What an incredible weekend. A year after we started this project, we finally got to experience the 24 Hours of LeMons. We met some really cool people, had some really good competition and Pujo! miraculously survived the entire race. Not without incident, but he'll be fixed up and ready for another LeMons event in no time.
On Friday during the practice our oil cooler lines proved to be too short and were loosened up by the engine torqueing. Pujo! left about a quart of oil on the track and we started scrambling to fix the problem. Fortunately NAPA in Fernley is geared towards farm vehicles and built us a couple of 8AN hydralic line extentions to make sure we had enough slack in the oil lines to prevent them being pulled on by the engine again. Pujo! really needs his oil cooler. This engine quickly heats up to fusion temperatures if it has to rely on the factory cooling system. Once the oil cooler was sorted out we could run the engine as hard as we wanted and the temp gauges never climbed into the danger zone at all.
Saturday had its share of downtime too. The shift linkage broke during Doug's session and we had to lock wire one of the push-pull rod back onto its lever. This took about 20 minutes to diagnose and repair. Doug went back out on track and was black flagged about 40 minutes later for passing under yellow. This apparently used up our Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card we bribed the judges for and we didn't have to do any of the embarrassing punishments, but we did have to replace Doug with another driver. Alan had an altercation with a Mustang during his session and got the DMV punishment. He had to wait around while one of the judges located the proper forms to fill out and slowly made his way over to us. We took turns filling out the 4 obnoxiously complex forms and were in the penalty box for about 25 or 30 minutes. The Mustang driver denied running into Alan initially then argued with the judge about the it being "unfair" that he was being punished for something that was "obviously" not his fault at all. The judge deemed him a whiner and ordered him to eat a jar of baby food, then he had to go get his entire team and return to the penalty box. I'm not sure what they did to them but I later saw the same Mustang on the track with a pig welded to the roof and a rat welded to the hood.
Sunday was a little more interesting in the breakdown department. During Alan's session first thing in the morning the shifter arm for 3rd gear jammed up and couldn't be unjammed. We actually bent some of the linkage trying to get the transmission out of 3rd. After about 40ish minutes of trying to fix the problem we threw our hands in the air and said, "Hell with this, just drive it in third." And we did. For the next 4 hours. No shifting. No neutral. 3rd gear only. And do you know what? Pujo! was brilliant. That car toughed it out and finished the race. 33rd overall with nearly 2 hours spent off the track for various issues. Looking at the results showed that we set one of the 5 fastest laps of the day with a broken transmission. I believe that if we had spent the whole time on the track, we might have finished in the top ten.
Even I originally thought that racing a Peugeot in an endurance race was a bit of a joke. I certainly don't think that now. What a brilliant car. It did everything we asked of it and more. It shrugged off an impact with a much heavier Mustang (we heard the hit all the way over in the pits) and has very little damage to show for it. It spent 4 hours with its transmission jammed in 3rd and didn't complain, it actually sped up. I'll be proud to pilot this car in another LeMons race. I know the other Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys will be too.
The competition started early with the CESM. Alan and Scott are seen here playing iPhone air hockey in the tow rig on the way.
"Hey guys! I'm waving this thing around and a Peugeot just drove under it! Are they skiing in hell, or what??"