Track Day Recollection: Beaten, Battered and Bruised

Hey there Guys and Gals and welcome to another edition of TDR! Today we’re focusing on the September Sonoma track day we had with NASA Nor Cal, and the nightmare that followed.

The week leading up to this event was an extremely stressful one as we had to prep the car, complete the new front brake setup and find the root cause of an electrical issue. We picked up a special spec’d Wilwood kit for the Mustang courtesy of our sponsor, Wheelwell, and even though the kit bolted up to the car, there was some minor modification that had to be done in order to fit the calipers perfectly. Our friend Sal over at Specfab Racing made us some custom spacers to place between the caliper bracket and the spindle, so after a quick bleeding of the brakes that was one To-Do list item off the board.

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Next up was the start of the major headaches… the electrical issues. When we were working on the brakes we noticed how the wiring harness in the wheel well was cut up, like usual, so we decided now would be the time to reroute the harness inside of the engine bay and away from the enormous 315s. We moved the harness inside of the bay thinking that would be the end of it, but once we got the car all back to normal and ready to deliver to our alignment guys we noticed that a handful of electrical items were not working: No power locking; no headlights; no power to the OBD2 port; no working speedometer and a couple other items that in a non stripped interior you would have noticed. It’s now Thursday and crunch time has become dire.

We pulled and cut up the entire harness in hopes to find where a shorting wire was. A  re wrapped loom later and a night of headache done and we still had no idea what the cause was. We checked all the fuses, but being that we finished this project at around 11 at night, it was difficult to see any minor blown fuses. It is now Friday before the track day and we get to pulling ALL of the fuses to back track and see if anything was missed. After finding 2 subtly blown fuses in the engine compartment that ended up being the culprits we rushed to our special gas station to top off with 101 and get in the right mindset for Saturday.

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Saturday morning we pull up to Sonoma and a shared garage with a good buddy, also named Andrew, who has a sweet Foxbody mustang. We get prepared for the beginning of the day as the first session creeps up on us. We find ourselves first in line and ready to hit the track. After setting the Mare loose the out lap is down and it’s time to book it; while cresting up turn one the car starts to back fire as if we are hitting the rev limiter, so we assume that we did and shift to the next gear. However we come to quickly realize that the rev limiter is not being touched and there is a serious problem with the car.

Initially we were thinking that the electrical issue we had may have somehow, with electric wizardry,  removed the tune from the computer because the car was cutting out exactly at the stock red line of 5800RPM. A “where’s waldo” mission for a computer out in the paddock later we finally were able to update the SCT and reload the race tune MINUTES before our 3rd session (also a complete, total fvcking nightmare). However this did not fix the problem at all.

Lots of running back and forth trying to solve the issue led to a stressful and uneventful day at the track, which was very upsetting for us because we were shooting for a new PB, and we know we could have set one had the car been operating at 100%, and to add insult to injury, while leaving Sonoma the car died on the road out and we had to pull off. By some miracle the car started back up and we were able to limp home with the Mare acting as if nothing had happened. Many a conversation later with our own magician — Will — we determined the cause to be a issue with the original coil packs and a bad ground connection for them.

All in all… it was an absolute shit show, but at least we got a good picture and a session ride along with Andrew in his sweet little Foxbody build. This car will be an absolute monster when it is built because this man is a great driver!

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