Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2.5 Sets New FIA Land Speed Record

On Monday, August 24, 2010, the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2.5 set a FIA (international) Land Speed Record for electric-powered cars of 307 mph! The record was set over a 60-minute period and consists of the average of two runs over a timed mile in the middle of a 12-mile course on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The previous record of 245 MPH was set by White Lightning in 1999. While the original Buckeye Bullet set an SCTA (national) record at 314 mph, this record does not meet FIA specifications. Bruce Brothers Racing is extremely proud of the team, including our own Conor Bruce, for this monumental achievement. A video clip that Conor took of the BB 2.5 returning to the pit area and a parting shot of Conor on the salt are shown below.


p.s., FIA = Federation Internationale de l'Automobile, SCTA = Southern California Timing Association

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More Pictures from 2010 Commercial Point Grand Prix of Karting

Here are some additional pictures from the 2010 CPGP (click to enlarge).

Before the storm...

...after the storm.

More of the aftermath.

What an E-Z Up canopy looks like inside out.

Henry during practice before the storm.

Conor preparing for his practice session.

Peter ready for his heat race.

The start of Peter's heat race.

Conor debriefs the crew chief.

Conor looks on as Peter lines up for his feature race.

Peter gets away quickly at the start of his feature race.

Conor gets away quickly at the start of his pro race.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Commercial Point Grand Prix of Karting – August 14-15, 2010 – Peter Sweeps and Conor Collects

NEWS – The Commercial Point Grand Prix of Karting, which is a street race through the village of Commercial Point, Ohio, that benefits the Jackson Township Fireman's Association, has always been the highlight of the season for Bruce Brothers Racing. This year was no different. It can be challenging, because unlike our club races, the event proceeds rain or shine and damage to the karts is more likely because of the straw bales that line the circuit. While weather was definitely a factor this year, there were no incidents with the bales for Bruce Brothers Racing. We had planned to run three drivers in two karts like last year, but after the weather did its thing on Saturday, Henry decided that he would rather spend what little time he has left of the summer with friends before going back to school.

PRACTICE – Practice is about all we got accomplished on Saturday, which had been slated to include a qualifying session and a heat race as well. The sky began to darken after Peter finished his practice session. The wind began to pick up and rain drops about the size of marbles began to fall. We scrambled to get everything that was sitting out either into the bed of the truck or the trailer. The two E-Z Up canopies that we have normally provide reasonable shelter from the rain, but on this day, the rain decided to come down sideways. During the worst of it, the canopies began to act like airfoils. Even though they were staked down, it took all of us just to hold on to them. Just as it became apparent that the one Laura was holding onto was about to take her away with it (Dorothy!!!), the part she was holding onto broke and it went sailing. The other one was right behind it. With nothing left to hold onto and no more shelter, everyone piled into either the bed of the truck or the trailer. I made it into the cab of the truck and remember worrying that the trailer and its precious cargo were going to go next! After it subsided, the pit area was littered with the remains of canopies – close to 50 of them – along with various motor home awnings and other bits and pieces. Unfortunately, one of our canopies landed on Laura’s new car and did a significant amount of damage. The track dried up faster that the recovery efforts in the pit area, so practice resumed without having to resort to rain tires. All three boys came up to speed quickly during their practice sessions. As preparations were being made for the qualifying session, the skies opened up again. It became apparent rather quickly that the delays caused by the weather were going to preclude any further on-track action, so the remainder of the events scheduled for the day was postponed until the following day.

YAMAHA JUNIOR – During his practice session, there was one kart in particular that seemed to be able to keep up with Peter, so we decided that he should go out behind her in the qualifying session on Sunday morning. It’s often advantageous to have a target to shoot at. This seemed to work out perfectly, as Peter posted the fastest qualifying time – by a scant 0.066 seconds. To make up some time, the organizers elected to forgo the traditional Le Mans style standing start (used for most of the classes at the CPGP) for the heat races in favor of a rolling start. Peter timed the start well, but had to concede the lead in Turn 1. Our choice of gear ratio resulted in a bit more top speed than the lead kart down the 900 ft long front straightaway. Peter used the slipstream at the end of Lap 2 and took the leader deep into Turn 1. She went in a bit too deep and got sideways on the exit. Peter had the momentum to get by but these two touched briefly, which let the third place kart slip into the lead and the previous leader back around Peter. Peter and the previous leader both got around the new leader on the next lap. On Lap 6 (of 8), Peter made an excellent (and apparently unexpected) inside move going into the revised-for-2010 Turn 6. This turn had been a very fast sweeper but was made into a sharp turn with a run-off area to keep speeds down and encourage passing. Well, it worked. Peter completed the remaining two laps uncontested for a comfortable win. With the weather cooperating and a sufficient amount of time made up, the organizers went back to a Le Mans style start for the feature races. We had done some work on Peter’s clutch leading up to the CPGP, and that seemed to work, too. He pulled away easily at the start and continued to pull away lap after lap. Even though he acknowledged my signals to back off a bit, he continued to improve his lap times. Peter won comfortably and his fastest lap time was set on his final lap.

