Summer Break Fun Race #2 - Canam66 @ Riverside Ca


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#1 Pepe Higdon

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 10:17 PM

My revered team leader and I were discussing car choices recently for the upcoming Riverside CanAm race. As modest as are my accomplishments in the '67 GPL F1 cars, they are even more dubious in the cars scheduled for next Saturday's race. I scanned the choices of the memorable drivers of that era. Andretti (check). Donohue (check). Revson and Posey (check). Gurney (check). And then I saw a name I hadn't seen in forever: Masten Gregory.

Back in the day I was a close friend of Bill Scott, a world champion Formula Vee driver. After his career behind the wheel he settled in as the owner of Summit Point race track in West Virginia. He prevailed upon me for a few seasons to write an article several times a year for the track's magazine. In the spring of 1986, apparently inspired by a notice of Gregory's death in November of the year before, I wrote the following story. [Anticipatory apology to Don Dodge: I know in the first paragraph following I'm insulting your home town, but I was young and stupid in those days and used whatever material I had to make bad jokes.]

--------------------------------------

Leap


Summit Point Racetrack Magazine – May, 1986


I never met him and now that he's dead I probably never will. We didn't hang out in the same places. He was from Kansas City and I'm not — even if I were, I wouldn't admit it. He was too modest to have appreciated that attitude.

We did, though, have something in common: we could both crash cars with contemptuous ease, he at 130 mph in a Maserati at Nurburgring and I at 20 mph in a Nash Ambassador in the Zayre's parking lot. And while everyone in the entire known world expected him to die in tiny, flaming shards before this thirtieth birthday, he fooled them all and croaked a few months ago with a mundane heart attack at the age of 53. In the course of his uncommon life, he had outlived nine generations of multi-lived cats and 82 percent of the Flying Wallendas. He was Masten Gregory, King of the High-Speed Crashers.

He had earned his money the old-fashioned way: he inherited it. He was 19 and had one-fifth of an insurance company in his hip pocket. He could now afford his hobby of hopping up wrecks and re-wrecking them at speed. In his first two years of motoring, he spent about $50,000 — that at a time when you could buy an entire race track for $75. He got a Ferrari for $11,000 at one point, decided it wasn't up to form and sold it for $4,000. Recalcitrant cars would be stuffed in planes and flown to heavyweight tune-up artists around the country. He bought faster cars, smashed them at higher speed and bought more. One, a C-type Jaguar, he crashed and watched burn. Before the day was out, he bought another.

His wife, Louella, began her own career of sitting by the telephone, waiting for the call from the morgue.

Kansas City began to look small. Europe beckoned. Barely old enough to drink vin superieur, he packed up his growing family in 1954 and took off. At an age when you and I were worrying about financing a tank of gas, Masten was negotiating with Signor Ferrari dirrectamente. He would become one of Ferrari's best customers.

Without factory support or much experience in megaboom horsepower cars, Masten took to the continental courses with fearless abandon. He seemed not to appreciate the fundamental physical forces which tended to shove his car outward in corners. As a result, he rose quickly to the top of the Formula One Landscaper's Hit List as he mangled bushes, slaughtered shrubs, and felled small trees on tracks all over Europe. It made him only go faster. By 1957 he had made it to fifth place in world championship points. He was beating the factory teams.

Stirling Moss expected Gregory to die in every start. "I tell him this to his face. I've said to him, 'Masten, you're going to kill yourself.’ He acts as if he doesn't even hear me." But maybe Masten did. He apparently began to realize that sooner or later he was going to crump so horribly that not even his own marvelous luck would prevail. The obvious answer was not to be in the vehicle when it (inevitably) left the pavement. And thus, in 1959 at Silverstone, was born the Masten Gregory Leap.

He was in a Jaguar, blazingly fast and wildly out of control as usual, when the car decided to commit suicide. It aimed itself straight for a wall at better than 80 miles per hour. Masten considered the possibilities. If he stayed in the car, he would surely die, though it probably wouldn't hurt much; if he exited, it would plainly hurt like a bitch, but he might live. He popped his belt, slid up onto the top of the seat, and walked off the edge of the car. A split second later it slammed into the wall and immediately descended into Metal Hell, belly-up with little "X" marks where its headlights used to be. Masten walked away without a nick. No one could believe it. This, after all, was Silverstone, not Lourdes.

Louella couldn't believe it either. She grabbed the kids, caught the next plane back to Kansas City, and divorced him, perhaps on grounds of his raving madness.

