Posted 06 February 2004 - 00:22
I was wondering, if you could supply me with some general information on the Chaparall 2J? I'd like to know as much as possible on the technical aspect of the car, the BHP figures (etc), and of course pictures of the car. Furthermore, I would be most happy if I could get a list of the races the car took part in, as well as the drivers that drove it.
Thanks in advance
Posted 06 February 2004 - 00:50
Posted 06 February 2004 - 01:24
Wheelbase: 84 in.
Length: 145 in.
Width: 78 in.
Front Track: 60 in.
Rear Track: 55 in.
Weight: 1810 lbs. dry
Chassis: Aluminum semi-monocoque w/ engine cantilevered from rear bulkhead
Wheels: Chaparral cast spoked alloy of one-piece construction; 15 in. front/17 in. rear; 6 bolt mounting
Tires: Front - 13.9 X 15; Rear - 17.0 X 17; Firestone
Brakes: 12 in. discs/Girling calipers
Suspension: Front tubular double wishbones w/ coil over dampers; anti-roll bar; welded aluminum articulated de Dion bridge w/ leading arm location; antiroll bar & self leveling coil-over dampers
Engine: Chevrolet alloy big block V-8
Displacement: 465 cubic in.
HP: 680 @ 7200 rpm
Carburetion: Chaparral crossover fuel injection w/ Lucas accessories; Lucas injection fitted to fan engine w/ electric fuel pump
Transmission: 3 speed Chaparral automatic
Aerodynamics: Rockwell JLO 250cc two-stroke two-cylinder snowmobile of 55 hp at 5000 rpm driving two 17 in. aluminum axial fans; side skirts to seal undercar pressure area made of 0.09 in. Lexan plastic sheets
July 12, 1970 - Watkins Glen - Jackie Stewart - Car #66 - Result: DNF - Fastest Lap
Sept. 13, 1970 - Road Atlanta - Vic Elford - Car #66 - Result: 6th - Pole Position
Oct. 18, 1970 - Laguna Seca - Vic Elford - Car #66 - Result: DNS - Pole Position
Nov. 1, 1970 - Riverside - Vic Elford - Car #66 - Result: DNF - Pole Position
From "Chaparral" by Falconer/Nye
Posted 07 February 2004 - 21:11
Eoin Young talks to Vic Elford on driving the Chaparral
Currently the most controversial car on the CanAm sports car scene, the Chaparral 2J ground effect car—or the " super sucker " or "vacuum cleaner" as it has been christened— has yet to finish a race. The controversy has been sparked off in CanAm by the alarming potential of the new car, which uses an auxiliary engine to drive suction fans which help to create a partial vacuum under the car, thereby "sucking" it down on to the road.
The car first appeared at Watkins Glen in July with the then world champion, Jackie Stewart, at the wheel for his only appearance in the CanAm series. He set fastest lap in the race before the auxiliary 750 cc JLO two-stroke engine failed. With the exception of Laguna Seca, where the 8-litre Chevy engine blew up at the end of practice, the little JLO has always been the main problem with the complex new car. In the final race at Riverside, with the threat of protests and official SCCA banning hanging over the Chaparral, Elford qualified the car 2.2 secs faster than Denny Hulme's title-winning M8D McLaren. Through Riverside's Turn 9 loop at the end of the long straight the Chaparral was a clear half-second faster than the McLaren.
"The big difference between the Chaparral and a conventional sports car like a 917 Porsche or anything else I've driven before, is this unreal sensation of being glued to the road," says Vic Elford. "Just to explain that a little, the partial vacuum that is created underneath allows the air pressure to work a little harder on the car, so that in effect the car has a down-force or loading on it of something like 1000 lbs over the weight of the car. Driving through a corner it has this much extra weight acting on the wheels.
"As you start to approach the 'limit of adhesion on braking or cornering with a conventional racing car, whether it's a single-seater or a sports car, it starts to get a little bit out of shape. It will start to twitch a bit. The back starts to go from side to side, and the driver is kept busy at the wheel. With the Chaparral—at least at the stage I've reached with it—this just doesn't happen. When you want to go through a corner you simply turn the wheel and the car goes round as though it’s on rails.
" I'm now beginning to get to the stage on some corners where I am reaching the limit, but even when this happens it's quite undramatic compared with a normal car. It just starts to slide out a little. In a faster corner the back starts to come out, but it really floats rather than slides, and I don't have to start twitching the wheel to hold it. I take off perhaps half an inch of lock, and the car remains in its smooth line through the corner.
"The same thing is true under braking. I can brake considerably later than most cars on the way into corners because the car is so very firm and stable on the road. If I make a mistake, as I have done once or twice with the car on the approach to a corner and I enter it too fast, I can put the brakes on and start to slow it down when I'm on the way in or halfway through a corner. With a normal car if you started to do something like that, the chances are that you would lock a wheel instantly, if only for a fraction of a second, and slide off the road."
This season CanAm fields have averaged 27 cars, and with only perhaps half a dozen competitive machines there is a definite problem with slow traffic. Denny Hulme complained earlier in the season that the leaders were having to set their pace to that of the slowest car to avoid being run off the road while negotiating the tail-enders.
In this respect, Elford was fortunate with the Chaparral. " The car is just so good in traffic. In any race you encounter slower cars as you get on through the event, and passing them with any normal car is often quite a problem because they tend to stick to the line and we have to go round the outside of them. This is where the 2J shines, because it is so much better than conventional cars when you get it off the accepted line for a corner."
