October 2015

30Oct

Last weekend I collected the tyre rack from BJ Trailers at Daventry, and I fitted it to the Race Shuttle. It was easy enough to do. It just required 8 holes drilling in the floor of the trailer, 10mm diameter, for the M10 bolts and nyloc nuts provided to attach the rack to the floor. It wasn't cheap, at £540, but it doubles up as a work bench, and possibly a bed LOL.







17Oct

More weight savings today, and a possible increase in engine performance to boot. I've replaced the pair of silicon hoses, and aluminium pipes, that fed the cold air from the airbox down in to the turbo, with some flexible hose, from a seller called plant_silicone on ebay. The pipe size I ordered was two ply neoprene 63mm id, and as its sold in .5m lengths, I had to order a metre. It arrived this morning, and I set about cutting it to length (approx 0.55m length was required), and its now installed on the engine. The weight of the two silicon hoses, the two sections of aluminium tube, and one jubilee clip was 846g. The 0.55m length of flexible hose weighs 185g. That's a saving of a 661grammes.

With the flexible hose fitted, I ran the engine for 10 minutes, to check for any fuel leaks etc, and it ran very smoothly with no leaks.

The weight saving now, with the air hose and tethers, is running at 1.5kg. If I omit the crash box from the rear of the gearbox, that would put the saving up to 2.855kg. Not bad for a small amount of work.

Some more pictures of progress are shown below:

This is the weight of the hoses and couplings that I've removed. The aluminium section that joined the two pipes had a drastic reduction in the internal diameter, and it was a sharp step for the air to pass over.


This is the shortened piece of flexible pipe, which is two ply, so the internal surface is smooth. It weighs considerably less than the silicone pipes.


Fitted to the engine, it looks neater, and shouldnt restrict the air any more.



15Oct

Been a busy few days, with yet more progress on the Mygale. I've replaced the short section of fuel hose, with Earls Prolite 350, and I've added an FIA fuel sample T-piece to the section. I bought the fuel sample kit from Plays-Kool years ago, but never fitted it to the Fiesta. With it on the single seater, I can easily drain the fuel from the car, by adding a 12V supply to the fuel pump. I've primed the fuel system, and there are no leaks, which is always a bonus.

The extinguisher feed for the rear of the car is now fitted. I've run the pipe from the bottle to the top of the roll bar, and down the rear of the airbox. With the addition of a couple of cable tie mounts to the top of the airbox, I can fix the pipe so it doesn't move about. I've had a good look at the engine for the location of various sensors like oil pressure and oil temperature. I've found the two knock sensors, these sit below the inlet plenum, and are both wired in to the Life loom. Looking at the oil system, there's a huge oil cooler fitted, far too big for sprinting, so I'll swap if for the more compact one I've got in the garage.

I've also removed both the rear wheel tethers, that in total weighed 519g, so that saving plus the 350g at the front comes to a total of 869g. That's not bad.

Some more pictures of progress are shown below:

This is another picture of my new iNDi seat.


This is the location of the pair of knock sensors (circled in red) on the front of the engine block. Both are wired in to the loom (circled in green). Essentially they listen for pinking, or pre-detonation, and when that occurs, the ignition is retarted automatically.


This picture shows the front of the engine again, with the oil temperature sensor, and oil pressure sensors circled. I dont like the look of the blue samco hose that feeds the compressed air in to the bottom of the throttle body. It looks very restrictive on the 90° elbow. I might need to replace it.


I've added labels to the switch panel, to make it less confusing. The Rain switch turns the rain light on/off. The bottom Power switch operates the solid state battery isolator.


This is the fuel line in to the high pressure pump that sits atop the engine. The black section of hose is a piece of Earls Pro-Lite 350, its lighter and safer than the stainless steel over braided hose. I've used it before, on the Fiesta, its so easy to work with, and cheaper than braided too. I've added the fuel sample T-Piece, and reconnected the fuel pressure sensor to the original hose that runs up from the fuel tank on the floor. The fuel rail runs at 4bar from the tank, which has a pump internally mounted. The high pressure pump runs at 200-300psi, and the fuel is injected directly in to the top of each cylinder. Traditional injected engines use fuel injectors, running at 4bar, but the Ford EcoBoostTurbo engines are use direct injection.


I've refitted the airbox in this picture, and I've bent the fire extinguisher pipe so the nozzle sits above the whole engine. I've added a couple of cable tie mounts to the rear of the airbox too.


Here the rear wing has been removed, to allow the carbon crash box to be taken off and checked.


With the crash box cover removed, you can see the rear of the gearbox casing.


Wheel removed, the suspension can now be inspected, and the rear wheel tethers removed.


The rear disk looks to be brand new. The pads also have plenty of material left on them.


How much? The rear crash box weighs 1.325kg, so thats quite a lot of ballast to be carrying around.