Later that summer at another English track, he walked out of another car. It blew up; he broke his leg. In Caracas he took a corner at 350 percent beyond the Mortal Danger Zone, bounced off some sand bags, and became airborne. While the car began to bank for a landing, Masten was unbuckling and trying to get out. Something caught, trapping him. The car plonked down with its feet in the air. Masten kicked open the door and crawled away unhurt.

Still he went faster. The next summer at Le Mans he was clocked on the Mulsanne straight at 178 mph. People had previously believed that irreversible nosebleed would occur at such speeds. The year after that, having crashed in virtually every corner at Nurburgring over many years, he won the 1,000 kilometer race.

And then, having gone fast enough for long enough, he quit. Maybe he began to see a skull and crossbones where his tach used to be; maybe he heard the conductor coming down the aisle, punching tickets and playing "Taps." He'd had more years and more crashes than any other driver then living. Masten hadn't beaten Moss often, but he had proven him wrong.

He retired in Europe. He had no real friends and his family was a memory. Of the last years of his life I know nothing. I have heard he got into diamond trading in Belgium. It would have suited his style. Perhaps he sat alone by a fire on a winter's night, rolling the gems around in his palm, the fire reminding him of the many cars he had incinerated, the facets reflecting light spears and memories of slewing past the Hippodrome Café on the Mulsanne at four in the morning, probably sideways and undoubtedly reaching for the harness release.

A small step for Masten; a giant leap for mankind.

Edited by Pepe Higdon, 03 July 2018 - 10:32 PM.


#2 Donnie Yourth

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 04:41 AM

Attached File  gregory_lotus19_2p5L.jpg   21.61K   10 downloads

Gregory's Lotus 19 arrives in the paddock at Mosport for the Player's 200, Spring, 1962.  Of course, he won!  :)  I shot this with a very basic Kodak camera that was hopeless for on-track action shot but passable for static images.  In the Fall, he returned to win the Grand Prix!

Thanks so much for posting the article, Pepe.  A fine read of one of my heroes.

#3 Bo Bruce

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 10:40 AM

what an incredibly entertaining piece!
i remember Masten from back in the day, one of the few American racers ~ tho never to make many racing top spots, or articles in the mag's.

Bob/Pepe, more please ~
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#4 JMF

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Posted 06 July 2018 - 06:54 AM

:)

That's an interesting story, Bob. I didn't know much of it, though he was one of the first racing drivers I read about. All I could remember was he was a decent international driver from the US, he and Jochen Rindt were the last drivers to win the 24 Hours of Lemans in a Ferrari, and that the $11,000 Ferrari he bought was probably a 250 Testa Rossa that would have been worth a fortune had he kept it. I didn't know he was a crash king.

Thanks Bob.
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#5 Aljones

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Posted 06 July 2018 - 06:56 AM

It reminds me of one boss I had when I was a teenager, he was like a little over 30 years old with a wife and 2 young kids;

His hobbies where motocross in the summer and snowmobile racing in the winter; in both discipline he managed to hurt himself pretty bad at least once a season !

I do not know what made him realize that he better find more suitable hobby like playing chess or similar :whistling: in 75-76 he raced in the "Volant Quebecois" serie that used identical Honda Civics, the car was brand spanking new for about 2 hours, enough time to reach Mont Tremblant race track for practice only to roll over in the first fast corner ! :weight_lift2:

As a side note he was team mate with Gilles Villeneuve at Alouette snowmobile racing team in early 70's

Edited by Aljones, 06 July 2018 - 06:58 AM.

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#6 Pepe Higdon

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 10:07 AM

Let's see, how could the start of the race gotten any worse? I'm not sure there is a way. It looked like Greg slowed dramatically to avoid rear-ending Yannick, lost it, and wound up heading in the right direction in the middle of the track but lacking any measurable speed. Lowery and Simpson got by the dead-in-the-water Taber without incident, but Enrique Farina wasn't so lucky. He pounded Greg on the right side, then retired moments later.

At the same time that was happening, Claudio appears to have tapped Daniel Down in the rear, causing Dan to spin. The whirling Down and the miscreant Navonne ended up on the right side of the track. To avoid that pile, Alain dove to the left and in the process took out Doni, who, to his credit, had been on the brakes from the moment the Navonne/Down accident began. It wasn't enough. Yourth retired after being shoved off the track to the left.