80cc SHIFTER – Conor also went out second in his qualifying session. We’d have been perfectly happy with the second fastest qualifying time, but one other kart snuck in a flyer, which resulted in the third fastest qualifying time for Conor. Since the 80cc Shifter karts have a manually-actuated clutch, they use a Formula 1 style standing start regardless of what the other classes do. At the start of Conor’s heat race, I saw him sit there momentarily while everyone else took off. I later learned that he was watching the wrong flagman! The flagman who lined them up and the head flagman are similar in build and were both wearing a bright orange official tee-shirt, so Conor was surprised when everyone left without him when the guy he was watching didn’t throw the green flag. He quickly selected first gear and got going, but this dropped him to last (eighth) in the process. He eventually worked his way back up to third at the finish, and seemed to have a fun time doing it. The first few places came easily, but the closer he got to the front, the more difficult the passes became. Unfortunately, the organizers lost the MyLaps data for this event before it was posted, so I don’t have a record of which passes came on what laps. Conor had his eyes on the correct flagman for his feature race and maintained his third place starting position into Turn 1. The first two almost had a coming together in Turn 1 at the start. He made a pass for second at about mid distance when the kart ahead of him kart slowed slightly with a mechanical problem but then got reeled in by another kart towards the end. He finished third again, but reported that his brakes seemed to be dragging towards the end. Conor was also entered in the Pro race in his class, where a $500 purse was at stake. After a through brake cleaning, he once again lined up in third for the start. While the leader got away, Conor applied a significant amount of pressure to the second place kart over the first few laps. The second place kart pushed too hard and ended up in the run-off area for Turn 6. Conor cruised home to a second place finish in the Pro race and collected a $250 check for his efforts.

NEXT RACE – Peter achieved a perfect result at the CPGP in 2010, duplicating the feat that Conor accomplished in 2008. Conor had a rough start to the event, but managed to pad his bank account in the end. Bruce Brothers Racing would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of our friends and family who braved the elements on Saturday. Maybe 2011 will be the year for the relaxing picnic atmosphere at the CPGP that Laura was hoping for! Our next event is Mid State of Ohio Kart Club Race No. 9 on Sunday, August 22, 2010, at Circleville Raceway Park. Peter will just have returned from a trip to Chicago with Laura and Henry where they have been seeing the sights with Laura’s mom and her brother and his family. Conor will still be at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah where he is a member of a student-based team from The Ohio State University's Center for Automotive Research that is attempting to break the Land Speed Record for electric-powered vehicles, so he will miss Race No. 9.


Bruce Brothers Racing Sticker

Note the Bruce Brothers Racing sticker on the side of the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2.5 (inside yellow circle in picture below - click to enlarge). Conor took the picture at the bottom.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Conor in Bonneville for Land Speed Record Attempt

Conor is at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah this week for a Land Speed Record attempt, not driving his kart, but as part of a student-based team from The Ohio State University's Center for Automotive Research (CAR). Conor has spent his weekdays (and many weeknights) this summer as an un-paid intern at CAR working with the Buckeye Bullet team. The Buckeye Bullet is the world's fastest electric-powered car(http://www.buckeyebullet.com/). The team will attempt to break their own record of 314.958 mph with the current iteration of the car - the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2.5. Conor is one of only two high school students to ever be invited to join the team on the salt in Bonneville.

I'll post updates as they become available (click pictures below to enlarge).


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pictures from 2010 Commercial Point Grand Prix of Karting

Here are a few pictures from the 2010 CPGP (click to enlarge). A full race report will follow.

Peter takes the green flag in Yamaha Junior qualifying.

Conor (No. 07) lines up for the start of his heat race.

Peter with his trophy on the top step of the podium.

Conor on the second step of the podium next to Eric Fagan.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Schedule for 2010 Commercial Point Grand Prix of Karting

The tentative schedule for the 2010 Commercial Point Grand Prix of Karting (http://cpgrandprix.com/) is shown below.

