It feels as if it’s finally the Year of the Porsche 944 in the 24 Hours of LeMons. Several well-organized, knowledgeable teams such as Porch Racing and Floridiot Motorsports have made the 944 work reliably and well enough to contend for an overall win on laps. “Der Porschelump,” however, is not one of those teams.
I had tried to buy my way into one of those cars by buying an ex-ChumpCar winning ’83 944, but unfortunately, my time with that car was cut short. Some of you may recognize me from Jalopnik, where my first paid article was about having my racecar totaled in the first driver’s stint. Oops.
So, I bought another one. A commenter on my banana’d 944 article responded that he had one for sale, so I jumped on it. Enter: My First Racecar Build.
Can someone with almost zero mechanical experience beyond brake pad swaps make a 944 with a busted water pump run?
The Index of Effluency, 24 Hours of LeMons racing’s top prize, goes to the team that achieves beyond all expectations in an unspeakably terrible car. That means, most of the time, something like an MGB-GT or Chevy S10. A 1987 Mazda RX-7, a pretty quick and reliable car in most cases, wouldn’t qualify for IOE status… under normal circumstances. In the case of the lunatic Texans of Team Sensory Assault, however, we’ve got a silk purse that’s been turned into a sow’s ear, then shot full of holes, fed through a shredder, and boiled in chlorine triflouride.
You get some crazy weather when your traveling race series holds events in April; last weekend, we had to throw the checkered flag early on Saturday’s race session because blowing Michigan snow knocked visibility down to zero. Today, we had to end the session an hour early because a wild lightning storm swooped in and threatened to zap the corner workers. Minutes later, the tornado alert sirens started blowing. The members of the Miagra Miata team, no doubt donning their helmets and cowering in the nearest bunker, could console themselves with the knowledge that their team will start tomorrow’s race session as the race leader. Well, that’s if a funnel cloud doesn’t deposit their Mazda in the next county.
I’m on my third LeMons race in as many weekends— New Jersey to Michigan to Texas— and the regional differences that make one region of the country stand out from another have become quite clear: East Coast racers like BMW E30s and VW Golfs and Midwestern racers are partial to Neons and Camaros. The Texans? They like Ford Taurus SHOs.
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