The snow strikes againYep, more heavy snow the day before we're meant to be testing at Blyton, and its not looking great weatherwise at the moment. But all is not lost, as I'm due to be at Blyton again on Thursday, so I will still get an opportunity to set the car up prior to Castle Combe at the weekend.
The Pi3 datalogger is ready to be installed. I've added the connector to the Pi3 to allow it to connect to the loom I've made that joins it to the four potentiometers. I know the capture software I've written works, and I'm hoping to see some suspension movement data after I've driven with it fitted. I'll post the results when I have them.
I now have a second set of Force Racing wheels, in 8.5" and 10.5" widths, and the new slicks will be fitted to these. The wets will go on last years wheels, once I've finished testing at Blyton on Thursday.
Combe FinalsThe final instructions came out today for the Castle Combe sprint, and I'm car #16 in class E4 Racing Cars over 2000cc, which has 7 cars in total, and of the 24 registered BSC contenders, 22 are out at Combe, the first round of the championship. Its going to be quite a fight for a Top 12 place thats for sure. In E4 we have reigning 2017 champion Heather Calder, and former multiple champion Colin Calder in their shared Gould V8, John Graham (Gould V8), Terry Holmes and Graham Porret (Lola V8), and me and Pete Goulding (EcoBoost) so our little 1600T engines are going to have to work very hard to make any kind of impact on the class. Aside from E4, there will be Piers Thynne making his debut in D2 Sport Libre in a Radical SR8, and it'll be interesting to see how Simon Bainbridge gets on with his 4200T Audi Chronos against Piers. Class E1 Racing Cars up to 1100cc has 4 BSC entries, with the shared Force TA of Chris Bennett and Chris Jones, plus Martin Pickles, Graeme Harden and new boy Nick Houston in their Jedi's. Then in E2 Racing Cars over 1100cc upto 1600cc, we have new boy Steve Brown with his JKS JR01, veteran Bill Gouldthorpe sharing his SBD OMS 1600 with Carole Torkington, and then in E3 Racing Cars 1600-2000cc, we have Steve Miles (Van Diemen), and Steve Broughton and Matt Hillam sharing their heavily modified SBD Dallara, having received substantial aero upgrades by John Hansell over the winter. All in all, thats a lot of people trying to qualify, so lets hope the weather holds out and the event runs smoothly.
Noticeable by his absense is Jeff Wiltshire, his new Zeus EVO2 MR1500T is still awaiting a ROPS certificate. He is hoping to be out at Croft in April, if all the paperwork goes through.
The full entry list can be downloaded here
Here is a posting from my Zetecinside Motorsport Facebook page. Dont forget to like the page to get updates on Facebook.
WetsI bought a set of Michelin tyres during the week, a set of wets, in P310 compound, in F3 sizes, which will be fitted to the Force rims when they arrive. These will be used in place of the 6 year old Dunlop wets that came with the car, so thats another set of tyres to lug around with me, and hopefully my last. They were a good price, and were fresh in 2017, at about a third of the cost of brand new tyres, it just shows its worth keeping an eye on the Race Cars Direct website for a bargain.
I've fitted 3mm Tufnol Whale strips to the underside of the front wing end plates, to prevent them from grounding out and wearing the carbon away. I've stuck them on with a few spots of Sikaflex, which should keep them from falling off, but still allow me to replace them quite easily. I bought the plastic from Direct Plastics. They will even supply the material cut to shape, so I ordered the smallest sheet size, and they cut it in to 25mms strips for me.
I've finished the diffuser off, by adding a new pair of carbon end plates, to lower the sides of the diffuser closer to the ground. They are also stuck on using Sikaflex with a few M4x6mm screws to prevent them from falling off. I'll be testing at Blyton on March the 19th, with Pete, and this will be the first time both cars will be together in 2018, prior to the Castle Combe and Rockingham Sprints on the 24th and 25th. I've also got a coaching session on the 22nd at Blyton, with Triple M motorsport, that should teach me a few tricks of the trade so I can improve my times. And I'm spending time on rfactor2 on the PC, practicing the Castle Combe track, to help me learn the right lines for a single seater.
Finally this is a short video of the engine warming up last weekend.
Snow stops play!Seriously, who'd have predicted snow in March? Er, well, it does happen, but the press in the UK are portraying it as an end-of-the-world level event. It does look like the testing on Saturday is off, so not quite the end-of-the-world but close in my world; the track temps even if there is no snow, would prevent anyone there from running at the pace we need to test our cars at, so a sensible decision given the snowy conditions. I even spent 3/4 of an hour outside in the garage last night, but after battling with -3C and tools that hurt my hands when I touched them, I gave up. So we are trying to get another date set up, in March, where we can have another go.
