Take a scrap Porsche 911 shell that would have otherwise ended up as raw material for toasters and stuff a Volkswagen TDI engine in the rear, and we’ll love your LeMons team forever. Destroy the car’s front end but make it back on track after only two and a half hours and you’re gunning for Repair of the Year.
This is what endurance racing is all about.
Views: Ferkel in-car (top left), Trump Miata front (top right), Ferkel front (bottom)
24 Hours of LeMons team Hella Shitty Racing was driving their infamous Ferkel the Nein-11 car at LeMons’ Arse-Freeze-Apalooza event this weekend when they came over one of Sonoma Raceway’s crests and punted the rear end of a slowed Miata—hard.
You can see the white flag being unfurled at the flag station across from the puttering gold Trump-themed Miata as Ferkel goes over the crest. The gold Miata bounced up and into more oncoming traffic, where its other end was pushed in by the green Eyesore Racing Miata. Oof!
While the hard hit and sheer amount of buckled sheet metal would have spelled the end of many teams’ weekends just looking at it, LeMons ruled that the 911 would be fine to race after the nose of the car was fixed and the driver’s harness was replaced. Harnesses stretch on impact, rendering them less than safe to use after a big hit.
According to Hella Shitty Racing team member Phillpp von Weitershausen, the clutch cable also stretched on impact when the driver put both feet down on the clutch and the brake pedals. That’s what nearly every track day instructor will tell you to do when you lose control of a manual transmission car, so you can’t fault the driver there. However, it did mean that the team had to adjust the cable before the car returned to the race.
So, the Nein-11 crew went to work, and this is exactly how big hits should be treated. Is the roll cage still okay? “No” means get the trailer. “Yes” means get a very large hammer and start pounding everything else back where it should be.
Fellow LeMons racer Sasha Rashev lent the use of his sawzall to rip out the extra-crumpled bits (although he was forbidden from hacking off the roof). Others outside the team also lent the Hella Shitty team some help.
The radiator is one of the most crucial pieces of kit in the nose of the car. (See? This is a problem you run into when you water-cool a perfectly good 911.) Several components up front had to either be replaced or rearranged back into their spots after being pushed back in the incident.
When all the repairs were good enough, Ferkel was ugly, but it ran, dagnabbit, which is all that matters when time is on the line.
The car ran back through the penalty box for one more inspection before heading out on track, but was ultimately re-approved for competition use.
That’s right: in a mere two and a half hours, the entire front end was kludged back together well enough to be fine to race.
What is it that people say about water-cooling and Porsches, though? “Don’t?” After going back to race through the end of the first day of LeMons’ two-day race weekend, they discovered that something up front was leaking a little, so they took the fender back off overnight and repaired it. This allowed Ferkel to continue to class up the joint on the second day of racing.
The team was momentarily sidelined by a flat tire, but that was it as far as second-day drama went. Phew.
Either way, this expedient repair job earned the team one of LeMons’ least wanted but most deserved awards: Most Heroic Fix.
Congratulations, Hella Shitty Racing. This is the most insane smash ‘n’ thrash fix I’ve seen on an amateur race car all year long.
GIF via Zandr Milewski on YouTube; Photo and video credits: Ferkel the Nein-11’s Facebook page (Ferkel leaving to go race, Ferkel’s evening repairs, Milewski radioing in “Hello” on Day 2), Caryn Kealey (all others, Ferkel running before heading to pit box)
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