17 Oct 2008

Since no one likes the footwell reinforcement (I admit I wasn’t sure about it myself), I took it out for now. All this stuff is subject to constant change as it progresses; even after it goes to steel there will no doubt be further refinements as the chassis solidifies. Per a suggestion from Dean, and remembering how I handled Kimini’s floor, part of the floor is going to be double-skinned. This prevents the driver’s legs from dropping out if the floor panel gets ripped off in an accident. (This is what happened to race car driver Bob Bondurant, so, as with Kimini, it’s called a Bondurant panel.) This may change slightly, maybe using smaller diagonals, but you get the idea.

Reader Brian reminded me that there are many race organizations, not just US-based SCCA and NASA. While it’s impossible to meet all the rules everywhere, he brings up a good point. It doesn’t hurt to review rules from elsewhere and see what’s easy to implement. I realize many people won’t race their cars in officially organized events – I’m not. But because these organizations learned the hard way about what survives crashes and what doesn’t, it pays to follow their guidelines. An accident at 40 mph with an SUV on the street can be just as bad – or worse – than a single-car crash at 100 mph on a racetrack.

I discussed the future fabrication of the turbocharger exhaust manifold with my race car fabricator buddy, Alan. For fun I mentioned possibly using Inconel and was surprised when he didn’t laugh. He said it really is the best material to use, build it and forget it, if it’s in the budget. It is not, at $200 per U-bend, I’d be spending about $1200 just for tubing! No, can’t go there, but I will use 321 stainless. At $40-50 per U-bend it’s still expensive but much less so.