It's not as complicated as you might think.
Thursdays during SRO America weekends are usually pretty light. The truck pulls in, we unload the trailer, and we do a track walk to get familiar with our surroundings and the nuances of the course. This Thursday at Portland International Raceway, however, took a much different turn.
During rounds eight and nine at Sonoma International Raceway, we heard a noise in our #71 GTI TCR's gearbox. Specifically, the noise was an awful, high-pitched whine coming from fifth gear throughout the RPM range. And because the truck, trailer, and cars went straight from Sonoma to Portland, we never had time to properly diagnose it in-between races.
So this meant the crew had to remove the SADEV sequential gearbox from the #71, take it apart, and inspect the gears. We went in with a literal fine-toothed comb to look for striations, deviations, chips, scratches, anything that looked out of place. Phil Warner, the car chief of the #71, didn't really have to look too hard.
An entire tooth was missing from fifth gear. It came clean off. The good news is that it was in one piece with a clean break, meaning no metal shavings or shrapnel were floating around the gearbox. The bad news is, well, there was a tooth missing.
Michael Hurczyn, driver of the #71 GTI TCR, was leading the points going into Portland, and this one tooth missing from the gearbox could jeopardize all of it.
How did the team cope? What was the result of the race? If you want the full behind-the-scenes look at what it took to finish that weekend, check out Season Two Episode Six of The Paddock below.