June 2003

Saturday 28th June 2003
Wow! Aintree was brilliant today. The circuit formed part of the original GP circuit from the 1950's, and it must have been a riot in the F1 cars of the day.

I improved during each run, had two practice runs and 3 timed runs. Each run I chopped off another great chunk of time off the previous attempt, and the 2nd and 3rd timed runs were each around 0.9 seconds faster than the previous, culminating in a 55.92s on the last run.

P1  59.06s
P2  57.97s
T1  57.56s
T2  56.68s (106mph)
T3  55.92s (107mph)

I was over the moon with that time. The gearing of the Fiesta was absolutely spot on, and I was just hitting the rev limiter in 5th as I crossed the line, at 107MPH on the last run of the day. I'm finding I can really chuck the car round on the corners. I'm running the front shocks at 0° camber almost, and it really seems to suit the car. I still struggled with traction off the line. The last run was the quickest, I just trickled her off the line at about 2000rpm, got her rolling and nailed the throttle to the floor. First corner is taken in 3rd, then you change up in to 4th, and back down in to 3rd for the first of the two right handers. Turn in point is where the small dirt track joins the track on the outside of the corner, and then follow the corner round by straddling the join in the tarmac with the front wheels, letting the car drift wide on the exit. Then it's up in to 4th, and 5th, dropping down in to 4th for the final corner, breaking and turning in where the fence on the left meets the track. The last corner is quite quick, a double apex, which requires some finesse. As each run came, I was getting more and more committed. The Yokohama's really do grip (but not off the start line) and I was running rear's at 18psi, and the fronts at 18psi too, which seems to give lots of traction on the corners.

For the last run, I removed the passenger side windscreen wiper, and even folded back the passenger side mirror, to shave a few more 1/10ths off my PB, and sure enough the last run I broke the 56 second barrier. I'll keep the mods in place for the next round. I finished 69th Overall out of 139 starters, which means I beat 70 other cars. Now that's encouraging!

The new XRS badge In the paddock, Aintree June 2003 Aintree June 2003 Aintree June 2003 My DIY paper headlamps, ultimate in weight saving Streamlined for the final run Westfield 1600 Ecotec with 180 BHP Westfield 1600 Ecotec with 180 BHP Westfield 1600 Ecotec with 180 BHP Phil Shorts Mini Phil Shorts Mini The Aintree paddock between rounds
Tuesday 24th June 2003
Windows Movie file of a 1/4 mile race against a Fiesta Turbo at Bruntingthorpe last Friday (854KB) Windows Movie clip

Friday 20th June 2003
Performance GraphA very good day at Bruntingthorpe today. I think the results speak for themselves.
0-60 mph in 6.56 seconds
1/4 mile in 15.05 seconds (terminal speed 94.34 mph)
0-100 mph 17.03 seconds
Top speed 106.7 mph (7250rpm in 5th gear)
Very happy!

Although I wired in the launch control last night, and programmed the ECU with parameters which should have made it work, the concrete surface at Bruntingthorpe was so abrasive I didn't use it. I developed a good technique for launching the car without wheelspin which definitely seemed to work. I could have gotten quicker, with more runs, but I don't want to risk breaking anything as I'm leading my class in the Midland Speed Championships and with 5 more events to go this year, there was no point in trashing the car just for a quicker 0-60 time. If only I'd had the lightweight wheels and slicks, I'd have knocked another 2-3 tenths off the 0-60 time, drawing me even closer to the sub 6 second target.

In the Performance Ford magazine league tables, out of all the XR's that they've reviewed over the years, I'm quicker than all of them. I have the fastest non-Nitrous XR they've ever tested! Even quicker than the XR4i's and XR4x4's. Fantastic.

I don't think I'll bother with NOS, it's legal for competition use, but from what I saw today it's way too risky. I'll modify my engine over the winter, which will give me more power, and next year the times will be even quicker (I'm aiming for sub 6s 0-60's), but I'm definitely going to stick with the 2.0 Zetec as it is such a good platform to start with.

One thing I did notice was that the engine was running very hot during the day. I'll fit an oil cooler, as the pressure drops when the engine is very warm, and although I do still have pressure, it's just not as high as it should be, and a cooler is going to make a difference. A set of digital 52mm gauges are on order from www.summitracing.com in the States. They're only $29 each, and I want the accuracy of digital instruments. I'll have them in the next few weeks, and I'll show the build of the new dashboard.
Tuesday 17th June 2003
Back from a 2 week holiday in the USA, I'm all geared up and ready for Fridays XR2 thrash at Bruntingthorpe (invitation only event, organised by Performance Ford magazine and Ford Sport club). Compomotive regret to inform me that they are unable to supply the new lightweight wheels in time for the event, so I wont be running slick tyres and lighter wheels. I'll just have to struggle with the heavy MO wheels, which is going to contribute to my 0-60 times. Anyway, the car is in the garage, off the trailer, and I've some tweeks to perform before Friday. First job is to cure the misfire, and I've taken the plugs out, and they seem OK, one is quite sooty compared with the others, and the plug gap is more like 1.5mm than 1mm so I'll regap them and keep them as spares. A new set will be obtained from Halfords tomorrow.

During my holiday, I went up the Mt Washington hill climb in New Hampshire. It's a climb that takes you up 6288 feet, from the very foot of the mountain right to the top, along the most incredible steep, twisty and demanding paved road. An event called Race to the Clouds used to take place on the mountain, sponsored by Audi, not an event that I'd want to miss. Shame I will never get the opportunity to take race the Fiesta to the clouds, as it would be an awesome event, not one to miss. Maybe Audi will re-instate their sponsorship, and the event will run another time.