Racing Engines = Mechanic Crash Course

ChumpCar Racing

Have you ever heard of ChumpCar Racing? It’s… an adventure! It is also an absolute crash course (no pun intended) in automotive repair on the fly. 

Josh – younger of the two brothers running the show at Bill Hahn’s Automotive since the mid-2010s and affectionately (?) referred to as “Boss Man” on the shop floor – cut his teeth on all things mechanic-related at the feet of both his grandfather the old school Auto Mechanic and his Master Mechanic older brother throughout childhood, growing up in lovely, temperate, car-cultured Ventura. An amateur mechanic at first, with lots of DIY projects and “hey I wonder if I could…” experiments in the carports and driveways of various homes over the years, it wasn’t until Josh formed a ChumpCar Racing team in Portland, Oregon that he started to really gain his chops in heavy automotive repair work.

From Amateur to Amateur Pro

ChumpCar is essentially an amateur endurance racing club (club? event? organization? whatever you want to call it) that had twice yearly races in various cities. The race parameters were different each time – two 12-hour races on two consecutive days, or a single 24-hour endurance race or three 8-hour race days over a 3-day wekeend- and required the following: each team had to have a minimum of four drivers; the vehicle being driven could cost no more than $500; to prevent too much fudging of rule two, each team had to agree that their vehicle could be purchased at random by any ChumpCar admin at any point in the scheduled racing, for $500 only.

How do you win an endurance race? You gotta endure! Your vehicle has to endure. Your engine has to endure. It has to perform, and it has to keep on performing. Your drivers have to learn how to get the best out of your campy little Chump with its finely-but-not-too-fancy-tuned motor without blowing it up. If a driver does blow it up, well, too bad, you have to endure! Which meant a lot of on-the-ground and on-the-fly mechanical repair. A wrench is able to learn A TON about engine troubles and engine repair, about engine noises and engine knocking sounds, about what kinds of things contribute to cars breaking to the point of not being driveable, and of what kinds of repairs are available to get vehicles back on the road quickly and for not a lot of money.