Recent weather problems in Sebring, Fla. have hampered the Barber Dodge Pro Series engineering staff in on track evaluation of the data from a recent test of the Barber Dodge 98E at Reynard's North American test lab. In that test, series engineer Louis D'Agostino and his staff evaluated adjustment to the suspension of the Barber Dodge on a seven-post test rig. (see Skip Barber Racing News, 12/1/99) D'Agostino is hopeful that development work can continue in early February.
In spite of the delays D'Agostino and his crew have still been busy. The recently announced Formula Dodge R/T 2000 has been getting a great deal of D'Agostino's attention who is also series engineer for the Skip Barber Race Series. While the R/T 2000 is quickly taking shape at the Reynard Motorsport facility in England as well as at the Skip Barber Race Series factory in Lakeville, Conn., an existing Formula Dodge test hack has been pounding out the laps in Sebring. The focus of the tests has been on the tires and damper settings that will eventually find their way to the R/T 2000.
Tire development was carried out using various sizes of the Michelin XGT H4 currently used in the Skip Barber Race Series. In those tests, various tire and wheel size combinations were tried along with the new Penske 7500 Series racing shock in an effort to determine the optimal package for the R/T 2000. The Michelin tires were shaved to replicate the handling characteristics of the racing slick to be used on the new race car.
When D'Agostino and test driver Barry Waddell pronounced themselves satisfied, they, in concert with engineers from Michelin, produced the specifications for the brand new Michelin Pilot CS racing slick which has recently gone into production.
In another development, the Lakeville factory has recently had a damper dyno installed. This rig will enable mechanics to test shock absorbers and make quick adjustments before installing them on a race car. Such tools increase the overall efficiency of the mechanical staff in an effort to deliver even better race cars to Skip Barber Race Series participants.
- George Tamayo