Love for the Rotary

With all of the talk of doom and gloom for the next rotary I wanted to share the experience I had with the help of Mazda during Sevenstock 17 on Nov 22nd.  I hate to say it but while I was at Sevenstock helping out with the Diesel Mazda 6 I experienced the awesome side benefit of being next to three 4 rotor cars in the same garage.

The recent message given from Mazda about the rotary engine being important but not in the cards for a current car has been a heart breaker for the rotor heads out there, myself included as I daily drive an 87 Turbo FC.  I can definitely say that from the top down the rotary engine is important to Mazda despite it not being considered for a new car right now. Take a look at this 787 which Robert Davis (senior vice president U.S. operations aka he runs the show in US) personally drives.

Mazda-787-4-rotor

There is a genuine love for the rotary with him, I watched him wipe down the car after going out onto the track for one session. In conversations, the restoration of other rotary race cars was brought up many times and when Robert isn’t driving the 787 above he rolls in an Rx8 in NASA PT racing, when time affords it.

See the first car in the line below?  It is one of the Rx-792P IMSA GTP prototypes.

full-rotary-line-up

I watched Weldon Munsey (Manager of Dealer Affairs) hop out  after just one session with a big smile on his face.  You could tell he just loves driving that car.

This next car is one of my favorite Rotary race cars (as I had the opportunity to see it raced at Portland Intl Raceway in the early 90s).  The 4 rotor GTO kept the basic shape of the FC rx7 (which included the stock roof panel, windshield, and tail lights) and the rest of the car was pure business with a 4 rotor engine.

Rx7-GTO-4-rotor

Not a big surprise another Mazda executive drives it, Jeremy Barnes (Director of public relations).  I am sure the re-occurring theme is not lost here, these guys love rotaries and if the opportunity presents they will be pulling to get another car released for all us rotards out there.  In the meantime enjoy the video below from Sevenstock 17 with a few drive byes of the 787 and the 792p wide open on the throttle at Autoclub Speedway.

Zoom zoom.

– Derrick Ambrose from CorkSport

Derrick_HEadshot

Derrick started working with cars when he was in high school.  A friend had a GLC which they tweaked a bit which then became a 323 then into RX-7s and it was all Mazda down hill from there. His current projects are a 1968 Mustang, The 1988 323 GTX (never ending project), 1986 Honda Shadow Motorcycle and a 1968 Silverline Rambler 16′boat. For motorsports activities he has previously participated in drag racing the CorkSport Protege Drag car and Rally Cross with the 323 GTX. Currently he is driving the CorkSport Mazda 2 B-Spec race car.

If you attend any events CorkSport is at Derrick will be the guy you will talk to at most of them, so stop by and say hello!

2014 SCCA National Championship Runoffs: End of a Long Season

2014 SCCA National Championship Runoffs

So, a few weeks back I attended the 2014 SCCA National Championship runoffs at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with aspirations of finishing on the podium in B-Spec with the CorkSport sponsored Mazda 2.

CorkSport Mazda 2

Day One:

The first day was a practice day in order to check out the car and review the changes we made, ensuring that everything was perfect for the three days of qualifying.  After the first test session, we made a few small changes and went back out for the afternoon session…

That’s where things got crazy.

The track was feeling greasy and the car was sliding around a bit, making corner 6 a handful since its taken flat out in a B-Spec car.  On the 7th lap the car drifted to the outside much faster than it had before so I steered into the drift and went off in the dirt. My plan was to ride it out and get back on the track towards the top of the hill.

Needless to say, things did not go as planned…

 

The video above is courtesy of a Spec Miata driver and friend at the track Steven Powers who (being directly behind me) got front row seats to witness the whole thing.

Rather than riding it out of the dirt, the front corner of the Mazda 2 made direct contact with a concrete wall… sideways (which  data showed being at 30mph). After playing 20 questions with the safety crew and getting the car loaded up, I was dropped off in my pit to evaluate the damage and make a plan on what to do next.  We got the car disassembled with help of fellow racers, slowly realizing just how bent up the car really was.  Besides the sheet metal, we had punched several holes in the engine block, broke a wheel, bent the right side control arm and front sub frame.

It took 2 hours to take the car from a crunched mess to the picture below.

 

The Aftermath

Day Two:

I chose to sleep on the decision to either rebuild or scrap the whole weekend race.  The next morning, with an optimistic attitude, we took inventory and made the choice to rebuild the car at the track. Mazdaspeed Motorsports lent a major hand as we started chasing down the parts we would need to replace, while I was hitting the phones looking for a body shop with an empty frame machine so we could get started on the car ASAP.  8 calls later, we had our shop and loaded the car up on a flatbed in order to get the repairs going for straightening the car and getting it ready for a frame rail and shock tower.

