Sunday, February 27, 2011

Shifter Kart Testing in Oklahoma Last Weekend

Last weekend was a whirlwind, but provided a great start to my 2011 racing season. I spend all day Saturday at the 3G Karting Dallas shop prepping my 2010 Birel Spirit SP32 chassis. The chassis is immaculate having only one prior race weekend on it back in 2010. The SP32 is a 32mm chassis which should be much stiffer than my previous chassis and be much better suited to my weight and the shifter class. Spirit is an Italian company founded in 2007 by 5-time karting World Champion Gianluca Beggio. The Spirit chassis are virtually identical to Birel chassis and are manufactured by Birel as well. The morning started with a basically bare chassis and after mounting the seat, radiator, engine, AIM Mychron, adding fluids, and routing all the wires and hydraulic lines, it was a ready for a test fire. The engine fired up quickly after its off-season refresh by SRS Engines. After quickly setting the pedals for my height, my new kart was basically race ready.

On Sunday, I travelled 3 hours of North of Dallas with the 3G Karting team to Oklahoma Motorsports Park.
It drizzled the whole ride to OMC, but luckily stopped shorty after we arrived. My goal for the day was to break in my engine, get comfortable with the new kart, adjust any ergonomic problems, and learn the new track. I was able to squeeze 5 sessions in before I had to head back to San Angelo for a total of about 45 laps. My first regional race of the year is at OMC on April 2 and 3rd, so it was extremely beneficial to get some track time, data, and video at OMC before my first big race of 2011. I cured some ergo problems by changing up the radiator mounting as it was interfering with my left arm and shoulder and discovered some interference between my right leg and the exhaust pipe...not good. I will be a making a guard for that soon.

Overall, I was pleased with the practice. My new 32mm chassis feels much stiffer and higher grip than my previous Birel chassis. On the old VEGA tires I was running, the kart was reasonably balanced with some slight corner entry understeer and slight power-on oversteer on the exit which should be a great starting point for tuning when I switch to new MGs for the race season.

Here is a lap around OMC in my new kart:

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