24th Jul2013

Caterham SP/300.R

by Michael Chandler

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Track day drivers looking for the next step up in their motorsports careers got a look at the future on July 19th and 20th when Dyson Racing and RaceCo showed off the dramatic Caterham SP/300.R on the East Course at Miller Motorsports Park. 

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A project of England’s Caterham Cars, the SP/300.R was designed by Lola Cars with input from and development work by America’s legendary sports car championship-winning Dyson Racing. As part of the team’s role as the SP/300.R’s exclusive distributor for the Americas, Dyson Racing recently completed a nationwide tour, demonstrating this futuristic Le Mans Prototype-inspired sports-racing car to enthusiast drivers at premier motorsports facilities around the nation. 

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At Miller Motorsports Park it was two-time American Le Mans Series driver champion Chris Dyson who gave rides and coached prospective owners during their own laps behind the wheel of the Caterham SP/300.R.

“I really enjoyed the folks I met out here during our demo drives,” Dyson said. “It was great of RaceCo to make this happen and it was a pleasure to make these friends of RaceCo our friends as well. I’ve always loved Miller Motorsports Park, so I made sure I got the assignment to come here.”

Dyson noted that the SP/300.R represents a new and very different approach to motoring fun than Caterham’s traditional Seven. “The Seven traces it heritage back to Colin Chapman’s original Lotus Seven from the mid-1950s. The SP/300.R looks like a slightly smaller version of the cars we race in the ALMS series and it has the same 21st-century technology. It is the perfect car for the trackday driver who’s been driving a hot street car or a vintage racecar and is looking to go faster and spend less money. The SP.300.R is the next logical step.”

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Here are some of the technical details. With its strong and safe high-sided aluminum-honeycomb monocoque chassis and separate front-end crash box, the SP/300.R weighs only 1275 pounds, but provides unmatched driver safety. And with 300+ horsepower from its supercharged two-liter, four-cylinder, dry-sump lubricated Duratec-based engine, this car boasts an impressive power-to-weight ratio that few if any production-based trackday cars can match. All those numbers equal more numbers: 0-60 in 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 165 mph.  The SP/300.R’s race car technology includes a mid-engine chassis layout, pushrod-actuated/rocker-arm suspension with coil-over springs and adjustable shocks, airjacks and adjustable front and rear rollbars. Power is transmitted to the centerlock 13-inch Formula 3-style wheels and racing tires through a Hewland FTR six-speed sequential gearbox with error-proof paddle-shift (the clutch is only used when starting or stopping the car) and a limited-slip differential.

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The car has a few tricks up its eight-piece coachwork sleeve as well.  Lola developed the aero package by using computational-fluid-dynamics technology to produce a car with an optimized high-downforce, low-drag aero signature.  The SP/300.R features AP Racing disk brakes with cockpit-adjustable front-rear balance, an adjustable carbon composite rear wing, a downforce-generating aluminum rear diffuser (990 pounds at 150 mph), and at the front end the splitter and carbon-fiber dive planes are aerodynamically optimized to balance all that downforce.

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The SP/300.R features a genuine two-seat cockpit, just in case your friends want to see what it’s like being strapped into a prototype-style race car for a few quick laps.  The twin roll hoops and front crash structure are MSA spec, and the 30-gallon fuel cell meets FIA specifications.  While the six-point harness keeps you strapped in the cockpit, you can feel free to adjust the balance of the AP Racing brakes.

 

Want to see it for yourself?  RaceCo is going to be home for a few months to one of Dyson Racing’s Caterham SP/300.Rs.  Get a hold of them and get out there to take a look at this amazing machine.

 

Photos by Michael Chandler, words by Michael Chandler and Cole Powelson.  Special thanks to Cole Powelson, the Caterham guys (sorry I forgot your names) and the corner workers and safety truck crew for letting me climb all over the car, hike around the track and let me ride along.
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

 

12th Jul2013

Simple S2000

by Michael Chandler

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 Keep it simple stupid

Simplify then add lightness

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

There are hundreds of quotes talking about the greatness of simplicity, and at one point we have all said we wanted something simple.  But some of us end up with something overly complicated and regret taking the path of over complication.  Nathan Luong has taken his Honda S2000 down the path of simplicity.

