We’re in Southwest Michigan this Easter weekend for the 24 Hours of LeMons’ “Cure for Gingervitis” at Gingerman Raceway. In a change from the blustery conditions predicted in Hooniverse’s weekend preview, this weekend should instead find pleasant temperatures and perhaps even a weekend free of precipitation. Today, Friday, found 50 cars underwent the rigors of technical and BS inspections to place them in classes. Despite the relatively small field, the entries were full of plenty of interesting beasts. The full entry list with classes can be found here and it should provide plenty of solid racing in all three classes.
Let’s start with some gratuitous cheaters, starting with the first-generation Mazda RX-7. The twin muffler is very much a necessity for Mazda’s exceptionally noisy Wankel rotary engine, but even with the immense dual setup, this one makes plenty of noises.
Its builders claim to have built it out of parts left around the team’s shop, but they were honest that they had raced the Mazda for a long time so it was probably a tad over budget. They’ll start the day with 20 penalty laps, which was perhaps generous on the part of the judges.
If you’ve been to the Midwest ever, you know that the region’s residents seldom hesitate to discuss the weather. Bad Decisions Racing’s Saturn SC2 got a Polar Vortex theme with a plastic snowplow and a salt spreader to celebrate the wretched, wretched winter that has plagued the country’s middle. Because weather discussion.
General Motors’ F-Bodies are generally terrible LeMons cars, but some teams cling to the notion that the V6 version should be more reliable. The Firenerds’ Australian captain found the car on CraigsList this weekend with ad showing a photo that was just a Firebird-shaped snowdrift.
Time will tell if it’s any better than a V8, but at least they have a team blood type.
Bad Lucky Touch are RX-7 veterans whose neon-yellow example is accompanied at BS Inspection by a Nosferatu impersonator. It’s a tired gag, but they at least decorated the car’s flip-up headlights.
There are a few BMWs at this race, all of which should have a good shot at the overall win: One Percent Racing’s E28, Swiss Racing’s E30, and former winners Mark’s Harder Lemonaid’s E30.
The One Percent 535is makes no apologies for their BMW Guy-ism.
The Flying Pigs Racing Ford Mustang has been around for a few races and always looks good. The team have added broom-brush eyebrows, ears, and brake ducts made out of Ford Taurus intake boxes.
The Product Design Saturn SL2 team proudly posed in these sweet T-shirts in front of their car.
The Saturn has a sweet intake setup, using some imprecise sheet metal and a home-improvement-store-special HVAC register, behind which lies…
…intake piping made out of casting tape. Yes, casting tape like you would have put on when you broke a bone. They even included a breather and MAF input. I would call it brilliant, but the valve covers head melted through the casting tape. They plugged it with some JB Weld and will place a layer of NVH insulation between to keep it from melting. Will it work? Who knows, but I love that they did it.
This Audi team debuted at Gingerman last year as a bachelor party blowout that ended early. The team nearly sold the 20-valve Quattro at the race, but they instead decided to figure out what they were doing and come back for another shot.
The team’s driver spoke only Spanish and they were good sports about their rotten luck the year before. Their two-element wing should make it so fast. Very doge.
I’m not sure why, other than the car’s Audi rally paint job, but the team also added an immense, spring-loaded rally-style handbrake that will be completely useless on a road course.
Anonymous are veterans with a pretty well-pepared Civic and V for Vendetta apparel. They’ve finished in the Top 10 at Gingerman a time or two and know how to get the most out of their car at the track.
Unfortunately, those upgrades involved an insanely cheaty setup that replaced the carburetor with a shiny new aftermarket fuel-injection setup. Their liberal use of the checkbook-wrench earned them 50 BS laps to start the race.
As usual, BS Inspection involves some give-and-take and sometimes a Russian LeMons owner tries his hardest to convince you that his Ford Festiva has the build quality of a Lada.
Other times, well, these kinds of things happen by.
And it looks a bit trainwreck-ish. Or a lot trainwreck-ish.
Sometimes, just the cars look like a trainwreck. Team NonSequitur’s Acura Integra is a survivor from the bullring-style early LeMons race at Flat Rock Speedway.
The former Team Resignation Ford Escort (aka my old LeMons car) looks resplendent in a purple Easter theme. A Richard Nixon bobblehad resides on the dash bar and a genuine ’72 Nixon campaign sticker adorns the driver’s side of the windshield. When I left the track, the new owners had embarked on swapping on a new balljoint and half-shaft, but the 200,000-mile motor was pulling well from the drivers’ reports on testing.
The Charnal House SHO-powered Geo Metro made its cursory appearance, as the car resides at a nearby shop. The team reworked the exhaust since it broke regularly in the past. The result: It sounds loud and incredible.
Of course, their BS Inspection included an impromptu autograph session at the behest of their NoPro (non)sponsor.
In addition to the Easter-themed Escort (part of a three-car team that are all painted in pastels), the Peep-Sho Ford Taurus SHO has caught its brakes on fire a couple of times. They solved this by adding a second bumper without adding more brake ducting. What could possibly go wrong?
The Bert One Volvo 262C is headed home to Vermont from a four-month stay on the West Coast, but they thought a stop at Gingerman on the way was worthwhile.
Meanwhile, Speedycop headed to Gingerman straight from the New York International Auto Show, where he ran into Hooniverse’s own Kamil Kaluski.
Speedycop added the immense fins from his old Cadillac Fleetwood LeMons car to his Civic’s roof. With the B20 engine from a CRV, it should be decently quick and perhaps could be enough for Speedy and his Gang of Outlaws to take a shot at an overall win.
The Junk Dynasty Ford Mustang skated into the inspection shed a minute before closing up shop. Their badly misfiring 5.0-liter V8 made for an interesting moment when a team member opened the hood in the inspection shed to see a flickering flame out of the car’s shiny new carburetor.
The Little Lebowski Urban Achievers Volvo 240 looks pretty rough, but it’s a solid car and it could be a race winner. Real LeMons drivers never wash their cars.
Class C is interesting at this race. The entries were few with only three being placed into the lowest class. The Loose Lugs showed up last year with a replica still in the back of their 2.8-liter V6 Chevy S10. They repainted it as a beer delivery truck with a delivery man and a man-sized can.
Trucks have done very well in LeMons, especially in Class C, so this might be considered the frontrunner in C.
This first-timer Fiat X1/9 Bertone is a mid-engine 1970s classic that looks pretty darn good with fender flares and an aggressive splitter.
The stock 1.3-liter four cylinder is good for mid-double-digits in terms of power, but it looks like one of the cleaner stock X1/9s that LeMons has ever seen. It should be a legitimately good Class C car.
The automatic, four-cylinder Ford Tempo from Flux Decapacitators has been around a time or two and it somehow ran a sub-1:50 lap at last year’s Gingerman race. This one wears some aggressive Falken Azenis rubber on shiny wheels over Wilwood brakes because if you have car with no power, you may as well make it handle and stop as well as possible.
Check back Saturday and Sunday for live updates from the Penalty Box!
All photos copyright 2014 Hooniverse/Eric Rood