More Aftermath

Spectrum Auto Collision was a great help with the overall repair of the car. They got right on the job and loaded the car up on to the frame machine while their awesome technician started straightening the drives side rail. Arrangements were made to have the replacement frame parts arrive to the shop for the following day so they could continue the repairs non-stop, getting the car back together for Thursday’s qualifying session.

corksport racing

Day Three and Four:

Due to a mishap with UPS, we were out one critical part needed to not only start work that Wednesday morning but also have it completed by that afternoon. This complication pushed back the plan that included having the car assembled in time to post a qualifying time.  After a discussion with the race officials, they agreed to let me start at the back of the B-Spec field allowing me to race despite not having a qualifying time. Which was awesome of them.

That Thursday evening, my trusty friend was delivered right back to the track so that we could start the re-assembly process. With the help of my crew, we rebuilt the engine, reinstalled the whole front suspension and sheet metal, and reinstalled the rebuilt motor within two days.

Day Five:

Saturday evening, we fired up the car to make sure it would be ready to go for the race.  After a drive around the paddock, the car was feeling good and ready to race on Sunday.

RACE DAY:

Lucky for us, the B-Spec/T-4 race was the first event on Sunday, meaning the track would be in its best condition.

Since I was at the back of the field, I snagged an opportunity to pass up the stacked up cars on the inside of corner 2 and get passed 2 cars in the first lap. Several laps later I was able to get around one of the HPD Honda fits, putting me in 8th place. The leading Chevy sonic was brought to a stop due to a check engine light, moving him from 1st place to last place and me to 7th. During the race, the Mazda 2 felt really loose (the back of the car was sliding around) and like the tires were wearing out quickly.  This is not expected due to the brand new tires we just had put on the car for the race. BFGoodrich tires always hold up extremely well to the abuse of B-Spec cars.  I reported it to the crew over the radio and I got back an acknowledgement.

CorkSport Racing Accident

If you look at the picture above you can see smoke rolling out of the front wheel. 

Results:

At the end of the race (back in the pits) I saw the driver’s side of the car was coated in Redline MTL transmission fluid which had also been coating the front and rear wheels causing that loose feeling I was getting.

Imagine driving on and off ice whipping through corners at the fastest speed you can go. That is exactly how crazy the race felt driving with the transmission fluid everywhere.

Later I found out that the crew had actually seen the smoke but decided to keep quiet about it so as not to alarm me and keeping me from changing my driving style (which had already been working). I am incredibly thankful they made that call, because it would have changed my driving and possibly caused more problems.

The final result was 7th place, which doesn’t give any trophies from the SCCA but I got something even better from Mazdaspeed.  I was gifted a copy of the book Never Stop Challenging, which chronicles Mazda’s path to winning Le Mans and overcoming all of the challenges they went through.  I was told by a good friend at the track (who has experience in amateur and professional racing) that he had not seen a car with as much damage as we had, rebuilt and make it back onto the track before.

 

Mazdaspeed race

 

Appreciation:

Thank you so much to CorkSport, Monarch Inspections (for the season long logistics support), Mazda Motorsports Crew, John Doonan, Mike Allen, Scott Kaluza, David Cook, and Dean Case who were at the track for the parts sourcing and tech help and the best trophy a Mazda racer could get.

Big thanks to my Dad (aka the crew), Joey Jordan Motorsports (for the help rebuilding the motor and getting the alignment straight), James Wilson and Black Armor Helmets (for driving out to race his 2 from Texas), Brad Green and his crew (for help getting the car taken apart), Steven Powers (for the video) as well as all of the B-Spec racers who I got to compete against all season long.

Last but not least (in any way), I would like to say thank you to my wife Jessica and two daughters for being understanding of my pursuit in racing.

Zoom zoom.

– Derrick from CorkSport

Derrick_HEadshot

Derrick started working with cars when he was in high school.  A friend had a GLC which they tweaked a bit which then became a 323 then into RX-7s and it was all Mazda down hill from there. His current projects are a 1968 Mustang, The 1988 323 GTX (never ending project), 1986 Honda Shadow Motorcycle and a 1968 Silverline Rambler 16′boat. For motorsports activities he has previously participated in drag racing the CorkSport Protege Drag car and Rally Cross with the 323 GTX. Currently he is driving the CorkSport Mazda 2 B-Spec race car.

 

If you attend any events CorkSport is at Derrick will be the guy you will talk to at most of them, so stop by and say hello!

 

Mazdaspeed EPIC NATOR MEAT 2014 – Spencer’s Review and Wrap Up

Oh the wonders of the East Coast. Potholes, 80mph in a 55 zone, Toll Roads and EZ Pass, humidity and some of the greatest people you will ever meet!

