Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Saturday 4/3: Kart Testing & Chaparral Racecars

My Dad and I went to Midland, TX this past weekend to visit the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum because they have a permanent gallery full of Chaparral racecars, to get pre-season testing in on the stock moto kart, and to broaden my Dad's driving horizon by setting him off in a shifter kart for the first time.

The Chaparral exhibit was simply awesome. It was unreal to be surrounded by 7 of the most famous cars in racing history. The gallery had a video on Chaparral's history, info on each of the 7 cars displayed, a garage modeled after the original Chaparral shop where they maintain the cars, tons of memorabillia and trophies, and small wind-tunnel displays showing the theory behind Chaparral's aerodynamic breakthroughs. Each of the cars in the gallery is fully functioning and they are driven once every few months around the museum. I need to make it up for one of these events and see these cars in action. Here is a link to the museum page: My Dad and I took a ton of photos. Here are a few below.

After the museum, we drove 10 minutes to Rimrock Raceway. This is the closest track to me in San Angelo (about 2 hours away) and will be my main testing track. Rimrock was built in 1957 by a doctor in Midland whose son was a national-level karter. At that time, the karting national championship race was at a track in California. Rimrock was built as an exact copy of that track to give his son an advantage at the championship. The track is even oriented in the exact same direction; both straightaways go southwest. Overall, tt is pretty smooth and very fun to drive.

The testing session was very productive, despite not getting any flyer lap times. I learned a lot about the new kart, and feel much more comfortable with the new engine and chassis package. My Honda engine is having fuel delivery issues which hampered me all day. I was having trouble revving over 10K RPM (normal shift point is 12.5K) and could not go to WOT quickly. I had to slowly roll into the throttle to avoid hesitation in the motor - it felt like hitting a rev limiter. During the few hours at the track, I tried 5 or 6 different fixes, but the problem persisted. When I drove my kart in my neighborhood 2 weeks ago it was fine, so something changed/broke during my first session. I have some troubleshooting to do (mainly replacing all fuel lines and inspecting fuel pump and carb internals), but should be able to get it fixed quickly. I am going back to Midland either this weekend or the next for more testing.

Here are some pictures from Rimrock. I took GoPro video, but it's not worth watching since I was having motor problems.

In-Kart shot from a GoPro HD

My Dad trying out the shifter

1 comment:

  1. All of the Chaparral photos are available at