue as we hit the true heat of summer.
 

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Discussion Starter #94
Between races is when a lot of work goes on: this time, the front came off and the radiator stripped down and sent off to be cleaned and straightened. Fresh distilled water and Water Wetter will raise the boiling point of the coolant, but will it be enough? Found the high speed fan operation is defective, so we'll take a close look at that. Of course, the clag (tire debris) was cleaned out and the entire car inspected. There is a big decision to make before the July/August races about whether to change the rear suspension. Stay tuned as we need to pickup speed and stop managing the heat as we go flat out for the Championship run.
 

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Discussion Starter #95
Decision made: the rear swaybar will be disconnected and we'll start our next test with 700# rear springs on the 350Z. It's a setup I've considered in the past, but never adopted. With the type of rear tire wear and high temps, I need to try something to increase mechanical grip at the rear of the Z. It's a radical step, but one I feel is worth pursuing. While the next SCCA Majors race is still two weeks away, the race in the pits continues to heat up.
 

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Discussion Starter #96
The latest point standings for the SCCA Mid-America Majors series show my 350Z in third overall (Touring 3 class) with 85 points. There's three drivers scrapping for the series lead at the top, with another four contenders further down in the standings. Porsche leads the pack, with Mazda one point ahead of my Nissan. But it's the BMW Z4 M-coupe that took the last Majors T3 races at Pueblo that looks like the favorite going into the Freedom Sprints races at High Plains Raceway next weekend!

Still working on final preparations to my 350Z, and advance weather predictions are for triple digit temps next weekend. Gotta make sure my car is dead reliable and capable of running flag-to-flag for this latest edition of CAR WARS.
 

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Discussion Starter #97
The "Freedom Sprints" SCCA Majors at High Plains Raceway had a bit of everything this past weekend. The 2.5-mile 14-turn track had two T3-spec cars battling for lap records. Jason Ott (Z4 M coupe) and Derek Kulach (350Z) were again untouchable at both races and took turns winning and setting new lap records despite the high heat. My Saturday Majors race went well enough, but I had to battle to take third. The changes to my Z (suspension setup and cooling) were mostly positive, although it was different getting used to driving a car "on the nose", with the rear so well planted. The BFGoodrich R1-S tires held up well in 100 degree temps, but those guys on Hoosiers were amazingly fast. Later Saturday, I took the (optional) RMDiv regional race win to secure the T1 title. It was great to get the eighth win, although we never pulled the extra weight or took out the 37 mm intake restrictors that are allowed in T1.

Sunday's race started badly when I elected to go with only 3/4 tank of 100 octane fuel for the second Majors race. SCCA has mandated a longer race on Sunday and my guestimate tuned out to about two laps short. After another struggle to gain third place, the Z sputtered coming out of turn 3 and came to a stop. It was frustrating watching a silver Porsche flash past before I could get the Z refired to finish fourth. Things became worse when I got hit in the right rear hard enough to lift the Z off the track during afternoon qualifying. This resulted in enough mechanical damage to keep me from starting the afternoon race.

The result is that by taking third and fourth place finishes at the HPR Majors races, I'm now leading the Mid-America Majors T3 series championship for 2018. This provides a chance to win a SCCA Majors Championship that I haven't won despite 30 years of racing experience. First, I need to repair damage to the dreaded quarterpanel section (just ahead of the RR wheelwell) before the final Majors race in August. Hard to imagine a tougher stretch run--with four contenders (from BMW, Nissan and Porsche) separated by just a few points--that will likely come down to the final race.
 

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Discussion Starter #98
Still waiting for the Z to come back from the body shop. In the meantime, testing of the Enkei GTC01 wheel found it took a lickin' and kept on tickin'! No significant runout on either the front or backside of this very stout alloy, so it can be put back into service. Lots of time to finish the race prep before the last SCCA Majors race this season.
 

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Still waiting for the Z to come back from the body shop. In the meantime, testing of the Enkei GTC01 wheel found it took a lickin' and kept on tickin'! No significant runout on either the front or backside of this very stout alloy, so it can be put back into service. Lots of time to finish the race prep before the last SCCA Majors race this season.
And your trip to CA in October is just around the corner!!

An odd question for ya... Do you know which of the Sonoma course layouts the Runoffs will be run on this year? As you know, Dave, I've not been ON Sonoma Raceway track since it was Sears Point and didn't even have a drag strip on it! (Whew, long time!) But ya, over last few years of watching Sonoma events on TV, I noticed many different configurations based on what's on track, e.g., club racing versus Indy versus NASCAR, etc. and was just curious about which they'll use for the Runoffs.

In any event, your pit crew awaits!! Hahaha!

EDIT: Oh duh.... never mind, just found the course map for '18 ROs.... it's going to be the full long course - which is exactly the configuration it was when I was last on it over 30 years ago (when Bondurant was still there!) Hooray!!



When you negotiate T10, at least once, tip your helmet to my D-Prod roadster, which gave its life for me at that spot 36 years ago, almost to the day, Hahahahaha. Am I embarrassed by that experience? NOT in the least... just as going to driving school was a lesson, so was that mistake. Oh, and I was in good company too... one of the Datsun racers I supported also crashed his car there at the exact same spot on the berm as me. Y'all might know or heard of the guy.... his name was "P.L." :wink2:

Apparently, there are fences and an infield building (main tower?) there now. Back in the day, no fence, no tire walls, just a huge dirt berm for "off track excursions stops"..... very unfriendly to flying race cars as compared to today's racing. Laff.
 

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Discussion Starter #100
Yes Mic, the 2018 SCCA Runoffs will be on same circuit that you are familiar with. It's also the layout that I last raced on at the 1990-91 Pacific Coast Road Racing Championships (PCRRC). For those not familiar with Sonoma Raceway, I describe it as the "world's greatest roller coaster" due to striking elevation changes from one end of the track to the other. As I recall it, turn 10 was a particularly nasty right hand sweeper that could send your car sailing off through the boonies if you're slightly off-line. Glad I haven't earned THAT trip yet, but I saw other who weren't that lucky.


I have to wait until August 8th to file my Runoffs entry with the SCCA and it's a cool $1050 for a single class. Want to practice a bit? That'll cost you from $850-450 to rent the track prior to qualifying. Bet you didn't have to pay THAT for a semi pro race back in the day...
 
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