Kim, Brydon and I had the wonderful, nay, EPIC, opportunity this year to attend the EPIC NATOR MEAT put on by a few members from mazdaspeedforums.org . Sadly we had only a day and a half to hang out with hundreds of people, watch some drag racing, and join everyone for a Dyno Day. This is a one of the greatest events you can attend and has arguably the most knowledgeable people currently driving Mazdas all in one place. Not only did we get to see 500+ horsepower speeds at the event, but we got to witness some of the cleanest looking, most original, most unique and even the world’s fastest Mazdaspeed 3, all in one place.

Here are some of my Highlights.

  • Hanging out till 3am in the parking lot and back patio of the hotel and learning more than I ever thought possible about Mazdaspeed’s, among other things…
  • Rolling from Philadelphia to the Dyno Day and running into a crew of 6 or so Mazdaspeed’s who had no idea who we were in our weak little Honda rental.
  • Eating some Killer food at Buca di Beppo and hearing so much passion and love of cars during the conversation.
  • Finally getting to meet so many people that I’ve had such wonderful conversations with on the phone, through email, through PM, or in threads.
  • Getting out of the Northwest rain and finally getting some Sunshine!

 

Some of the Worst Parts

  • Arriving at 8am to the Dyno Day after a red eye flight leaving at 6pm the night before with a layover in Phoenix. Ugh.
  • Not having my own 2009 Mazdaspeed 3 that got left back in Washington.
  • Having to leave around 1:30 on Sunday.
  • Not bringing shorts, the weather was beautiful.
  • Accidentally buying  bottled water that was $4 at one of those incredibly terrible and yet wonderful, quick stops in the middle of the highway. Place was a zoo and WAY to expensive.
  • Walking into the wrong room at midnight.

 

Time for Drag Racing

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Kim at the Drag Day doing some Social Media Updates

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The World’s Fastest  MS3 and Crew Getting Prepared for the Drag Day

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Mazda’s only for Dinner at Buca di Beppo

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Some of the Lovely People at the Dyno Day

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Halfway through the Dyno Day, Check out those Numbers!

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Flame Shooter

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The Unexpected Mazdaspeed Crew we caught Rolling to ENM

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Thanks for everything.

-Spencer@CorkSport

Get Your Race On

 

 

Get Your Race On

 

 

The 2014 SCCA Majors race season kicked off for the west coast at Autoclub speedway which most people know as that place they race Nascar and Indycar in California.  What most people do not know is the track also runs an infield circuit aka sports car course which the SCCA uses for events.

Autoclub Speedway - CorkSport Mazdaspeed

 

The fun thing about Autoclub is I have never raced there before so all I had to familiarize myself was watching youtube videos of people running the track.  I had to skip the Friday practice and qualifying so my first time on the track was the second qualifying for 15 minutes on Saturday morning.  I was careful to make sure I was behind the other 2 B-Spec cars which were attending the event so I could follow them to #1 and get a measure of their speed and #2 see how they were taking lines on the track to use later.

If you have never driven on an oval before it is crazy at the angle you sit at on the actual oval sections of the track.  You mind say you will slide down the track if you are not moving.   When you are at race speed you have to tell yourself that you will not slide up the track doing over a 100 in a corner.

For the first race I qualified 2nd and was a Mazda 2 sandwich between the Honda fits.  At the start of the race both Honda jumped in front of me but I was able to pass 1 of the cars to get back behind the faster red car.  I had paced the 1st place for for a few laps and I found sections where I was faster and could make up time against him.  The race was going to be 13 laps based on the time we had for the event so on lap 11 I got a great run at the Honda and passed him on the corner of the oval to take the lead.  I was able to hold him off for 2 laps to take the first win of the season for CorkSport and Mazda.  During that race I also happen to set a new B-Spec track record at 2:09.8 which put me on the pole for Sunday’s race.

CorkSport Mazdaspeed

On Sunday I was able to jump out in front at the start and keep both of the Hondas behind me for the duration of the race to take the second win of the weekend.

The next Majors event was at Inde Motorsport Ranch in Willcox Az.  Willcox is about 1 hour east of Tucson which is the middle of nowhere.  The track there was incredible to race on and very technical in contrast to Autoclub where HP rules aka Inde is a great B-Spec track.

 CorkSport Mazdaspeed

Saturday started out with a quick practice session with a mixed group of the really fast cars aka GT1 etc and the slower cars aka B-Spec etc.  When you drop the really fast cars with the slow cars it becomes and exercise in watching your mirrors at all times to not get run over which I happen to excel at based on previous races.  I learned that the race was going to be won or lost on the exit speed of corner #1-2 on to the main straight.  You mess that up you will find yourself behind by seconds by the time you hit the end of the straight.  After a quick qualifying session I found myself in 2nd by a few hundredths of a second behind once again the red Honda fit.  The race started off like they normally do with the first lap chaos which saw a STU class RSX hit a H Production Spitfire and spin him out in the middle of corner #2 right before the straight which caused everyone to take some evasive moves.  Both Honda fits were able to put a few cars between them and myself.  I slowly worked around cars and was able to pass the black fit to start working on running down the red car.

