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Since the Official thread couldn't stay on track here's one that is all about the AMP weekend!


Hong Norrth brought a veteran and a noob car to the race. The #8 TronsAm MX3 has been very successful for years and the new Mazda 323 would experience it's first W-2-W race ever... with a team of drivers who had limited race experience.


On Saturday the #8 car had a spectacular day with efficient pit stops, solid driving from Kevin and Nabil, and a little help from a few very fast cars having issues. The 323 also had an amazing debut with solid driving and no teething issues - a testament to the thoroughness of the build and lessons learned through many years of doing this kind of racing. A finish well inside the top 10 (7th OA) is a great accomplishment for a new car and less-experienced drivers.


The MX3 used up a couple of Maxxis tires and we didn't have new ones for Sunday, so we threw on some old ZIIs, checked the brakes and oil and called it a night. The 323 mounted new tires and made a few small changes to get ready for Sunday. I had the honor of starting in the MX3 Sunday morning with a 4-lap MOV deficit. The car was running well and I had a great battle with the "cow" Prelude and V-6 Miata. We ran nose to tail for at least 20 laps and I set the car's FTD during the battle. About 1:30 into my stint the handling got a bit wonky but the 323 was in the pit stall for repairs after an incident on track. I wrestled the car for another 15 minutes before being scared enough to pit. Kevin jumped in the car and we changed the right front tire which had somehow lost air and had about 12psi left. The MX3 kept plugging away (and changing the right front tire 3 times) all day and managed to get into the top 5 (not counting the EC car). When I removed the right front wheel for impound the handling and tire issue became apparent - the ball joint was loose and providing several degrees of "dynamic toe" during the second half of the race!


The 323 was involved an incident and spent 50+ laps in the paddock having suspension parts swapped. The team thrashed hard to get the car back on track and drove respectable times given the horrible alignment that resulted from the fix. Another checkered flag after an epic repair. Kudos to Ben for building another strong car in the Hong Norrth stable.


Congratulations to the other winners and thank you to most of the teams on track - the racing was clean and courteous.

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The 323 was a bouncy castle on wheels. Blown stock shocks and stoppies in the braking zones = lots of fun throwing it around AMP. I was the wheelman during Sunday morning's incident, and I'm feeling it this morning a little bit. I was passing a group of slower cars on the 6-10 "straight", and I think a Miata didn't see me on the outside when he swung over to the right and we made contact. I was concentrating so hard on staying out of the wall, I missed the car number. I walked up and down the pits to check on the other car, but I could never find who I made contact with. If anyone has in-car footage of the hit, I'd love to see exactly what happened and hopefully learn from it.

 The team really rallied together to get the car back on track; it was incredible to be a part of a great group of Chumps this weekend.





Edited by WarrenV
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We had a trying weekend that started the week prior.


About a month ago, after running great through the VIR 24, on the second day of a NASA event our Miata overheated with the head gasket toasted. We picked up a new head but only found out at the last minute that the one we had received was already cracked. That was last friday. Pick up a third head, go to install it Monday before the race and one of the engine caps is stuck in. Off again to the machine shop to pull that out. Finally, Wednesday the head is on, motor back in the car.... and it doesn't fire. Troubleshoot most of Thursday and still no fire with only intermittent spark. Friday it's off to the expert where everything gets tried. Double check the timing, swap ECUs, plugs, coils, everything. Ok, must be the wiring harness. I get that call as I'm at AMP checking in with Angela, already expecting not to take the green flag on Saturday. "We need a wiring harness". Straight to the Racing Analytics guys who think they have a harness, but can't get ahold of the boss. They recommend another source and I'm driving back towards Atlanta. Two hours later (almost 10pm Friday night) I have one engine wiring harness in hand.


Did I mention the car is still in Charlotte? I call back to base telling them to take a nap while I drive the new harness up. It goes right in and fires up!  3am Saturday morning. We might make it to the green flag! Well we still had to put the radiator in, load the car, and a 40' trailer doesn't make the trip quite as fast as my rental car. We rolled in at 10:30, just happy to get some running in before Sunday. Racing Analytics came through again with a quick string alignment. Soon we were on track getting a good shakedown and running well until the checkered came out.


Sunday started well, with everything ticking nicely, coolant temps seeming fine, and even got a great jump on the Green flag. With another great jump on the restart my first shift was exciting and eventful, working our way up to a comfortable 14th which held after our first pit stop. Our second driver takes off and is putting in more consistent fast laps (we're happy with a 1:40.0) but we have some communication issues with his helmet mike dropping off. He can hear us and we're alright with a "click code" to get responses by hot miking. As he is getting towards the end of that 2nd stint, we get the "I have a problem" click code and I start playing 20 questions. "Does this require pitting" no. "Does this affect your laptime" no "Do you have an issue with contact" no... and so on. He's keeps lapping until the overflow bottle pops. He's limping it in when it dies completely on pit-in. We let it cool enough to open the radiator cap and find nothing there. Pouring water in we find it pouring out the bottom, cracked radiator. The first team to have a spare Miata radiator won't fit (NA vs our NB) so it's off again to Racing Analytics. With their part paid for we fill it again, but again... it won't start. Compression test tells us 0. Cylinder 2 is like a geyser so we are dead in the water.


Still, all of us got to turn laps, and it was fun while it ran. We're committed to making it back to VIR, and we're pretty good at swapping the head now...

