Body work is finally off, having spent several frustrating hours removing lower front suspension bolts, which were stuck firmly in place, and refused to budge. After a lot of swearing, they all came out, and the bodywork then simply lifted off the car, revealing the side panels, which are now on schedule to be removed. Once they're off, I can fit the alternator to the engine rather than driving it off the rear axle. I've written another article for Speedscene magazine, hopefully it will be in print before the end of the year.
I know I just said that there is no standing still, but the car is now up on stands, with wheels, diffuser, front and rear wings and bodywork removed, and I'm looking at removing the final piece of major bodywork, to give me access to the side impact panels for removal. I've spoken to a Syvecs dealer, and we're now working on ideas for the wiring for launch and traction controls, looking like there'll be three rotary switches, one for the calibration map, and the other two for launch and traction control adjustment. A link to my Photo Album for the modifications is available here
There's no standing still in this sport, and with that in mind I drove down to see Andrew O'Malley last night, he is selling his Mygale EcoBoost, and has a collection of body work that JAMUN produced for the Ashley Sutton car. So I collected a new nose, a carbon bonnet, carbon side pods, and a lightweight carbon engine cover. The regulations were stretched a little from what I can see, as these are very light compared to the weights of the panels on the Team Radical car. I'll compare them side by side over the weekend. I'm hoping to shave at least a kilogram off the car by swapping the panels. I will need to do something about the colour scheme too, as the panels are red, and my Vehicle Passport shows that my car is black. So I may have to wrap them, or get them resprayed. I'll consider my options. Hmm, what about a completely different colour scheme for 2017?
Other news, the Service Hydraulics Speed Championship is reverting back to the original name of The Midland Speed Championship, following the loss of their series sponsor. Anyone fancy getting involved, and wanting to sponsor the championship, please get in touch and I'll forward your details on to the committee.
It was the last round of the championship on Saturday, at the Curborough Sprint track, just off the A38 south of Burton on Trent. A short tow of 45 minutes saw me arriving around 7:20am, and I was soon parked up, and unloaded. Pete Goulding arrived minutes later and parked alongside, and whilst he unloaded I walked the course. It was 10 years since my last visit, so I had to quickly refresh my memory as to where the brake and turn in points were.
Although Pete was ahead of me in the HSA Speed Championship, there was an outside chance that I could still beat him, if he didnt score any points. That was highly unlikely, given the 100% reliability of our cars. But I still had a chance, and that very nearly happened.
Scrutineering passed again without a hitch, and after a very lengthy delay, caused by timing issues, we were eventually allowed down to the assembly area at 11:00am for our first practice runs, albeit the organisers conceeded that the times wouldnt be recorded. We then had to wait another 15 minutes whilst the single seater of Ben Waine was extracted from the ditch on the first corner. Terminal understeer was the cause. The only blessing was that during the delay, the timing issue was resolved, so at least we'd get to see what times we were setting.
I was off second in the class running order, behind the 2.0 V8 Dallara of Simon Keen, who himself was having mechanical maladies. More of that later. After a quick clean of the rear tyres, I recorded a modest 34s run, and Pete was immediately quicker, having more power, and the benefit of a more recent visit during the summer. Second practice runs quickly followed, and I lowered my time by another second to record a 33, but again, Pete was ahead by a couple of seconds.
Lunch came and went, and it was now or never. I had to record a quicker time, and I was in front of Pete in the running order. During P2 Simon Keen broke a driveshaft, and his team set about replacing it over lunch. On T1 Simon and his father both set very quick times, however, they broke the diff in the process and then retired the car, leaving Pete and I trailing in their wake. I set off on my T1 run, and I recorded another 33s run, and as I safely returned I gave the thumbs up to Pete, as he prepared to leave the line. As I drove along the return road, I looked across to the left, where I spotted Pete parked out on the track, on the first left hand band, and he clearly wasnt going anywhere fast. It turned out, he'd tried 4th gear and a lot of throttle around the first corner, and the car simply understeered off the track, ending up travelling sideways at 60mph on the grass, just missing the ditch, and avoiding rolling the car on to its roof. Pete was exceptionally lucky not to damage the car, and recorded no time.
We spent the time between T1 and T2, removing the grass from Pete's car, and checking it for damage. He had to record a time to beat me, and luckily for Pete, the car had survived the excursion. The onboard video later showed him lifting a near side front wheel whilst sliding sideways on the grass, which could so easily have ended in disaster.
So it was down to T2, and I made a right hash of my start, probably my slowest get-away all year, but I still improved my time to record 32.89s, and Pete, with no time so far, made a blistering start, to record another 31s run. Just a second in it, I'm sure I could have made a better start. But Pete took 2nd in class from Richard Keen, and I ended up in fourth place.
What a fab way to end the season, right down to the wire, deciding the result on the very last run. Pete beat me fair and square, and hats off to him. He's been exploiting his extra power all year, and its just a shame both cars couldnt have been left standard. I'm now contemplating the same engine upgrades as Pete, as I'm now happy with my performance, despite my heavier and less powerful car running in 2nd place all year. I need to invest in pneumatic gear changes, as I've found manually changing gear whilst steering quite a challenge. I also need to shed some weight from the car, and move the alternator to the front of the engine. Plus a new set of light weight split rims should allow me to make better use of the grip. And finally, the fitment of a Hybrid turbo should see the engine producing around 300bhp, which will also mean I need to invest in traction and launch control. Thats a lot to do over the next six months, and I'm sure it'll soon be March 2017 and I wont have finished all of the work off.
A big thankyou to Pete and Debbie Goulding, for their help and encouragement all year. Thanks to Mark at MBR for their excellent work on the gearbox, and advice on setting up the Powerflow Differential. Also thanks to BMTR for the A15 tyres, SGS for the Generator, Faircharm Coachworks for the bodywork repairs at the start of the season, and Coalville Signs for the stickers and artwork.
Let the upgrades begin.
This is Pete's little off on the first corner during his first timed run on Saturday.
Curborough tomorrow for the final round of the HSA championship. Pete is leading the class in the championship this year, but I can change that result tomorrow if Pete doesnt finish for any reason. I've not driven Curborough since 2006, so thats 10 years for me to forget the lines and braking points. I'll walk the course to try and refresh my memory.
I've raised the rear ride height of the car by approx 6mm, by lengthening the arms that control the height. The reason being, Pete bottomed his car out at Curborough in the summer, and wore a hole in the carbon floor, so I dont want to drag the car on its arse along the perimeter road, and raising the height should help.
I have also removed the fire extinguisher, to save around 4Kg of weight, and I've fitted foam pads to the sides of the car, to protect my elbows. They took quite a battering at Blyton.
So, the elephant in the room at the moment appears to be the MSA introducing the requirement for ROPS certificates from Jan 2017. They've announced that rule K1.6.3 will apply, and this affects many cars in the paddock. Our Mygales are OK, we have evidence that they passed the FIA test Appendix J 277-188.8.131.52, and the tests were witnessed by an FIA delegate, in 2012. Whats embarrasing for Mygale, is that despite all the publicity for the FF200 EcoBoosts being 'state of the art' safety wise, they never applied for a certificate.
So the situation myself and my fellow FF200 EcoBoost owners face, is that we might not be able to race next year, unless Mygale applies for a retrospective ROPS certificate from the FIA. The word is that Mygale dont want to. So unless we can change Mygale's mind, I wont be able to race the EcoBoost in the British Sprint Championship next year, or any other championship for that matter.