NSX files, project Germany: Track day at Anneau du Rhin 30.10.2004
(for a small QT movie click here)
Fighting with blunt weapons                anneaumap

The "Anneau du Rhin" (Rhine-ring) is a relatively small and narrow club and test track in the east of France near the german border - nearly 3 km long and with 9 corners without much run off space and no kerbs. It has no real pits and therefor no pitlane, no allowance to have races on it but it's way cheaper to rent than the big GP tracks. So for our NSX & Honda Sportscar Club Europe it's always just okay to have the last meeting of the year in late fall without a Trophy race but with a free practice day.

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Driver's briefing in the new Cafeteria with the club president and a lot of traffic on the track at the beginning of the day: A Lamborghini
Gallardo in a pack of some Hondas - must be one of the worst italian nightmares.

Pics: Eric Fabre/V-images

For me it was a good event to check the car after some serious repairs, maintainance and modifying. The water that should cool the engine overheated during the last few events and after some research and precious hints from Bill, a fellow NSXer from Phoenix/Arizona, it turned out that a head gasket had a small leak. Both gaskets, the timing belt and some other small items were replaced by new ones. The front brakes did get new pads, the front aluminium hood was replaced by a vented carbon fibre hood produced by japanese company Taitec and delivered by U.S. company Science of Speed. The stock  electronic for the retractable headlights that died with some clouds of smoke during the Nuerburgring event was replaced by a simple relay and hoorray: The headlights now went up when I turned on the lights and went to sleep when I turned them off.

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Anneau du Rhin from the air and our club's greatest womanizer "Noldi" surrounded by his fans.
Pics: Anneau du Rhin (left) and Eric Fabre/V-images (right)

The day started with heavy rain during our trip to the track so it was obvious we had to put on the rain "shoes" (stock rims with Bridgestone S-03 PPs). So I drove the car off the trailer and noticed that the engine sounded different than the last time. We jacked the car up and tried our new Powerhand battery wrench with about 380 Nm maximum torque. What an easy work comparing to our last tool that was ten times cheaper!  For more info on this powerful machine you may click here.

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Some different views on the new Taitec CF vented hood - the first one delivered to Germany. More pics of the hood are here.
Pics by me

When I started the engine again I noticed a rough idle and that the throttle reaction was very slow. Although the track was still wet and I couldn't hammer the pedal it was clear for me from the first lap that the engine had a lot less power than usual. It reved 'til redline but even Integras and Civics were faster than me on the straight. Next bad surprise: My AIM My-Chron light infrared laptimer worked for just five laps during the whole day no matter how I adjusted the place for the transmitter - that's a problem that always occurs on this track and nearly never on another. Maybe it has something to do with the long distance between the wall and the track but that's just speculation.

After some laps I saw that the water temperature gauge went into the red zone - another bummer after that long repair time of 2 months between two events. Just the same problem again or another? I called my mechanic and he left his shop to come to the track about 100 miles away from him. Before the lunch break I switched back to race slicks because the weather seemed to stay dry - we even had some sun and comfortable temperatures - not bad for the end of october.

Preparing the Fastvoice NSX for changing from rain to slick tires (the blue ramps are needed to have enough ground clearance for the lift).
Pic: Eric Fabre/V-images

During the break my techie arrived and checked all cables, hoses, connections etc. that where accessable without tearing the car apart or removing the engine. He found no error but suspected that the sensor for one of the cams may have gone bad. If that was the case the main computer wouldn't know the cam's position and therefor switch to some kind of default mode with reduced power. My techie said I could go on driving but not with full load on the engine. He didn't expect any damage that way. Luckily he was right - I drove more than 200 km that day and the engine did still run.

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Pic from a small video and the Fastvoice NSX in it's new shape. You can download the right Picture made by Eric Fabre/V-images in hi-res
wallpaper size by ctrl-click here.

My best lap time 'til this year on that track was 1:29,87 with one "club" chicane before the fast left/right corner combination in the forest called "flic flac". This year I had the track with no chicane at all, nearly ideal weather conditions but with my laptimer problem and a weak engine. The only good thing in this situation was that I had bought a Hama suction cup to mount at the inner rear window and my small digital camera that is also capable of taking little videos. So I could calculate the lap times by the time stamp on the videos after the event and saw that I could not get faster than about 1:34 (always with passenger because I use this day usualy to make taxi drives for some friends).

The slightly altered silhouette of the Fastvoice NSX with the new carbon fibre hood matching the car's colour and the cf rear wing.
You can download this pic (by Eric Fabre/V-images) in a bigger wallpaper or screensaver format here.

At the end of the straight I reached about 200 km/h comparing to about 220 the year before. You bet that decrease had nothing to do with the new vented hood but with the lack of power - I estimate the engine had about 100 HPs less. On the other hand I was about 5 km/h faster at the apex of the fast right hander (a bit over 165 km/h) after the straight than last year and still wasn't at the limit. I claim that to the improved aerodynamics at the front with the custom made side canards and the vented hood.

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The fast Integra of our 2004 Trophy winner Bjoern Grossmann passing a S 2000 and chasing the Fastvoice NSX.
Pics: by me (left) and by Eric Fabre/V-images (right)

Update: The engine issue was partialy solved over the winter. The winter break was used to temperature test the engine after the fix, to replace some minor stock parts of the front suspension, the windshield, the Lexan cover of the front turning lights and to fix some other minor problems like the water pump for the windshield and the drivers side power window that is awfuly slow. Former plans to replace the Bilstein shocks and Eibach springs by a custom made suspension by H&R have been postboned 'til the other problems are fixed and my wallet allows some new adventures.

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