Racers After 5:00

Aase Brothers’ grassroots IMSA GTU race car returns to the track

October 7, 2013

Also from Issue 214

  • You'll never miss the third pedal
  • A ’78 911 in name only
  • A "modern" 356 and Ruf's own 911
  • Hail to Porsche's Design Chief
  • Jeff Zwart's "hybrid" run to the top
  • IROC: Penske's grand idea
  • Part 1: Bits in the oil of the 993's engine
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We were junkyard guys, but we were pretty clever…and my brother was an outstanding driver! We had one motivation, and that was to win. On a race weekend, we would drive the truck all night on Thursday and practice on Friday. There was very little testing. We didn’t have a lot of money and we had to work. We were racers after 5:00.”

Randall Aase (pronounced Ahh-see) fondly recalls the time he and his brother Dennis raced in the IMSA series in the 1970s. They were the prototypical small-time operation, punching above their weight thanks to perseverance and creativity. Aase Brothers Racing started with an early 911 campaigned out of their Porsche salvage yard in Southern California. That car was eventually traded to California Porsche dealer Don Burns in exchange for a 908 that was more technical than his own mechanics could deal with. While playing with the 908, the brothers Aase also built another 911 racer based on a relatively stock shell that had been extensively acid-dipped for lightness.

Randy recalls, “That car was paper thin and had a pretty short shelf life. Meanwhile, the competition was closing in on us rapidly. Nissan, or Datsun as they were known then, had one hell of a race car in the 240Z. So, we had to step it up…but we were the kind of people that liked to do that anyway.”

“Stepping it up” resulted in the IMSA GTU car featured here. The Aases began with an old body—believed to have been a ’74—dragged out of the wrecking yard. Utilizing what had already been learned with their old race cars, what they saw in the 934s and 935s coming out of Weissach, and some pointers from people like Peter Gregg of Brumos fame, the brothers started cutting and fabricating.

“We had some trick stuff—a nice aluminum pedal cluster (a 935 piece), spherical rod ends in the rear control arms, and boxed multiple pickup points so that the suspension could be adjusted. We wanted to get the car sitting as low as possible. We weren’t engineers by any means; we were working with tape measures. That’s the way racing was in those days. But we had a lot of good help!”

Indeed they did. One friend was an aerospace modeler, and he would occasionally bring over one of his colleagues, an aerospace aerodynamicist who aided with the aero on the car. One specific area of assistance was a custom air box sealing the induction system to the grille on the tail. Sadly, this is one of the only pieces from the original car that is unaccounted for today.

Beneath that air box was a state of the art 2.5-liter flat six. The car was originally built with carburetors, but the increased grip of the new chassis and wider tires created higher g-loading in the corners, and fuel starvation became an issue. Desperate for a fix, the Aase’s welded oversized float bowls to the carbs with little improvement. Something better was needed.

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