Hot tests in the Mexican desert
Armin Schwarz and All German Motorsports underwent four days of testing in Mexico to prepare for the legendary Baja 1000
Ensenada (MEX), 17th October 2012. The summer break was long in the US SCORE Championship, but now the countdown is on for the season highlight: From 14th to 17th November, the Baja 1000 throws the ultimate desert challenge at Armin Schwarz and All German Motorsports. To prepare optimally for this legendary rally, the crew put their AGM-Jimco X6 SCORE Trophy Truck through four days of testing in the Mexican desert near Ensenada. Despite air temperatures of up to 42 degrees Celsius and some of the roughest routes on the planet, the tests proved to be ‘no sweat’.
“Over the four days we drove about 400 miles all up, and the tracks couldn’t have been more diverse,” reports Armin Schwarz. “One of the two routes is the worst you can get at the Baja 1000. It’s the passage around San Felipe with humps a metre deep. We worked at keeping the truck at a constant speed. In this section you’re going at around 85 to 90 miles an hour and it’s important to maintain this speed over the extremely bumpy 60 mile stretch, because if you go slower here you lose a lot of time. If you can go a little faster you can better adjust your speed depending on whether you’re pursuing someone or if someone is chasing you or to see how you’re doing in the race.”
After four exhausting days in the Mexican desert, Armin Schwarz returned feeling pleased. By and large, the last “rehearsal” leading up to the Baja 1000 ran perfectly. The new parts worked well. The AGM-Jimco X6 SCORE Trophy Truck was fitted with a new torque converter from partner Schaeffler. “This hydraulic clutch worked very well,” reported Armin Schwarz. “We hope this helps for a better overall performance, because the car has a much better response and you can adjust the settings more precisely.” This gave Schaeffler precise readings on the torque input and output of the converter. “These are things that we simply guessed previously. The manufacturers here in the U.S. don’t have any fixed data.” Partner Liqui Moly supply the special oil that is required.
In addition, All German Motorsports continued working on honing the suspension set-up, especially the rear dampers. “Our Trophy Truck still kicks a bit, especially on the smaller bumps. And when you reduce this, you have better ground contact,” explains Armin Schwarz. “The engine was also revised and at the test it was at the same level as it will be for the Baja 1000 – with over 700 hp on the axle our engine maker Danzio has upped the ante.”
Of course there are always technical hiccups during testing, but they were quickly sorted out in an unconventional way. The main shaft caused problems. “We had Jeff Hemphill from Schaeffler here, who is the head of the technical department in the United States. He had a close look and could immediately give his feedback to the gearbox manufacturer, where he thought the fault lay. We assume it won’t happen in the race,” says Armin Schwarz.
Jeff Hemphill was not the only guest at the tests – partner Liqui Moly brought Franz Engstler to Ensenada, a full-time driver in the World Touring Car Championship. “First, Franz was amazed at the extreme surfaces we tackle. He remarked that his wheel travel was too short even to driver over the kerbs on the circuit. So when he saw what we were doing he realised that wheel travel is everything,” said Armin Schwarz with a grin. “Franz was really impressed with what the car could do. But I was also impressed with how fast Franz could drive the pre-runner and the Trophy Truck. He was able to quickly gauge how to approach the huge humps and what speed was right. That’s not usual for a race car driver – he did a really good job!” Also taking a turn in the cockpit were rally drivers Alex Fiorio and Andi Mancin, with the latter two looking at the possibility of providing back up for Armin Kremer in the Buggy at the Baja 1000.
After testing, the AGM-Jimco X6 Score Trophy Truck was transported straight to partner K & N. They had developed another new air filter, installed it and made a dyno available for AGM. Now the desert monster will again be aligned back at the team HQ and every detail checked. On 2 November the whole team travels back to Ensenada, where the Baja 1000 pre-run takes off the next day. The task is then to look at all the main routes and the many possible side tracks and to work out the perfect pace notes.
“At this point, I would like to thank all our partners for the great cooperation and support for the Baja 1000,” said Armin Schwarz.