"Gotta make it light. Gotta make it light. Gotta make it light." has been my mantra through three grueling days of sweaty, grit-filled, ear-splitting metal removal. I've moved methodically from nose to tail of the stripped-down car removing EVERY. LITTLE. PIECE. ...that isn't absolutely necessary to a race car effort.
Taking all that stuff off took effort. I tried many ways to do it. I found a 100% best way. Let me share. In olden days I grabbed a grinder and wailed away on the spot weld until all metal within 2" was badly mangled and what was left of the bracket fell off.
In desperation, I grabbed my box of random drill bits.
Anyway, back to our story. While I was adding all of this massive lightness I was also keeping an eye out for improvements to the car. There are many ways an MR2 can be improved as a track car, because there are many compromises made so a mid-engine car can be a street car.
One of the great things about an MR2 is the absolute lack of storage space anywhere. In an attempt to remedy this, Toyota created the 'frunk', or front trunk, where the engine in a normal car would be. It's exactly large enough to store nothing. The effect of the frunk, however, is that all that cool air passing through the radiator slams directly in a wall. This wall, to be exact:
For those of you paying attention, this has the added benenfit of having all the cooling air exiting over the car, as opposed to under it like most front-engined cars. We have effectively increased our down-force and made the entire front of the car act like a wing. I think.
Moving rearward, we have a similar problem in the cockpit. All the oil smoke and gas fumes and oil smoke and tire smoke and brake smoke and oil smoke that wafts past our car collects in the cabin. Being a two-seater, there is really nowhere rearward for the smoke to go and it just billows around, making the driver nauseous and nostalgic for catalytic converters. My solution was to block the rear windows with a sheet of aluminum (not yet done) and vent the very rear-most part of the cabin rearward. The end result is some very cool vent wings at the c-pillar. Note the 'not yet done' part and visualize with me...
This starts with the wide-body concept. We will be pushing the rear fenders outboard approximately 3", leaving us a nice HUGE scoop facing forward. This scoop will collect air and direct it into the engine via these nice new holes in the side of the engine bay:
Once that air has hit the motor, it has to have somewhere to go! Just like in the front, removal of the sheetmetal wall between the engine bay and the trunk is called for. not only won't we be hauling any golf clubs in the trunk, but we really need to remove this to make the giant V6 fit anyway.
I weighed the tub, in this condition. Windshield, back glass and all.. 366 lb!!!!! In the end I removed 12.6% of the weight from the tub. THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is HUGE. Plus, our weight goal is 1500 lb, so it's 3.5% of that weight, not bad. If we can keep that up with every piece of the car, it will be amazing!
If I can keep any of this up it will be amazing.