I left my desk here in Montreal at 4:30pm last Thursday evening with a huge grin on my face as I said ‘Bon Weekend’ to my co-workers. Many, if not all, have no idea what racing a car is like or why any human being would ever want to. Not only that, but trying to explain to my work-day peers that I would be running in the 24 Hours of Lemons in New Jersey did not translate well. One co-worker Googled’ the renowned racing series and found pictures of the enthusiastic men from the ‘Sorry for Party Racing’ racing team wearing nothing but neon leopard print thongs while wrenching on their 80’s firebird. ‘Oh!’, my French Canadian cohort said, “What exactly is it you are you going to do this weekend again?” Sometimes it’s better to just say, “I’m taking a long weekend…” and leave it at that… But it’s you, the
The field in this year’s Halloween Hooptiefest was one of the most deceiving we have ever encountered. With ramshackle rides spread all over the paddock it looked like this was one of the most banged up fields we’ve seen. It was also one of the fastest. There was barely any clean bodywork in the entire facility, it was obvious the veteran teams attending have seen some on track action before (IE Contact!). Then, suddenly it all made sense as we rolled out onto the track to take the green flag on Saturday morning. As over 140 cars limped out behind the pace car, we noticed the racers were bumper to bumper the entire way around the short 1.6 mile course. The green flag fell and the insanity ensued. Cars were four-wide in nearly every turn, every wheel was against every other wheel, and cars were blowing up left and right.
As a motorsports enthusiast and participant, I’ve sat by and watched for years as racing became more and more expensive and less and less competitive. As racing has become more expensive on all levels, better funded teams more consistently come out on top due to both economics and lack of competition. There are a few racing divisions that have tried to make racing more accessible. 24HoursOfLeMons is one of those divisions. Lemons racing encourages the use of mostly stock vehicles and largely used parts. You won’t find shiny chrome, or fancy shocks, or dyno-tested motors at a Lemons race. Most competitors are using a blend of affordable used parts and significant miles used parts to keep their cars on the track. Of course, some safety features shouldn’t be subject to Lemons’ $500 maximum spend on each vehicle. All cars must have a roll-cage. All drives must wear fire protection
I’ll be the first to admit, five weeks of evening work sessions to assemble and swap out a drivetrain AND test a new engine control system on a Saab 900 was a little ambitious. However, with a sparse number of northeast events, TeamRemmers made the decision to get the car back together and go for it. Plagued by small problems that turned into big problems, we thought we had the formula down enough to get the car back together and run the 24 Hours of Lemons “Loudon Annoying” event held at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. A toasted bottom end from a blown turbo required both swapping of turbo units, doing (another) head gasket job as well as mating it to our somewhat fresh transmission, now with power-steering-pump-driven-transmission-oil-cooler-and filter. What could go wrong? Apparently, a lot. Our prototype Trionic5 flywheel setup needed a few tweaks before we were running code free and with some boost.
Most people have heard of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s oldest active sports car endurance race where drivers race for 24 hours and over 3,000 miles in the ultimate test of skill, grit, determination, and mechanical engineering. The 24 Hours of LeMons is not that race. Every car entered into each 24 Hours of LeMons race was purchased, fixed up, and track prepared for a total of $500 or less. LeMans, LeMons, lemons…get it? Take one look at the vehicles entered into each LeMons race and you’ll realize two things: These cars really ARE put together for $500 or less The people driving them are more than a little crazy. You don’t have to enter the race to enjoy it. Tickets are available for only $30 for the entire weekend (or $20/day, kids under 16 are FREE), and it really is an amazing spectacle. The racers are truly great people