Serving Daytona Beach Fl – Orlando – St Augustine
After the race in April we made major changes to the car and team. First, we made several changes to the team. We added Dan Wolf to the team as the new Crew Chief so Davey could be one of the drivers. Jennifer went through training to become one of the drivers as well. Rob Engel joined the team as one of the fueling/specialty techs on the crew.
Going into the 2018 race season the team members were as follows:
Drivers: Keary Morris, Sam Hall, Davey Wolf, Jennifer Morris
Pit Crew: Dan Wolf, Allen Espy, Dan Rizzardi, Rob Engel.
Next, we made several changes to the car to make it faster and more reliable. Speed is important but in an endurance race the key is to make the car reliable enough to last a full 14 hours and 1200 miles. It doesn’t matter how fast the car is if it doesn’t make it to the finish line. With this in mind we made the following improvements.
We weren’t happy with the performance of the GM 350 that came in the car so we had a 383 Stroker bored to 388 custom built by White Performance in Tennessee. Keary worked extensively with White Performance to make sure the new engine would be powerful, long lasting and meet the requirements of Champcar.
Next, we built a T56 manual six speed transmission to replace the T5. This would allow us to make the most of the new horsepower and give better ratios on the track.
We then replaced the Australian 9 bolt rear differential with a 12 bolt Moser differential with a Trutrack carrier. This was an important improvement to align the entire drivetrain for the power, speed and gearing. In road racing it is a delicate balance between high speed on the long stretches of banking and the agility needed through the in-field. This new combination would allow the car to perform well on both.
Of course, with the massive changes in power and speed a new brake system was critical. We custom built a brake system upgrading from the factory 4 piston setup to a newly designed 16 piston setup with varying sizes. In addition, we converted from the single brake master cylinder setup to a triple master to meet the increased braking demands.
All of these changes required a lot of work and redesigning under the vehicle for stability and safety. New suspension, cross members and support brackets were designed and installed as we went.
Race Day 2018
After a year of preparation and countless hours of work we were finally ready for the 2018 Champcar Daytona 14 Hour Endurance Race. The race was April 7, 2018 with the green flag at 9:00am.
130 cars entered spanning 5 classes.
The Camaro ran fast and strong, much better than it did in 2017. All of the mechanical improvements made a huge difference in performance and placement. At one point the team had the car ranked 2nd overall—#2 on the leaderboard out of 124 and 2nd in class out of 27 until a minor tangle with another car shaved our time and sent us back to 49th position overall, our lowest ranking of the day.
After the altercation the car developed a bad vibration. The team thought it was a damaged wheel bearing and was prepared to pull out of the race. Fortunately, we found out it was only a badly flat-spotted tire so we were able to replace it and after several pit stops the repairs were completed and the car ran well for the duration of the race.
The team continued to re-climb the board and finished 34th overall—#34 on the leaderboard out of 124 and 9th in class out of 27.
Highlights of the race included being 1 of only 3 cars to average a 102 mph lap average. We also set the 3rd fastest lap of the day at 2:14:3. Most importantly, we finished the race and had fun. We also learned quite a bit that would translate to more improvements heading into the 2019 season.
Post 2018 Race
The race in April showed several areas to improve. In the 2018 race we had no radio communication between the drivers and pit crew. The cool suit system wasn’t working correctly so the drivers had to race all day with no A/C or cool suit, which was stifling during the heat of the day. Once the sun set it became obvious the factory headlights were inadequate for the the back stretch of the track. Finally, the engine performance during the heat of the day was not as good as during the cooler evening hours so we went to the drawing board to look at causes and improvements. Most important, now that we have a car that will go the distance we need to make sure the drivers maximize the time on the track which means no more crashes and extra pit stops.
First, we replaced the radio system with a new high level Motorola complete system. We brought in a professional system installer to set up the system to make sure we have good communication across the track at all times.
Next, we repaired the cool suit system and installed new air intake vents to deliver extra outside air to the driver.
To address the engine performance we used a 2 prong approach. First, we replaced the exhaust system front to back. We started with new 1 3/4 inch headers with long primaries and a longer collector to widen the power band. This was in place of the previous 1 5/8 headers with short primaries and a short collector. The pipe diameter was increased to 3 inch from 2 1/2 and new Spinteck mufflers replaced the previous mufflers.
The second part of improvements on the engine involved a whole new air intake system.
Finally, the factory headlights had to go. We custom built a new double stacked LED system in place of the previous halogen single lights.