R2B2’s new race car chassis business is prepared to introduce the Pro Modified car of the future. The drag racing community was given a glimpse of the cutting
edge, lightweight chassis recently at R2B2's open house outside of Atlanta, Ga.
The first of this new style chassis will be cloaked with a 2011 Mustang body and driven by turbo ace Brad Personnet.
“It’s going to have a lot of trick features and titanium,” said Jim Geese, who oversees the chassis business owned by Roger Burgess. “Everything that could be titanium is, in order to keep the weight down. This allows us to move weight around inside of the car to make it perform the way we want it to.
“The heart of the car, the backbone, is still the same, the part that takes the torque, I’m not changing that. Everything around it that we could change to titanium or carbon fiber we have. We took about 300 pounds out of cars we’ve done in the past. It’s a substantial reduction of the cars in the past.”
Geese believes these new designs are the next generation of fast doorslammer racing design.”
“We are able to try anything we want down here,” Geese explained, stating this chassis was what he always wanted to try prior to joining R2B2. “Anything that we’ve always wanted to try, anything trick. If it works … great, if it doesn’t you learn from it.”
Geese said the new R2B2 shop expects to produce anywhere from 15 to 20 new chassis a year. With an increase of personnel, the number will increase. In addition, with new equipment such as CNC machines, Geese says they could inevitably do work for other chassis shops.
In addition, Geese said the new R2B2 shop is doing its own laser cutting.
“Anything that is custom, we won’t have to improvise and try to make what we have work the way it was or has been,” explained Geese.
And for Geese, his team’s handiwork could be on display as early as the first week of June when the Personnet Mustang begins testing.
“I’m pretty proud of this car because everything is custom-built, and on this car we’ve built turbo-specific tanks,” Geese said. “We wouldn’t use the same oil tanks and fuel tanks for a blower car. We’ve designed and developed where we can repeat them. Everything we do, we try to do, so we can offer to everyone not just a couple of cars. Just getting the chance to build a car for Brad has probably been the best part of this [new chassis].”
The new R2B2 chassis will feature a completely removable body as well as rear tree [18 pounds] glued to the body using an in-house developed latching system, the intricate tubing connecting into the suspension. There are no Dzus fasteners to be seen.
“We can take the body off in about 20 seconds if you time us,” Geese said. “It’s a lot easier to work on and if you so choose, you can leave the shell on. You can take the windshield out for the clutch guy. When it’s a hot race day, 15 seconds to take that windshield out and then all of the heat in the clutch can goes with it. It’s very innovative.
“[Longtime associate] Don [Carey] and I stood under the first body we designed for days, studying and figuring way to make the process better. Thinking it through and figuring how we could do it for every car and still be efficient and affordable. The teams could come back from a run, pop the body, work on it and clean it as if it were new.
“In my mind, it made the older version where the body is mounted to the chassis like an antique. It made it outdated.”
Just the opportunity to develop and build what Geese deems to be the Pro Modified car of the future is a dream come true.
“It means everything to me to be able to do this,” admitted Geese. “Everything I’ve done and been through in my life for the past three years is a giant step in the right direction. To be the one getting to do it, I’m very proud of it. I look forward to the future more and more every day.”
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