LIC Motorsports was back on the Time Attack scene at this past weekend’s Infineon Raceway/Global Time Attack (GTA) event Finals for 2011. The event was held over the course of 2 days (Friday and Saturday) and it saw an array of interesting weather throughout. Before LIC even made it to the event, they had the cards stacked against them…here is a brief rundown of the chaos and outcome.
In wanting to not rush things and do due diligence the LIC Motorsports race car was fitted with a few new items to get it prepped for an all out war at the upcoming finals. The decision was made to run a new motor case, pistons, bearings, upgraded GTX turbo, equal length headers, custom up-pipe, and higher capacity oil pan (still using last year’s crank/rod assembly). Upon early completion of these items the car was to be recalibrated by Tim Bailey of COBB Tuning Surgeline. The car got its final tune approx 2 weeks before the scheduled GTA event at Infineon Raceway. With about 1.5 weeks remaining until the event, LIC decided to test the motor and ensure all was well as the motor was making fantastic power prior to heading to the event in a few days. The outcome of those results started a whirlwind for the crew. It was discovered that as a result of running this new found power levels, it was too much for the stock case and that the motor would need to come out and be redone. So Adam and Noah made a quick decision, 1- to continue and fight the odds and attempt to make the event, or 2- to call it quits. The decision wasn’t a cut and dry easy one, as SEMA was on the horizon and would tie up 3 days that were very much needed during this time. The crew made the decision to push forward and do their best to make it happen.
With SEMA now behind them, they ran into logistic issue after issue. Which included parts not showing up on time (due to shipping issues with carriers), parts arriving incorrect, and just plain ole running out of time. The crew pushed themselves at 22+ hrs per day for days until finally the motor fired up with about 10 hrs to spare until the event. No sense of relief could be had; as it left another serious issue still at hand…the motor would need to be broken in at the track (not ideal). For those that don’t know, GTA is a no holds barred event, every time a competitor’s car hits the track those times count. There are no practices, no freebee’s that are given just because one isn’t ready. It’s a come prepared or your competitor will have an edge on you. Clearly it was going to hit the track at a disadvantage from the get go and to make matters worse; it was raining for Fridays event. LIC had to resort to using old tires for this event as they lacked a tire sponsor for support this season, so 1.5 year old Nitto NT01’s would have to do; not the greatest for laying down any wet times let alone racing on top tier level with others using brand new sticky tires.
Friday was an absolute mess courtesy of the weather but not all was lost for Friday, as LIC had the secret weapon….driver Gary Sheehan of COBB Tuning. Gary is a very accomplished and skilled driver with tons of seat time in Subaru’s and to top things off; he loves to drive around in the rain. Gary was sent out in the first session to “break-in” the motor only and report back with feedback. The second session arrived and it was still dumping rain, which made for a very wet track but Gary was allowed to add in some more boost and give it a good romp here and there if he was able to keep traction. By the time session 3 arrived the track was about 80% dry but still was a mini lake in a few turns, especially turn 10. Gary was able to pull off an impressive 1:47.723 and put the car into the #2 spot, all while running on used/bald tires from last year’s racing effort. As Friday winded down the decision was made to take the car back to the shop and make some adjustments to the alignment settings (only reason this was done at the shop was because UMS Tuning ran into a transmission issue and LIC offered up the use of the shop to accommodate that team whom traveled from Arizona to be at this event).
Saturday was upon the crew and it was yet another late night in the shop while the UMS crew prepped their car for the last day of the event. The weather had decided to let up fairly early in the morning but the cold temps kept the track soaking wet for the morning session. As the sun came up the track started to dry out for the teams and the notion that it would all be laid on the line came to light. The rivalry for LIC Motorsports and 034 Motorsports was starting to take off. Gary and Christian Miller (034 Motorsports driver) are driving partners in another race series and know each other’s in’s and outs, as well as being good buddies with one another. Session 1 of the day was lead by 034 Motorsports with LIC being 1.2 secs trailing behind. The two teams battled back and forth for all session of the day, literally swapping places with the #1 and #2 spots, pushing each other to drive better, drive faster, and ultimately who would reign supreme. The 3rd session saw LIC move into the #1 spot with a new class track record of 1:41.888, beating out 2nd place by over 1.3 secs. The final session of the day LIC decided it was time to turn things up and go for a deeper track record, if possible. All too often teams talk about using a low boost map, or not using the high boost map…well the boys wanted to test the car in a real life scenario and see what it could do at full tilt. The final run saw an impressive 9 turns from Gary on his out lap but coming off of turn 9 and into turn 10 the LIC Motorsports car suffered its first ever mechanical failure on track, it had rod #3 snap in two; sending a hole through the top of the block and ending the opportunity to improve on the already new track record set by themselves and impressive win for the Limited AWD class.