Meanwhile DJ has provided CAD drawings (that cannot be shared!) of the wing end plates for the SM153 and SM183 on my car, and I now know which holes correlate to wing angles, so I can label the wings up, and try the different angles to see how they change the car's handling.
Other news, Pete's Mygale came back from Northampton Motorsport on Tuesday, with a big power hike. He fitted the larger hybrid turbo, and with the longer exhaust he's made, the power has crept slightly higher than mine, with 320bhp (vs 314bhp), but his torque is quite a bit higher, peaking at 300ftlb (vs 261ftlb). He has the exhaust cam wired in, so I may need to wire mine in, and go back for more power. Pete's peak power was at around 1.7bar though, whereas mine was was reached at 1.2bar, so there is definitely more scope for power from my TT Evo Turbo. However, we did limit the torque on mine to 260ftlb when we did the power run, so all we really need to do is raise the limit in the ECU, and it shouldnt have any difficulty in producing more power, even without the exhaust cam wired in.
Snow!Well, with the forecast looking as bad as it is, we could be in for a bit of snow at the end of next week, that may result in the testing at Blyton on the 3rd, being cancelled. I'm keeping everything crossed that the weathermen have got it wrong, as they sometimes do. But in the meantime, I'm still readying the car. I've cut six 15° shims out, that are now fitted to the front wing mount. The M6 bolts that secure the wing bracket to the FIA carbon crash box, protrude vertically from the underside of the box, but the surface of the box slopes upwards at 15° to the horizontal plane. So at least now the shims secure front wing properly. My Pi Datalogger software is now complete, at version 19, and after some 80 hours of testing in my road car, I'm very pleased with the way that it is working, so its just a case of fitting the Pi to the car, in such a way that it doesnt rattle itself to pieces, and running power to it.
I've entered the Rockingham Sprint on the 25th March, and the Croft Sprint (BSC Round 2) on April 2nd. There is then a two month gap until the next round, #3, in June, so I may do an Aintree at the end of April to get a bit more seat time with the new wings on the car.
And finally, I rolled the car out the garage last weekend for a few photos. She's on the wet tyres as the slicks are safely wrapped waiting for the test session. Assuming its dry of course.
Progress...The repaired rear damper has returned from Triple M, and is now back on the car. It had air inside, so the O-rings were replaced and the damper re-filled with oil and re-pressurised. The BSC entry is now up to 17 people, of whom three are new to the BSC. I'm not sure how many will be at Combe, but I do believe that the event is now full, so some may have missed the cutoff. The next event to enter is the BARC Rockingham sprint, but the entries arent open yet.
Still very busy in the evenings, ticking off all the jobs. I'm currently applying DEI 2" heat protection tape to the rear suspension aft of the exhaust, and I've added some curved pieces of wood to the leading edges of the plywood floor, to help the air make its mind up that it needs to go below the floor rather than over it. I've cut out a new perspex wind screen, thats taller and has a saw tooth profile to help produce turbulant air. I've realised that there was a fair bit of fuel in the tank when it was weighed the other week, so the base weight is more like 450kg this year, which is a significant reduction (~10Kg less than 2017), mostly down to the light weight aero that the car will be running with. The Mygale aero was built from heavy duty 9mm nylon sheets, and sturdy aluminium wings, and was over engineered, and consequently, was weight I didnt need to carry around. I ran the engine on Friday, the first time its ran since October, and the engine started first time, with no smoke or fuss. Still a long way from being race ready, but the list of jobs left is diminishing.
ProgressThe nose cone is now finished and painted underneath with black paint where I had to cut it to size; the rear wing support brackets have had a polish and the carbon rods smoothed off, and I've fitted three replacement 32mm black silicon hoses to the EcoBoost cooling system to replace the leaky blue Samco hoses. The Intrax damper has been repaired, and will be back with me in a few days time.
The entries for the Great Western Sprint opened a couple of days ago, and it was 50% full after just 24hrs, so I'm glad I didnt waste any time in entering. I'll be going to Rockingham the next day too, but the regs arent out until mid-Feb according to BARC. I've also registered for the BSC Championship for the third year in succession, and I'm pleased to see that Pete Goulding has finally taken the plunge. The championship needs more people to enter it for it to survive. And over recent years, there's been a steady decline in numbers. Jeff Wiltshire is also entered in his new Zeus Prototype, which is undergoing ROPS modifications I understand, but hopefully car and driver will be out at Castle Combe. Its a 3.3 mile long sprint, covering 1.75 laps of the track, and I've been there many times in the Fiesta, and even had a couple of track days there, but I've never driven it in the Mygale. Last years event was beset with breakdowns, fires, and oil leaks, but Steve Miles still managed a run off in 120.00 seconds, so I'm hoping to get close with the new aero package. It might take a few laps mind :D
The test session on March 3rd will be the first time I've driven with the new aero package, and I've set the front wing to a moderate angle, and the same will apply to the rear wing, and I'm hoping to see if we can reach a balance quickly on the track. The top speeds at Combe should be a lot higher than Blyton, so I'll most likely run less wing, but I'm sure it'll take some time for me to get the adjustments right.
