A day on the race track

April 21, 2013

My helmet

I’ve always been interested in cars, and I’ve had a car for the majority of my adult life, But since I’ve moved to Stockholm I haven’t owned one.
And when a friend called me up last weekend and asked me if I was interested to join his team for a track day, I couldn’t say no. But this race wasn’t in any way an ordinary race, the setup was easy; bring a car, don’t expect to keep it when the day was over. So in a sense it was like a crash derby, but on an actual racing track, and if you wanted to receive points, you had to be placed within the winning bracket. First, second or third in a heat will bring points home to your team, a heat was comprised of 10 laps around the track, and that was all the rules, anything else was considered legal.

Stripped and painting begun

Me working on the suspension

So first and fore most, we needed a car. We looked around, knowing that we’d ideally want something with a large engine, and we settled with a Ford Mondeo 2.5L V6 from 1996. We got the car for cheap, and I’m telling you, real cheap. And as can be expected from a cheap car, nothing really works. So we spent Thursday evening in the garage preparing the car, doing basic maintenance to get it up and running smoothly as well as pimp out the ride with race:ish stripes and stickers.

Cleaned

We actually got the engine to run quite well, and we “fixed” the suspension on the car by clamping down the coil-springs. And to complete the look of a race car we stripped out all the unnecessary interior.

Brand spanking new

Come Saturday, we had to get up early, my alarm was set at 05:45 AM. I got picked up at 06:30 and we met up with the rest of the drivers at 07:30 outside a gas station at Globen. We filled the tank and a few extra fuel jugs which we might have needed once we were at the track.
The track was located near Sala and it’s called Sala racing park, roughly one and an half hour’s drive from Stockholm. We got there at around nine:ish, we went through the safety regulations and what one should do if different types of accidents happen. At 10 o’clock the racing could start.

Taking the curve

After each heat, we had to fix the car more, our competitors weren’t really afraid of close encounters, which in turn meant using the circular saw a lot. Tailpipe, wheelhouse and front/back spoilers were the first to go. We later got some problems with the handling of the car, we made a decision to “improve” the suspension by cutting the springs. This idea fell flat once the right suspension fell off completely. Our solution was to remove the complete spring leaving the car to rest on the shock absorbers alone. This “hack” made the car a lot more stiff, but also led to our ultimate demise. On the second last heat of the day our car rolled over, and we suspect it could have something to do with our suspension hacking, making the car not able to handle the shocks coming from the impact of other cars. Thankfully nobody got hurt during the accident, but the car was smoke.

It was a nice day

We weren’t even close to winning, with only one point that we scored during the first heat (but for consolation, we didn’t lose either). And to be honest, I was probably one of the worst drivers that day. But I’m blaming the fact that I haven’t even driven a car since last year, but truthfully, the other guys were really awesome!

Me with the car

Eleven cars showed up for the race, with 23 drivers. We left the track with zero cars, one bus (with a driver) and 23 tipsy drunk pedestrians. One hell of a day, and our team are already planning for what kind of car we need for the next event which should take place this fall.

Team Ford

Before and after

I uploaded some more pictures to Flickr, check them out!

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