Running With The Big Dogs at Pacific Raceway

The Beginning


The race team began about 6 years ago with a donated 1997 Nissan Maxima that just needed a new radiator to run. Our very first race we ran was an endurance race than ran for 24 hours without stopping and the only thing we changed on the car was the radiator so it would run. To keep it short nobody thought we would finish a couple hours let alone the full 24 but this is where we knew the car had a lot of potential even though it was built with no intention of doing anything but racing kids to school. The league we currently race in has 3 classes that are based on lap times and fastest is A slowest goes into C, we obviously began in the C class but quickly moved up to top of the class within a year. Once we maxed out the potential of the car without modification we decided to aim for B class and rebuilt the motor (Nissan used these with twin turbo's in their older race cars so we knew it would be great). We also added larger Wilwood calipers and R1 Concept rotors to the front and rear and added some camber to the front and rear and a little caster to the front tires, upgraded to custom built struts that allow us to customize the stiffness. 


A New Era, B-Class


We had a good couple years of racing right on the edge of qualifying in this class but luckily we just weren't quite fast enough; However, this quickly changed with our newly renovated maxima. The rebuild on the engine greatly exceeded our expectations for both horsepower and torque and outperforms the new 350Z engines that were built to be competitive in Motorsports. The engine was bored out and increased the stroke to add an extra 0.3L to make it a 3.3L and just 0.2L under the 350Z engine, this small change brought our horsepower up to 295 and torque to 285. To start in B-class we were more prepared than we had anticipated and started consistently running in the top of class but with the increased speed on track came lots of broken transmissions and wheel hubs. Through the first 6-8 months in the new class we got really good at swapping the parts that are known to break and meet a friend who can rebuild our transmissions and just like magic we cut our problems in half. At this point we are running in the top 3 of the class every race that we don't have mechanical issues and for the championships this last season we rebuilt the engine again just to clean it up, no upgrades. During the championships we ran near the top of the pack of 80 cars for a good portion of the race before our rear axle breaks off of the frame and takes us out of the race. 


The Triumph Never Expected


Not long after the championships and shortly before the start of the new season everything gets shutdown and many event's cancelled due to COVID-19 as you all probably assumed. This event was very well organized and the protection measures were strictly enforced but everyone was great about following the guidelines. Anyways, we ran a few stints during track day to make sure everything was working well because we had time to ensure everything was top notch on the car we had intended to run for 1st in B-class both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday comes around and the rain is blessing us with a downpour (we like the rain because were one of the few front wheel drive cars) and because of this we are outpacing the fastest cars by ~10 seconds a lap. Coming up to the end of race day one and the track is drying off and the faster cars are starting to catch us, but with only 30 minutes left our 5 lap lead was just enough to keep us in first in class as well as FIRST OVERALL!!!!!! Yes that is correct we, driving a 4 door 1997 Nissan Maxima, beat 42 other cars that consisted of many BMW's, Miata's, Porche's, and Mustangs. This was a massive accomplishment for us as being the only team to win overall as a B-class qualified car and we never expected to take first overall no matter how much money we put into the Maxima. 


Just so excited I couldn't help but share! Hope you enjoy the read. 

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Current Microbiology Undergraduate, Amateur Race Car Driver, Dedicated Cryptocurrency Enthusiast, and I study Economics and Pharmacology in my spare time.

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