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Tags » ‘mark donohue’

Mark Donohue’s book, the Unfair Advantage

October 29th, 2017 by admin

In 1974, Mark Donohue retired from driving at the height of his racing career, and wrote a bio-documentary – “The Unfair Advantage,” a candid and revealing book about his journey through the world of auto racing — from amateur SCCA races in his own ‘57 Corvette to teaming up with Roger Penske in 1967, winning the 24 Hours Of Daytona, winning the Indy 500, dominating the 1971 Trans Am, and the 1973 Can Am

Things I learned or was impressed with:

when buying a 54 Chevy station wagon to tow his Elva race car, he rigged up a fogger system to deter people from riding his back bumper with high beams on. Using a reservoir of diesel fuel going into the engine through the vaccuum line of the windshield wipers.

He learned early in racing out of his own pocket that other racers could simply run him out of money by “challenging” his motor, which required a tear down and then, a rebuild. The rebuild cost $300, so he sent the SCCA a bill, they sent him a check for $125, he replied with a demand for them to rebuild a 350 for $125.

The increasing number of challenges inspired Mark and his engine builder Lou, to adapt to the effort to bankrupt him, and so they used the SCCA meeting to rebuild the engine in front of all other racers, and there was no challenge to have the engine examined that next race.

Downshifting while scrubbing speed and slowing down into a corner was discovered to be a bad idea. It upset the balance of the carefully tuned front to back brakes, and only one shift is needed, the next gear you’ll need to accelerate out of the corner.

the Mark Donohue edition of the Javelin came about due to politics, Mark needed a specific rear spoiler made, but AMC would only do it if Mark signed off on selling Javelins with his name on them, as AMC had to build 2500 of them to “homologate” them. They had better than normal engines, with 4 bolt mains and open pot heads.
The kick needed to get publicity for them came from Penske who bought the 1st 18, and Sun Oil Co hired young women to drive them around the USA to Sunoco gas stations on a “beautification” campaign, checking on the cleanliness, professionalism of the employees, etc.

The Javelin had a bad oiling problem under acceleration, and they blew up engines constantly, until they adapted an oil pump from one to two rotors, where one simply scavenged oil and put it where the second would use it as engine oil supply. Cured the problem

Speaking of problems, in 1971, Mark’s Lola lost the race due to the roll bar. Yes, the roll bar was the cause of the failure, as it was a hastily added piece to meet the new requirement by the SCCA, and due to the hast it was built with, and lack of clean and professional interior, it was the scale that flaked off that clogged the fuel tank vent, which kept fuel from flowing out of the tank.

The difference between Formula A and Formula 1 was that the engines in A were 5 liters

just duct tape the Ferrari and get back to racing, 1971 24 hours of Daytona. Has any Ferrari ever been as taped together?

September 7th, 2017 by admin

Originally posted here: 
just duct tape the Ferrari and get back to racing, 1971 24 hours of Daytona. Has any Ferrari ever been as taped together?