 

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The most noticeable modifications the the exterior are the Voltex Type 1V Wing, the OEM hard top and front lip and the APR GT3 carbon fiber mirrors.  Most people keep Honda’s roadster as a soft top, so seeing one with a hard top is a bit of a rarity.  Seeing one with the Voltex wing is a bit more of a rarity.  And you don’t really see Modulo badges everyday either.

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Nate also popped on some clear side markers from a S2000 CR and an AP1 S2000 rear bumper.  Underneath the Voltex wing is a smaller GT Motoring duckbill spoiler.

 

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The car is a bit more stiffly sprung thanks to a set of KW Variant 3 coilovers and a Cusco strut tower bar.  It sticks and stops better thanks to the 255/40 Advan Neovas wrapped around the 17×9 Enkei PF01s.  It’s not pushing a penny across a parking lot low, nor is it a super meaty track car stance.  It’s a nice look for a street car, and capable enough to turn some laps on a track if the situation arises.

 

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The simplicity continues under the hood.  An AutoTecknic carbon fiber cooling plate helps direct airflow to the K&N intake.  From there it makes it way through the engine and out of the car by way of an HKS 75mm exhaust.

 

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Cabin wise it’s painfully simple: Bride Vios 3 seat on Buddy Club Super Low Down seat rails, J’s Racing shift plate and a Team VooDoo shift knob.  He’s had that shift knob in all of his cars, and probably will continue to keep it in all of them.

Is this the most intensely built S2000 ever?  Not even close.  Is it a fun driving, handsome roadster?  And then some.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great.”  This car embodies those words.

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
10th Jul2013

RaceCo’s F1 Car

by Michael Chandler

RaceCo F1 Car Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-12

Late last year RaceCo took delivery of a 1992 Brabham F1 car.  If you’ve stopped by the shop between December and now, you would have seen it in various states of assembly.  It took seven months, but finally the beast made it’s public debut on a stormy July evening.  Joey and I made the trip out to see this car take some cuts at the Outer Loop.  Thunderstorms were forecasted for the evening, and severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Tooele.  We hydroplaned through Salt Lake County, and found dry pavement in Tooele County.  We had high hopes for good weather.

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We arrived to the sound of the GTR turning some laps.  As it turns out, there was a track day happening concurrently with the F1 car debut.  As the session wound down we heard the F1 car wind up and make its way to the track itself.  Pete hopped in the seat once occupied by Damon Hill and took to the outer loop.  We ran over to the Clubhouse to get some photos (me) and video (Joey on his phone).  The first outing was cut short due to a downpour the popped up during the second lap, but we did manage to snap a few photos.  After that we made our way to RaceCo’s shop to see the beast up close.

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It drew a crowd by the time we arrived.  Pete and Cole were pointing out things on the car, and answering some *ahem* interesting questions (Is it going to be street legal?).  While questions were asked and answered, Joey and I began scrambling around the garage and snapping photos.

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The heart of this beast is a Judd built V10.  Suffice it to say, it screams.

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It also has a wood grain shift knob.  Because classy.  Fun fact, this is an H pattern transmission.

The rain let up, and the other cars dried up the track.  We ran over to the top of The Attitudes to snap some pictures, grab some videos and generally sit in awe of the aural bliss that is a V10 era F1 car.

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We watched, we listened, we packed it in and made our way back to the shop for free Red Bull (courtesy of Ryan Salazar) and burgers.

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And to see how those massive Avon slicks looked after a full session.

Words and Photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMAutoMag.Com.

 

 

01st Jul2013

NASA in Black and White

by Michael Chandler

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Right before this weekend I saw a gallery of black and white Le Mans photos from the 2008 race.  We’re all used to seeing racing photos in color, but I feel that black and white photos make you look at whats going on in the photo.  Here are some photos from the June 22 NASA Utah event, in black and white.

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“Subaru OEM hood scoop delete”

 

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“Get in and crank it a few times, I think I’ve found the culprit!” George Smith blew an oil line, and he managed to identify and fix the bad line

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMAutoMag.Com.