You may have noticed that we haven't updated the blog on the 24 Hours of LeMons website for a few months. That's because we've suckered TEN into being our official media sponsor, and so you'll need to go to the 24 Hours of LeMons page on the Roadkill site in order to keep up with the latest LeMons madness.
The 24 Hours of LeMons returns to the longest-running fixture on its yearly schedule at Thunderhill Raceway, which hosted the first LeMons race on a real road course (The early races were held at short ovals with "infield" sections) in December 2007. Those early frigid December races, however, have given way to scorching September meets where the searing sun in California's Central Valley produces stale heat and puddles of backside- and underside-sweat in racers' seats over the weekend. With the thermometer again expected to crest 100 degrees, expect another sweat-stained bonanza at 'Vodden the Hell Are We Doing?'.
Last year's race at Thunderhill drew a Guinness World Record crowd with—depending on who you ask—216 or 242 teams racing the event. This year sees a slightly smaller turnout with 191 cars entered and while that sounds like a lot, the full five-mile layout at Thunderhill leaves a comfortable amount of space for racing up and down the rolling hills. Follow the jump for a very brief preview of the weekend and, if you're in the area, truck on down to sweat your proverbial arse off.
[Pro tip: Right-click on each image and select "Open New Tab" to see the GIFs in the proper resolution/aspect ratio.]
Like any small slice of the world, the 24 Hours of LeMons has, over the course of 140 or so races, developed its own jargon. It's not uncommon in the worlds of gaming or politicking or S&M (really all the same thing) to have specialized language that really only carries meaning to those "in the know." This has emerged in LeMons to a degree not just with words like ghettocharge, crapcan, baksheesh, and effluence but also with more advanced phrases. Because the 24 Hours of LeMons is an inclusive world, Murilee Martin has accumulated a large reserve of Internet points by creating accompanying GIFs so that not only will you be in the know, but you will also be able to show others you're in the know and explain it to them with this handy, animated LeMons-to-English phrase translator.
We may already played spoilers to this episode after the race at Buttonwillow was over in June, but now you can get the whole story on Those Guys Who Foolishly Present the 24 Hours of LeMons. If you're averse to clicking links, know that Freiburger, Finnegan, and Friends are not, in fact, rejoicing at claiming an overall victory in the Rotsun. Watch the Roadkill episode from Buttonwillow here and watch more Roadkill episodes here.
24 Hours of LeMons race cars made to look like well-known movie cars go back to the earliest days of the series. We've seen dozens of Smokey and the Bandit "Trans Ams" and Back To the Future "DeLoreans" over the years, executed with varying degrees of faithfulness to the original, but what we really needed was a down-to-the-last-detail perfect Vacation Wagon Queen Family Truckster. Thanks to Speedycop and his Gang of Outlaws, we got just that at the 2014 South Fall race.
Sometimes as a justice of the 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court, it's tough to wrap one's mind around what someone has brought to [attempt to] race for a weekend. Here's Judge Phil discussing one such machine—the Scuderia Craptastica Opel GT—with the car's perpetrators during BS Inspection before the October 2012 race at Autobahn Country Club near Chicago.
In the rust-spotted and oil-specked pantheon of 24 Hours of LeMons history, a few team names have really captured crapcan racing’s occasionally fetid essence: Eyesore Racing, Rolling Chicane Racing, Team Sensory Assault, and Rust in the Wind to name a few. Those all nail what racing at a track is like, but only one team name has truly epitomized the composition of the majority of 24 Hours of LeMons teams. That one name is, of course, Team Rob, His Three Two Loser Friends, and Stupid Brother.
When you race at night, after the parts stores and junkyards have shut their doors, you need to get resourceful when facing mechanical failures. Sometimes another team running the same type of car as yours will loan you parts, but what happens when you're the only team at the race with a Plymouth Sundance Duster, the EFI system's brain craps out at 10:00 PM, and nobody else at the track has any Mitsubishi 6G72 parts lying around? You could pack up and go home… or you could do what the United Partnership of Pentastar Racers did at the 2014 Doin' Time in Joliet race and pull off some Soviet-style field-expedient engineering!
When we're choosing the Hella Sweet LeMons Car of the Week, we tend to lean in the direction of serious body modifications or ill-advised engine swaps. We've got one of the former type for you today: the Too Stupid To Know Better Volvo 740, better known in LeMons circles as "The Birthday Cake."
We really love French cars in our series, and we're often disappointed by the lack of French-on-French competition at LeMons races. Sure, we'll get a Peugeot here and a Simca there, but at this weekend's There Goes the Neighborhood race— held at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut— we've got an embarrassment of riches in the French-race-car department: the Three Pedal Mafia Citroën SM and the Interceptor Motorsports Renault Fuego Turbo.
The Most Heroic Fix award has long been part of 24 Hours of LeMons tradition, but many times we have multiple teams deserving of the award and the others don't get much recognition. At the 2015 Doin' Time in Joliet race, two teams spent just about the entire weekend in a panic-stricken frenzy to make their cars (both of which were, probably not coincidentally, recommended by me) run well enough to get some laps before the checkered flag. This race being a straight-24-hour affair, the pressure was on. Here's the story of the Wonderment Consortium and Team Anonymous and their amazing repairs.
We're back with another Hella Sweet LeMons Car of the Week, this time with the Organizer's Choice winner from the 2015 Doing Time In Joliet race. The Mulsanne Straightjackets built this beautiful replica of a 1966 Alpine A210, of Le Mans fame, and it ran flawlessly for most of the weekend at our race.
We just finished the fifth annual Pacific Northworst 24 Hours of LeMons, held at The Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, Washington, and it was a good one. Now that we're doing wrapup videos for every race (not to mention our happenin' new partnership with the like-minded idiots at Roadkill), I no longer feel compelled to write about every single trophy winner at every race. Instead, I'm going to write about the cool and interesting stuff that happened, which may or may not overlap with the trophy-winner list.
Our first five installments of this series covered individual LeMons cars, but this week we'll be talking about two veteran racing machines. These two cars have competed in 31 LeMons races apiece, more than any other machines in series history. Each has finished in P1, each has been through plenty of heartbreak and broken parts, each has traveled from one side of the country to the other, and each is still competing today. Let's meet the Scuderia Limoni 1988 Alfa Romeo Milano and the Eyesore Racing 1993 Mazda Miata.
One thing we always see at LeMons races is broken race cars. Thrown rods, blown transmissions, shredded wheel hubs, toasted electrical systems... all of these things are as expected as the rising and setting of the sun. However, of the 70 teams that we inspected on Friday, a much-higher-than-usual proportion were spinning the wrenches, calling the parts stores, and swarming around their rides in a general sense of frenzy by Saturday evening. Some teams with broken cars packed up and went home, but most opted for the fix-it-no-matter-what path. Here are some of the highlights.
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