We just ran the LeMons New England event last weekend. We were running with our wolfpack of the infamous Milanos from New England, Scuderia Limoni and Scuderia Testa Di Spilla. Things werre going pretty well for us on Saturday until about 8:30 PM.
We had traded the lead back and forth with a BMW 5 series for the morning and afternoon and into the night. The other two Alfas were running well and right up there as well. Sometime about 8:00 PM the driver began reporting a noise that sounded like a pump cavitating, strange since really nothing can be heard above the engine. 20 minutes later an Idiot in an Audi hit the right front wheel hard and the right front wheel bearing came apart. The car went around 2-3 laps more with the wheel showing sparks and the driver alarmed at the lack of brake because the caliper piston was being knocked back.
He came in and we pulled the wheel to find the inner front wheel bearing in pieces and the seal was gone. The journal the seal seals on was a little damaged as well. A mad scramble began to find bearings and a seal for my spare hubs. After some time we did find bearings, but no seal. with only 15 minutes left in the session we packed it in. A fellow Alfisti Brian S. from Scuderia Limoni graciously stepped in and offered us a complete hub off of one of his parts cars back at his home and we all climbed into a car and picked it up. A long night it was for everyone. We were back in business on Sunday thanks to Brians generosity but were out of the top finishers.
I had examined and repacked the wheel bearings with a high quality disc brake grease one event previously and we had checked free play before this event.
So long story but the moral of the story is:
If you drive the wheels off the car or not:
1. Don't expect front wheel bearing to last beyond one or two or a season of racing, metal has a fatigue life as predictable as anything. Replace them they are cheap
2. Buy the best bearings you can lay your hands on. For me that means Timken domestic.
3. Use a racing synthetic wheel bearing grease. Kevin O from Scuderia Testa Di Spillo suggested and uses Amsoil racing wheel bearing grease.
4. Have a set of hubs with everything on them, rotors, bearings, seals, packed with grease and sealed up ready to go.
5. It can't hurt to get some air to the front brake rotors.
If I had known all this before last weekend we might have had a shot at an Alfa Overall win. With some good luck and fortune.
I will try to upload a photo of the brake duct we made. (edit, cut away the dust shield in a radius that is a little bigger than the cavity of the hub. Then bend the dust shield for a closer fit to the surface of the rotor)