Blatant copy of the recent trend of driver's eye videos, but this one from a 17 year old Formula SAE car. Crank the sound!
Due to a serious lack in racing this season (1 lap => blown motor) I've been in serious racecar withdrawal. Two weeks ago when I received an invite to join the Bearcat Motorsports Alumni group at G&J Kartway in Camden, OH I promised myself I'd suck it up and make the drive down. So at 6am on a Saturday morning I dragged myself out of bed, hopped in the car, and trundled down I-75 for 4 hours to a little kart track in the middle of a corn field.
For those of you who have had the pleasure (or torture) to drive these know how temperamental these little beasts can be. Tremendously edgy to drive, quite physical, and put bruises in places you didn't know possible. About once a year the alumni group in Cincy puts together an open invite to those who were once members of the team to come visit and drive up to 8 old FSAE cars. They do a hell of a job keeping the cars operational and upgrading them as they deem appropriate, plus the craftsmanship is fantastic. You can check out their work at bearcatfsae.blogspot.com
This year there were 6 cars available and despite them not all surviving the day I was able to get in and drive 4 of them. Each one has a different personality and each one requires a couple laps to get acquainted with. The above video is of the team's 1997 entry affectionately known as Blue. Of the 4 I drove this was by far the best of the day. The balance was pretty good, the 600 was making good power, and the grip was fairly high despite some old tires. Unfortunately, by the end of the day this car was suffering serious rod knock and is now in need of a new motor.
One of the fun things is that each car has a name and each name has some connection to either the vehicle's personality or something that happened to it during the season. I don't know the story of a few of the vehicles like Blue and Money, but cars like Steamy ('05) was named for its affinity for overheating, and Kerosene ('04) who was accidentally tuned on the dyno on kerosene. These events are enjoyable for all the socializing with old friends and reminiscing of previous seasons. I owe Bryan a huge debt of gratitude for allowing me to come down and enjoy these cars despite the fact that I'm not around to help fix them afterwards. I am well aware of the effort to prep just one car and here he is shepherding 8 of them, allowing others to bomb around a track in them, and having no resentment after it. Especially when bozos like me clock a curb too hard and break the front right corner.
I know there's a collection of Oppos who've participated or are participating in Formula SAE. I hope you guys enjoy the program as much as I did. It a was a springboard into a career working on cars and a hobby playing with cars. It also humbled me a lot because there is so much to learn and so much to more than I can ever hope to learn in a lifetime.