Behind the Scenes at Long Beach
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OK, so I get media credentials which gets me in free, and
I can walk around in the paddock and on pit lane unless the track
is hot. But it's difficult to find a place to hang out, a place
where you can sit down or store your jacket or shoulder bag.
I'm lucky because I know a lot of the technical guys, the people
who sell and/or service components the teams need. This season
I've been hanging out at the Motorsports Spares truck at both
Phoenix (IRL) and Long Beach (CART).
At Long Beach the support trucks were in an underground parking
lot just west of the back straight. Each engine manufacturer:
Ilmor/Mercedes-Benz, Cosworth/Ford, Toyota, and Honda have big
semi-trailers with conference rooms, kitchens, and workstations
for their managers and engineers. Firestone and Goodyear have
similar trucks. Lola and Reynard have fancy haulers that stock
spare parts as well as providing a conference room. Swift bought
a smaller fifth-wheel trailer that used to belong to Lola. Other
support vendors like Earl's and Emco Gears also have trailers.
The inside of the Motorsports Spares CART support truck has
a full shock-rebuild bench. This is Jeff Reid at work. The reservoir
is in the near vise and the main shaft with piston in the other
vise. Jeff is measuring the thickness and diameter of each shim
as he installs them on the piston.
This is the Magnetti-Marelli steering wheel as used by the
Ilmor/Mercedes-Benz teams. I'll try to add some info about all
the functions later.
Pi Research also has a steering wheel to mate with their new
on-board computer system called Sigma. The system will have variants
for the major race series. You can see "Laguna" on
the bigger red box and that's what they're calling the CART system.
There will also be a "Daytona" system for NASCAR and
a "Le Mans" system for Sports Cars. There are two processors
running two separate networks, one backing up the other. Each
sensor on the car is a network node with an address.
Inside the Pi Research support trailer. These guys worked
with teams in CART, Indy Lights, and Formula Atlantic at this
event to help them get the most out of their equipment. You see
the Pi guys everywhere on a race weekend.
Penske Racing Shocks is sharing a trailer with Earl's. Here
is Jim Arentz. working with a shock in a portable SPA damper
Glen Knabenshue was also at Long Beach in support of Penske
shocks. Since Team Penske is no longer using Penske shocks on
their Champ car Penske Racing Shocks is once more free to sell
to CART and IRL teams. Many Indy Lights and Formula Atlantic
teams mount Penske shocks.