This week, I discovered that everything I thought I knew about life, the universe, and high-performance driving might well be backwards.
Few things are more dangerous in racing than your car dying on track in the middle of a turn. You’re probably going to get hit unless the car starts right back up. It’s just a matter of when and how hard. I took a hard hit in February and then spent three hellish months recovering from a concussion.
There’s one thing the 24 Hours of LeMons is adamant about: documenting your cheating. Any parts added to the car either need documentation or they’ll be assigned a value in inspections. If you swap “found” parts into an FD Mazda RX-7, you’re going to invoke the “Pratt & Miller Rule,” as this team did.
If you ever wonder whether you still care about your “ran when parked” race car that you haven’t had time to look at in months, go race someone else’s car of the same model. The single best thing I’ve ever done for my Porsche 944 was to go race someone else’s Porsche 944.
If any ordinary car goes boom during a 24 Hours of LeMons race, it’s just a run of the mill (and probably expected) mechanical failure. When a GM U-body “Dustbuster” van dressed as a spaceship blows up, it’s an event worthy of setting to “Also sprach Zarathustra.” Stanley Kubrick, eat your heart out.
It’s a bad sign when you blow up in the inspection line. From the 24 Hours of LeMons race at Barber Motorsports Park. Live streams from the Sonoma race can be viewed here.
The easiest way to go racing on a road course — bar none — is through an amateur endurance series. You can split costs and seat time with friends, and compete in an open, friendly environment of like-minded gearheads. But is there a race near you next year? There’s now a map for that.
[Enough Christmas already. Bring on Easter. Here’s our Volkswagen Type 3 Easter Bunny making the rounds at the 2011 Gator-O-Rama 24 Hours of LeMons race at MSR Houston.]
[The beautiful chaos of a 24 Hours of LeMons race. From the Return of the LeMonites race at Miller Motorsports Park, 2015.]
It’s almost like there are certain mistakes you can’t help but make in the first time you get out on a race track.
Take a scrap Porsche 911 shell that would have otherwise ended up as raw material for toasters and stuff a Volkswagen TDI engine in the rear, and we’ll love your LeMons team forever. Destroy the car’s front end but make it back on track after only two and a half hours and you’re gunning for Repair of the Year.
Any jamoke can Photoshop some technobaubles onto a silver car and call it good, but it takes a real genius to build a Back to the Future-style time machine in real life and race it. That’s what these 24 Hours of LeMons competitors did with their fantastic hoopties. Behold: the best time machines in racing.
I love racing cars and working on them, but it sort of prevents me from enjoying certain things—like fingernail polish. I can’t get a manicure without it chipping immediately. So, I tried out a ridiculous manicure that had to be baked on like automotive paint to find out if pretty nails could finally hold up to oily…
The 24 Hours of LeMons endurance series is out at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah today for the Return of the LeMonites race, and there’s an onboard view from one of the fastest cars there streaming online for your viewing pleasure.
I need it.
In case you’ve never witnessed The 24 Hours Of LeMons, it’s not a typo. It’s a day-long endurance race between crazy people driving jalopies fresh out of a junkyard. And for some, it’s also about angering purists. Like these guys who put a turbo diesel engine in a Porsche 911.
Greetings, at least one foreign land that’s gone “I wish we had something like that here” every time we’ve posted about crapcan racing. The 24 Hours of LeMons folks have opened up the 24 Hours of LeMons Australia. If all else fails, at least it’s guaranteed to be better than this year’s Australian Grand Prix!
Sure, there are class winners and an overall winner of the race itself, which are all fine and well. There’s also awards you don’t want like “Most Heroic Fix.” But of course, the awards you really want at a LeMons race are for the extraordinary and bizarre, and we got one of those: Organizer’s Choice.
You know you’re having an interesting weekend when you see a 924 turning laps and almost wish you’d brought your finicky front-engined Porsche. Then we’d have four cars to break! Here’s the quick rundown of how my LeMons experience has been a tad more authentic than usual.