Shenandoah Circuit, yes, in the rain….

One more BMWCCA DE, one more soggy weekend. All three events this year were wet at some point this year. The Shenandoah circuit is usually a very fun circuit, but I got caught out on the wrong tires. My worn Falkens were no match for the amount of water on the track and became rock hard once the temperature dropped. Still a bad day at the track is better than most days at work.

Failing Paint and Plasti-Dip

The Gen 1 MINIs had a problem with the clear-coat that was applied at the factory. Some owners were able to talk their way into getting it fixed at the dealer under the extended corrosion warranty. Given that my MINI is long past that option, I decided to pursue a two part strategy: first, I ignored it, but that didn’t work. Second, I decided to cover it up.

Since the two parts that are failing the most were the roof and rear hatch, I thought I’d start with the roof. I always wondered how my car would look (and if it would be any cooler inside) with a white roof. So why not try white plasti-dip? If I don’t like it, peel it off and I’m no worse off. Or so I thought. More later.

Don’t know plasti-dip? Start here at  Their website and associated Youtube channel is very informative. My original plan was to dip the roof white, and then apply some sort of vinyl sticker over it.  (That didn’t work out either.)

So first the prep.  I peeled off the loose flakes of clear-coat, sanded and repainted before applying the dip.  With this step I was hoping that when the plastic-dip was removed, it wouldn’t take more of the clear-coat with it.

I masked off the roof, fixed the small flakes, applied the pre-dip treatment and started to apply the plastic-dip. Here’s where my plan veered off course.  If you’re using a traditional paint gun, you want to thin the paint and apply a thin first coat. If using rattle cans — like I was — you want a thick first coat.  This makes it easier to remove later on. I applied the paint too far from the surface and ended up with an un-even suede like finish.  When I went to remove it, it wasn’t thick enough to peel in large pieces so to took several hours to rub off. And when it did come off, it took huge chunks of clear-coat with it.  Lessons learned, I tried again.

This second time, I sanded and repaired a much larger area of the roof, prepped and started laying down thick, smooth layers.  It helps to heat the rattle-cans in warm water for a smoother finish.  I put down three layers of gray to get some separation from the red, and four layers of white. I was going to use a glossifier finish, but I actually liked the flat white better.


The final surface is not perfectly smooth (hence no sticker on top) but looks pretty good from 5 feet, which is all you need from a track-car. I have since cleaned up the black on the gutters, and dipped the splitter green. All in, I’m happy with the result. I think given the amount of prep work I ended up doing to have a strong enough surface to start with, I could have just painted it white with traditional paint.

996 IMS Bearing

For those of you who live in constant fear that your M96 engined 996 is about to self-destruct, you should take some comfort in these photos: This is the stock dual-row IMS bearing that came out of my old car at 105,000 miles. It still turns smoothly, and the bearing seals are intact. It was replaced with a ceramic bearing from LN Engineering by the car’s new owner along with a new clutch and resurfaced flywheel. The clutch had 45,000 miles on it and was only worn 50 percent. It was only replaced because it makes sense to do it along with the RMS at the same time as the IMS bearing.

Lap of the Extended Jefferson Circuit in the Rain

Continuing the theme of recent posts this soggy summer, here’s a wet lap of the Summit Point Extended Jefferson Circuit.  The most challenging part was the new turn 4 which is the transition from the old circuit to the new(ish) extension.  There isn’t enough grip to get enough weight transfer to turn-in, so you end up turning in early and just managing your way through the apex. You also had to be careful about getting back on the power at the top of the hill between turns 6 and 7.  If you had any steering input still in when you got back on the power, the car would sort of slide off the top of the track to the outside. Some of the data inserts are a little funky, like one corner shows corner speed of zero. Still loads of fun though.  Here’s the lap:

Summit Point in the Rain

Track season is just starting to get into full swing so I thought I’d share a lap of Summit Point in the rain.  Newly repaved for 2018, the surface as fairly good grip and no more of the inconsistencies from water on seam sealer. The surface is less crowned than before.  Water run-off is mostly good, but there are some areas where small streams of water cut across the full width of the track, especially in the exits of turn 2 and 9, both heavy acceleration zones.