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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is blatantly non-se-r, but I figure people here like to see this kind of stuff, and it may lead to some sort of se-r related discussion.

Note: though I'm not posting anything crazy-top-secret, I'd like if this doesn't get crossposted anywhere. thanks.

I'm working on a Mazda 6 chassis at work for World Challenge and the beginnings of the cage are in. First pic is of the chassis rack I built for it. Others are some early cage pics. If there is interest, I can try to take a few more along the way.





andris
 

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I must say andris, you got a pretty cool job.

Have you learned any super-secret setup techniques that you can apply to your SRX car? Or is the super-secret technique just loads and loads of cash?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Scarpa said:
I must say andris, you got a pretty cool job.

Have you learned any super-secret setup techniques that you can apply to your SRX car? Or is the super-secret technique just loads and loads of cash?
Oops, forgot to reply to this earlier. Umm, I have definitely learned a lot about car prep in general. The really valuable stuff is all the tiny little tricks to make stuff work. I can't even think of any in particular, since they are things that are just ingrained in the way I work now. Money is certainly part of what makes things happen, but there are people who spend a lot more that aren't any faster. One interesting side of the same coin has opened up a different perspective to me. Everything is done to the limit; it is interesting how different a car goes together when it is someone's full-time job. Way different than how privateers or club racers do it. If some part doesn't fit or work, the time is taken to make it right, order a different one, etc. instead of just making it work. Sometimes you do just have to make something work, but it is a whole different level. Almost every single part on the car, even if it is a factory part, has been re-engineered in some way to make it better. ok, maybe not the wheelbearings... or the door hinges... :)

andris
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
skyliner said:
Do they bother welding up the unibody seams on those or not? I here tell that really stiffens up a chassis.
Without getting too specific, no we don't seam-weld the whole body. There is some strategic welding done to the chassis in areas it needs it, but we don't do the full stitching of every single panel. The cage is well integrated into the chassis and provides a significant increase in torsional stiffness. Without any real data, I'd hazard a guess that seam welding the whole body might only make 1/10th of the cage's contribution to torsional stiffness, but this is really just a guess. There are likely very few who have gone as far as computer modeling the stiffness increase provided by seam-welding. This would be the realm of a 100% factory effort with an unlimited budget. For the most part, i think there are just the people who do it because they think it helps, and those who don't do it. I know that rally guys have good success with seam welding to prevent long-term stress fractures in the unibody, but I think this is more of a chassis longevity thing vs. stiffness. One other fairly important reason for not doing it is crash repair. It is a lot harder to replace sections of the unibody when you have to grind off strips of weld instead of just drilling out the spotwelds. The cars do get damaged somewhat regularly, and have to go to the bodyshop for new paint/parts. That is not to say that we or others wouldn't still do it if we had real concrete numbers on the benefit it provides ;) If there is an advantage it is usually taken. I'm sure there are plenty of teams in our series who do it.

andris
 

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What I think is interesting is how much work goes into just the shell. Then you watch the car hitting wall, etc. and the next day it is back racing looking like new with the anouncer saying "they worked all night...." Paint doesn't even dry that fast. Must have body panels painted and ready to go. Plus you would think the frame would be ruined in most cases.
 

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98sr20ve said:
What I think is interesting is how much work goes into just the shell. Then you watch the car hitting wall, etc. and the next day it is back racing looking like new with the anouncer saying "they worked all night...." Paint doesn't even dry that fast. Must have body panels painted and ready to go. Plus you would think the frame would be ruined in most cases.
You'd be surprised how well a frame can be straightened with a chain and a big truck or van :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oh you think Jim is joking? :tongue: ....



It just depends how dedicated/commited you are. For a lot of the teams, a good hit during the race week means game over. However, if you are in contention for chamionship points, or you have some factory sponsorship watching closely, you do everything possible to put the car at the front of the grid for every single race. We carry extra doors, fenders, carbon hoods, splitters, headlights, taillights, well.. everything. all painted and ready to go. Realtime at the pictured race above had (iirc) all 3 of their cars get damaged during a rainy practice at Atlanta. Two of them pretty good. One RSX with a good bit of rear damage (I think) and the Integra above (spun and went into the wall headfirst. Smashed in the left side pretty good.
Immediately after the session the car came in and within an hour or two the front half of the car was stripped, motor and all. Late afternoon a flatbed wrecker shows up at the track and drags the car off and the team goes to work on the RSX. A couple of techs from some local car dealership's body shop volunteered their services on the integra and stayed up all night straightening the car and hammering wheelwell and apron back into compliance. The next morning ~ 9 am we see the wrecker roll back in and offload the car. Within a couple of hours new bodywork is hung, motor and stuff is reinstalled and the car is ready to go again for qualifying. The picture above is after qualifying :) That time it took out the right half of the car. After some major sledgehammering and yanking on the framerail they decided to retire the car for the weekend, as they weren't going to be able to get the car straight enough to race the next day; plus they had other damage to take care of on the other two more important cars.

The paddock is a very helpful community I must add. We loan a lot of parts and stuff to other teams, and generally everyone wants to see the other teams get out there.

Regarding the chassis... Yes, a lot of work goes into them, but it takes a pretty serious hit to really deform the core structure, or mess with the cage. The most we usually have to do is quarter panel replacement, rocker replacement, trunk floors, stuff like that. In some cases, the chassis repair goes a lot further than it would normally, simply because they are worth so much! 5k at the bodyshop is cheaper than building another one ;) One of the team's cars last year went into the wall head-on hard enough to push the unibody back into to the a-pillar and fold up the passenger-side floor. The car was repaired and straightened within a week I believe for another race. It isn't unheard of to just completely front-clip an entire car from the firewall forward and just replace it with the front half of a sacrificial car. (we keep a few of those around)

andris
 
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