10Oct

Chris Norton from Schroth turned up on Saturday morning, to make the foam seat for me. Fascinating experience, and a very interesting bloke to talk to. He's made seats for Schumacher, Damon Hill, and Sly Stallone of all people. Very experienced, and the icing on the cake was that he made the original seat for James Abbott in my Mygale, the same seat that came with the car.

Anyway, down to business. Chris started with me sat in the car, with no FIA extraction seat, and worked out the thickness of the foam seat that we would aim for. The thickness, and size of the cockpit dictates the size of the bag. And the costs of course. The insides of the chassis were then blanked off, using cardboard sellotaped in place. By blanking of the tubes at the sides, this would allow the seat to be extracted more easily. If we hadn't blanked the sides off, the bag would mould itself to the chassis tubes, and then it would prove very difficult to remove.

Next step was to flatten the plastic bag on the floor, and spread the beads out as evenly as possible. A vacuum pump was connected up, and this then removed all of the air from the bag, turning the bag in to a rigid structure. The bags all come with a valve attached, that retains the vacuum, allowing the pump and hose to be disconnected without allowing any air to rush back inside again. The bag was then placed inside the car, and moulded by hand in to the sides. I then sat back in the car, and Chris prodded and pushed the bag, to mould it around my sides, to give me some more side impact protection. I then hopped out, and Chris took a permanent marker pen to the bag, to make some marks as to where the corners and sides were, and how it basically sat in the car. He then opened the valve, let the air back in, and poured in a gel compound from a bottle. This is then mixed with water, and Chris placed the bag in the back of his 5-series and performed his Paul Hollywood impression, as he needed the mixture for around 10 minutes to ensure that the gel and water mixture covered all of the polypropylene beads inside the bag. The addition of water, triggers the curing reaction of the gel, that in turn over around 30 minutes causes the beads to stick together and set. We then placed the bag under vacuum again, smoothed it out, placed it back in the car, and I then sat back in the car, resting against the seat.

So the next 25 minutes, consisted of the seat moulding itself to my shape, as Chris monitored the time on his phone's stop watch and we made small adjustments to the sides of the bag. I had to raise each arm in the air, whilst Chris again prodded the bag, to mould it to my sides, and ensure that I had elbow room to turn the wheel and select a gear. Whilst sitting in the car, the rule of thumb to determine if the drivers head is at the right point, is that the driver should be able to see the top of each front wheel over the bodywork, but no more than half the side wall. So if I could see the wheel rims over the bodywork, I was sitting too high. With my height at 6ft 4inches, I've ended up sat on the bare aluminium floor of the car, but the important thing for me is that the foam seat gives me 2 inches of padding between my back and the aluminium panel that supports the seat.

Chris gave me lots of advice, and we decided at the start not to use the FIA carbon extraction seat. The seat itself forces the driver forwards and up, and wouldn't have allowed me to have sat properly in the car. The seats are also prone to moving, and of course carry a weight penalty, so excluding it wasn't a difficult decision for me. If you're moving around inside the car, how can you tell if the rear of the car is sliding? This deletion should make the car easier to drive.

So twenty five minutes soon passed, and I was able to get back out of the car, and we then looked at placing a second bag, under my bum, and over the top of the battery and extinguisher. The shape of the Mygale causes a problem with this step. Chris said all the drivers had difficulty fitting inside the cars, as the chassis is so narrow. Which it is. My hips are pressed against the gear selector cable, and the chassis on the left, and we simply didnt have sufficient space between my body and the chassis to allow for any additional padding material. So we decided not to bother with a second bag. Instead I'll make a cover for the battery and extinguisher and we'll put some high density foam on it, just to give the back of my legs something to rest against.

A very interesting day. I've ended up with a moulded seat, that is very comfortable to sit in, and with it being foam, it provides impact protection in the event of a rear end accident. Chris wants to attend my first test session so that the seat can be trimmed to allow harnesses etc to be fitted, and he'll then take the seat away and Cobra will upholster it, allowing me to have my name of company logo embroidered on to it. The whole process so far has taken 2-2.5 hours, and was very interesting for me as I'd never seen the Schroth iNDi seat before, nor the process, and I enjoyed the experience.

I highly recommend their product. So far, for the cost, I cant see why you wouldn't go for an iNDi Seat.

Sat in the car making adjustments to the seat.


The finished seat. Just needs trimming and upholstering.

06Oct

The inspection of the front of the car is now complete, and I've refitted the panels. Next job is to check the engine & gearbox, and the rear suspension.

I bought some more stainless fasteners today, some M5 and M4 socket screws, to replace the rusty fasteners holding the body panels to the chassis etc.

Pete and I are checking venues that we can test both the cars together at. Blyton is probably the best value so far. Mallory Park only runs Wednesday test sessions once a month, and the next one is tomorrow, which I cant make. We'll have to look a little harder. The trouble is that the weather is deteriorating, and we'd both like a dry day to get to grips with the cars safely.

