grease - from Lithuania

Please post a pic of yourself or your car tell us about yourself and let us know where you are from.
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grease
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Re: grease - from Lithuania

Post by grease »

alrighty then..

since my last post we've participated in 2 more races - 1000km Grand Prix Riga (http://www.1000km.lv/index.php/en/news.html) and a 555km Lithuanian long distance championship event (http://www.balticendurance.eu/en/).

firstly, the race in Riga, September 1st.
well, we had our fair share of problems..
the engine blew during practice - i.e. hole in the block.. - the exact problem is not yet clear, since we haven't yet had time to take the engine apart. but it seems to be some sort of an oiling/oil pressure issue.. we'll see.

anyways, with the help of our very very good friends, the Latvian Alfa Romeo Owners' Club, we found a 3.0 V6 24V from a crashed 166. since there were no other options, we simply changed the motor overnight and went racing the next day with a completely standard motor, with only one exception - we had a map for a standard 3.2 V6, so it was uploaded to the KMS ECU.
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had a wet start, then the weather cleared and after 2 first wet stints, we have changed to slicks.

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only the racing line was dry(-ish), so it was quite risky since you have to quite often overtake slower cars, which means getting onto the wet. but the tarmac helped - it is really abrasive there, so no major puddles or rivers..

the first few hours where good, climbed to 2nd place overall..
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then some unexpected problems - the gearbox oil pump stopped working, breather pipe got loose, spitting oil all over the place. lost quite a bit of time here..
in addition, a tire blew. we tried to use harder dunlop slicks on a stint (instead of the usual michelins), and the reason probably was insufficient pressure, we did not know that..
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still, the net result was not that bad - 2nd place in class and 5th overall.
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but knowing that we potentially could have been on the top.. that was bit disappointing.

more photos -> https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set ... 551&type=3

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555km race in Lithuania, October 6th.
this was the main race of the season - speaking in terms of the championship positions.

the preparation was unusually calm - everything was working, nothing to change overnight.. :) i guess some reliability issues are getting solved along the way.. of course, using an unmodified 3.0 V6 (i.e. less power) helps in that sense..

the weather the whole weekend was really unpredictable. every forecast web site had it's own mind about when the rain should come, etc. anyhow, it was wet and cold..

qualification was, let's say, not that interesting.. we did 3 laps on intermediates, and the the rain soaked the track, so no point in punching in slower lap time and using up the full wet tires..
qualified in 5th position.

had another wet start. an interesting fact - in the previous ~5 years of racing the 155 we have never had a chance to put the full wet tires on the car. and this season we had 2 wet races out of 4.

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all went well, but sadly for only about 40 minutes..
then the front left wheel fell off, literally.
a scary moment.. luckily, it happened in a slow corner, both the driver (a slight shock :)) and the car (torn bumper) were basically OK.
Image

all 4 wheel bolts were 'gone'.
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we managed to get the car on the evacuator, get it back to the pits, changed the whole upright, patched up the bumper and after about 1 hour the car was back on track.
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the reason for this whole wheel falling off was quite simple - since our friends with the Alfa 155 did not participate in this race, we borrowed a few wheels from them - due to the unpredictable weather, we did not want to have only rain tire or only slicks - we needed to have both tires ready. they use different wheel nuts - i.e. those nuts have a different cone and the contact point between the nut and the wheel was bad, thus causing the nuts to loosen and allowing the brake disc to shear the bolts clean.
no wheel borrowing from now on. it's a pity, that gaining this 'knowledge' was so costly..

the rest of the race was 'normal'. the car was fine. finished 3rd in class and 12th overall.
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more photos -> https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set ... 551&type=3
a short video -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_t0U1JVlz7I


so, we ended the season 2nd in class and 4th overall. not that bad, i'd say, for a young team..
had quite a lot of unexpected and 'unnecessary' dramas during the season, who knows how it would have been without those..
but that's racing. and that's the good thing about it - you never know..

we've learned a lot, matured as a team.
we will definitely be stronger and quicker next season, no doubt about that.

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MD
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Re: grease - from Lithuania

Post by MD »

Thanks for the post. An entertaining read. Anyone participating in motor racing immediately knows and understands your pain. As you say, you have done very well under the circumstances and you deserve to be congratulated. Well done!!

My motorsport season has stalled due to what appears to be a head gasket giving up its duties and of all things a sticking oil pressure relief valve otherwise generally getting off lightly.