CorkSport Mazdaspeed

By lap #16 I had caught up the red fit when the 1 to go sign came out which meant I had to get past him now.  On the main straight I was able to get right up on the fit and close up with some late braking into #7.  Right at that point two faster STU class cars caught up and dropped right into the corner on top of us.  There was a BMW Z3 who went into the corner too fast and I had to drive off the track to avoid getting hit.

CorkSport Mazdaspeed
My re-entry onto the track and the guilty BMW

I was able to catch back up to the BMW in the corners but the two faster cars were not able to get around the Honda fit to give me a chance to catch him before the finish so I had to settle for second place (I was not a happy driver).

CorkSport Mazdaspeed
I caught up to the “faster car” that ran me off 2 corners later

 

Determined to not let that on track experience ruin my weekend I focused on where I could improve my times by looking at the data from my Aim Solo DL.  There were several spots on the track that could be better so I focused my energy on the one spot which would give me the most benefit for the next day.

On Sunday there was a short practice session which I went out on and I was able to turn a fast lap which I was happy with and could count on making myself competitive for the race with.

The race was full of adventures as they always are and in the end I came out in first place.  Instead of making you watch a 7 minute full race video check out the condensed version with the highlights above.  There is plenty of good stuff.

 

With the three first place finished and 1 second I am in the lead for the Western Majors Conference for B-Spec for the year.  The next two events are in April at Thunderhill in willows California and two weeks later at Button Willow.  Both of those tracks I have experience at and there is rumored to be 3 new cars to race against in B-Spec.  If anyone is near one of those tracks we always welcome customers and friends of CorkSport to stop by the track and say hello.  Feel free to contact me if this is something you think you would like to do.

-Derrick

New Product – Max Flow Pump Internals

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CorkSport Max Flow Fuel Pump Internals

Todays the day, CorkSport is releasing the High Pressure Fuel Pump system to the public. The demand is high, people have been asking us for weeks when these are coming. To get yours, click here and order yours today. They will be shipped first in first out so get in line soon to get yours.

CorkSport-HPFP-Internals-Fuel-Pump-600a

In case you missed our 5 part blog series here are some great points.

PART 1 – (Go to Part 1)

“… Most aftermarket fuel pump upgrades consist of changing the internal parts of the factory pump with an enlarged piston and sleeve. By enlarging the piston, you increase the volume of the pump; thus creating more flow and the ability to maintain pressure at higher power levels.

When you first start taking the fuel pump apart, the first thing you are met with is the sight of a strange black deposit in the cap of the pump. Shown above are the deposits common to most caps. The bottom is a machined surface that should be clear of debris. In order for us to more clearly understand the situation we sent the cap out to undergo chemical analysis.”

Black residue on Fuel pump internals

Go to Part 1 for more …

Part 2 – (Go to Part 2)

“Does size matter? When looking at the stock piston on the factory fuel pump you can sure say that it does matter. If you increase the piston diameter you increase the flow of the pump. We have decided to compare the similar internals first and then compare the APR pump afterwards.”

Go to Part 2 for more …

Part 3 – (Go to Part 3)

“Now that we have a good understanding of the basics for these high pressure fuel pumps we can start to really dig deeper into the specifications. One of the items we were really curious about were the materials used in the construction of these pumps. We decided to have the hardness tested and ascertain the materials used. The factory pump internals do not use any coating, the hardness test showed us that the internals went through a hardening process as the core was significantly softer than the surface. Because of these hardness requirements, many other aftermarket internals use a coating of some sort to decrease friction between the piston and the sleeve. As for what the stock internals are made from, we answered that. Except for the hardening procedure, according to their chemical breakdown, they match a common die steel, so nothing too fancy.”

Corksport dyno testing of fuel pumps for Mazdaspeed 3

Go to Part 3 for more …

Part 4 – (Go to Part 4)

“ … We then built all the internals available in SolidWorks and tested the efficiency of them all for flow design and volume. This was merely the beginning of our design phase but helped us realize many great ideas (as well as a few not so great ones). We ended up with a design unlike any other on the market that, according to the data, would be more efficient than anything on the market.”

Fuel pump piston

Go to Part 4 for more …

Part 5 – (Go to Part 5)

“After choosing a very strong alloy for our internals, we then machine their tolerances to an incredible 6 microns! To make sure the tolerances are paired for life, we serialize the parts to prevent any issues and to track the life of the pumps. We then surface treat the pumps to achieve the alloys maximum strength; only after the maximum hardness is achieved do we apply our surface treatments to bring the overall durability to an even higher level”

Numbered Fuel Pumps from CorkSport

Go to Part 5 for more …

Order your HPFP for only $349.99 today.