Next Race - ???

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Brands race report

An enjoyable day racing. It was quite a relaxed morning with scrutineering in the garage at 10:20. Practice kicked off an hour later and I think the marshalls had had one too many coffees and were energetically waving flags all the time. Mostly yellow and blue but then a red one at the end. It was difficult to get a clear lap and I tried to latch on to passing cars of the top guys to pull me a long.. My cockpit timer was still configured for silverstone - so it would wait 1 minute before checking for a timing beam and since the lap around brands is less then a minute I was getting lap times of 2 laps. So I had no idea what I was doing. A time of 56.68 was ok considering the last 3 laps were all under yellow at MacCleans because a car was parked with driver in on the outside.

Mid race tweeks involved putting in the right amount of petrol. I pumped about 10 litres and put back in exactly 10. We also lowered the car, gave it a clean, fitted some shoter air intakes and got the camera working. For the race I got a good start and passed a couple of people further up the field who must have started in third or did the classic 1st to 4th change. After we sorted outselves out I was following Lee Levett going into Paddock Hill Bend and I could see in front 2 cars spinning. Lee started to spin which made me think there must be oil on the track but my car stayed rock steady and I slowed a little while Lee did his spin and exited the track. Another half a lap and the red flags were out. So having made up 5 places in 1 lap it was back to square one. On the restart there was a huge gap in the grid on the right hand side. I think the spinners had been allowed back into the race but not in the original grid slots which is a good decision. In the past drivers who have stopped a race then have got a second chance by going back to the original grid slots was wrong and unfair for the rest of us. On the restart I passed another 1st to 4th gear type starter but was passed by a green car and that's where I stayed for the rest of the race. We quickly pulled away from the group behind me and I came close to overtaking a couple of times but I didn't get alongside in a good place to make it stick. Showing my slight lack of racecraft and also I am not good enough on the brakes. Both I need to work on for the next meeting at Snetterton. I finished 17th and I improved my lap time to 55.48. I was also under my qualifying laptime for almost every lap and I did 5 laps within a couple of tenths of my fastest lap - so good consistency. Throughout the race I could see a group of 3 in front and my target for snetterton is getting into that group.

In the scrutineering after the end of the race we had to remove the restrictor plates - why bother. If I am finishing 17th and breaking the rules then I am very poor at cheating. Anyway we duly took them off and checked.. Got the ride height checked and finally the weight. Without driver 391 (minimum is 375) and with driver 488 (min is 465). 97 kilos for the driver - that will come down as the summer comes and I do my other hobby - cycling both on and off road but I am 6ft 4 tall so there is a limit to how much weight I can lose without looking like a bean pole. Since it was London Marathon weekend I'll mention that I did the marathon and soon after completing it I joined a gym and I found the gym assessment the other day - I weighed 12.5 stones or 80 kilos. So with helmet and overalls that would come up a couple of kilos to 82, so I could take off 15 kilos which would bring me down close to the weight limit. Food for thought......who mentioned food !!! Also be looking at how much petrol was left in the car to get an idea of fuel economy and maybe save a kilo or two there.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Race day

20th on the grid. 3rd in my class. 56.68. Session red flagged with someone parked on the circuit. Just getting in to the swing of it. Should go quicker later.

Friday, April 15, 2011

At brands

Parked in the garage for the night ready for tomorrows meeting.

Brands Hatch prep

I could do with making a fuel stick so we know when we've got 9 litres in the tank. 6 or 7 for the race and a couple left for the scrutineers if they feel like really testing Shell Optimax fuel is what it says on the can. Its nothing sophisticated... its just a stick with a mark on it that you dip into the tank via the fuel filter. If the mark is above the dipped wet petrol mark put in some more and if its over just leave it. Its not F1...its club racing.

The front suspension had a bit of surface rust. Rust and a racing car should never go together. Its an uphill battle trying to keep a vee clean when using an open trailer. So its out with the hammerite and a brush. I was looking at the results this morning - looking good. All that DIY....I joke...I've painted 3 rooms in my life...has improved my painting.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Postive ex f1 drivers and Pirelli

I am liking the Coulthard and Brundle partnership. I liked Coulthard comments which highlighted the difference between a positive racing driver and a negative pundit (Ted Kravitz). When Button's engineer said that the maximum anyone had done on this Pirelli was 15 laps and he planned to do 18 laps - Coulthard read that as a challenge, Ted saw that has a message to slow down. I wonder how Button read it. I am not sure that seeing Pirellis disintegrate and drivers having to do 4 or 5 stops is good for the company's image. How many people are going to know they were asked by the teams to produce such a tyre. This looks like bad PR - watch our tyres fall apart 20 times a year in front of the biggest TV audience. I wonder if Pirelli said to the teams - how about screwing up one pit stop a race that they would comply or anything that makes them look bad. All this technology with opening wings and kers is not needed - isn't it so simple - just stick on big tyres and make the wings out of mesh so they look like they do now (which isn't exactly very pretty but at least there is some space for the sponsors logo) and reduce the downforce so you don't need to be a fighter pilot to follow. Also put some springs on the cars too but probably not as much as Petrov would have required to keep that on the ground. Revert them back to 1982 levels of downforce and sit back and enjoy.

Odd smells

At silverstone there was 2 distinct odours in the car. Cow poo and burnt rubber. Most laps nothing and then you would be hit with a strong smell of either. The burning rubber was not me pressing the red button and releasing the nitro stored cunningly in my fire extinguisher (oh j'sus the cat is out the bag now) and lighting up the rears. No it was some essex boys drifting some Nissan 370Zs near the track. The cow poo smell I can only assume was from some excited cows watching my killer overtakes (yep 3 Ffords down the straight who might have been coasting)... either that or somebody was using some very old fuel...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Price of petrol

At silverstone petrol station you can buy endurance 102. Now if you think normal petrol is expensive then look away. 290 a litre. I wonder when normal petrol gets this expensive will people still carry on driving aimlessly around ?

Saturday, April 09, 2011

At silverstone

Taking a rest between sessions. The sun is out. Track is very busy with formula fords testing for tomorrows start of their series. Car is running but wouldn't complain if i was quicker. Main thing is its going well and we live to fight another day at brands next weekend.

Winter is over

Friday morning and off to silverstone.