All of the Mazda MX-5 teams that participated in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race this weekend were found yanking out their engines after the race on Friday night. Why? According to IMSA, it was time to do a routine audit to make sure everything was in spec. Yes, getting audited sucks for race cars, too.
No one was suspected of cheating in the MX-5 field or anything. This wasn't SCCA Runoffs redux. No, certain makes in the series apparently undergo regular checks like this to keep it all fair. The engines are sent back to an R&D center in Concord, NC, to make sure everything's within the rules.
Here's the Freedom Autosport MX-5-as-battering-ram team pulling their engine.
Although Freedom may have wanted to inspect theirs after taking a front-end hit in their ST-class car, not all the MX-5 teams were particularly happy about being asked to remove their engines. It wasn't because they had anything to hide, either.
"We'd have already been packed up and out of here if we hadn't have had to pull the engine," complained a crew member on a different MX-5 team. Since CTSCC raced on Friday before the 12 Hours of Sebring, many of those teams were eager to get moving out of the track before the Saturday race day traffic got nuts.
I guess not everyone has to be told "no, you have to leave the track right now or you're going to be locked in this building without coffee for days." To the guys who are here to work, some good rest and downtime after the race weekend is done is sorely needed.