Windspeed Motorsports Race Recap: GTA Round 5
During the downtime since the August event at NJMP we decided to do some preventative upgrades to the new turbo system. Apparently making 600+ HP creates LOTS of heat and things in the engine compartment were getting stressed beyond their intended limits. With that in mind we called on the folks at Design Engineering Inc, who make the most comprehensive line of heat and sound control products in the industry. We not only wrapped up our parts with their Titanium wrap, but we also got an awesome turbo wrap (blanket) from the same product line, both do a fantastic job at containing the huge amounts of radiant heat from the turbo and pipes during the extended sessions we run with the car. This added protection should stop the failure of the boost coupler we had seen at each of the last two rounds, which we were able to fix, but caused additional loss of track time at each of the events. We are happy to report that this did not reoccur at the Texas event. We also employed a sheet of the very NASA-ish Reflect-A-GOLD heat reflective foil over the firewall the further prevent any unwanted heat penetrating into the cabin. This was important to protect all the valuable electronics just behind the bulkhead inside the car.
Prior to arriving at Texas Motor Speedway we made a few side trips. First we visited our friends at Modern Performance in Houston (that’s on the way to Dallas from SC… right?) to catch-up and show them all the improvements we have made to the car since we last visited the shop in 2011. It was great seeing Cory and all the guys again and talking shop with them for a couple hours. After that, we moved towards the event with a stop at the Enkei Wheels warehouse in Fort Worth to visit with our friends King and Alex. After visiting both the “Mecca” for SRT4 parts and “wheel heaven” we thought it would be a good idea to go unload at the track and get ready for the next days event.
We were able to drop the car off at the track on Thursday night but unable to unload as the track was closing the gates for the night earlier than we had been told. No problem, as the well-oiled Windspeed Motorsports crew will have the Modern Performance SRT4 off the trailer and ready for the track in short-order in the morning before the track goes hot.
After the morning drivers meeting and a brief study of the track map, we headed out for our first session. We were running the infield-only course which measures in at 1.36 miles. There was NASCAR testing and the Andretti driving (open-wheel) school on the oval this weekend as well as the GTA and Xtreme Drift Circuit (XDC) running on the infield course. To my surprise there was also a Hot Import Night (HIN) car show taking place in the paddock so the venue was really jumping throughout the weekend. It was also great to see two of my favorite companies added to the list of vendors in the paddock for this round; Enkei Wheels and Deatschwerks both attending their “home” event this past weekend.
As per usual the team and car were quickly up to speed and outpacing many of the “faster” cars in the field. After the first full day of competition the Modern Performance SRT4 sat 3RD in the OVERALL standings with a 40.663 lap. This was only slower than the GST Subaru and the True Form Evo from the Unlimited and Limited AWD classes respectively. (Day One Results)
Another twist on the GTA-Texas event this year was the addition of the FIAT Drivers Cup Challenge. For this FIAT of Ft Worth brought out a new FIAT 500 in which each of the drivers was given the opportunity to run a few hot laps in the car to see which driver could wring the most out of the little four cylinder. We are happy to say we finished 3RD overall in this challenge and as I like to say it, we finished “1ST out of the non-professional drivers”.
The second day started much as the first day ended with hot track temperatures and even hotter cars. A few of the competitors were suffering from the high temps of the Texas event, the Modern Performance SRT4 however was performing flawlessly during each track session. It was one of those events were all we had to do was add a few gallons of fuel to the car between every other round to keep the fuel load as light as possible. As the track temps increased we were working on smoother lines and faster lap times, but the slippery track kept us about even with our previous days best time.
As we prepared for the final session of the day, the crowds had grown to about 6,000 people and the stands were filled to capacity and it was standing room only along the track fences. We pulled onto course in the fifth overall position as a few of the Unlimited AWD cars had begun to improve their times throughout the day and moved ahead of the Street FWD MPx SRT4. After our warm-up lap, we proceeded to knock another tenth off our previous best and we on another flyer lap when the transmission “jumped” out of fourth gear mid-lap. This caused a bit of excitement in the bus-stop as the car likes to rotate when cornering without any throttle application. As this was only a hiccup, we pressed-on and set out upon another hot-lap, but our good luck had come to an end. A mere 100ft into the next lap the transmission mysteriously lost all drive while mid-straight under full throttle. A quick downshift verified that is was not the input shaft, a broken axle or shifter mechanism but something else in the transmission that failed. We were able to coast into the interior section of the track so as not to cause a yellow flag situation for any of the other competitors who were on the track at the moment and waited until the end of the session to slowly drive that car back to the paddock under its own power.
As we loaded the car onto the trailer and discussed the symptoms among the crew we decided that what I had initially thought was a broken shift fork would more likely be a shattered fourth gear instead. When we got home to SC we removed the transmission internals to find that Danny, our crew chief, was right; as he usually is about these things.
Although once again the ending was not exactly what we planned, we had achieved all the goals we set for ourselves at this event; a first in Street FWD class, a new Street FWD track record (40.597) and we took the outright lead in the standings in the 2012 Overall Street Class Championship. All in all a good weekend at the track for the Modern Performance SRT4.
Thanks again to all the great sponsors, friends and family that make this all possible. Without their support these results wouldn’t be possible.
Turbo by Garrett
Hankook Tires, USA
Design Engineering (DEI)
Ishihara-Johnson crank scrapers