When you take on a long term project, you often have a picture of how it will go in your head before you get started. When you want to be finished and how much it is going to cost. Inevitably many of these numbers and times just go out the window, when various hurdles come across your path. We have crossed many a hurdle; and, we are pushing hard to be able to make our first goal. We decided that the best plan to race the Baja 1000 is to first race the USA 500. We need to learn the car and we need to break the car and learn what we need to strengthen and what we got right.
In the last couple months, we have been making progress on the car. The largest hurdle has been locating the rear shocks in the car. In order to do this, we had to recreate the rear suspension geometry. This was a time consuming task really. Most cars when it comes to suspension, you bolt on a shock and you are on the track later that day. On this car, we cut the shock mount off, then created an entirely different shock location.
With the shock location decided, we also had to fabricate mounts for the shocks. The Fox Racing shocks that we have, use a top mount that is located half-way through the shock body. With the movement of the shocks considered, we created mounts that locate the shock and provide enough strength to hold up.
With the shocks mounted, the seats needed a final resting place as well. Our seat mounts came together very quickly. With the position figured out we got everything fabricated. If you have ever followed WRC, there is a notable incident with Marcus Grönholm’s co-driver and we thought it would be good to cover all our bases, especially since a VW floor-pan has a thickness equivalent to a sheet of aluminum foil.
Meanwhile there have been a ton of little things to tend to. Some of it amounts to rust repair, some of it amounts to modifications and small projects to contain other projects. With fab work going strong, we were able to create a cradle for our fuel cell, fix a ton of parts of the car and patch up various holes that just needed to be sealed off, so the car doesn’t just fill with silt in the wrong places.
With all of that going on, we are also working on our drive train. Class 11’s are stock, but there is a lot that falls to experience; and, the transmission is on the top of the list of things that, you really need to have someone who knows what they are doing. So our transmission is hitching a ride to California to meet up with its new friend Scott From MetalCraft. He is taking our core and building it into a suitably strong and capable Class 11 transmission, that will be able to take the rigors of off-road, the punishment of the heavier load and large tires; and, will last as long as we let it last, if we take good care of it. (Oh and we’re getting two… just in case)
We had a visit from our friend Emme Hall the other day and she happens to be headed to California, and is strapping our core onto her Miata to drive it to Scott personally! There should be no “lost in shipping” situations this time!
Our engine is currently being built, it is actually quite close to being ready for pickup and with that, we have been preparing. All of our engine tins are being prepped, painted and readied for installation. Carbs are being rebuilt and parts are arriving, in order to make this stuff all bolt together when it is here.
So with all of that done, we had a bit of time to decide one other thing: our number. For Baja, numbers are assigned, but for the VORRA races, numbers can be chosen. Since we have managed to always be #37 by happenstance, 1137 has been born…
Now keep in mind, we have been working hard on the car, but we have been working equally hard, off the car. With any racing situation, promotion and sponsorship are a key element. We are constantly trying to push for more exposure. We are constantly trying to look for support and we have been doing all of that a few ways. First, Televison. Yes, we have been working nicely with the Desert Dingo team to create and promote a TV pitch. This video was edited by Project Baja and has been pitched by Desert Dingos, to the point where we are pretty excited to have a production company on board. There is still a bit to go, but you may just see us on TV!
We have also been using a fund-raising site, to gain support from fans and friends. It has been an important part to our build and we would love to encourage you to sign up for updates, as well as consider supporting our team!
Oh, did I mention, we’ll put your name in our car?
We are having a ton of fun and learning quite a bit as we go. We are meeting some great people and being contacted by even more. Some of the local people we have met include Mike Palmer and his team. They run a Trophy Truck and spending a bit of time with these guys, we have really learned quite a bit about the logistics of running a team and being effective in a pit strategy…
We can’t wait to fire our car up for the first time and take it out to romp on it, there is still a long way to go, and a short time to get there, but we will make it…somehow!
Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, our website, and on Rally for plenty of updates!