Friday 30th May 2003
Results came through from MIRA this morning, and I've been awarded yet another 1st in class. I was faster than some of the Ferrari's, and even some of the TVR's.
Read the MIRA event report, May 24th 2003
Tuesday 27th May 2003
New picture taken at Loton Park by Derek Hibbert, has arrived. I think it's from the 1st practice run, as I remembered to close the sunroof on the 1st timed run, so I'm pretty sure its taken in the morning.
Bank Holiday Monday 26th May 2003
Another very good day on Saturday at MIRA (Nuneaton, Leicestershire). A few heavy rain showers looked like throwing a dampener on the day, but the sun kept coming out and drying out the 1.6KM track, and despite a large oil spill from a competitor going off in the morning, the track proved very grippy. After my first timed run I discovered that the OSF bottom ball joint had worked itself loose, meaning that under acceleration and braking, the front wheel was moving enough to make the car very nervous. I removed both front wheels and torqued the bolts back up to 70 ft/lb before the 2nd practice run, and sure enough, the car handled a lot better.
It's not a particularly difficult track. You just need to keep your foot planted on the throttle, and hang on. But because I'm still not happy with the brakes, I was having to come off the power and brake earlier than I really wanted to. I'll re-engineer them over the winter, so for the rest of this season, I'll be consistent with the same setup. I'm going to dispose of the bias pedal box on the bulkhead, and get a Tilton pedal assembly, mounted on the floor, which will allow me to produce the hydraulic pressure that the brakes really need.
I posted a 65.54s for my 1st practice run, 62.92s on the 2nd, then after lunch (and heavy rain) I set a 61.56s followed by an even quicker 60.30s, which was only 2s behind Phil Short's mini, and he was on slick tyres, not road tyres like me. Another couple of runs, and I'd be down in the 58's. I still could find no grip off the line, the engine was spitting back/misfiring before I lined up, which probably means that one of the plugs has gone down. Once rolling the car was fine, plenty of power and I was even flat in 5th gear on the last two runs, recording 95MPH at one point, so the engine seems OK when pulling. But it does sound like the exhaust is blowing somewhere underneath the car. Just some wear and tear creeping in, but she does get a lot of abuse at the weekends. She doesn't blow any smoke out when I change gear, so mechanically the engine is sound, it could just be an electrical gremlin, so I'll run a full test on the ECU and see if I can spot the cause of the misfire. I do have a month to get things sorted out for the next big event though, the Performance Ford thrash at Bruntingthorpe, and then Aintree at the end of the month. In between, I'm off on training courses for a couple of weeks, so thats going to eat in to my time I can spend working on the car, but I'll do my best to get her back to 100% for the next event.
No photo's from the event, as there was a complete ban on cameras and videos at the MIRA track due to vehicle manufacturers testing their vehicles. Though we only spotted a new LandRover Discovery, heavily disguised, being tested. Looks very similar to the new Range Rover at the front. Shame I didn't have a camera!
Download the data from the runs (use with the RaceTechnology V3 software available from their web site). GPS quality was poor, despite no tree cover, so I'm going to relocate the antenna to the roof.
Practice Run 1 65.54s
Practice Run 2 62.92s
Timed Run 1 61.56s
Timed Run 2 60.30s
Monday 19th May 2003
Hi to everyone I met at FITP 2003 on the Ford Sport stand yesterday. Was great to put faces to names, and once again I probably had the most visited car of the show as I was kept busy all day explaining what I'd done to get the car to full race spec. Nice to see that a Mk1 Fiesta can draw so much attention. We had a little bit of rain during the day, but the turnout at Wicksteed Park was better than last year, and there were some stunning cars on display. Amongst my favourites were an Orion with fish tanks in the boot, a stunning white Focus with beautiful 17" wheels, a silver Ford Orion with hardly any ground clearance, and FFDave's white Mk2 XR2. FFDave is my main competition at the XR2 thrash in June, so so long as I survive the sprint at MIRA next weekend, the car is ready to go, I'm just waiting for the new light weight wheels and super sticky slick tyres to arrive. Dave is on a mission to save as much weight as possible, even substituting Titanium bolts for steel ones, in an effort to gain every advantage he can. His car has significantly less power than mine, so the title should be in the bag really, so long as I can put the power down during my runs at the airfield in June. There's friendly rivalry between us, but on the day, I'll be drawing on my racing experience. I must win, theres no two ways about it. I must have that title.
Saturday 17th May 2003
I got my very first 1st in class at Loton Park. Thought I was second, but the results that came in the post today, confirmed that I came first. So far this season we've had a 4th, a 2nd, and now a 1st in class. My times from Loton were quite competitive too. I even beat a Subaru Imprezza up the hill!
Friday 16th May 2003
Front spoiler and wing now repaired. New set of 7x15" lightweight wheels have been ordered. Just trying to get a price for some slick tyres. I'll try my contact Yokohama to see if they can help.
New race report for Loton Park now on the Event News section
Tuesday 13th May 2003
The repair to the wheel arch/front spoiler is well under way. I've pulled the two sections back together using some fasteners, and then used Isopon P40 to bond the two together. Tonight I filled in the cracks using P38 filler, and tomorrow I'll sand the filler down with some fine wet and dry. Then it'll just need spraying, so I need to get a Ford Sunburst Red aerosol can. Its quite a small area that needs spraying so it wont be too noticable. However the paint across most of the wheel arch has crazed, so this will just be a temporary repair until the winter when the car will get a refurb.
