|June 6, 2002
STaSIS Speed World Challenge Touring Car - Mosport
Mosport was the first race of the season for the STaSIS touring car. This year's team consists of four full time members: Paul Lambert (Driver and Owner); Larry Childs (Crew Chief); Ryan Facket (Technical Engineer); and Eric Deion (Engine Development Engineer). Each race will additionally include at least one other crew member. A full year has passed and STaSIS continues development on race-bred brake components, shocks and a new rear wing mount (among other things). Details on these different parts aren't complete and as such STaSIS is not providing further information yet.
The STaSIS philosophy centers around designing products for the street and then proving reliability at the track. In the previous race season the touring car didn't make it through a single race weekend without warping a set of rotors. Accordingly, optimizing the rotor and hat combination to prevent warping was a major focus in the off season. The time spent on the brakes really paid off at Mosport, as some consumers with this same setup for their street cars will attest.
On Friday the first practice session at Mosport started out well. Paul was working on the racing line in an effort to determine the optimum entrance, apex and exit points. While searching for the limits in the entrance of turn 2, and attempting to adapt for really pushing the car, Paul decided to inadvertently demonstrate the value of quattro both on and off the track. The car pushed wide and off into the wet grass at over 100 mph; however it was brought under control without any real panic and eased back onto the track with only some slight damage. The front bumper and splitter looked just about ready to separate from the body. Luckily this gave Larry and Ryan a chance to practice repairing the front end of the car. Ironically, this experience proved useful later in the weekend.
The afternoon continued with repairs to the car and adjustments to the setup. The goal for the afternoon session was to dial some of the understeer out of the car on corner entry and exit. Paul reported that the car was good mid-corner but, also reported understeer on corner entry and exit. For this reason it was necessary to adjust the line of entry and exit of the corner to keep the car on the track, which resulted in the times being slower than the morning session. In the morning Paul was turning times in 1:37's, but with the afternoon repairs and changes to the car times in the high 1:38's were barely achievable.
With the first day complete and practice and qualifying to come on Saturday, there were decisions to be made. The team had hoped to have all of the handling issues resolved with the changes which were made for the second practice session. However, with the lap times not falling, there were going to be changes which needed to be made for qualifying.
It is an uncomfortable feeling for a driver to go and qualify on a completely different setup from where he had last driven the car. That being the case, Paul still opted for the risk of major changes. The rear springs rates were increased, negative camber was removed from the rear, more negative camber was added to the front, the rear wing was flattened and finally there were adjustments to the rake of the car. Will all the changes there was no one thing that Paul could focus on during qualifying. He would have to just go out, use his instincts and drive.
The car still needed to be corner balanced, and this was even more of an onerous task than usual. Due to the slope of the paddock and the gravel, getting the scales and the table level was difficult. The picture shows some of the challenge of getting the table leveled out.
The car was brought up to the grid with a slight stuttering sound to the engine. It was initially attributed to the cold temperatures early in the day at Mosport, as the car had been idling roughly with the installation of a new flywheel and dual plate racing clutch. Unfortunately, Paul pulled out at the start of the qualifying and the car had no power. In fact, he had a very difficult time even making it around to the pits. There were a couple of changes made to the car and Paul was sent out again only to find he still hadl no power. Paul managed to cross the timing line to end his first lap exiting the pits, thus creating the 10 plus minute qualifying time.
After coming off of the track and back to the paddock, the problem was resolved quickly and expertly by Larry and Ryan. They tracked down a bad connector in the Motec system and replaced it with direct wiring. This resolved the issue with the A4 being down 2 cylinders. Because the car did not fall inside of the 115%**, the team needed to petition SCCA for entry into the race field. Eventually the car was allowed to enter the race based on the practice times the previous day.
**To qualify for the starting grid, the car/driver combination must achieve a time not slower than 110-115% of the average time for the fastest three (3) qualifiers. This rule may be waived at the discretion of the Chief Steward where he believes a car/driver combination would be competitive.
Pages: