Much has changed but in the end, CSSN is running a 2-car effort again this year.
Mark Overmyer and his great family have retired. Mark was the keystone of our team for 4 years. It was not clear what we would do without him, his kids and his wife. Mark's cars always were interesting. We won with a catamaran, a keel=car, and a conventional car.
A great number of plans were considered but eventually it evolved into Duane and I building a new car, with the division of labor mostly being me working on the shell (a carbon fiber torpedo of great strength) and Duane working on the metal bits. We worked together, with a small assist from Walt Barie to integrate the parts. We have built on what we learned at CMU as well as from what we gained working with Mark Overmyer over the past few seasons. It was a goodly challenge, designing a car around a person you had never met and then designing the running gear for that car despite it not being finished. Only possible via the internet. The shell was ready in early June and Jillian (pour new driver) flew out for a quick trip to get fitted. It fits like it was made for her ( which it was). Comfortable but nowhere to make it smaller.
New car development has gone well, and we rolled in Indy during the last weekend in June. The car still needed some sorting but we were encouraged that the driver fit, could see, could steer and could mostly stop. Stopping is one of the things we needed to work on. She could stop just fine, the problem was that the brake needed to hang down, almost touching the ground to make that possible. Not enough room for her feet. So, the sorting mostly involves, replacing her foot power with some pneumatic bits, adding wheel and axle fairings, and getting the ballast in place. All the hard stuff in terms of design and integration are mostly behind us (the brake may change that story a bit, we will see soon). I am really impressed with the steering design that Duane came up with.
The resulting car is tiny (relatively speaking). Likely the smallest car in the race and smaller in frontal area than any buggy the zoo ever built This in part is due to the tiny wheels and the feet first position that can be made smaller than head first. As far as driving goes, Jillian, who is an ex buggy driver, seems to be getting the hang of it. Her attitude is great. Looking forward to how she handles the track at Derby downs vs the Indy track. We have a few bits to "tune" during practice as well.
We have also teamed up with another car builder and driver for 2013. Jerry Pearson built a tiny car a few years ago. Anne Taylor is an excellent driver who has driver for Jerry for a few years. They have finished 2nd in the 2 NDR ultimate races. The lack of wheel fairings has held them back a bit. They have also done well in the USC at Akron despite not having first-rate wheels. Now, with our combined efforts, both of those deficiencies have been eliminated and we expect Anne on the podium in both races. Jerry helped inspire the design of the new car, having shared his development plans for his tiny racer.
So, look for the yellow cars this year. (our new on is on the right in the photo below).
The race is July 27.