Paul wrote in to tell us of his first outing in his recently acquired McNamara Sebring Formula Vee. The car finished the race, he passed a few fellow racers. All in all a successful first outing.
But I’ll let Paul tell you the story:
I finally finished my vee a few weeks ago and took it up to BIR for my first vintage race weekend. Considering all that we had done to the car, things went pretty well. Since I am 6’1″, we moved the pedals and heelstop 1.5 inches forward. We fit new 6pt belts and mountings into the car. I added vintage legal oil cooler and charging system and all new brakes and brake lines in addition to giving the whole car a good cleaning. I fit in the car really well and had no troubles with driving the car. Previous to arriving at the track, I hadn’t actually driven the car since completing all of the work on it.
I was dinged for a few things in tech, but nothing the would prohibit me from running – a few rod ends holding the z-bar that are possibly worn, the steering wheel pin was deemed a bit outdated (go figure) and my car also lacks a working integrated fire system which the VSCR doesn’t require. The car was however deemed safe enough to run the weekend.
We ran two practices and a race on Saturday and a practice and race on Sunday. The VSCR is relatively small, so everyone runs in one run group. That means that I was out there with one other monoposto, lots of MGs, an Austin Healey, a TVR, a bmw powered elva, a Jabro, a 356, a few old vw gtis, a 914 and 3 or so big block Corvettes – which were really the only things from this weekend that I found to be frightening. The track was wet for the first two practices and I actually turned faster lap times than 4 or 5 cars. This was particularly noteworthy because of a big problem that became apparent on my first practice lap – The car wouldn’t shift into third gear at speed. Apparently in my thorough cleaning of the car I had cleaned away the gunk that was keeping the shifter linkages tight. As a result, I ran all of my laps in fourth. At BIR you really want to run about a third of the track in 4th and the rest in 3rd. It was probably all right in the rain laps since the lack of power was an added advantage coming out of corners.
For the first race they started me at the back of the pack since they didn’t want me causing any problems with my errant shifter in the middle of the field during the start. I was able to pass the 4 or 5 cars that I outpaced during practice despite my shifting problems. Sunday was more of the same except that they started me in the middle of the pack for the race. The start was quite an experience, since it’s on the fastest, scariest part of the track (through two and into three). I’ve never gone through two side by side with another car before.
Overall, it was a successful first weekend, we made it to the track and back home, the car ran well and we didn’t have any incidents. Now I just have to take care of my next car to-do list before going to Road America in September. So much for ‘finishing’ the car.
Congratulations, Paul! I know Paul is hoping to compete in the Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival at Road America in a few months time. I’m looking forward to seeing him on the track.