Hello my friends,
It has been a while since my last post. It is not because we have been quiet, on the contrary, We have been super busy at OCA. As most of you know we moved our operation to a much nicer location. We are about 1.5 miles east of our old place, right off of Rt 46 in Rockaway. The move invovled prepping and epoxying the shop floor area. We had optimistically estimated a few days to do the floor, oh boy were we wrong! The shop floor was in really bad shape and required us to diamond gind the entire surface before we did any of the real prep work. If you have never used a floor grinder, picture a 6" x 6" device that turns concrete into dust. (At a very slow rate) Anyways, the floor took us 2 weeks of working until 3AM to complete. But look at the results!
The new Shop floor!
We are moved in now, and in the process of getting the new shop organized. Once fully set up, the new shop configuration will be even more functional than our old one.
Anyway, onto some more interesting car related things. As many of you know, OCA is now sporting our favorite chassis (the venerable E36 M3) in the American Endurance racing series. If you do not know about AER, they are a really excellent organization that runs 2 x 9 hr endurance races at popular road race tracks. We built a totally fresh E36 M3 with fully adjustable suspension, and a host of go fast parts combined with our OCA special sauce produced a pretty capable car. We had several customers sign up for the full 2017 racing season, and we were off!
The white OCA car at Watkins Glen International race track
The first race for us was at Watkins glen in upstate NY. After working all night, we arrived at the track on thursday morning at 6AM. We drove directly to the track, and prepped the car for a test and tune day. Unfortunatley mother nature was not in the mood to cooperate. The track was shut down the entire day due to heavy fog! In the many years that I have been going to this track, I have never seen it shut down for the entire day. Luckily the weather lifted, and We qualified mid pack on Friday.
The race start on Saturday was exciting. The Saleens cayman tried to make a pass on the outside of the front straight, and was collected by the outside wall. Fortunately for us, we made it through turn 1 without an incident. We actually jumped quite a few spots. The team worked all day on polishing and fine tuning our pit stops. Due to multiple full course yellows, each of our team drivers were able to take a green flag! Bravo gents, you are now officially real racers! We managed to avoid any major contact for the day. Unfortunately, after 8 and half hours of racing, the head gasket on the motor expired. (That's racing...)
Fast forward to the prep for the NJMP race. We replaced the head gasket, and the motor seemed ok. Unfortunately the day that we were leaving for NJMP the white car spun a rod bearing. We worked as a team to get the car fixed for the race until 3AM. At that point it was obvious that the white car could not be repaired in time for the race. So the decesion was made to default to the backup car.
The backup OCA Race car (Thanks Brian!)
After arriving at the track at 6AM (This is becoming a bad habit!), we started doing some last minute prep on the black car. Once ready, we ran the black car for several DE sessions, and qualifying. We qualified 21 out of about 57 cars.
The team really stepped up our pit stop efficiency. We were able to get all of the process done in under 3 minutes!
Setting up for refueling, and driver change
Refueling a thirsty car..
An efficient pit stop!
After a day full of crashes, full course yellows, we found our selves in third place in class! For our first full race as a team, it was totally amazing!
The team on the podium accepting a 3rd in class for Saturday
Sunday was a new day. We started in our original qualifying position of 21. The team again did an excellent job with the pit stops. Between the efficient pit stops, and our team of fine drivers, we steadily worked our way through the pack until we found ourselves in p1 in class! We spent the majority of the day running in P1. Our competitors were not about to give up. We would change positions for a little, and then move back to p1. Towards the end of the day due to a full couse yellow, and pit stop timing, we found oursevles with the FCP Euro car in the lead, and 7 seconds from passing us. (about to lap us) The P3 car was also closing. We were not going to let this happen! We distanced ourselves from the P3 car-- Ok, done, and made up time on the FCP car. Unfortunately, the tires did not have enough left in them to make up the gap. We ended the race 50 seconds behind the FCP car after 9 hrs of racing. We finished second in class, and second overall for the weekend! While a first place would have been amazing, taking second for the day, and second overall for the weekend was a sweet way to end the weekend!
The team accepting a second in class, and second overall for the weekend!
Wow, what a weekend! Our next race in August. It will be a 13 hr from Dusk till Dawn extravaganza! I will try and post updates from the shop as we continue to purchase equipment, and set it up so that we can better support all of our fablous customers. If we can help build a car for you, or sharpen the car that you have, please call us at the shop (973-453-3580)
Until next time, stay Fast, and Safe!