24 Hours of Lemons: 5th in class for “Idiots in a Buick”

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We finished the There Goes the Neighborhood 24 Hours of Lemons race and this time we obtained great results. The “Idiots in the Buick” as Jay Lamm, the Chief Perp named us, finished fifth in class. Fifth! And 16th overall!
That’s a huge improvement from our last race, where we blew the motor, and much better than our eleventh in class, previously. But, the car that finished fourth in our class had a best lap about four seconds faster than our best lap. How do we improve on this?

Many people suggest that we remove the wing/bench, and those people would be wrong. Yes, the bench creates a ton of drag, adds weight, and increases the center of gravity, but… it works! It improves weight distribution, which allows for better rotation of the ass, and increases the life of the front brakes, I think. We removed the bench for ChumpCar race at Lime Rock and the front pads pretty much melted, which may or may not have been related – I don’t know. The bench is also our trademark! Whatever the case is, the bench stays, but…
But I suggested that we remove the trunk lid and bolt the bench directly to the trunk floor. This would allow the weight would remain in the rear, would reduce the center of gravity, drag, and down-force. We also discussed active aerodynamics on part of the bench. Stay tuned.
The second supercharged engine and transmission held up well. We added baffles to the oil pan and over-filled the oil by half a quart. We have enough power, the brakes are great, we just need more/better rubber. The handling is great-ish for a big boat that this is; you feel the car begin to understeer, you know the threshold of traction. There are no surprises and it’s a great beginner’s car. Adding camber all around made a huge difference and improved the life of tires. Now we need better tires, but better tires cost more money, and nothing about racing this $500 heep is cheap.
Another component of the race is fuel, specifically fuel capacity. On most tracks, the tank is big enough to last between 90 and 105 minutes of racing. If we could increase that to 120-130 minutes, we would have one, or two, fewer pit stops per day. On Saturday, to our surprise, we managed to pull off two-hour stints. We later realized that the speedometer was not connected and the car was running rather poorly. Once we connected it, gas mileage went down and engine smoothness went up. Perhaps we can find a happy medium. Or a big fuel cell.
One thing all of realized that this is a damn good car. It could keep up with many Class A cars, depending on the driver, of course. There were cars that should have been faster on straights than us but weren’t, and there were cars that should have been faster through the turns than us, but weren’t. Most importantly, we have improved as drivers. We had two very minor penalties in this race which cost us a total of four laps. We had no breakdown, no issues, and no contact. Next race is in October and I can’t wait.

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One response to “24 Hours of Lemons: 5th in class for “Idiots in a Buick””

  1. Sjalabais Avatar

    Not sure about safety regulations, but isn’t there a way to put a bigger fuel cell further back to add to the weight-ratio-issue? Then you could lower the bench a little where the trunk lid was. Anyway, it’s a neat race car.

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