What’s the oil change interval on a sequential SADEV gearbox? How do you figure out what tire pressures to run during a qualifying lap? And what exactly are the settings for camber and caster to optimize your vehicle’s contact patch during a hot lap?
All of that and more will be in our latest series, Motorsport Mondays.
By now, you know about FCP Euro’s motorsports documentary series, The Paddock. It provided a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of our motorsports program, from securing sponsorships, traveling to races, and even some of the hardships we faced throughout each weekend at the track. But this year, we’re going to do things a little differently.
This year, our program is coming in-house. What’s that mean? Rather than using a logistics partner for the transport, prep, and race support, we’re going to do it all ourselves. That includes working on the cars in the off-season, transporting them to the race, working on them at the track during a race, optimizing them for winning the event itself and, more importantly, running it all out of the same facility that you pick up your parts. It’s a massive undertaking.
If I had to summarize Motorsport Mondays in one sentence, it’d be: translating how working on two professional championship-winning race cars can help you work on your European car. Our Volkswagen GTI TCRs are just cars, after all, and there’s plenty of things we have under our belts that could help you in your endeavors, whether it’s in your driveway doing routine maintenance or at a track going after your own fastest lap.
Last week on episode four of our Motorsport Mondays series, it was Christmas in the shop. Volkswagen Motorsport delivered boxes and boxes of parts that the #71 and #72 TCRs needed immediately, and some that we knew we'd need throughout the 2020 season.
This week, things get more interesting as the team tears further into the engines and transmissions. If you've been following along with our motorsports journey, you probably know that for the 2019 season, we switched from the stock DSG transmissions to brand new Sadev Sequential gearboxes. Unlike DSG transmissions, sequentials require more frequent inspections and rebuilds due to the extreme forces that are applied to their internal components. Instead of having to rebuild one overnight at the track (as we had to halfway into the 2019 season), the team decided the best plan of action is to send them out to Sadev to have them professionally inspected and rebuilt if need be. And not only will the transmissions be taking the trip down to North Carolina, both Gareth and Nate will be headed there as well to learn how to properly service them.
To have the sequentials serviced, they first had to be separated from the engines. Gareth, Chris, and I made quick work of this, all while Gareth documented the process for if/when it needed to be done again. Once off the engines, further inspection could be done—which led to some interesting findings.
In the latter half of the year, the #71 car of Michael Hurczyn had a recurring issue of higher than typical oil temperatures. After the transmission was removed, it was apparent that one of the lines to the transmission cooler had been crushed during installation. This could easily have been the root of the issue, and is something that will be replaced before the cars are put back together. This is an example of just another reason why bringing the motorsports program in-house was the right call if we want to succeed again this year.
With the transmissions free of the engines, they were quickly loaded up on pallets and strapped, preparing them for the 700+ mile trip down to Mooresville, NC where Sadev is located.
On next week's episode of Motorsports Mondays, the team tackles some of the more nitty-gritty aspects of taking the program in-house. The wiring systems on both TCRs start to get overhauled, the support vehicles get a tune-up and makeover, and Gareth begins replacing the normal maintenance items on both engines.
Like the series? Want to see something specific related to our race cars? Have questions about working on your race car? Please leave it in the comments below.
Writer/Editor at FCP Euro and owner of a daily R53 MINI Cooper, a track-built R53 MINI, and a 1997 Dakar Yellow E36 M3 Sedan. ••• Instagram: @evan.madore