From Breakdown to Shakedown

Getting back on track with the 2020 season

Posted by Roger on July 04, 2020

Just yesterday, we put the finishing touches on the StudioVRM Prelude's H23A1 engine: a Rosko Racing fuel rail, RDX fuel injectors, and an EGR delete. The car is now a tune and an alignment away from a proper shakedown at the recently re-opened NJ Motorsports Park.

To be preparing for the 2020 season halfway through the calendar year feels strange, to say the least. But truth be told, I couldn't be happier. Given the immense struggles we went through to build a replacement for our destroyed 2019 motor and the global pandemic coming in to deliver the double whammy of the century, it's nothing short of a miracle that we can race at all.

The smart thing to do in this situation is to temper expectations. You know, make excuses about being rusty after a long winter and the car being what effectively is a rolling science experiment. But after seeing the upgrades this year, I can't help but feel excited.

While fast in the right conditions, the 2018/2019 StudioVRM Prelude Si was never truly competitive in any class that it raced in. It was too underpowered, too unreliable, and too heavy. Aside from its razor-sharp handling and aero advantage, it just didn't have what it takes to keep up with a truly competitive SCCA Super Touring car.

This year's car is different. Powertrain Wizard Robert Oliver has done a tremendous job building a true H23A1 racing motor. The aggressive top end work and new bottom end should go a long way towards addressing our power deficit, and the addition of an Accusump to complement the road race oil pan should stop any reliability issues in its tracks.

Realistically, these upgrades will not be enough to propel us onto the podium. The current breed of race winners in SCCA's Super Touring class are 300hp monsters, powered by modern turbo engines or large displacement inline 6's made by a certain Bavarian Motor company. At best, our new motor will produce 230 fwhp, a far cry from what the class leaders are capable of. But that's ok. 230hp is enough to embed our car into the sharp end of the grid.

That's our goal for 2020. Get into the fight at the front half of the grid and show our fellow enthusiasts what a small underdog team is capable of. And if the opportunity arises, we will absolutely be going for the win. No matter what though, I promise that we'll put on a damn good show.

See you at the track. Very, very soon.