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Re: Bad weekend for me

At 14:58 99-09-07 -0400, Richard Beels wrote:

>How did the engine swap go?  How long did it take?  Details, man, details!

The first stunning thing is the attention to cleanliness. The mechanics
don't wear any oil stained clothes, just normal trousers and shirts. When
they need to drain oil or coolant from the car, they put plenty of paper
towers on the floor, then get a plastic container and drain the fluid into
it. Then they bring a barrel (again, putting it on paper towels), drain the
fluid from the container to the barrel and then one of the guys
scrupulously wipes the container clean and all paper towels go into trash
can. When they remove a small component which is supposed to leak fluid,
they immediately put it into plastic bag. Not a drop of fluid gets onto the
floor. Amazing.
When a mechanic starts to work on the car he gets himself a metal pan and
puts all his tools and removed parts in it. This way nothing gets lost.
Simple and clever, yet I've never seen it in at any regular workshop yet.
Mechanics act calm, apparetnly know their job very well, rarely talk to
each other but don't mind answering questions from the press while working.
I also saw the electrician splice the wires in a loom in the "nose" of the
car (don't know what they are for). He actually soldered the wires, didn't
crimp them. Food for thought.
The car itself is build in a modular way, so major components can be
swapped quickly. They have hoists custom designed for body panels, engine,
transmission etc. When they need to replace the engine, they put the car on
hoists, the ones which get under the transmission and engine have wheels.
They remove couple of bolts and the whole rear section of the car (tranny,
rear suspension and wing) can be pulled away. Few bolts more and the engine
gets disconnected the same way. They didn't seem to be in hurry, but if it
was the race and not the show I'm sure they could swap the engine in 10
minutes or less. The Mercedes V10 engine is quite compact, I think it would
fit in the 44 chassis engine bay :-) How about 750hp quattro? ;-) When they
test fired it it was loud, but not as loud as I would've expected (given it
has no mufflers as far as I could see). The sound makes your blood rush,
They have a generously sized metal cabinet on wheels where they keep all
the tools (I'd love to be allowed to explore its contents ;-) ) and another
one with a long cable which they connect to some sort of ECU in the car.
The cabinet in turn has interface sockets for notebook computers. 
What's interesting is that the GTR LeMans car is said to be faster than the
MP4 (F1) car. It's supposed to do 0-100km/h in 2.2 seconds and have at
least 800hp versus 3 seconds and 700-something hp for the MP4. I couldn't
see the internals of the GTR, I believe it uses highly modified BMW V12
engine. The brakes on the GTR are made by Brembo while the MP4 uses AP
Racing calipers. I was surprised to see how small the brake discs on the
MP4 are. They are neither slotted nor drilled, but apparently are not made
of metal.

Aleksander Mierzwa
Warsaw, Poland
87 5KT