Homebuilt Mid-Engine Sports Racer

Neil

Supporter
Howard,
Yes, my G50 is inverted. As far as I know a G50 ring gear cannot be flipped over to the other side so turning it upside down is the only approach. I changed shift rod rotation direction with that small link because without it the shift pattern at the shifter is reversed- the 1-2 is actually 3-4. If you look at "Seat 9.jpg" posted above you can see how I did the other (shifter) end.

I'm getting things back together right now to take it up to the salt. There may also be some 400 mph streamliners there for World Of Speed so it should be an interesting event. The highest speed at Speed Week earlier this month was 466.290 mph. If you've never been to Bonneville, put it on your bucket list!
 

Neil

Supporter
I'm working on preparing my car so lots of work has been done lately. Today I made a small panel to block an opening in the cockpit. It is a 0.063" thick sheet of 3003-H14 aluminum that I cut, bent, drilled, and finished by scouring it with a yellow 3M bristle disc in an angle grinder. I can't recommend this 3M abrasive disc too highly. It is a unique design that is perfect for de-burring parts and leaving a scuffed finish which provides a "tooth" for paint or adhesives to adhere to. A simple wipe with denatured alcohol is all the preparation it needs before painting. One nice feature is that it doesn't grab the piece out of your hands and fling it across the room!

 

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Joel K

Supporter
Howard,
Yes, my G50 is inverted. As far as I know a G50 ring gear cannot be flipped over to the other side so turning it upside down is the only approach. I changed shift rod rotation direction with that small link because without it the shift pattern at the shifter is reversed- the 1-2 is actually 3-4. If you look at "Seat 9.jpg" posted above you can see how I did the other (shifter) end.

I'm getting things back together right now to take it up to the salt. There may also be some 400 mph streamliners there for World Of Speed so it should be an interesting event. The highest speed at Speed Week earlier this month was 466.290 mph. If you've never been to Bonneville, put it on your bucket list!
Neil, I enjoyed your last video at Bonneville. I hope you get some of the weekend on video this time too.
 

Neil

Supporter
Thanks, Howard. World of Speed is from 10th to the 13th of September. I hope to get some video of the starting line at least if it doesn't rain between now and then.
 

Neil

Supporter
It's Monday morning and I'm back home in Tucson. We left Wendover yesterday morning and arrived home late last night after an 800 mile drive hauling the car on a trailer. We lost 3 hours getting our trailed fender re-welded in Boulder City, Nevada. The vibration had cracked a weld but Sparc Welding worked us into their schedule and we were back on the road.

On Friday afternoon I was in the Short Course staging line ready to run, 4 cars back when the course was closed due to high wind. My crew, Wayne Luddington and Chuck Huber towed me back to our pit and we secured things by taking the canopies off of the Easy-Ups, etc. and left for a quick bite to eat at the Salt Flats Cafe.

It had rained a little overnight so we had to dry off the car and get things ready. A throttle sticking problem was discovered but quickly fixed by Wayne and Chuck so they towed me over to the Short Course staging line and we waited, gradually moving up. I suited up, got into the driver's seat and fired up the engine to warm it up. Once at the starting line I pulled on my helmet, tightened my belts, and started the engine once again. The starter stooped down to see me through the windshield, gave the "visor down" motion with his hand and indicated that I could go when I was ready.

I shifted into 1st gear, let out the clutch and felt it bite hard and the car moved off down the course. Since this was only a shakedown pass for a "new car", I had planned to take it very easy at first. Also, since it was going to be only a test session, I had enter the car in the 150 Club class rather than run in B/GMS so I had to keep my speed under 159.999 mph or be disqualified. I shifted into 2nd at only about 5k rpm and still had hard acceleration so I just shifted into 5th gear and let the tach needle climb up to about 4800 rpm. I had marked my tach at 5633 rpm which should have been 150 mph so I thought I was going around 130-140 mph and I held it at that speed through the Quarter. Once through the timing lights I let off the throttle slowly and let the speed drop, eventually shifting into 4th and then 3rd, applying brakes very lightly and then I saw a turn-off and drove over to the return road. Since to chase truck was not going to arrive for a while, I drove back down the return road to get air flowing through the radiator to cool the engine. (since I was in the 150 Club it was legal to drive my car as well as be towed) The coolant temperature was 180F so things looked normal so I drove a half mile back towards the starting line on the return road and stopped.

Wayne and Chuck arrived, they hooked up the tow rope and we headed back to our pit. On the way back we stopped at the timing tower to get our timing slip. A fellow ran out, handed it to Chuck, exclaiming "A perfect run!". We looked at the numbers, 157.45852 mph- much faster that I had planned or thought I was going. Somehow I must have used some wrong data to generate my RPM vs Speed spreadsheet. After getting back to our pit we had a look under the rear bodywork- no oil or water leaks, the coolant level was normal and everything looked fine and capable of making another run.

A serious look at the weather prediction for that afternoon showed increasing winds and rain showers which discouraged us from trying another run; also, if I ran 3 mph faster I'd be disqualified so we decided to pack up and call it a day.

We had done what we had planned on doing.
:-D
 

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Neil

Supporter
Congratulations Neil! Great effort and stellar results!
Thank you, Randy and all the others who have commented. It is clear that this car is far faster than this run. I just shifted to 5th from 5k rpm in 2nd and let its torque build the speed up to 157. The salt was so hard and dry that I left black tire marks off the line.
 

Neil

Supporter
Yes, Howard, it sure did. The car is geared for 209 mph at 7200 rpm and I think it can do that.

If you've never been to Bonneville, you should plan to go. Speed Week in in August next year and is the biggest land speed racing event. World of Speed is in September and much smaller but worthwhile. The nice thing about Bonneville is that it is still like racing used to be in the "40s and '50s before big prize money and TV coverage turned racing into a business. This is still amateur racing. You can walk in the pits, watch what's going on, talk to the drivers and crew, and maybe even help someone work on their car. Try that in F1 or NASCAR!
 
^ is there a general equivalence factor between top speed on salt vs road? I know it's generally difficult to find pavement where you can do a true speed attempt, but curious if X speed on salt = X x 1.2 on pavement.
Secondly, does anyone show up with current street/race cars such as Porsche GT2, understanding they need to have full cage etc?
 

Neil

Supporter
A few photos from World of Speed 2021. These were taken by my friend Chuck Huber who was part of my crew.
The Jaguar "Salt Cat" has a Buick Straight-Eight engine. Now if I can figure out why those pictures are straight on my monitor but post sideways.....
 

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Neil

Supporter
Spud, I may not have answered your questions. Yes, production sports cars show up sometimes- see the previous photo of a Porsche. I've seen two Ferraris and a 300SL Gullwing driven by John Fitch and various other cars. The salt surface was outstanding this year-hard and smooth but it doesn't have the coefficient of friction of asphalt. A car will have a higher top speed on asphalt or concrete than on salt. No ratio is possible as the salt surface varies so much from year to year and even from day to day.

We returned home from Bonneville, cleaned up the car a bit and yesterday took it to a small local car show. Now we are back home; time to unload it from my trailer and roll it into the shop.
 

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Neil

Supporter
While I think of it I'll post a picture of one of the most beautiful cars of all time. It is a Ferrari 275 GTB/4 "Long Nose" owned by my friend, Dave Cummins, a retired designer for Chrysler Corporation. In the Sixties, Pininfarina turned out some epic designs. You don't often see $3.2M cars driven on the street!
 

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