It's been a busy few weeks for Project STR as the summer race season has finally made its way to the Midwest with three back-to-back weekends of competition.
First up was an outing to the Tri-State Sports Car Club event at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, IL for a shake down on the installation of our new KW Clubsport suspension. Installation went well, but during the event driver Chris Harvey noticed some unusual handling characteristics. Investigation revealed that machining on one of the prototype rear shock mounts allowed the spring coils to come in contact with the shock body, creating a significant bind. Once back home, shimming the angle of the top mount canted the spring enough to clear the shock body, and solved the problem. We’re using the first prototype, so the final production piece will be corrected to prevent this from happening.
The KW Clubsport suspension was put to the ultimate test over the Memorial Day weekend as Harvey and co-driver John Rogers drove the car 600 miles to Lincoln, NE for the Tire Rack SCCA Spring Double Nationals with back-to-back Pro Solo and National Tour events. At the Pro, Rogers was quick early on, but faded on day two, slipping back to 7th, one out of the trophies. Harvey was able to capitalize on his day-two runs, jumping up to the 3rd spot, right behind the S2000s of Robert Thorne and James Yom.
Here’s a video look at the right side course on day two.
At the National Tour event, rain was the story on day one, as the first two heats were run in soaked to just wet conditions. A drying course for our heat meant it would come down to the third and final run to get it done. Adding to the challenge was the sheer size of the course, lasting 75 seconds per run and covering the entire area normally devoted to two courses. Rogers struggled to find his rhythm in several of the four long slaloms on the course, slotting into the 16th spot out of 26 drivers. Harvey fared better, posting the 7th fastest time in the class, and the quickest for a 3rd gen Mazda MX-5 as the field tried to chase down the gaggle of Honda S2000s that lead the pack. Hot temperatures and high winds greeted our drivers on day two. In the end, our team wasn’t able to find enough speed to catch the leaders, with Harvey taking the 8th and final trophy spot and Rogers moving up one to 15th overall.
Back home in Indiana, Chris Harvey took some time to compete in the 19th annual Yokohama/Tire Rack/Windy City BMW Club Charity Challenge held at the Tire Rack test track. All non-BMWs are lumped together in the “everything else” class competing heads up with no index factor. Harvey put his local track knowledge to good use as he drove his way through the tight and tricky course set-up by the Windy City crew. When the dust settled Chris had the 3rd fastest non-BMW and the 4th fastest time of the event. Not too bad considering the cars ahead of him were rolling on sticky Hoosier R-compound tires, versus the Hankook Ventus R-S3 street tires currently on our MX-5.
Next up will be the Tire Rack SCCA National Tour in Toledo, OH over the July 4th weekend.