So the middle of the pack, now consisting of Claudio, Alain, and Andrew, all got by the almost immobile Taber, but the backmarkers Bob Holada and your faithful scribe were about to put the final icing on this shit cake. Bob and I got by Dan, who was still pointing the wrong way on the track. I was accelerating after T1, one second directly behind Bob. Suddenly I saw him heave to the left, attempting to miss Taber. He didn't altogether make it, but miraculously was able to continue. Not so fortunate was your miserable Pepe. The first time I was aware of Greg's green car (my view of him being blocked by Holada's car), I was doing 102 mph. I assumed he was going about the same. Nope. He was doing 6 mph. I nailed him dead-center one second later, never even having had a chance to touch the brakes. Smoke began to pour from the engine of my formerly valuable car. I crept around the track cautiously, pitted, and did my SHFT-R to rejoin the race. Not so fast, Pepe! This is Pro level, remember? Fuck me . . .

One-quarter of the field slain in battle within the first 20 seconds. Is that some sort of a record?  :Flush:

#7 Bob Simpson

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 11:35 AM

Zowie! I forgot that the race was Pro Damage mode. I would have been more careful otherwise.

Yes, the start was a disaster but Michael and I were very lucky. I also cashed in on Yannick spinning, then crashing as well as Michael having engine or low fuel trouble to come home in 1st place.

We need more of these season-break races to re-appreciate the dangers out on the track.
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#8 GrandPrixYannick

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 01:15 PM

Gah, what a throwaway...

I got pole by over an second in a car which I thought was more of a midfield car, despite 5 gears and good BHP (well, turns out it is best of the rest).
Neither was I much aware of what others were driving, but seeing Michael drove the 289 cu. McLaren (one of the worst) and Greg in a 333 cu. (???) McLaren, maybe I picked a somewhat overpowered car.

At T1 I noticed Greg spinning behind me, but didn't take the time to look at the replay to figure out what happened.
Apart from being slow due to taking the inside line at the entry, I don't know why.

Later in the first sector I hit some tyres and spun around letting Bob and Michael through.

I got the lead back after they made their mistakes and basically the race was already mine to take.
Unfortunately I managed to mess up by going a little too much on the inside of T1, clipping the tyres, spinning into the inside of the bridge and get violently flung to the other side, with one wheel less.
Way to throw away coins.

Well, that said, Targa will be a no-go for me because I'm attending a festival.
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#9 MGL66

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 03:34 PM

View PostGrandPrixYannick, on 07 July 2018 - 01:15 PM, said:

Neither was I much aware of what others were driving, but seeing Michael drove the 289 cu. McLaren (one of the worst) and Greg in a 333 cu. (???) McLaren, maybe I picked a somewhat overpowered car.
My rationale for car choice was that since the grid would consist of everyone including g1s, I would drive either the 289 McLaren or the Genie, just to even out the spread a little bit. But there were no restrictions, so there was no wrong choice. If you drove a car you liked, then you made the right choice!

But the 289 really was laughably slow in a straight line, I can tell you that! Under normal circumstances I was topping out at approximately185mph at the end of the straight. Some other cars were about 20mph faster!

What happened to me during the race I still haven't figured out. I ran low on fuel with 4 laps left and dashed into the pits for a refill. I don't think my calculations were incorrect, though. I think I noticed something different that went wrong, but I'll elaborate on that when I write my report.

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#10 JMF

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 07:46 PM

View PostPepe Higdon, on 07 July 2018 - 10:07 AM, said:

put the final icing on this shit cake.

:lol: That's an excellent description! My apologies Pepe. And apologies to Enrique too. He didn't deserve such a crappy fate.

I expected that situation about as much as Pepe expected that he'd be too fast at some point. :( Yannick often surprises me by how fast he starts. This time I was surprised by how slow he was. I was down 50hp and using a 4 speed versus 5 speed transmission. I expected he'd start much better than me. You can hear me lift quickly to set the car on the correct line. After that initial lift, I could have easily kept the pedal to the floor. Instead I'm lifting a second time to avoid hitting Yannick. I had enough time to keep thinking, "is he ever going to quit slowing?" I guess the answer was, once I get sideways.

I didn't panic but I couldn't figure out what to do with my feet once I lost it. It probably would have helped if I could have accelerated in a straight line once I was facing the right direction. I did try to steer away from the cars I could see in my mirror.

I was luckier than Masten. Being nailed by Pepe at a 90mph difference in speed, should have been the end of my day. I didn't think the car that hit me would survive. And unfortunately for Pepe, it didn't. :( I thought it might have been Doni that hit me because of his early exit but at the same time I never would have expected Doni to hit me so hard. It's a shame to see Doni's fortune was no better than Enrique's. After Pepe's "nudge", I slid on my top and barrel rolled several times to miraculously land on my wheels. Surprisingly the car didn't feel bad. It had suffered damaged but I didn't realize it until much later in the race.