Edited by takjak2
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Did their engine look like this:




 or this:



The top is for the "normal" 944, while the bottom one has higher HP.


I was actually wondering if it has a V8 swap or something in it...


If they're using race gas, then it sounds like there is some significant internal work that has been done to that thing. Stock engines only need 91 octane.

Edited by KDJones2000
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One of, if not the worst race weekend for Team Jacky Ickx.

Our bad luck started early when Mark and I got rear ended in downtown Atlanta on our way to the track in our rental.

The 935 blew an engine 90 minutes into the race on the first day.

After taking the lead at the 3 hour mark, the GT30 blew a hole in the transmission.

Because of Keith and Mark's hard work, and the help of several teams, the GT30 was on the grid Sunday.

Unfortunately a mistake earned us a 10 minutes penalty, Our apologies to the SHO team (again).

Our car was bent, but kept on going for a few more hours, and was coming back to a top 4-6 when it lost all its water???? Game over!

But you know what!? After we digested our disappointments, we realized we still had a blast. We really enjoy the camaraderie in Chumpcar with our competitors, and the chumpcar staff.

It was also a pleasure to see so many of our good friends on the podium, CONGRATULATIONS!

Now, our luck has to turn around at some point! Watch for us at Barber!!! (if we managed to fix our cars on time....)


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  • Technical Advisory Committee

Had a great time with the best seat in the house working pit out above turn one.. I have so wanted to take on this track ,now after seeing it  I've got to make it happen .  Hanging with the Chump staff, as always, is a blast and to see the late night thrashes on the new rule book, I'm tell in ya they want to get it right so calm down its almost there.. The kart track Friday night was a blast and very challenging ,took us a while to get it down ,but when we did it was on. The track manager even congratulated us on schooling some regulars .  As always the only thing better than working with chump is racing with CHUMPCAR .  THANKS ALL.. 

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We had a great time at AMP for the first 1hr 45 min. Unfortunately our live feed did not work well (verison hotspot with bad service), and our camera did not record any of the in car footage.  


Our troubles started at Charlotte in July where our steering was locking up on off camber right hand turns.  We thought we ironed out the problem by the end of the night at Charlotte, but to be sure we replaced every piece of the front end that had to do with steering between the two races.  


We decided to run a wider tire for this race for a little more grip in the turns. The combination of the new tires and the front strut tower bar made for a very happy drive.  This was the best the car had ever handled in the many years of driving this car.  


1hr 45min in running 5th I had a rather severe vibration start so I pulled into the pits to find the left front tire was worn out completely.  (this is on a car that can almost run a 24hr race on one set of tires...)  We gave it a once over and thought this was our only issue. When the next driver got on track the vibration was still there and was getting worse the longer he was out.  On his way into the pits to find the problem the vibration revealed itself with a loud bang.  We broke and axle.  After snatching the axle out in about 10min we realized that the axle had smacked the flange and bent the ear over not allowing us to install the new axle in the flange.  Now it was on to replacing the transmission.  This took longer than normal but eventually we had the car back on the track.   The car was running consistent and the driver was still learning the track and taking it easy on the car. (kind of a shake down for the next day)  This is when the gremlins reappeared and the steering wheel locked up on turn 16. The wheel was turned to the right and would not turn back to the left to straighten out the car.  luckily the driver was able to scrub off some of the speed prior to finding the wall.  He is a little banged up but ok (this is the main thing).  It was a hard hit and it actually moved the motor over about 1/2". The rear tire now has about 6 degrees of negative camber and is dog tracking by about and 1". We had enough parts to fix it enough to be able to drive it on the trailer but we could not fix it enough to safely continue on the rest of the weekend especially on that tight of a track.  not positive yet but I think we might finally have to retire the VW. :(


If anyone has any ideas of why the steering would lock up on a off camber right hand turn let me know as we still have no idea what could have caused it.  This is the same type of turn that it was locking up on us at Charlotte as well and as I said we replaced every part under the front end that had to do with steering.

As for the racing it was great while it lasted.  Everyone was driving clean a race.


Also if anyone has any footage of the turn 16 crash on Saturday please send it my way as our camera was not working properly. 


Thanks to the CHUMP staff for a great even!


Edited by Triangle42
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Boy.... That master cylinder sure looks shiney. ;)


before the the pitchforks come out, for some reference there is a 924/944 up here that absolutely hauls donkey on the straights. I wouldn't expect that car to have a cheaty engine. So the blue one pictured isn't necessarily a one off (disclaimer, I know next to nothing about those cars/engines)

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I think that AMP is just a track that these 944's can do well at, but even with that said there is a big difference between what the #1 and #2 cars were able to do.


I run pretty much the same set up as the #2 car, with a ram air intake to gain 1-2HP. It kind of looks like the #1 is running something similar, but they have removed the AFM (Airflow Meter), which is a known restriction point in these cars. That would mean that they have a MAF or MAP conversion, which usually requires a standalone engine management setup.


If they are running race gas, then my guess is that they probably have some euro-spec higher compression pistons in that as well, probably with a shaved head, possibly cam.


I know that I can't do that and stay under 500 points with our 924S (50 points higher than the 944 - go figure).


Kudos to the #2 car for sure for doing what they did. This car seems legit to me, although they also have replaced the AFM with a freer flowing MAF setup.


Drivers can make a huge difference in these momentum cars, so it might be that the CC's are simply wringing every ounce of performance out of that thing, with the mods they have done.

Edited by KDJones2000
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