Has anyone actually had their Brian toy? I bought some insurance in August, and Confused.com said that they'd send me a free robot. Well, despite their marketing emails saying it should be with me by now, I haven't seen any signs of Brian being delivered. Unless one of the kids has nabbed him of course. One less Christmas present to find LOL.


05Oct

I'm having a seat fitting on Saturday. Schroth are coming to my house, to fit an Indi seat in the car, and to mould it to my shape/backside/torso, call it what you will. They use a bag filled with tiny beads, that once moulded is then set, using a liquid under a vacuum, and then they upholster and embroider the seat. So I should end up with a comfortable seating position, my wallet will be a few quid lighter, but as I've mentioned before I must be comfortable in the car to be able to relax and concentrate on the driving. The car came with a HANS seat, which I think uses the same bead technology as the Schroth seat, only its too small for my 6ft 4inch frame, so its of no use to me.

04Oct

Removed the floor, but cant find the ballast that's installed on the sister car. So James Abbott must have been carrying a bit of timber, as the car's minimum weight is 475kg, and the combined weight of car and driver was 555kg, and again, no ballast. Mind you, I weigh 89kg at the moment (My target weight it 85kg), so I'm going to have to get some car scales and see what the combined weight is with me in the car. There is no weight limit when sprinting, but clearly the lighter the car and driver, the better the power to weight ratio.

The floor of the car is quite tatty, there was lots of grit, stones, and rubber on the garage floor once I slid the cars floor out. There's also a lot of oil on the underside, so I've placed a drip tray under the engine/box, to try and find the leak.

Here are some pictures of the work I've completed in the last few days.

This is the front section of the bodywork, on the near side, where Radical had attempted to repair following a shunt. I've removed all the glass fibre, and most of the epoxy resin.


I've offered the broken piece back, and secured it with masking tape, and a steel ruler, which is used to keep the section straight.


Isopon P40 has been applied, quite a thin layer, but I've reinforced the top edge with a little extra. The body work is made from carbon, the repair doesnt look too bad, I'll probably spray it black to hide it. The clamp is holding the steel ruler in place, and the masking tape is holding the broken piece to the ruler.


The front wheels are removed, and I've removed the tether in this picture. The disks look new, they're whats called floating disks. As in, they're secured to the hub, but are free to move side to side. The standard thickness on a formula ford is 10mm.


You can see three of the screws that secure the disk to the hub in this picture.


This picture, shows the pair of hoses that head upwards, from the rear and front master cylinders. These two hoses feed the pressure sensors, and havent been installed to my liking.


I've slackened the banjo bolts, and rotated both the hoses, allowing the pressure sensors to sit inside the crash box, which then allows the cables for both sensors to be passed inside the chassis, rather than over it.


So this picture shows the before shot, where the sensors pass out the top of the crash box, and over the chassis.


And this picture shows the after shot, with the sensors hidden from view. Much better. I especially like the Ford logo on the crash box.


This is the floor, removed from the car. Its pretty heavy, and is fastened to the chassis with approx 20 screws.


Looking under the engine sump, there is no sign of any ballast. I didnt need to remove the floor to find the ballast, but it needed to come off so I could continue checking and cleaning the car.


You can see the flywheel in this shot. I need to do something to prevent any foreign objects from getting in to the flywheel housing.



03Oct

Took both the front wheels off and visually checked the brakes out, and both the front disks look new. I then attempted to remove both the front tethers, and the fixing on the passenger side hub was missing the M6 bolt that holds the tether cap in place. Tut tut. I used an M10 bolt to remove the caps. Quite simple to extract them, and once the caps are taken out, the tethers just slide out the hubs. I also relocated the two hydraulic pressure sensors, that were attached to the front and rear brake master cylinders. They for some reason, ran up, through the slot in the carbon crash box, over the chassis and down in to the foot well. Instead, they now stay within the chassis, so are hidden. Looks so much better. I've also spanner checked everything, and apart from the missing tether fastener, all appears to be ok. I've fitted the wet tyres back on the car, so I can get the old slicks removed, and the wheels shot blasted and re-painted.

02Oct

I've repaired the first piece of body work, after I removed the chunk of fibreglass that Radical had used to repair it first. I've used a thin layer of P40, which should be more than adequate. I've also refitted the nose cone. Its now held on with six fasteners, rather than the four that it came with. I'm finding a lot of missing fasteners, or rather I'm not finding them. Luckily I have good stocks of spares.

01Oct

I've removed the nose cone and front wing from the car, and I've performed a spanner check of all of the front suspension etc. The bodywork is damaged, so I'm going to remove the temporary repair, and re-repair the corner that's broken off. Just needs some P38 and gel coat filler. I'm also removing the tethers from the front wheels, to save some more weight. The front wing weighs 4.4Kg and the carbon nose weighs 3.6Kg, so not the lightest, but certainly robust enough to survive a season or two of wheel to wheel racing. Pete Goulding has found sheets of lead, which are bolted to the floor of the car, beneath the engine. He's removed his ballast, and I'll drop the floor down and do the same on mine.