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S197 3V The Good . . . . and the Ugly

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Exp. Type
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Last weekend at VIR was bittersweet.
The Good:

1. I was fortunate to meet and spend some time with O-Man. 1st class all the way and seasoned (in a good way) veteran instructor/driver. Thoroughly enjoyed talking shop with him and for his calming effect when the engine died.

2. The Nankang AR-1s were fantastic. 275-19s on 9 1/2" rims. I had Phil's tire heat cycle the tires and I did a 10 session at 60% to scrub them in. During two 20mins sessions at 80% the tires never faded. They took the full About 1/2 to 3/4 of a lap at VIR and they were ready to go. Probably the most unexpected (don't ask me why) benefit was the tire's ability to take 98% of my braking power before getting a small lock-up. I just thought I had good brakes with the other tires. With the AR-1s I was actually able to close the distance between most cars that were in front of me at the end of the front and back straights in the braking zones.

Pressure was 33lbs hot. Probably could have dropped a pound or two, but the roll over was just nicking the the tip of the carrots and I was not able to explore the limits because of the shortened weekend. Since I am just getting back to the track after 6 years, I can only compare the grip to older tires. They have much better grip than the old RA-1s, and feel more like the old Victoracer slicks that I used to run on my LS powered 944T.

3. I was very happy with the car and setup. I was chasing down all sorts of BMWs (except the 400+ hp jobs), Caymans, and 996s. A stark difference from my events at Pitt Race and Summit Main on the 280TW Yokos.

The Bad:

1: Threw a rod or busted a wrist pin first thing Sunday morning. White smoke bellowed from exhaust as I entered the lower esses, power down, temp spiked, oil pressure down (but not to zero). I was able to quickly get off of the track and onto the first turn in for the North track so I was about 20 yards off the track. No fluids leaking, just oil in the overflow tank. Towed to the paddock.

Once home (AAA to the rescue) a cold start gave us clanging on the driver's side 1st or 2nd cylinder. The block externally is intact. No coolant leaks.

I no longer have a garage to work in as we sold our home in October of last year otherwise I would just do a Coyote conversion.

So . . . . I'm looking for a crate motor and need input on who has the best rep for these. I plan on keeping the cams unless there is a crate that has an option to use the same or similar cams.

I also need input on a shop that can be trusted to replace the motor and put everything back together competently. I live in Northern Virginia, but have 100 mile towing.

As always, thanks in advance for your thoughts and input.

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