Most racers see a blown head gasket as a huge setback, but not Tony, Tony, Tony, and Tony from the Italian Stallions Fiat X1/9 race team. They know it's time to fix it again!
I predicted that the Stallions would finish just 27 laps before the race, though I was hoping they'd do better. Come on, I thought, it's an X1/9! As it turned out, the Stallions managed to knock off 260 laps at Thunderhill- nearly ten times my guess. Not only that, they turned a best lap time of 1:39.258, which is down in BMW E30 and Acura Integra territory.
Of course, it is a Fiat, so the team members probably knew they wouldn't be kicking back in a nice warm motel room and swapping race stories on Saturday night. Hey, why is the engine running so hot?
Turns out that some sort of cooling-system drain valve on the engine let go late on Saturday, which resulted in overheating and a blown head gasket.
Hey, no problem! Here's Tony removing the cylinder head, no doubt enjoying the bracing effects of Thunderhill's 34-degree night air and howling winds, while her assistant- also named Tony- helps out. That's right, this team has an all-woman pit crew, and they got the Fiat back in working order in time for the next day's racing. For having selected an X1/9 and getting numerous mistaken black flags, the Italian Stallions grabbed the I Got Screwed trophy for the race. Be sure to check out their website when you're done here. Thanks to Mad Science Senior and Mad Science for many of these photos.
And here's some in-car video for you; be sure to turn the sound way, way down before you hit the Play button!