Chris Rado and the WORLD Racing team headed out to Global Time Attack at the New Jersey Motorsports Park this past weekend. With GTA hosting a field of 28 competitors and an additional 200+ cars competing in NASA Northeast, the paddock was a busy place early Saturday morning.
Hoping to break their own Unlimited FWD track record time of 1:05.481 set at last year’s event, the team quickly began prepping the Fwing 2.0 for two Group A sessions set for Saturday and three on Sunday. Teams were dealing with ninety degree temperatures in the paddock, which translated to challenges on and off track for many competitors – and WORLD was no exception.
After a decent warm-up session on Saturday morning, clocking a fastest lap time of 1:07.915, Chris took the Fwing 2.0 out onto the track for the early afternoon second session and, after a first lap time of 1:06.563, the car began to encounter problems. While the car was not overheating, water was beginning to spit out of the overflow, requiring a quick return to the pit.
After a preliminary assessment, the team determined that the radiator cap had failed and needed to be replaced.
The team headed back to the track Sunday morning, ready to push the car to its limits in front of the crowd of friends, family and supporters that had come to check out the time attack action.
But the ride to a new track record was not going to be a smooth one. In the first session of the day, water began to leak out of the overflow on the warm-up lap, and Chris and the team knew they had to bring the car in right away as they were faced with bigger problems. With the car back in the pit, and without the time to fully diagnose the problem plaguing the cooling system, the team decided the safest solution would be to swap the entire engine.
With less than three hours to spare, the WORLD crew got busy and, despite the scorching temperature, swapped the entire front section of the car, including the power plant, turbo system, and cooling system in time for Chris to take the car out for the final two sessions of the day.
In the first session, Chris went out with the Group B drivers, using the opportunity to shake down the new engine. Despite the crowded field of competitors, Chris pushed harder on the third lap, laying down a respectable 1:07.288.
A few hours later it was time for the final session and it would see the Fwing 2.0’s best lap time of this event – 1:06.232 – despite the fact that a damaged car on-track forced both Chris and Jeff Westphal to abort their initial hot laps heading into the last turn.
While not a track record, the fast lap time was enough to put Chris Rado and the WORLD Racing Team in first place in the Unlimited FWD class, and maintain their second place position in the overall series points chase, behind Jeff Westphal and GST Motorsports.
Given all the technical difficulties the team had to overcome during the weekend, and the lack of opportunity for a clean lap over the course of the event, Chris and the team felt good about their performance and, particularly, the skill level and teamwork that was required to complete a full front-end overhaul mid-event.
GTA action continues next month at Texas Motor Speedway (September 21-22), followed by the season-ending GTA Superlap Battle at Buttonwillow on November 7.