Now that I've had a chance to go through my photos of the 24 Hours of LeMons South event, it's time for the traditional LeMons Über Gallery! You'll see a set of photos for every car that managed to roar (or sputter) onto the track in Kershaw, South Carolina, plus links to team websites and other citrus-flavored goodness.
Any of you LeMons South racers who want the uncropped, full-resolution photos of your team's car should email me with a request and I'll hook you up. If you
feel like punishing the Gawker server hamsters some more still haven't gotten your LeMons Über Fix after checking out these shots, take a look at the LeMons SF '08 Über Gallery, the Arse Freeze-A-Pa-Looza LeMons '08 Über Gallery, and the LeMons SF '07 Über Gallery.
We had a great time but did have some problems. The whole first day we were way down on power - couldn't get more than half throttle without the motor missing very badly and blowing black smoke. We figured that we would lose more laps than we could ever get back if we brought it to the garage to figure out the issue, so we just ran it that way the first 7-1/2 hours of the race and dealt with it at the evening break. It turned out that the passenger side O2 sensor had crapped out. We replaced it with a new AC Delco one and it was fine the next morning, but our lap times that first day were 5 seconds slower than the leader and we were down 23 laps by the end of Saturday. We would have lost more laps than that if we hadn't raced in the rain for 2 hours when everyone else had to slow down too. Our car did great in the rain.
The next day the car ran great. We started up again at 8:30 AM and were running laps 1-2 seconds faster than the leader all morning. But our transponder had stopped working and Scoring didn't black flag us to let us know of the problem until over an hour into the day. We were able to negotiate with the gracious scoring officials for them to give us 50 laps, but the leader had run 58 by then and we were faster than them all morning. Still - it was way better than nothing. By the 11:00 -12:00 "church break", we had made up 8 laps and things were looking good for a top 10 finish. But right after the break we cut a brake line from some track debris. We replaced the line but lost 15 more laps while we fixed the car. Then around 12:30 the transmission stopped shifting into 3rd gear - we think a simple $5 shift solenoid died. I guess that stock motor (yes, it really was bone stock) just didn't like 3 hours of being run up to the rev limiter in 2nd gear on the 2 long straights, so with 2 minutes left, it threw 2 rods through the oil pan in protest. It probably didn't help that we had bumped the rev limiter up 400 RPM from stock. Maybe I should have mentioned that to my team mates... :)
A thrown fan belt and later a hard tap that made the motor smash the bottom radiator hose pissed off the head gasket. Later, two or three hoses, a water pump and a melted oil pressure switch took us out of contention on Saturday.
Sunday we decided all should drive one more time. We spent a fare amount of time and money to get there (we are not wealthy by any stretch of imagination) and each driver only had one turn on Sat.
After each run we brought the car in, waited until we could get the cap off without boiling what was left, put in about 2 gallons of water and the next guy went out.
The engine would get so hot on each run the head would start leaking oil on to the exhaust. Eyes would burn and the last driver almost threw up. GREAT FUN! WE WANT TO DO IT AGAIN! Winning is overrated.
We ran that poor car with a blown head gasket for a day and a half. How's that for German engineering?