I ran my ’62 Spitfire Racer for the first time yesterday and I have to say I exceeded all my expectations.
The hardest part was the 7:00AM departure from Cedar Park for the 100 mile drive down to the AT&T center in San Antonio. It was clear but cold, in the high 30s when we left.
Arrived, rolled the car off the trailer and she would not start. She wanted to go but would not keep running. I quickly realized the fault lay within the push-pull ignition switch. I bypassed it and re-connected the wires with some handy blue masking tape and she was quickly running fine. (Moral: Don’t try to re-use 40 year old switches because they “look vintage” – I really should know better)
On to Tech Inspection where I passed! Woo! The freshly painted roll bar now hosts its 1st tech inspection sticker good all year for both the Texas Spokes (Austin) and SASCA (San Antonio) autocross clubs.
The course SASCA used was great – wide open sweepers with a tight slalom at the finish.
Heat 1 – The intent was to treat this as a ‘test-n-tune’ session, so I took it very easy off the start and promptly missed the 1st gate as I had my head down looking that the gauges. (Worked corner 1 on the 1st heat – I should have been paying more attention) As everything felt good, I opened the throttle as I entered one of the fast sweepers – and spun. (Lesson here: slick surface + cold Hoosiers = quick spin)
That set the tone for the rest of the heat; I took it easy, but tried to find the limits of the car. I realized that it seems to have two throttle positions – idle and full on. (That is something I will need to sort out)
Several spins later the tension and nervousness had turned into a silly grin I would wear for the rest of the day.
Heat 2 – Now I began to pay attention to the course and actually race the car. It was tough to run through the fast opening section due to the throttle/carburetor issue. The back section and the slalom were a different story. I could get the car to stick and it felt great. Posted a good time on a clean run and bagged an easy class win. By the last run the brake pedal was going soft and it was apparent I had a leak from inside the right rear drum. Car was back on the trailer and by 5:00 we were rolling into Austin. I still had the silly smile on my face. I left the car on the trailer, backed into the garage, overnight. A hot shower, two glasses of Shiraz , some pizza and I was ready for bed, still grinning.
Un- loaded the ML today and got the car off the trailer and into the garage. Pools of brake fluid were under each rear wheel as both rear cylinders have retired from future competition. Like a lot of things on this car they appeared to be “new” and even after I had inspected/bled them over and over they only leaked after really running the car hard. (This gives me an excuse to replace the rear pads with the trick Kevlar ones Ted is selling)
Nothing else leaked, caught fire, smoked or fell off, so I was pretty happy.
I pulled the drums this afternoon but don’t plan to do anything else to it until I return from holiday in Canada in January.
Next event in Jan 20th in San Antonio again – 1st 2008 points event, I hope the 2 other local GP cars show up so I have somebody to race with. SCCA Solo Nationals here I come.
I posted some grainy video on YouTube - search for “FC921 “
(My favorite is the one where I loop around to catch the first gate I kept missing.)
79 Spitfire 1500 (Street)
62 Spitfire Mk1 (Race)
Cedar Park, TX