Saturday August 14, 2010
Gates Open - 7:00AM
Open Practice Begins - 10:00AM
Merchandise Races - TBD

Sunday August 15, 2010
Gates Open - 7:00AM
Open Practice Begins - 9:30AM
Trophy Races - TBD
Pro-class Races - TBD

Unfortunately, it's not very detailed. The second practice session on Saturday also serves as a qualifying session. There is only one practice session on Sunday.

A more detailed schedule was issued for the 2009 event. It, along with the class lineup from 2009, is shown here:



MSOKC Race No. 8 – August 1, 2010 – Self-Inflicted Wound

NEWS – Argh! I hate it when I screw up. If Mid State of Ohio Kart Club (MSOKC) Race No. 7 was mediocre for Bruce Brothers Racing three Sundays ago, Race No. 8 two Sundays ago was a disaster – for Conor anyway. Peter struggled a bit early but managed to work his way onto the podium for his feature race. Conor’s qualifying time would have earned him the second starting position, but when he crossed the scales, he was underweight and was disqualified! This put him behind the eight ball for the rest of the day. The worst part is that it was my fault – argh!

PRACTICE – Race No. 8 was a qualifying format event. We had made significant changes to both karts looking for a bit more speed, including a top-end engine rebuild for Conor and a carburetor and clutch rebuild for Peter, so practice was our chance to try these out. These changes were okay, but for some reason, I was thinking that the minimum required weight for Conor’s class was 360 instead of 370 lbs, so when he came across the scales at 365 lbs during practice with an almost empty fuel tank, we decided to remove some of the lead weight and replace that weight with additional fuel. This seemed to make sense since Conor has been eating like a horse in an effort to gain some weight. Peter was still complaining about too much grip in the rear, so we experimented with short hubs on his rear axle during practice. This didn’t seem to have the desired effect, so we went back to the medium-length hubs and made a tire pressure adjustment for his qualifying session.

YAMAHA JUNIOR – Peter’s qualifying time was less than 0.5 seconds off of the fastest qualifier in this class, but the level of competition is such that this resulted in a sixth place starting position for his heat race. Race No. 8 was also an event that featured standing starts for all classes. Peter got away reasonably well at the start of his heat race, but was not able to move forward, indicating that there was still too much grip, and finished sixth. For his feature race, we made a radical tire pressure adjustment that seemed to help. Peter made an excellent pass in Turn 10 on Lap 1 and then benefited from a retirement on Lap 3 for a fourth place finish. One of the karts in front of him was a visitor on non-club-spec tires and was disqualified at the end of the day, which promoted Peter to the third place position on the podium.

80cc SHIFTER – Conor posted the second fastest qualifying time by nearly 0.4 seconds. Because he was underweight, not only was his time disallowed, but he was awarded zero points for his qualifying session. This meant that he would not only start from the rear in his heat race, but that the “zero” would also affect his feature race starting position. Conor made an impressive run through the field in his heat race moving from eighth to fifth on the first lap He gained another position on Lap 3 for a fourth place finish while quickly catching two of the karts in front of him. From the rear again in his feature race, he got bottled up behind a group of karts fighting for position. He made his way around two of these on Lap 2 and another on Lap 3. He fought hard with the fourth place kart for the remainder of the laps – pulling along side on several occasions – but could not find a way past and eventually finished fifth. Conor was the second fastest kart all day, but was not able to capitalize on this.

NEXT RACE – The next event for Bruce Brothers Racing is this coming weekend (August 14-15, 2010) – the Commercial Point Grand Prix of Karting, which is a street race through the village of Commercial Point, Ohio. Conor will contest the 80cc Shifter class and Peter and Henry will double up in our Yamaha SuperCan kart – Peter in the Junior division and Henry in the adult Heavy division. All three boys will race on both Saturday and Sunday and Conor will race twice on Sunday. Admission is free, but passes must be purchased to access the pits. Extra chairs will be on hand in our pit area. There will be food vendors, beer wagons, etc., and all proceeds benefit the Scioto Township Firemen’s Association. Commercial Point is located approximately 14 miles south of Columbus, just south of Grove City. This will be our only non-MSOKC event of the season. Because it is a non-club event, the rules allow any tire to be used, so we have some sticky ones mounted on both karts for the low-grip surface of a street circuit.


p.s., Lap times, lap charts, and results can be found here: http://www.mylaps.com/results/showevent.jsp?id=565396.