The fuel system utilizes a Waterman mechanical fuel pump that is driven off of the cam. The fuel pressure regulator is a Weldon unit and the eight 1600cc injectors are sourced from the Bosch catalog. All of the fluid and pneumatic lines on Rado's missile are Goodridge G-Line XF super lightweight Kevlar items. These lines require special fittings and a purpose built crimping machine. But the weight savings on a project like this makes the extra effort worthwhile. They also look very trick!
Other last-minute tasks included the installation of the Peterson Fluid Systems five-stage oil pump and artfully crafted oil tank, the mounting of the carbon-fiber body and the fitting of the Lexan windows. At the same time, the custom-fitted seat was bolted in and the window net, fire-suppression system, harness and Diest parachute were installed.
Probably the most labor-intensive part of the final stages of construction was the installation of the electronic systems and wiring. Once again, responsibility for this vital stage fell to Tony Palo. Rado's talented crew chief spent many hours mounting sensors, measuring wires and crimping connectors before shrink-wrapping the entire harness in Rayovac aircraft heat shrink. The list of components involved highlighting the complexity of the datalogging capabilities includes clutch pressure sensors, suspension travel sensors, complete engine function monitoring capability and a real-time knock retard system. "This was a lot more complicated than most wiring jobs," Palo commented. "We have so many different functions that we need to datalog to help us set up what is a fairly unique car. The more information we have the better."
With the car finally assembled the car was ready for its first test. Would it start? The whole crew gathered around as Rado climbed into the driver's seat and hit the starter button. A couple of revolutions of the starter and the 3RZ sputtered to life. Time for a few high-fives. A few quick tweaks of the Motec M48 ECU soon had the potent engine idling smoothly and responding nicely to throttle inputs.
Keeping a close eye on the engine's vital functions, Palo made adjustments to the Motec ECU until he was satisfied that he had a decent base-map programmed in. At this point the car was ready to be checked over and all of the fluids were drained, checked for contamination and replaced.
In an ideal world the NORAD team would have headed for the track to start the long process of fine tuning the engine, adjusting the clutch and transmission shift points and tuning the suspension. Unfortunately, Rado had a commitment to show the car at a Pepsi-sponsored show. The crew had to load the car on the rig and haul it from Texas to the east coast.
Fast-forward a week or so and the entire team is in Reading, Pa., at World Racing's headquarters. The plan is to dyno the car to get the tuning map refined and then track-test the following day at Maple Grove Raceway. A customer car was on the dyno and in typical Murphy's law fashion it had a problem and was taking far longer than expected. Eventually, late into the evening, the NORAD Celica was pushed onto the dyno and strapped down.
After a series of checks and tests the car was ready to make a low-boost 20 psi run. The engine was fired up and Rado took the car up to fourth gear. Once in fourth gear the go pedal was mashed and the 2.7-liter four-cylinder screamed like a banshee as it spun the rollers. About halfway through the run the air/fuel ratio went super-rich and Rado shut the car down.
Everyone gathered round the computer monitor as the chart was displayed. At 6000 rpm (immediately before the air/fuel ratio went rich) with 20 psi of boost the NORAD 3RZ had developed an incredible 650 horsepower at the wheels. It's worth noting that the engine is designed to generate most of its power at 10,000 rpm, with 50+ pounds of boost. The cams, head, manifolds and turbo system are all optimized for the 8,500 to 10,500 rpm range so the low-boost, low-rpm numbers are very impressive.