Racers After 5:00

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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Randall recalls, “At the time, we had a 911R in our shop. I believe it had been the Cuffy Crabbe car. [Cullen “Cuffy” Crabbe was a child actor and the son of renowned actor Buster Crabbe of Tarzan and Flash Gordon fame] It had a slide-valve injection system on it, so we stole that and put our Webers on the 911R.” Problem solved!

Initially the car was campaigned under the Aase-Meister banner, “Meister” referring to Howard Meister, a Southern California home builder who had worked with the Aases on a previous race car. Meister had a brand-new 911 race car built for the IMSA GTO class (over 2.5 liter). The partnership started with a shared paint schemes, a shared race shop and Meister agreed to haul both of the cars to the races.

The team relationship with Meister lasted about as long as a Hollywood marriage. Dennis Aase recalls, “Howard brought people in to run his car and he would have me sit in on meetings that they were having and act as the “devil’s advocate”, which put me in constant conflict with those folks. At the very first race we did, out at Riverside, I ended up going home and getting my truck and trailer to tow my car home and that was the end of that.” Randall remembers the incident, but remarked while chuckling, “We aren’t grudgy people. We just had lunch with Howard a few months ago.”

Shortly after this incident, Alan Johnson, a former racer himself and now the owner of a San Diego Porsche dealership as well as aftermarket company AJ USA, offered to provide transportation and other support for the campaign in exchange for sponsorship.

With the support from Johnson and a lot of hard work by the Aase’s, the GTU car was fairly successful against very stiff competition. There were very few teething problems when it was debuted. The most significant issue was rear tire wear. The low ride height resulted in an extreme drive axle angle and excessive negative camber was needed to make the CV joints last. After the first race, the rear of the car was blown apart and the transaxle flipped upside down a la 935, straightening the axle geometry and solving the problem.

The next glitch was when aluminum roll cages were outlawed by IMSA shortly after completion and the brand new cage had to be cut out and replaced with a chromoly cage. Aside from that, the car had very few problems. Randall reiterates the respect he has for his brother: “It was a difficult car to drive [likely due to the locked rear diff] and had to be muscled around by a very good driver. Not everything worked as well as we hoped when we built it (laughing), but it was a pretty good car.”

An outing at Road Atlanta stands out in Dennis’ mind. He recalls, “During qualifying, it started drizzling while we were on pre-grid, so I knew I better make that first lap count. It was a good lap, but I crossed the finish line going backwards! This was back when the pits were on the outside of the track. On the inside was an Armco fence and a tree, and I barely missed them. I spun the whole length of the straightaway on the grass on the inside of the track. It finally stopped in the river that was on the inside of turn 1. It had been raining a lot, and the river was quite high. Water was coming over the doors! Randy, my brother, worked all night getting the salamanders out of the motor and stuff like that!”

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