Even more impressive was the feedback given by driver Gary Sheehan, “I was very impressed with how much improved the LIC Motorsports STI was from last year. The car was so much more refined and easier to drive coming out of the corners. The power was just awesome, leaps and bounds above 2010, pulling hard and clean all the way to redline with no drop-off as a session went on. Engine temps never went above the mid-180’s, and it was clear that the guys at LIC had their thermal-management down pat. The tune by Tim Bailey from COBB Tuning was spot on and it was a thrill to wind out the revs in every gear. The engine sounded so sweet!”
“Weather and circumstances kept us off the track as much as we would have liked, and we only got about four timed hot-laps on a dry track all weekend. With a little more testing and chassis tuning time, I think this car easily has another second or two left in it. I am very excited to see how far this car has come along and glad to see all of Noah and Adam’s hard work pay off. They deserve it!”
The team really looks forward to getting the car back together and replacing the failed component with a stronger beefier part that will withstand the rigors the team plans to run from here on out. The data collected and future for the LIC Motorsports Time Attack car are one to be on the lookout for.
LIC Motorsports would like to thank its sponsors:
COBB Tuning / Hawk Performance / Wheeldude / WORLD Racing / RallySport Direct / Lost Summit Films / Go Pro
As LIC Motorsports heads into the home stretch of completing the race car, lots has happened over the course of the last few weeks/months. One of the major changes and hurdles has been to finally add power to the setup. In the past we were one of the lower horsepower Subaru’s competiting in the field, which can be seen when another car with big power stretches its legs at a track like Willow Springs. So we felt the need to at least get on par with others in our field.
The final event is being held at Infineon Raceway, which is not a horsepower track (yes HP plays a role but it’s not as big as say WSIR, Buttonwillow, LVMS, etc...), this track is going to be about a well rounded setup and driver confidence. For those who don't know or have never run there....THERE ARE WALLS, it’s as real as it gets and one mistake can/will put an end to your vehicle. There has never been a day that we have been at Infineon for an event that we haven't seen a totaled vehicle, it’s one of those things that comes with the territory. The track will find the weakest part of the setup and capitalize on it.
Some of the major changes we have done is to put in a fresh motor case (still using our rods/crank from last season), new pistons, and of course new bearings/seals. The other items we upgraded were the header to an equal length, a custom up-pipe to work with our new GTX35R turbo, and new extra capacity oil pan. For those that hear all the chitter chatter on these turbo's, it’s all true. This turbo is pretty darn amazing and we truly believe it will become the norm for everyone involved in racing using a Garrett turbocharger. Making these adjustments to the setup has netted in excess of 150+ whp over our setup from our 2010 season.
In the process of us finding new limits we have also found limitations of specific components. Currently we are swapping out components for others that can handle new pressures we are seeking and demanding on the system. I wish we could say it’s been an easy going process but it seems we hit every road block, shipping errors, and parts arriving incorrect (even today is an example of this, as of this moment we have to wait until tomorrow to finish our short block, more incorrect parts were received today). At the end of the day this all falls on our shoulders and we will do everything in our power to make it all happen, as we always have.
In better news we have brought in a seasoned veteran driver for this event. Driver Gary Sheehan of COBB Tuning will be at the helm of the LIC Motorsports STi, back in 2010 we utilized Gary for driver feedback, setup, and adjustments. We at LIC Motorsports are honored to receive the continued support of COBB Tuning and feel we are putting both feet forward with this joint venture at this final event of 2011.
We would like to say "see you there" but as of this moment, we need to finish off a build. So to say it accurately, we "hope to see you there"!
Most Articles are written by Noah Levy.