Sunday, May 31, 2009

Vehicle Profile - H1 Test Truck

We just wrapped up the fifth Light Truck Tire Seminar this past Friday for Michelin and BFGoodrich Tires.  Along with organizational duties and demonstration driving, I get the fun job - driving participants on a "hot lap" in one of Rod Hall's "rolling stock." The vehicle is Rod's original H1 HUMMER race truck that debuted at the 1993 Baja 1000 and won the Full Stock class. 

The truck is a GM 6.5 Liter Turbo Diesel equipped with a set of BFGoodrich Mud Terrain KM2s and a suspension package that Rod Hall Products developed and distributes to the military. H1s with this suspension package can be driven at the same performance level that we push the truck on the hot lap course, but with approximately 16,500 of total weight. This is critical for soldiers' safety who need to load their vehicles with armor, artillery and gear.  The truck's purpose when it isn't racing around the course for the LTTS program is to test durability and handling of new parts in severe conditions.

The "durability demonstration" - another term for "hot lap" is the best part of the job and great to see people's faces as we zig-zag across the course at speed and hit the new little table top jump.  Most comments range from how surprised they are the truck handles so well or how big the truck is and how small I am.  Some laugh, some yell, some sit quietly white knuckled, but most everyone walks away wanting more.  

Posted by Emily Miller

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Update from Chad - Racing Class 10

I am running the 10 car this year with Johnny Harrah in all the BITD events.  We have completed two races - I start and Johnny finishes.  The first race was rough for us.  The car was finished just in time for Parker and we had minimal time to test and tune.  However, Primm was a different story and there were significant improvements in ride and handling.  
Running Primm was a real eye opener for me.  The car worked well so we could run it hard.  It is very different from driving a full stock.  It took a while for me to figure out that the whoops are really of no concern, and I can drive it as fast as the engine will pull through them.  You really just have to work on keeping it on the road and not hitting rocks.  I'm also much busier in the cockpit - shifting all the time and sometimes using the clutch.  The car also has huge body roll and wheel travel, which takes getting used to.  The HUMMER is very different - where we focus on not making any mistakes and saving the car to the finish.  Course condition has a much bigger impact on stock trucks.
The Speed team is coming into it's own.  Johnny is a good driver and we believe we will be the car to beat.  We will be testing all next week and Thad Stump will be coming up to join us.  I expect good things and am looking forward to moving into Class 1 next year.  But I'm also ready to get back in the H3Alpha for the Baja 1000 and go for another Stock Full win.