Ask Vic about horsepower from the aluminium Chevy built down in the Midland, Texas, engine workshops by Gary Knutson, and Vic casts an anxious eye at Chaparral boss Jim Hall. Hall tells him to say the car has 700 horsepower and that it's on a par with the rest of the front runners. As with the McLaren team, there is always a doubt hanging over the CanAm races that perhaps the Chaparral team are running larger engines than they claim. This makes it easy for the slower drivers to excuse their lack of pace.
Before Vic drove the car for the first time at Atlanta in mid-September, he went down to Midland to try the 2J round Rattlesnake Raceway, Hall's private test track near his racing workshops. His main preoccupation then was learning to drive the automatic transmission car and braking with his left foot since there wasn't a clutch to worry about. Anticipating when he would race an automatic car, Elford had practised left foot braking from the day he took delivery of his automatic Ford Zodiac, but in moments of stress he tended to forget. "It was a bit dramatic occasionally because I would tramp on the wrong pedal coming up to traffic lights! When I drove the 2J at Midland I did have a bit of a problem once or twice as I went to change gear with the selector lever, particularly changing up. I would tend to stamp on the brake pedal just as I flicked the lever through. This happened at Atlanta the first time I drove it in practice, but I soon got used to it." At Atlanta, Elford qualified on pole position, 1.26 secs faster than Hulme in the McLaren.
Like the Chaparral he drives, "Quick Vic" tends to be a controversial personality, speaking the truth as he sees and understands it rather than playing the motor racing diplomat which seems to be vital these days. The facts are often not as important as how they are presented. Through personal determination and drive, Elford has graduated from a rally navigator to a Monte Carlo-winning rally driver with Porsche, and thence into top-line international motor racing. His appearances in Formula l to date have not been remarkable because the cars have tended to overshadow the driver's ability. Elford's plans for 1971 include the full CanAm Series, perhaps the three major speedway races at Indianapolis, Ontario and Pokeno, and the chance of a Grand Prix drive as well. He has been talking with Ron Tauranac about a Brabham ride.
Elford is 35, wiry at 11 stone, and 'lives with his wife and family at Heston, only
seven minutes from London Airport, which is an important consideration. His blonde wife Mary accompanies him to all his races. To gain a foothold in CanAm he drove less than competitive cars, flirted with the way-out knee-high AVS Shadow, and then suddenly appeared on top with the Chaparral at Atlanta.
"I enjoy CanAm racing. These two-hour 200-mile sprint races are ideal for the driver, because you keep going pretty well flat out and you can have a good race for that time. The only criticism I've got about the CanAm Series is that there is so little competition. I don't mean for us, but with or without the Chaparral there are still only four or five cars that are really competitive. The two McLarens, the L&M Lola, the Autocoast, and that's about where it stops. After that it tends to become a bit of a procession and people trundle round knowing that they're going to finish somewhere in the money. In many cases when you get below the top six or seven they don’t race anyway—they're quite happy to drive around just to finish. The racing would certainly be a lot better if there were more factory entries either from America or from Europe. From that point of view, ignoring the controversial side of it, the Chaparral must have increased the value of the CanAm Series as a public performance because it gives the public another competitive car."
The Chaparral controversy is a dangerous one to get involved in without appearing to take sides. As Jim Hall says, if the issue was black or white there would be no problem. The Chaparral would be either legal or illegal, and he gives you to understand that he wouldn't have built the car if it was going to be illegal. The Sports Car Club of America regulations banned wings acting on the suspension at the end of last season, but their definitions in the specific area of aerodynamic aids were not as clear as they might have been and this is where the problem has arisen. The issue is grey round the borders, rather than a clear-cut black or white. Everyone wants the SCCA to clarify their regulations, and it appears that every team with the exception of Chaparral would like to see the 2J banned.
The McLaren team sees the sucker system increasing the cost of CanAm racing, which is already expensive when the same amount of extra pace could be obtained by allowing suspension-mounted wings back on CanAm cars. As Denny Hulme points out, wings were banned by the FIA because the wing structures were breaking only on some Grand Prix cars. There had been no breakages on CanAm wings.
Peter Bryant, once a racing mechanic in Formula l with Reg Parnell, and designer and builder of the Autocoast Ti22 titanium car sponsored by Morris Industries until his recent controversial dismissal, points out that even though they have fitted a bigger 494 cu in engine, their times are slower than in 1969 when they ran with a wing. There would be astronomical development costs if others had to fit a sucker system of skirts and fans to their cars. "It took them two years to sort out the Chaparral and they have their own race track. It cost me $500 a day to hire Riverside. We could have built a car like the 2J, but it would have meant asking more money from our sponsors, and good sponsors are hard to get."
March designer Robin Herd estimates that the Chaparral is currently using only about 2 per cent of the suction that is theoretically available. "There are practical difficulties about getting more, but this figure can obviously be improved," says Herd, who has been studying the system in America with a view to incorporating a similar arrangement on the Formula l March.
"I personally don't think the car is illegal because I don't think it conflicts with the regulation about moving aerodynamic devices," says Elford. "However I prefer not to get too involved with the technical side of it—it's my job to drive it."
Hall maintains that aerodynamics are concerned with air moving over a surface. The Chaparral sucker system "does its thing" sitting still on the grid, so how does it get to be an "aerodynamic device" ?
"If they ban the 2J in CanAm racing I might as well go into Formula Vee or USAC or some sort of tight formula, which I didn't think CanAm was supposed to be," says Hall, having the last word.
I can't put the pictures here as my software's not installed yet. I can always send them by mail. You can send me a pm.