I've been talking to a major wheel manufacturer today, about getting a set of new lightweight wheels for the car. They'll be 7x15" again, but weigh considerably less than the existing wheels, which will help improve acceleration and handling. More news will follow as the plot unfolds.
Monday 12th May 2003
Well Loton Park is now my favourite track. What a venue! Incredible circuit, very long, twisty, steep, and very very fast. On Saturday it was my first event there, and as I walked the course in the morning, and tried to take it all in. But I knew straight away it was going to take more than one visit to get a competitive time at this track. First timed run I pottered up in 73seconds, taking all the wrong lines. Its not a forgiving track. Theres grass on either side of the narrow strip of tarmac, and if you get a wheel off, theres little chance of getting it back on to the black stuff again. It then decided to rain for the rest of the morning, and my 2nd run was a very slow 80s ascent, but I'd rather get to the top then fall off and damage the car. 1st timed run in the afternoon didn't start till approx 3PM, as so many people were going off on the now dry track, that it was just delay after delay. Eventually, I lined up and set off, making sure not to fluff any gear changes, and it was simply awesome. I shot up in 68.25s which again, is slower than other less powerful cars, but it was only my 3rd run at the hill, and I was very happy with the time when I reached the top. Unfortunately, the rain then returned, and it didn't really stop for the rest of the afternoon, with showers and the occasional drop of sunshine. So with no prospect of beating my dry time, I packed up and went home at around 6PM. It was actually getting quite dark in the woods, and even if I did make my 2nd timed run, it wouldn't have been till 5:30PM, such were the delays from people going off.
On Friday before the event, I checked the ECU throttle stops via the laptop, and discovered that I wasn't actually getting full throttle. I tightened the throttle cable linkage to remove the slack from it, reset the stops, and its now got a lot more power when I give it full throttle, especially as it really is now full throttle! This was noticeable on Saturday. I also ran out of petrol while running the engine in the garage on Friday, which explained the dip in power on my last timed run at Curborough. It was running on fumes!
The datalogger for some reason refused to let me download any runs taken from it. It said that it contained "corrupted data", so I have nothing to show from my fastest timed lap. The chances were that the data wouldn't have been very accurate anyway, due to the number of trees covering the circuit. It has to have at least 6 satellites locked, and with tree cover, that would have been very unlikely. And I damaged the front of the car when I loaded it back on the trailer. I caught the front near side spoiler/wheelarch on the light cluster on the trailer, and its made quite a mess of the fibreglass. So I've now christened the car, though at least it was a low speed impact, rather than clobbering something substantial at speed! I'm annoyed at myself for damaging her. It was avoidable, but I was on my own on Saturday, and tired, and it was probably just as well I didn't go out for my 2nd timed run in the wet. Anyway, its only cosmetic damage, so some filling and spraying in the garage over the coming nights, and I'll have her shipshape and ready for Fiesta In The Park on Sunday 18th May at Whicksteed Park, Kettering. See you there.
Wednesday 7th May 2003
Chatting on fiestaturbo.com yesterday, we're trying to find the lightest alloy wheels in 7 x 15". A company called Image Wheels manufactures billet 3 piece split rims, which weigh in at 6.5KGs each, but OZ also manufacture the SuperLeggera wheel, which weigh less, and costs less too. I need to find out from Compomotive how much the MO's weigh that I'm already using, and I'll then decide to get either the OZ's or the Image split rims, or stick with another set of MO's and get some slick tyres for them.
Sunday 4th May 2003
Performance Ford magazine are running a Fiesta XR2 Thrash at Bruntingthorpe in June, in which they're going to find the fastest Fiesta XR2 in the UK. Therefore I need to drastically improve my 0-60 times. I just don't seem to be able to put the power down with road tyres running at 28psi. I end up with lots of wheelspin, and even though the car accelerates, its not as quick 0-60 as I'd hoped. Indeed, I'm only getting 0-64ft times of around 2.85s which is pretty awful. So....
I wired in the traction control sensor today. I took the car off the trailer, and wheeled it back in to the garage. Removed the offside rear wheel, and set about making a bracket to hold the sensor 1mm away from the rear disk. I then drilled 20 7mm holes in the disk, which the sensor will be positioned over, and as the wheel rotates the sensor will be able to detect the speed of the rear wheel. The holes are all 4mm deep, which should be enough for the sensor to operate correctly. I soldered it's three wires to the cable I've fed through the wiring loom previously, and heatshrinked them to keep the water out. The trick now is joining the three wires to the connector on the back of the ECU. That's going to take some doing, as theres not much room to manouvre. The sensor is from http://rswww.com, and has three wires. Black(0V) connects to the wire braid shield in the cable, red goes to red (+12V) and white goes to blue (Output). I may borrow a scope and PSU from work to make sure that the sensor is working properly.
My car has been placed in 81st place in "The Best 100 Modified Cars Ever" by Performance Ford magazine. Thats quite an achievement. Not every one can say their car is amongst the best 100 in the world!!
Fiesta in the Park 2003 approaches again. It's on May 18th, at Wicksteed Park in Kettering, and I'll be there again for the day, with the Fiesta of course.
Saturday 3rd May 2003
Curborough event report, April 27th 2003
Thursday 1st May 2003
Some pictures from Curborough at the weekend. Race report is now written, just waiting for final results before issuing it.