Nose jobWith just 34 days until I go testing at Blyton (Saturday March 3rd), the nose cone is now fitted, I just had to remove a couple of sections of fibre glass from underneath, and it fitted almost perfectly over the DJ front wing bracket. I shall smooth the edges off underneath, and complete the mod over the weekend, using the Dremel. Very happy with how it finally looks :D
I'll also stick a bit of the spare D shape carbon rod to the front wing bracket, again to reduce drag.
SuperwinchI fitted the Superwinch 3000 that I took off the old Woodford Trailer, in to the Race Shuttle on Saturday, and it certainly made loading and unloading the car a lot easier, if not safer. I've some wiring left to do, to add a car battery to the trailer, to power the winch, and a means to charge it, from the tow car electrics. On the race car, I've added some carbon half round rod to the leading edge of the rear wing brackets, to reduce drag, and I've made some brackets to secure the Intrax damper reservoirs, and relocated the Anderson connector from the rear of the gearbox to the floor, beside the oil catch tank. I can now start on modifying the nose cone to clear the front wing, which is the last big job I need to tackle before the car can be driven in March.
Triple M visitI took the car up to Gainsborough yesterday, to see Alan Mugglestone at triple M, for a full chassis setup. He started by removing all the Intrax dampers, tested them, added silicone bump stop rubbers, and fitted packers that will allow me to adjust the suspension movement. One of the dampers had air inside it, and Alan removed it for repair. I'll hopefully get it back in a few weeks time. The car was leaning to the left, and had a higher ride height at the front than the rear, all the cambers were out, and it had a large amount of bump toe out on the rear suspension. Gradually, everything was adjusted until the car was then sat on the corner weight scales, and showed that the weight distribution was 100% right, with a perfect 50:50 split left to right.
Spacers mk2The spacers have been machined again, to increase their internal diameter to 47mm, so they now pass over the 45mm od Intrax dampers. Over the weekend curiosity got the better of me, and I removed the springs from the dampers to check how far they compressed when the chassis was lowered to the ground, and sure enough the spacers were hitting the tops of the dampers, restricting their movement, and the movement of the chassis. This is now solved though, and the spacers are back on the car, and the full suspension travel has been restored.
I went to the Autosport International show yesterday, at the NEC in Birmingham, and I spent about 4.5hours walking around the two halls. I bumped in a good few people I knew, and I saw the WRC car's being unveiled, and the top WRC drivers, who were all in attendance. I probably couldnt name some of them though, but I recognised Thiery Neuville and Seb Ogier, so I'm not completely out of touch with rallying. The Wolverhampton University team were there with the F3Cup Dallara I saw racing at Snetterton last May, and there were loads of other familiar faces from the world of Sprints and Hillclimbs. A good day out, and well worth the annual pilgramage.
I'll be getting the trailer out of storage either this weekend, or next, ready to load the car up for the trip to Triple M. I need to fit the electric winch to the trailer, so I need to get access to it with the power tools. Its the same winch I used on the Woodford trailer, its hardly been used. I reckon it should mount inside the trailer, if I can get a secure enough fixing for it on the floor.
My photographs from the Autosport Show are available here
Spacers fittedAltiss Engineering has machined the spacers according to my drawing, and they fit perfectly. The fat Eibach springs are now sitting 15mm further down the dampers, and the springs no longer hit each other as the suspension moves. This probably could probably have been avoided if I'd gone for a different make of springs, but at least the problem is now solved. I will be looking at fitting bump stop rubbers, to prevent the dampers from binding under full load. The car is due to go to Triple-M motorsport on January 22nd for a full setup, so we'll be addressing that then.
I'm working on a Raspberry Pi data logger project at the moment. I've got a Pi3B, and a GPS HAT, and the results are looking very promising at the moment. I've put a project page together, and I'll maintain it as the project progresses. The idea is to get it to log the voltages from the four suspension potentiometers, tagged with the time/date and long/lat position of the car on the circuit. To visit the page click the image below, or click Resources>Raspberry Pi Datalogger