Speed News April 2016

Speed News Magazine - The Official Magazine of the National Auto Sport Association

Issue link: http://mag.speednewsmag.com/i/662179

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Page 29 of 95

I grew up in a racing family and spent the majority of my weekends at Laguna Seca and Sears Point, first getting behind the wheel on track in 1989 doing time trials. Since joining NASA, I've raced Datsuns, Mazdas, Nissans, a Ford Mustang and a few other cars along the way. Besides the stock car we built for ST3 last season, the NP01 is really the first "real" purpose-built car I've raced. Q I understand you bought an NP01 and chose to build it yourself. How's that going? A The build has been going extremely well. I spent a fair amount of time checking out and taking pictures of the first NP01 serial number 000 at SEMA and the PRI shows. Elan has been very accommodating with its customers and allowed me to come visit the factory back in December and lend a hand with the final delivery of another customer's car. Seeing the final details being put on the car just prior to being picked up was a huge help. Unlike most guys and most of my projects, I sat down and reviewed the supplied documentation, which included the bill of materials, build instructions and assembly drawings. I think I spent a good 10 to 15 hours absorbing the documentation and looking at the boxes of parts before I ever picked up a single tool. It was very tempting to start grabbing parts and start assembling, but in the long run, I think I did myself right by being patient. The build instructions have 862 steps and they are laid out in logical order. Some things can be assembled out of order, but many steps should be done in order to prevent having to undo something that was done improperly. I made a time lapse video of the build and can go back to figure out how much time I actually spent, but I started on January 27 and finished most of the build on Feb 27. For the most part, I spent about four or five hours a day working on the car and did the majority of work by myself. This was enough to get the car out on track and do some initial testing and shakedown. The remainder of the work left to do now is graphics and adding creature comforts like a cool suit box, fresh air blower and radio. TIMEOUT WITH: DAVE BALINGIT T I M E O U T W I T H : Q What have been the most difficult aspects of building the NP01? A Do you mean besides being patient and not jumping in with wrenches, ratchets and screwdrivers the first day? All kidding aside, the hardest part so far has been the body work. I've never done a fiberglass body work project like this and it was a learning experience. Elan pre- drilled a lot of the holes but left several unmarked for final assembly with all the parts in place. Again back to having to be patient, I had to make sure everything was lined up just right where it needed to be before punching holes. 30

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