Monday, August 4, 2008

LeMons South 2008

If you're wondering why I've been so quiet lately, it's been because I've been a little distracted. After much waiting, I was elated to hear that the 24 Hours of LeMons was coming to the South! From this pivotal event, Team Turbo Schnitzel was born!

We scoured for available cars, and decided (somewhat brazenly) to compete with a Merkur XR4ti. The car was someone else's project car, which helped us learn a valuable LeMons lesson: NEVER BUY SOMEONE'S PROJECT.

We spent the better part of three months trying to figure out all the different hacks this guy did to make his Merkur "run better". In the end even when we returned the car to stock it still had all kinds of issues. But I guess that's the point.

Here's the team. I'm third from the left, but you knew that already. I didn't do any driving this year, but functioned as support crew and cook for our traveling band of racers. Next year, I'm going racing.

I've been following Jalopnik's coverage of the 24 Hours of LeMons since the first race in California two years ago. Needless to say I'm a big fan. When I arrived at the race, I was completely shocked to find out that two of Jalopnik's finest were judging the race. As a hack blogger and car nut, I took the opportunity to hang with guys who were living the dream. As it was, they ended up spending quite a bit of time in our paddock, and were both really cool individuals. It was in the middle of Jonny's story about how he got to drive a Seven through the hills of Southern California that I realized his job was probably much cooler than mine.

Alas, the race wasn't all schmoozing with faux-celebrities and glorious speed. About two hours into the race we suffered a blown head gasket. That knocked us out for most of Saturday. Sunday saw us running strong until the engine started to overheat, the exhaust started to come off and until we started to lose a wheel bearing (which made the brake fluid boil, thus taking out our brakes). I guess you get what you pay for.

In the end our 63rd place didn't lessen our enthusiasm for the event. Neither did our untimely end a scant five minutes before the checker flew. No, we left South Carolina determined to come back next year with the old #44, and possibly even a "new" #45.

Fahrt Schnell!

P.S. - Here's my photo gallery on Flickr
P.P.S. - Fahrt Schnell means "Drive Fast" in our butchered German

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