As many of you know, there are a lot of things you can say on the internet that will perhaps earn you a phone call from Mom. Like “Help, I broke my legs,” or “Showed up late to work this morning, still wasted #totalrager #worthit” or, “I just killed a man for fun! #rager #adorbsballs” and so on. Well, this might be one of those things: Mom, I’ve joined a 24 Hours of LeMons team called the Brooklyn Bomb Squad and this is our race car. Hello? No, I’m not kidding. It’s super safe. It’s an Audi, Mom. Yes of course it runs. Well, it will run, once we fix the new turbo engine, install the driveshaft, connect the shift linkage, and do 248 other important things before my first race on May 10th. Don’t worry. I’ll be fine!
So how does a gullible moron like myself with exactly ZERO competitive motorsports experience end up on a real life LeMons racing team? Simple: the Bomb Squad’s captain, Jay, invited me. Now who looks like a moron, eh? Well, behind the wheel of a 1990 Audi 100 with most of the roof cut off, we all will. But really that’s the point. It’s going to be a blast.
It might be a surprise to a normal, sane person that the 24 Hours of LeMons is not the only race series in the country where you can compete against a Chevette decorated like a huge furry bear – there’s also ChumpCar – but it is certainly the most fun. Anyone being too precious is awarded embarrassing punishments, and although the days are long gone in which your car could be randomly destroyed by the organizers just for fun (these junkyard racecars still take a lot of work), the spirit of LeMons is very much to not take yourself or your terrible car too seriously.
One thing that is taken very seriously, though: safety. The $500 limit for the cars doesn’t include safety gear like a mandatory roll cage, good brakes, and tires. You hear that, mom? Fortunately none of these cars are truly fast, and the greatest risk is mostly to ones ego, as you are being unceremoniously being passed again by a heap of shit that is painted like a rolling comb-over, complete with realistic hair blowing from the roof. I intend to chronicle my introduction into real, on track endurance racing with the Brooklyn Bomb Squad all year from the first-timers perspective. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot in the process, and you can all laugh at me.
Enough background. It’s the start of our season. I met Jay and Eugene on a fine, brisk spring day in a weed-infested alley in Brooklyn where the Bomb Squad’s Audi lives under a tarp. This is the beauty of joining a team that has already been doing this for a few years. They have a van. And a trailer. And a race car: the Audi 100, which now is sporting a new, yet-untested turbo engine from an Audi 200. This wasn’t the first time I laid eyes on this masterpiece of german engineering; I met Jay and the team last year when I went to the race in Monticello, NY to take pictures and drink beer with my dad and we saw the Audi in action, complete with a giant stack of dynamite on top. Jay wants to lose the dynamite this year, and go with a graffiti motif. Can’t argue with weight savings.
So not only am I an untested driver (I do have a little track experience), I also am not a mechanic of any repute. Exactly what of any value do I offer this team, you ask? So far, only about $300 in entry fees and this blog post. Luckily, Jay knows more or less what he’s doing, and even more importantly, Eugene is a mechanic who owns his own shop and specializes in Audis and Volkswagens. So I did my best to help Jay to help Eugene, which for me meant looking around inside the car for mystery bolts and parts that might be found in a puddle on the passenger side floorboard. We (they) managed to get the front axles reinstalled, which was a big step, but the work day stalled out when it was discovered that we lack the shifter tower from an Audi 200 to match the swapped Audi 200 engine and transmission that will take the Bomb Squad’s horsepower from around 100 horsepower to nearly 200 whopping ponies. Jay was clearly very excited by this idea. But even with the added power, this Audi is probably one of the most forgiving cars to drive, thanks to the all-wheel drive and mighty german brakes. Jay says you have to be doing something truly stupid to upset it. We’ll see about that.
Next time, we will hopefully get the driveshaft hooked up and the electric gremlins worked out for the new engine. May is just around the corner, and we will be crapcan endurance racing soon. Stay tuned.