I never took a good look at Alain's car but I did see a lot of it. I thought he was driving Gurney's car. He was running away from me on the straights with me in the slipstream. After a couple of laps behind Alain, I thought I should have started from the back with one of the fastest cars. At least then I could have passed and I might have avoided the lap 1 mayhem. It wasn't until several laps after I got past Alain that I realized my engine was suffering. Instead of 193 mph, I was only hitting 186 mph on the straight. No wonder I couldn't gain anything on Bob or Micheal. I sure tried.

I looked into the history of this race. I didn't realize I was driving about the same spec car as Gregory's. And I didn't realize his car is one of my favorites in the mod. I hoped I would get Gregory's car, the blue McLaren with green stripes. It's the coolest looking car in the mod in my opinion. Nope, I got the John Cannon car. One of the first cars out of the race. I did get some of the Masten Gregory luck. I survived a horrific wreck that gave me a handicapped car that was slow. Masten was out of the race after 20 laps for being too slow.

I was enjoying the driving until I realized how slow my car was. After that, the only fun was seeing how much easier the car was to drive with a little less power.

Congrats Bob and Micheal! I wish I'd have had a chance to try to catch you two.
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#11 JMF

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 08:04 PM

http://www.racingspo...30&mode=results
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#12 bobho-in

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 02:43 PM

Collision on the opening lap messed up my steering just enough that I never felt confident . Managed 22 of 24 laps. Great mod that wasn't on my harddrive till last week.
Many people dream of success. To me success can only be achieved through repeated failure and introspection.
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#13 Aljones

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 06:37 AM

What a mayhem at the start !  Even though I slowed down a lot before the first corner, because Greg was sideways and not moving; I proceed to go around the left side then heard a car coming, I was already beside Greg when Doni hit me; I am truly sorry that it ended his race but I had nowhere else to go ? going around to the right would have meant an off road excursion to the beach :whistling:

Then I braked too late in the dip before the left hand corner and spun; I just couldn't find first gear and was hit broad side since I was a sitting duck in the middle of the track ! I felt like a deer pin by headlights !

From then on I tried my best with a crippled car to stay ahead of Greg and Andrew and was relieved to finish fourth...

On a side note, just bought last friday a Logitech G920 coming from a G27, I loved the pedals, much more precise especially the brake feel but the shifter from the G27 does not work anymore in GPL ? anybody knows a workaround ?  had to go back to paddle shift, not so easy after about 14 years with a shifter :Oo:  just hate sequential gearbox....

Edited by Aljones, 09 July 2018 - 09:07 AM.

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#14 MGL66

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 08:18 AM

We 4 D1 drivers didn't distinguish ourselves at the start.

First Enrique crept off the starting grid by inadvertently engaging 1st gear before the green flag. If he had completed the first lap, he certainly would have been declared "DQ" for jumping the start. Given how difficult it is to launch his two-geared machine from a standing start, I would have lobbied the virtual Steward to just ignore it, but ....

Then, as has already been described, Greg spun avoiding Yannick. I, then Bob and Claudio made it through OK, but several others didn't.

Then Yannick spun in the Esses. I, then Bob squeezed through before Yannick could get himself pointed in the right direction.

Then I ran wide at Turn 8 allowing Bob, Yannick, and Claudio through. Four D1 drivers at the front of the grid, four botched first laps.

Then yesterday I watched the British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park and though "well, maybe we're not so bad, after all." :smilie3:

Anyway, the race that followed was interesting and fun, especially the first half following Claudio. I could catch him through the twisty bits, but at the first hint of anything straight, he was away like a bullet. The only way I was going to get, and stay, past him was if he made a mistake early in the twisty bits, allowing me to open up a lot of space before Turn 8. After Turn 8 I was hopeless. It was actually quite shocking to see the distance he could put on me on that long straight. Rather than find the experience frustrating, though, I found it quite exhilarating. Claudio's car was heavier and much more powerful -- clearly a greater challenge to drive -- but as long as he could keep his mistakes minimal, there wasn't much I could do to seriously challenge him. Eventually, by about lap 11, he made a couple mistakes that allowed me to pass and stay past.

By that time, after leading early, Bob had already dropped behind me and Yannick was in front. Then on lap 18(?) Yannick met with misfortune and I inherited the lead. I felt confident of the win. The car felt great (despite a surprising number of damage reports) and my gap to Bob in 2nd was big and growing.

