Archive for July, 2005

Delayed race reports

Pembrey was characterized by lack of turn-in – there’s a very long
left-hander (Dibeni Bend), and no matter what I did I simply couldn’t get
the car to turn in to the corner. I even tried fitting rear wheels on the
front (yes, really!). I ended up left-foot braking on the way in to try to
settle the front-end, and then “pitching” the car into oversteer. Not the
ideal way to take any corner, but the best that I could do with the car
handling the way that it was. I’m told that it all looked pretty dramatic
and entertained the spectators (who were betting on when I would get it
wrong and end up in the tyre wall 🙂 On the plus side the car was much more
predictable than it had been last year – meaning that I didn’t end up in the
tyre wall 😉

I didn’t finish the first race because the throttle stuck open (a stone got
underneath the pedal) – luckily at a point where there was lots of runoff,
so no damage done.


Over the winter, we had increased the front springs to 700lbs (from 600lbs).
The fact that the car was much more predictable at Pembrey confirmed our
theory that last year’s problems were caused by the springs being too soft
(and therefore hitting the bump rubbers). But the lack of turn-in suggested
that we had gone too far – so I changed to 650lbs for the next event. We
also discovered that one of the ribs in the front wing had gone, meaning
that it was twisting under load and couldn’t have been helping with
front-end grip either!

The next event was Cadwell Park, which was a one day double-header. Two
races and two qualifying events in a day, in 30+ degree heat! And you all
know how well I handle heat 😦

From the point of view of working out how the car was handling, the day was
inconclusive. It was more about tyre wear – the heat was so intense that the
car was (literally!) sticking to the ground. In fact, when I came to unload
the car from the trailer after the event, the tyres tore the floor of the
trailer up!


Silverstone was a more representative test, and turned out to be very
encouraging. The car handled perfectly, and I managed at least one lap
within half a second of the previous lap record (although 2 seconds off the
new lap record set by David Hodgson!). With the exception of David Hodgson,
however, I was running competitively and had a number of great battles
throughout both races.

We did have all sorts of problems with the brakes though – the new 6-pot
callipers are clearly too powerful for the discs, and we had to change the
discs during the weekend because they were starting to crack. Not good for
confidence! So Jedi are going to see if they can fit a pair of floating
discs for me before Oulton Park in 2 weeks time. It’s also becoming
increasingly clear that I’m going to have to invest in a set of the larger
sized wheels – the smaller size I’m currently using simply don’t have the
grip or the longevity (I destroyed a full set at Cadwell, and then another
set at Silverstone!). Oh – and I was hit from behind during the last race,
damaging one of the rear uprights. So all in all, it turned out to be a
rather expensive weekend 😦


The second race was red flagged due to a very nasty accident in which Stuart
Abbott went head-on into the tyre wall, flat out. We were all very worried
for a period, but amazingly he got out of the car under his own steam. He
has subsequently been found to have a cracked sternum, but all things
considered it was a real testament to the strength of the chassis that got
away with just that.