Time to write a report on the weekend now the dust has settled and I have rehydrated a little
First off, huge thanks to Julian and Daz Davies for their help over what was a long weekend of hard work in the sweatiest conditions yet. Without their free help the weekend would have been over just as it began - so thanks guys :notworthy
Anyway, a double header, the first in TA recent history and a nightmare to plan for, pack for, worry about and just generally get my head around but i spent a couple of days off last week getting the car finished, ie engine back together and in and give everything a good check over and had the car loaded up on the trailer on friday afternoon ready for travel first thing saturday.
We got to brands at about 8am and unloaded and prepared for the warm up session - all seemed calm, so Julian hopped in with me into the sauna that my car was to become for the weekend and we headed out for a lap or two on the wet track. Just starting to wind it up and a boost hose popped off so i headed back into the pits - bugger it was the one hardest to get to (isnt it always ??) and that was the end of that session. While we took the wheels to swap to the other set we noticed that one of the front disc rotors had cracked - AP rotor grrr so frantically tried to find new rotors in a short period of time but without luck so it was potentially end of fast running for the saturday unless i could find them. Apex were 4 hours away so driving there and back would not have been a viable solution. Then I happen to ask Dave Coe and he said he had some spare AP rotors that I could have - SUPERB !! Huge thanks to Dave - great guy and to help fellow competitors like that is part of the spirit of the pit lane at events - you are my hero :thumb: :notworthy
So... just under 30 mins to the next session could we swap the rotors and fit them in that time ? Julian and Daz set about it while I sorted other stuff and they were makling good progress but werent going to be there in time
then by a stroke of luck a red flag in the club session bought us another 10 minutes and it was there with wheels on just as the cars headed out for pro session. Phew. Track was drying now and heat building I wound it up a little on the map to test the new cams so that I could build the map for later in the day. Onto the pit straight and full throttle to the end of the pit lane and then .... bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang .. holy fook !
I limped back to the pits trying to not get into the way and saw that the splitter had parted company with the front of the car and was pretty much dragging along the ground. Fittings that previously had taken my full weight while standing on the lip of the splitter, had obviously given way. Grr end of session while fixing it.
Having not done a full flying lap yet and pretty much spent the whole day sorting the car it was qualifying. I headed out and first lap the boost hose popped off, but I had to continue so that I could at least post a time on the board and cruise back to the pits garage. Hose frantically refitted by Julian and Daz and with 4 minutes to go I headed out again and started to wind it up and the exhaust gasket in the uppipe decided to blow through. Not normally a huge problem except when the hole is on the top edge on the subsequent heat/blow torch effect burns the wiring loom, coil pack, coil pack connector and makes it run on 3 cylinders. Argggghhh it was not going well
With just an hour to go for the final it was frantic again with Julian and Daz under the car sorting out a proper fix for the boost hose, repairing the wiring as best as they could and me fixing the exhaust all on a baking afternoon was not ideal lol. A gasket borrowed again (thansk Dave again
) and it was done just in time phew again. Sweating like a pig and jumping into a car that must have been in the 50c for the final was not fun with sweat dripping down into my eyes but it was running sweetly and when it is working well it makes it worthwhile. I tried the best I could but could only manage a 53.8 on the best of the 5 full on laps i did that day in the final. 2.2 seconds off the pace of Gav. 6th place or last in some eyes but to be just out there at all was amazing and without teamwork and help from fellow competitors it would not have happened.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
The car was getting very hot though so at the end of the session I set out with my favourite tool to allow more air to the oil cooler ... out with the mighty angle grinder and 1mm cutting disc
It had to help
Saturday night and time for a shower, chill out, review datalogs, video, vbox data, jacuzzi in the hotel and a beer or two and some food (i hadnt eaten all day i found out) - great evening chilling with the guys and my family and a fresh start to sunday with a lovely cooked brekkie and a late start. We were ready for it again.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
We had a few things to sort for sunday first thing but were hoping for a more relaxed day
Practise session and the splitter decided to pull off AGAIN !! argh - straight into the pit garage and I got the drill and make damned sure it wasnt going to happen again and headed out with a few remaining minutes on the clock - it went well with an improvement in time over the final from saturday and still with plenty left on boost recording a 53.4. Cooling was fine although still getting warm and splashing some coolant from the overflow onto the pipework and engine when kerb hopping because the cap wasnt sealing on the top of the tank. Need to sort this.
A few checks over the car, bleed the brakes, map changes to enable use of nitrous and it was ready for Qualifying. A big and very welcome change from the mad amount of work we did on the saturday. This time the heat outside was unbearable and notch that up 20 degrees at least for what it was like in the car and qualifying was very hard and hot work. I finished 4th being pipped by Paul Doyle by 100th of a second for 3rd on his last lap. I got out of the car at the end of the session and almost passed out from the heat - i have never been that hot in my life !![You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Feeling better after a can or two of red bull lol I needed to do better in the final and knew from the vbox data that 52.5 was my ideal lap on the power I had run up til then. So i turned it up again lol. 2.1 bar of boost and a 50 shot of nitrous should do it and try to get the best sectors all joined together in one lap. I tried but didnt manage it - 53.2 was the best from the final but reviewing datalogs it was slipping the clutch at that level at about 4800 (peak torque must have been good) and for some reason the nitrous hadnt come on as was on cal 7 not 8 wtf so nitrous off and do my best. It wasnt good enough but I had a great weekend and live to fight another day. Bring on cadwell
Thanks as always to Julian and Daz, Bren and BC racing, sponsors, friends, family and supporters that came by the pit garage to show support. I know sometimes i can look stressed in there but it does help - thank you :notworthy
Congratulations to all those that took part this weekend - it was a hard weekend and even if they didnt have the issues it was still immensely difficult to prepare a car for a two day event, keep it running and deal with everything that the day throws at you - well done to them. Well done also to Paul Doyle for two good results, Gave for setting the pace and Marcus for taking the top slot on sunday :thumb:
Signing off now to do some work - see you at Cadwell in a few weeks where we hope to be sipping cheap nasty champagne.
Some Video in car:[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Please excuse the nasty squeely pig tyres.