Then on lap 20, my engine started sputtering while exiting Turn 8. At first I thought it was engine damage but in fact it was fuel starvation: a fact made crystal clear by the fuel pressure gauge. How could I have so badly miscalculated the fuel load? I've sputtered approaching the checkered flag, but never 4 laps before it. I needed a couple viewings of the replay to figure out how it happened. The slipstream in the CanAm66 mod is pretty extreme. All those early laps exiting Turn 8 in Claudio's slipstream saw me pulling about 150-200 extra revs at the end of the straight. Alone, I topped out there at 7250 revs and 185mph. If any car was in front of me, though, I reached 7450 revs and 191mph. All those extra revs ate far more fuel than I had calculated for, hence I ran out of fuel early.
(In hindsight, what surprises me most about the effect of the slipstream is that I was only ever close to Claudio at the very beginning of the straight. By the time we both upshifted to 2nd [or certainly 3rd] gear, he was already so far in front of me that I would have assumed that I was well out of his slipstream. Apparently I was wrong, but I'm not sure about what -- either lower gear/lower speed slipstream has a much greater effect on revs reached at the end of the straight than I thought, or the effect of ultra high-speed slipstream is pretty extreme in CanAm66, such that you feel its effect from a car very far in front. Compare any lap when I am behind Claudio to any lap when I'm alone and you'll see what I mean. Whenever he's anywhere in front of me, no matter how far ahead, I'm pulling extra revs and going much faster by the end of the straight.)

So I pitted for a refill and completed the final 4 laps to finish 2nd. Glad this was just a "fun race," or I might be mildly irritated! But I am glad to have learned something from the experience. This was my first CanAm66 race. I won't underestimate the effect of the slipstream again. Thanks for a fun and productive race, guys.

Good luck to you all at Targa. Two more intrepid Honey Badgers than I will be there to make fools of themsel ... I mean, compete. I, meanwhile, need to turn my attentions to brno49 and several other late season tracks on which I've never driven.

Michael

Edited by MGL66, 09 July 2018 - 11:59 AM.


#15 MGL66

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 11:53 AM

View PostJMF, on 07 July 2018 - 08:04 PM, said:

Am I reading this correctly? Look at that entry list! Thirty-eight cars actually raced, 5 additional cars showed up intending to race but failed to either start or qualify, and an additional 26 cars submitted entries but didn't show up! That makes 43 cars that actually took to the track that weekend out of 69 total entries received.

Can you imagine a GPL starting grid of 38 cars?

Michael

#16 JMF

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 07:32 PM

You read it correctly Michael.

54 cars started the 1967 24 Hours of Lemans. 59 cars started the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona, and 58 cars started the 12 Hours of Sebring. 71 cars started Nurburgring 1000 Kilometres. And 63 cars started the Targa Florio in 1967. They had some huge fields back then. That's one of the things that always intrigued me about places like Targa and Le Mans. There were so many different cars to see.
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#17 Bo Bruce

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 08:01 AM

there were years in the 60s at Indy that there would be over 100 entries... and cost -just to enter- was 1500 (small now, but then, substantial..maybe 10,000 today?)   many cars were there for "just in case" - others for parts, and a few, come 'bump day' would go to some unsigned driver to attempt  to qualify.  of course only 33 would start, but now there are rarely more than 33 (35 this past May)
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#18 MGL66

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 08:49 AM

I have a question regarding our CanAm66 race that relates to GPL in general. It's not really important, but this weekend's race has me asking.

We had three drivers in our race who were assigned car numbers for which my install of CanAm66 did not have the related mips. Alain (driving Penske #25), Claudio (McLaren M1B #91) and I (289 McLaren Mk.2 #86) all drove the generic car skin with no number.

My question is -- how does a server assign car numbers for any given mod? In original GPL a server will assign only numbers 1-20 (except for #4, which is reserved for the server itself). How does a server know that in the CanAm66 mod it must assign numbers like 43, 66, 98 ... and why would Bo's server have assigned 3 numbers which my install of GPL did not have mips for? Did anyone else show Alain's, Claudio's, and my cars without numbers?

It's not important in the scheme of things, and it's an easy problem to fix after the fact, anyway. I've already fixed the problem with respect to our just concluded race. I created the necessary files to give us three guys our assigned numbers, so the replay looks proper. If any of you want those files, I will post them for you.

Anyway, just curious.

Michael

#19 Bo Bruce

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Posted 10 July 2018 - 10:20 AM

i'm only guessing Michael, but possibly a patch? if i downloaded one, i don't remember doing it, but i do try to d'load and install those things when they show up
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#20 Bob Simpson

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 08:19 AM

Same here - No numbers on those cars.

I searched for an update that would be related to online numbers, but couldn't see anything. Reinstalling the mod also didn't change anything. I guess it must be an oversight. You might post your files in the CA66 mod forum at
http://srmz.net/inde...p?showforum=188
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