This was the first race for Bulldog Racing after totaling the car 1 year ago at WGI in the Sunday rain. We rebuilt and spent the end of 2018 and start of 2019 with track days to shake out all the kinks of the new build.
However we did not find all the kinks.....
As the Friday test session wore on, drivers noted a slow loss in engine power followed by running on 5 cylinders. We pulled plugs and found #2 cyl wet. Thinking it was just fouled up, we replaced and took a lap around the garages. Still only 5 cyl. So we yanked the valve cover and discovered the #2 intake rocker shoe was gone, the rocker arm being pulverized by the cam lobe. We had spare rockers but no spare cam. Brian at Shut Up Racing drove to his house and brought us a fresh camshaft! We reassembled and at 9pm Friday night, cranked the engine to test then break-in the cam. Oil pressure was good at the start, however 10min in to 2500rpm high idle, pressure drops to 5psi. We shut down the engine and begin to diagnose. thinking the debris from the rockers/camshaft failure created a clog in the system, We purged the sender line, bypassed the cooler and replaced the oil filter.
So we drop the front subframe to drop the oil pan to get at the oil pump. The gear faces looked great, the housing body wasn't the worst I've seen. We were stumped. We shone a light at the bypass valve in the pump housing and saw daylight. It seems debris from the cam failure lodged itself in the valve seat of the bypass, preventing oil pressure from being generated and dumping oil back into the pan. At this point it was 12am and everyone had gone home except for the team who threw a rod in their m20 motor (I think it was #35 Step Brothers Racing). I asked if they had a spare oil pump...."yea, it's in the trash can outside, it's yours!"
...so I dug in the trash to find a very glittery oil pump with crap all inside of it. However, the lower section with the bypass was very clean! So we cleaned that part up and threw the pump together, reinstalled the pump and oil pan then cranked the engine.
ALL THE OIL PRESSURES!!!
At this point it was 1.45am and Chris G and I were dead tired and agreed to come back and hit it hard first thing in the morning. We started working at 7am and missed the race start by 10 minutes, I was ecstatic! Saturday went well, at the 1hr mark, the exhaust decided to fail at the weld joint ahead of the muffler. We lost an hour trying to fix it with aluminum flashing, but that decided to fall off somewhere around the 4hr mark (Sorry if anyone ran over our muffler). It seems the e30 can run with no muffler @ WGI just fine. Still more quiet than that gen1 RX7. We finished Saturday in 69th (giggity) place with a 4th gear that was slowly becoming non-existent. Post-race inspection found the rear CV boot let go spraying grease everywhere. So a new axel was installed and basic work was done (new front pads, new trans fluid).
Sunday Chris G started (his first race start) and did a great job, but radioed in to say 4th gear was pretty much gone. Myself and Sean S ran the remainder of the race using only 3rd and 5th gear on the car. It was a learning experience on adapting my racing line due to crap corner exit speed. Sorry to anyone that we were racing with.
Huge thank you to Brian @ Shut Up Racing for the camshaft, Will G @ GWR for the help with a quick cam removal and #35 Step Brothers Racing for the trashcan oil pump! Thanks to Champcar staff for a great weekend.
Next race is Thompson 12h, but I will be at VIR 24h supporting GWR.