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WR-1 Chassis

D Sports Racer


The logbook calls the car the WAG Engineering Wide Ride 117 DSR.


The following acount was written by Tom Grossmann:

“The car was originally built by Las Vegas Region member Gary Barbour in 1994. Gary was retired from the Air Force and the project was intended to fill his time. It ran several Solo 1 events as well as a few Autocrosses with Gary driving but the air cooled Kawasaki 900 engine would lose power dramaticlly after several a laps.

New Power

In 1996, Gary picked up a then current Yamaha FZR 1000 in order to replace the watercooled engine. By 1997, Gary had begun working as a mechanic at the Derek Daly Academy and then Richard Petty Driving experiance. The resulting seat time and mechanical work filled his time, so Gary lost interest in his project.

The project was then passed on to LVR members Tom Grossmann & Jeff Cates. Based on Tom's motorcycle racing experiance, Gary figuered that Tom would be best suited to sort the motorcycle power.

Complete Rebuild

The entire car was taken to well known local fabricator Dana Lorenze at his shop WAG Engineering. Dana had been rebuilding and designing motorcyle and car chassis since 1985. He reinforced the frame on Tom's Honda 125 GP bike in 1986, due to constant problems with the frame cracking. In 1990, when the bike was sold on to AMA 125 Champ Kevin Murray, Kevin declared it the best chassis he'd ever ridden. Dana had also done work for various SCORE off road racers, AMA endurance racers, CRA midgets, & a twin engined shifter Kart for Patrick Carpentier.

Once at WAG, the car was completey redsigned: all the design princeples are basiclly straight out of Carrol Smith's Design to Win. The car features long suspension links on a narrow frame, rising rate suspension, an extremely rigid chassis (note flaired holes on flat sheet welded between frame tubes) and adjustable steering ratio. The overall width is 79 inches, which at first may seem unusually wide but the car is ultra stable under braking approach 3 G's. Once finished, the only things left from the old car were the Carrera dampers, Porsche 914 steering rack, and the VW Scirocco uprights. The car uses Wilwood 4 piston brake calipers up front & Yamaha twin piston calipers on the rear - which includes a Datsun H145 limited slip. The body is all aluminum and much lighter than it looks.

Engine Tuning

Craig Shear, a former Yamaha engineer who also worked on TRD's Indy car program, helped out with jetting recommendations. The custom exhaust and airbox resulted in the otherwise stock Yamaha engine needing to go up 10 jet sizes on the mains, as well as differant needles and emulsion tubes. The first test day was spent just sorting the jetting. After that the car progressed quickly. One nagging problem was cooling. The motor routinely saw 265 degree water temps, which only became a problem on the last few laps. A large radiator was added later on (more on that shortly).

First Drives

The car showed good speed, intially turning 1:09's and 1:10's with Tom Grossmann and professional driving intsructor Dave Roberts on Spring Mountain Motorsports' 1.4 mile upper loop. At the time, the fastest lap was a 1:11, so the car seemed to be very quick (at least until Indy Lights testing started at the new track and the lap record went down to 56 seconds). At it's first club race on Las Vegas Motor Speedway's outside road course, Tom set the DSR lap record which was faster than the CSR, Sports 2000, and F2000 records, only bested by the GT1, Formula Mazda and Former SCCA National Champ Steve Anderson in a 427 Cobra.

Engine Trouble

Despite early success, the cooling problems were still an issue. So, a club member working at CART 101 donated a huge C&R racing radiator. This seemed like the perfect solution until the first engine grenaded, at a 130mph going into Spring Mtn's turn 8, which was highlighted of course by a lovely oil fire. The nice orange fireball, while whipping over the cockpit sides and out the fender slats (due to the down force generated by the bodywork), only lasted about 5 or 6 seconds. So, no real damage was done. Intially the thought was the driver (Tom Grossmann), who learned to race on 2 stroke bikes and never used the clutch to shift, simply downshifted the engine to RPMs. A quick call to former Yamaha engineer Craig Shear quicky revealed that clearances on the FZR were such that if the engine temp dropped below 160 degrees, the number 4 rod bearing would starve for oil ........... At 13,000 RPMs, this is what resulted in connecting rods flying out the back of the transmission on the first blow up.

Recent Owners

By 2001, Tom found the car too labor intensive, even on the best of days, not to mention he's notoriously cheap. So, he happily went back to his Datsun 1200. The car was sold to driving instructor Dave Roberts who'd driven the car on several occasions. Dave's progress on the car was slowed by his hours at the track as an instructor and his many car projects. Dave was also looking at a Formula Mazda so the car moved on to it's current owner Greg Piet.”

From the logbook.


April 1-2, 2000 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.















Revised: April 24, 2007.

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