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"POS Cobra" Restoration Journal

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Journal Update, 1/8/2011

Titanium Motorsports started the 2011 SCCA National Racing Season with the first leg of the Palm Tree Quad Nationals at Sebring International Raceway on January 7th, 8th and 9th. Friday the 7th was first-round qualifying for Saturday and Sunday's races. The weather was just about perfect for racing. Bright and sunny with temperatures in the high 60's.
The Cobra Mustang ran great in the morning session. I just had two problems. First was a lack of grip from the tires, second was the clutch cable adjustment nut started to back-off, causing my clutch take-up point to get lower as the session progressed.
Those two issues contributed to rather slow lap times. Only in the 2:37 - 2.38 range.
The car normally runs in the 2:30 - 2:32 range, with a personal best of 2:29 back in 2008.
Once back in the paddock, I was able to fix the clutch cable adjustment by double-nutting it so it wont back off. Next I stopped by the BF Goodrich support trailer to talk about ways to improve my traction. It was there that I met Tony, a BFG tire representative and asked him if they had any 'special deals' on tires for my car. He asked some questions about my car and how it's setup and what tires I had been using and how they were working. After we discussed the car and my plans some more, he said that when his boss got back, they would like to come over and check out the car.
Tony came over about an hour later with a group of people from BF Goodrich Motorsports and started talking tire sizes, asking if I can put a larger tire on the car to get better grip. I confirmed that a 275/35R18 would fit on the car. I was then offered a new set of BFG R1's in that size for my car.
That was great news, but I only had about 25 minutes to jack up the car, remove the wheels, drive them over to BFG and have the technicians at the BFG trailer swap out the tires! Well, it all came together and I got the new tires on the car, and changed into my driving suit and got to the grid still with 5 minutes to spare.
Those new compound R1's are great!
I knocked NINE SECONDS off my morning lap time and set a new personal best of 2:28.763!!!
The balance on the car was great. I was able to really attack the apexs of the corners an get on the power right away!
The new transmission, shifter and shift light worked flawlessly too. The car pulled hard all the way up to 6000 rpms without any power drop-off, most likely due to the cool temperatures.
Then disaster...
On my 8th lap, coming out of turn 17 onto the start-finish straight, the motor hesitated and then went down on power. All my gages were reading fine.  I went into turn 1 at part throttle, trying to figure out what was happening, then going into turn 3, smoke started billowing from the exhaust. I killed the motor and coasted to a stop in the grass,  just past the cross-over bridge.
I exited the car and met the Sebring rescue crew. After qualifying was over, they towed the car back to the paddock. I could not see any external leaking on the car or obvious signs of problems, so I tried to start the motor and it instantly started putting out clouds of oil smoke from the exhaust. Fearing the worst, I went ahead and pulled the spark plugs. Number two plug was totally destroyed. The motor has some serious internal damage. I loaded up the car and headed home on Saturday morning , which is where we will start the next journal.
I had some issue with my in-car camera, so no video of this event.

Spec Miata Qualifying on Friday morning.

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Last Modified: January 9th, 2011.