FD Pro2 Atlanta, GA – ROUND 1 | May 11th and 12th
Round One of the Formula Drift Pro2 Series is finished and in the books and it was definitely not with out some challenges. About a week before needing to leave for Atlanta our built LS2 suffered a catastrophic failure during testing. A flaw in the block gave in, and the block cracked (let that be a lesson, always have the block x-rayed for flaws). So with no time to spare, and our engine builder not being able to crank out a bottom end in that short of a time frame my crew chief, Adrian Quiroz, and I went for a hail Mary. Scouring craigslist we found a used LQ9 with about 150k miles on it for a good deal and swapped it into the S14, chucked the Edelbrock supercharger on it, gave it mild tune of 500 HP so that it wouldn’t (hopefully) explode and set off on our cross country road trip from California to Atlanta!
The drive went great and we made really good time. So good in fact that we where able to get the car teched a day early so that we wouldn’t have to be rushed the morning of practice. During practice though is when some gremlins would start rearing there heads. The oil pressure started to drop below safety perimeters and would cut power to the car to save the motor. We lowered the perimeters a bit to get in some runs with out the car cutting, but then the oil pressure only kept dropping. After practice we went through the car to check for leaks but came up empty, so we decided to change the oil to something thicker thinking maybe the oil was oiling over and thinning out. The thicker oil helped but the pressure would keep dropping, and we came to the conclusion that the oil pump was possibly on its way out. With not time to be able to swap oil pumps, I decided to turn off all the perimeters and send it, as qualifying was coming up. As luck would have it the moment I line up for the first qualifying run, it begins to rain. I put down a safe run to at least get some points on the board, scoring a 76. On my second qualifying run, coming up the hill the clutch pedal gets stuck on the floor and because of no drive, the car straightens. So the first run or 76 would have to do. We sat anxiously waiting to see if the 76 would hold up while all the other drivers finish off their 2nd passes. After the smoke had settled the score was good enough to get us into the show with a 15th qualifying spot and pairing us up with the 2nd place qualifier Dylan Hughes. After watching some replays of his qualifying and practice runs (and he did get 2nd) I knew he was a solid driver that wouldn’t play any games.
The day of competition always has a practice session before and our oil pressure was still a major concern, and now our motor is running a bit hot as well. But we had made it this far so we decided that we would go for it. I decided to only do one practice run to save the motor as much as I could, not even letting it idle, the team would push the car up to the starting line. Dylan and I had a hard fought battle for our first run, each making some minor mistakes. The judges deemed it was too close to call and we would go on to a One More Time decision. On our second battle it was another close call with the judges needing to review the replays a few times but after some time they would call Dylan the winner.
After all the ups and downs the team and I are happy with the outcome. We put some points up on the board and are pumped for Round 2 coming up in St. Louis, Missouri. This is a new track for Formula Drift so we’ll see what challenges it throws at us! Now its time to pull out the motor (again) and get to work on something with a bit more confidence. See you guys at Round 2!