Best wishes for your future efforts.
Transaxle Alfas Haul More Arse

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grease
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Re: grease - from Lithuania

Post by grease »

guys, help!

JK's THS rods for the V6 seem to be impossible to get hold of..
Any of you know a source where they could be bought NOW?
No one seems to have them in stock (at least in Europe), and the factory is not giving us any info at all..

Thanks!

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fedezyl
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Re: grease - from Lithuania

Post by fedezyl »

Greg Gordon sold them in the U.S. I think, www.hiperformancestore.com

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grease
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Re: grease - from Lithuania

Post by grease »

I've contacted him immediately, but, sadly, he is unable to help.

Jim K
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Re: grease - from Lithuania

Post by Jim K »

Last time I talked to them, they indicated that they produce 5 complete sets at a time. If they had no stock, it means they are looking for 5 customers... :roll:
Jim K.

Greg Gordon
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Re: grease - from Lithuania

Post by Greg Gordon »

The THS rods are great, but we could only sell 1-2 sets a year and that's with very little mark up. Add in the 20 email questions we had to answer for each sale and it just wasn't economically justifiable to keep them in stock.

They are great rods. Those rods+forged pistons = nearly indestructible bottom end.

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Re: grease - from Lithuania

Post by Saabretooth »

I'm reading up on this now with so much more enthusiasm. Noticed that the SA team is tapping on LT's team for some experience and know how.


Love both the countries I've visited and hope that racing is alive and well!

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grease
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Re: grease - from Lithuania

Post by grease »

Guys,

It's been a long two years. Of course, we have been racing - we just don't know how not to. However, it has been a difficult two years with nothing much to talk about results-wise. We've experienced a fair share of failures.

Anyways, a lot has changed since then.
The team became smaller and more compact - a clear division of responsibilities helps a lot in managing stuff.. But most importantly - only completely trustworthy people expressed their will to be a part of the team.

We earned a huge amount of experience and learned a lot of stuff. It's just a pity that this "road to experience" was that hard and expensive.
We've started doing mostly everything "in-house" ourselves - rebuilding the engine and mapping the ECU, building and rebuilding the gearbox, etc.

And of course the car has changed significantly.
The 3.0 V6 is now mostly stock - C&B camshafts, THS rods, slightly higher compression, nothing much. The priority was to make it safe - wideband 02 sensors, knock monitor and a lot of time understanding how to map and mapping the ECU.
No thermostat, but a Davies Craig EWP with a controller.
The gearbox now is built using the Bacci Romano close ratio dog engagement gearkit. Gearbox oil pump and cooler are now underneath and at the back of the car - significantly better weight distribution.

The car itself became a bit lighter, much much more maintainable. Now it has a Tilton pedal box, which helped A LOT with the braking, a completely new neat and tidy wiring loom, data logging, etc.
We are moving from 18" wheels to 17" - the car feels much much lighter on it's heels with 17" wheels without loosing virtually any laptime.

Image

Soo, the first race of the 2015 season - BEC (Baltic Endurance Championship) 1st stage in Parnu, Estonia. That's a 4 hour race.
The important things - engine, gearbox, half shafts, ect. - worked like a charm. However, other small and stupid things did not let us reach any kind of a result, although we crossed the finish line.
The throttle pedal stopper's bolt got loose and vibrated outwards, meaning the throttle could not be pushed fully open, the aluminium housing on which the gearbox lever sits on broke apart (was just fine for 4 years), the cable fell of the little lever on the gearbox, etc. Really annoying stuff that we've never experienced before.
All the repairs took us about 25 mins, which in a 4 hour race is an eternity..
But on the bright side, the car is really predictable and our previous most important problems seem to be solved (knock on wood) - our ECU map seems to work, the gearbox and the halfshafts seem to work - so hopes are high.
Of course a lot is still to be learned - we feel we can gain laptime by setting the car up correctly, alignment, suspension, etc. But still the main emphasis is on reliability. We need to start seeing the checkered flag regularly, and then we'll speed up.


Everything is in facebook these days, so here -> https://www.facebook.com/Alfa.Romeo.Klubas.Racing.Team <- you'll find some pictures and maybe something else interesting. We should be updating this facebook page quite regularly.

I'll try to keep you posted here as well.

kevin
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Re: grease - from Lithuania

Post by kevin »

Wow , that's serious commitment . Well done Alminas to you and your team for persevering . I always love to see updates and pics from your meetings as its inspirational seen the hard work to prepare an endurance race car . Most guys just struggle to get normal race car reliabe hence the different level of preparation and tune .

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