We have been home for just a little over a week, and the dreams keep coming. Last night it was about time cards. Luca had a better dream: We were in the Fiat running Le Mans.
The adjustment back has been a little awkward. So much time has been spent planning and preparing for the race that it's odd to have it be over. As I look back, I am very happy with our little car: It did very well. If you could see it now, it is a little beaten up and badly in need of a wash.
Throughout the race we only ran into minor problems. The first was: In the craziness of leaving, we forgot one box of spare parts. So we ran the whole race on one set of everything. Yep, one set of everything. The last two days, Luca worked hard to manage the last millimeter of brake pads we had left. He is a great driver.
In the 'forgotten box' was also an extra pressure plate. We had fitted a new one in the car and expected it would work well. No such luck!! In fact, all of the parts we had trouble with were the new ones. In Mexico, we learned that there were no new parts available for our car.
Anyway, Luca spend every night adjusting the pressure plate. Then to make it worse, one morning as we were heading out to start the day the oil-gauge pressure hose blew. We just had a shop make it two days before leaving and it was supposedly rated to 200psi, but it couldn't even handle 70psi!
So, 30 minutes before we were supposed to be at the starting line, we were bathing in oil. You could hardly see the car for all the smoke. It got fixed as best as possible in the time we had, but oil got into the clutch. It slipped and slipped and slipped. Luca could barely accelerate without it slipping. The morning drive was very frustrating, and we barely made it up some of the hills. We were able to remedy the problem somewhat during lunch break using a can of brake cleaner and further pressure-plate adjustment. From then on, it only slipped from time to time.
Other problems were: a burned distributor rotor (new part of poor quality) and a broken alternator-cable connector (caught in time). There were numerous toe-in adjustments due to involuntary suspension lowering, the effect of potholes and topes and topes and topes (huge, random and unregulated speed humps that would just pop up out of nowhere)! The water pump (new racing pump!) started leaking on the sixth day, so we had to carry a bit of extra water; we were all three very thirsty.
The exhaust header cracked quite a bit but held on. The engine ran great, even with occasional 9000 rpm excursions when the clutch was slipping; I guess Luca did a good job putting it together. The little car proved to be quite tough, and I am very proud of it.
Many racers made us promise we would race again in the Fiat; we said we would. We had such an amazing time, it would be hard to imagine not returning to race again.
We will definitely race the Carrera again, hopefully next year.
We could not have done it this year without the generous sponsorship we received from our family, Tuesday Car Table here in Santa Fe, Cyberwize, Data Devices International and Preventive Medicine Center. Luca and I thank you for your support.