Penny-pinching car geek's guide to racing, track days, and car build. DIY projects, product reviews, and interviews.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Upcoming interview! (and an update on my life)

Gerardo Bonilla has graciously agreed to an e-mail interview! I got to speak to Mr. Bonilla at my first Florida autocross. He and Matt Ferratusco led the novice walk which I attended. It is the best novice walk I've been on. I think the Martin Sports Car Club is very fortunate to have such talent in the club.

For those of you that don't know Mr. Bonilla, he has recently driven in the 24 hours of Rolex with Gotham Competition entry. He also drove in ALMS with B-K Motorsports in the BP Mazda entry. He has had more experience and success in IMSA lites, Speed World Challenge, Formula Mazda, and more.
Please check out his website! 

He is from Puerto Rico and currently resides in Orlando, Florida. In person Mr. Bonilla is equally impressionable; well-spoken and with a very sharp eye. When I met him he looked very well composed despite the freezing temperatures.

Thank you for those of you in the website and my friends with ideas on which interview questions to ask.

Nothing much has been happening in my life. I've sent out even more job applications with no luck. I finished one of my business law classes recently, so I should have slightly more time to make updates. I am beginning to think about a non-legal career; maybe even temporarily until the legal market improves. I do really want to get experience practicing law even though eventually I may pursue another career. 

(first picture) Bob Heathcote NASCAR, Indy, F1 and more racing news
(second picture) Eric Morse Racing Please check out Morse's racing career on his website.
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Friday, February 26, 2010

R-package Bilstein Shocks

I'll keep this post very short. Here are some things I have discovered.

Shock spring perch height 
As listed in the FatCatMotorsports webpage, the R-package Bilstein shocks are a bit shorter than the stock shocks. However, I have also discovered that the spring perches are slightly lower by about 5 millimeters. This will lower my car even more. Unfortunately, as I was in a hurry at the time I did not take measurements. I have a photo somewhere but the camera I used is my roommate's, and he is not home right now. Note for next time; if there is any information I want to obtain and keep, get it no matter what!

Tire clearance
And with old Flyin' Miata springs, R-package Bilsteins, 205mm wide tires, 15x7 wheels and 40mm offset the inside of the left-front tire rubs against the headlight wiring. I've moved this up a little bit using zip ties but it is still rubbing. It is also possible that something else is rubbing. If anyone has experience with these dimensions and save me some time, please let me know.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Track day report.. NOT

It was Friday. A day for festivities and unwinding. The streets of Gainesville come alive with activity. You cannot go to all the places in town and you'll never grow bored of this lively city. There is always something to do around the clock.

Okay, maybe not.. select areas of University Avenue come alive. There are less than ten places to go enjoy nightlife. Its not much. Have you seen Devil's Advocate? The place where Kevin Lomax parties it up with his hot wife in the beginning basically sums up Gainesville, but even that makes it look better than it really is. In Gainesville, you go to the same damn bars you go every time. And if you happen to be a law student, you go with the same people so you can run into even more people you see every single day at school. Oh, and most dudes just wear a shirt and a pair of shorts. Maybe a baseball cap, or if you are extra hip, realtree camo hunting cap. Yep, that is Gainesville alright.

But still, its was Friday. Girls still dress pretty and who ever gets bored of pretty girls right? That is off-limits for me though, although I would much rather take my girl out for drinks than do what I did on Friday. Sure, it may be the same place every time, but it grows on you a little bit and it sure beats my Friday evening.

After spending a few hours to get my tires mounted, I spent all day doing schoolwork which obviously sucks. At night, I started to install my Bilstein shocks on my car for the track day the next day (today). Straightforward install with cut factory bumpstops. I did the rear ones then moved up front. Busted out the pitman puller and went to work..

And proceeded to mess up the upper ball joint threads. The puller was not aligned properly and destroyed some of the threads on the ball joint it was supposed to push out. I tried forcing the threads back in with a bunch of different nuts with no avail. I tried cutting the ruined part off for a temporary fix with no luck. Well, I was SOL.

Also, one of the studs on my fron right hub finally gave in. It seemed already partly damaged. The lug nut cross-threaded against the stud as I was turning it out. This wouldn't have stopped me from doing the track day though; I could have bought new studs at the store before the event. Too bad my ball joint is destroyed, huh? I need to replace the entire upper control arm because they don't come separately.

I did go watch the last thirty minutes or so of the event however. A fried of mine was driving his 4500lbs, 410hp Dodge around the track instead of his race car. The guy who sets up the events makes an exception to the standing policy and credits my entry fee to the next event. The old formula Ford that shows up and breaks each time is acutally working and putting in laps this time. Shit happens, but things aren't too bad. I'll just wait another month for the next event and do an autocross instead.

So.. new shopping list:
Replacement stud and some spares
RF upper control arm and castle nut

By the way, Discount Tire Direct has an 80 dollar rebate special for Falken Azenis RT615s. I know they are old and slow, but I got my 205/50/15s for 300 dollars mounted. Can't beat that.