Monday 27th June 2005
A new personal best at Aintree on Saturday. I shaved almost 1.4 seconds off of last years time, to record 53.42s and finish 47th overall. However I did come 5th in class, beaten by a Crossle, an Escort WRC, a Cosworth powered Talbot Sunbeam, and a 2400cc Mk1 Escort. However I wasn't last in the class, I did beat a 2500cc Triumph GT6, so I dont feel too bad about it. Great fun, and nice to finish an event without any mechanical woes. I adjusted the front damper settings during the day, to make it stiffer, which certainly helped increase the speed round the corners. I guess I keep making the dampers stiffer until I start to get understeer, at which point I know I've gone too far.
The new 304 stainless exhaust on the Audi has transformed the car. They fitted BMW Mini Cooper S catalytic convertors, and four polished silencers. She's so much quicker too. The old system was really restricting the engine, though she is a bit noisier now, so I may have to soundproof the boot floor to stop so much noise getting in to the cabin. Who am I kidding? I love the sounds she makes now. So nice to hear a V6 with a straight through exhaust. Thanks to MIJPerformance.com in Walsall for some excellent pipe bending.
Next event is Shelsley Walsh hillclimb this coming Saturday. I cant wait!
Friday 17th June 2005
I've fitted a replacement circlip to the front suspension, and stuck the spherical bearing in place with Loctite 638. The reason the clip fell out was because it couldn't locate fully in its groove. The suspension arms were powder coated over the winter, and a small amount of the coating found its way on to the face that the bearing sits up against. Therefore the ring that the circlip uses was slightly obscured, and the clip didn't fit fully in the groove. I've removed all traces of coating, and fitted and refitted the circlip until I'm satisfied that it is now 100% seated in the groove. The Loctite should help keep everything in place too.
Fitted a new VW header tank, which I bought off of Ebay. The old one had gone brown over the years, and looked quite tatty.
The Audi is in at the garage next Thursday to get the exhaust and the both the cats looked at. I've been promoted at work which means I'm finally entitled to a company car, but I'll be keeping the Audi and selecting something small and sensible for business use, say a Focus TDCI, as I don't want to pay too much in TAX. I'll keep M4X for towing.
Wednesday 15th June 2005
I've got an entry at Shelsley Walsh on July the 2nd (Car #94). The competition looks as fierce as ever, including a Metro 6R4, two Mallocks, a space framed Imp, and a Ginetta, so I'll be content with trying to slice time off of my PB from last year. Lets see if I can get in to the 35's this year (2 seconds improvement on my PB).
Having just spent a fortune on the Audi, I now find that one of the two catalytic converters has failed. So thats another £350 to fork out on the 'money pit'.
Saturday 11th June 2005
I've downloaded the data from the Racetechnology DL90 datalogger this afternoon, taken from the shakedown at Bruntingthorpe, and I'm very pleased to see that the highest speed I recorded was 124.60 MPH. Thats not bad going for a 22 year old Mk1 Fiesta. I lifted off at 6500rpm when I remembered I wasn't wearing a crash helmet. Had I continued I'm sure she would have pulled well past 130 MPH. Hopefully Dave Moore of Performance Ford magazine will get his 1800 Zetec Mk2 finished soon, so we can have another grudge match article.
My next event this year is at Aintree on June 25th. I'll be aiming to slice seconds off of my PB from last year. Theres no reason why (apart from the weather) I shouldn't with all the improvements made over the winter. (eg under drive pulley, higher final drive, revised suspension settings, new exhaust, weight loss etc etc). I'll certainly be trying my best to make an impression.
Sunday 5th June 2005
An unexpected failure of the front suspension halted any plans to get under 37 seconds at Curborough today. My first two practice runs went really well, and I was only 2/10ths of a second off of my PB from 2004. On my first timed run, I was approaching the mole hill which is a right-left chicane, braking hard for the right hander, when there was a loud bang, and I discovered the steering wheel was no longer level when driving straight. I continued, and coasted across the finishing line in 4th gear, to shave .02s off my PB. I returned to the pits, and winched the nose of the car on to the trailer, to discover that the circlip that held the large spherical bearing in place, the one that the hub pin sits on, had fallen out, which in turn allowed the bearing to drop out of the housing. Quite lucky not to do any major damage. I'm sure I fitted the clips properly when I reassembled the suspension earlier this year, but it either didn't seat properly, and just fell out, or theres a higher load pushing down on the bearing than we first thought.
I've ordered some Loctite 638 adhesive which will be used to secure the bearings in place, and a couple of new circlips are in the post, so I'll strip both sides down and reassemble them more carefully. I never had any problems last year with the circlips, so I suspect it was my fault for not fitting them correctly in the first place. Not to worry. No real harm done. I beat my PB, got a first in class, and had a good mornings motorsport. Shame though, as the weather was perfect, and most competitors had two practice and five timed runs.
The sound level of the exhaust has gone up quite dramatically, from 94db (2004) to 106db (2005) but Sports Libre has a limit of 110db so I could be twice as loud again, and would still pass (Each 3 decibel gain is another 100% increase so 109db is twice as loud as 106db).
The Mustek PVR-A1 video recorder appears to be faulty (again). I recorded two runs, but since getting home the device refuses to even switch on. I may order an Archos AV420 recorder instead, or a Canon MV700i miniDV camcorder with AV-in, which would give really good quality recordings and much better quality playback. The Canon camcorder is cheaper than the Archos, so I'll check the AV-in quality before deciding which to go for.
There was a lovely Ford RS200 EVO Group B rally car in attendance. It was less than 2 seconds quicker than me round the track, but it was on road tyres.
Friday 3rd June 2005
I'm pleased to report that todays shake down at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground went as expected. No problems to report. The vibration from last September has gone, which means it was the cracked suspension arm that caused it, which we fixed by repairing and reinforcing the front suspension.
The Fiesta definitely seems slower to accelerate, but thats the higher final drive for you, which is bound to affect acceleration. I tried a couple of practice starts, and it looks like I have to give it 4000 rpm to get a good start with minimal wheel spin. I completed about 25 laps of the short circuit, and on one run ran the car up to approx 116MPH (6500 rpm in fifth). She was still pulling very strong, but it dawned on me I wasn't wearing my crash helmet or any protective clothing, and it'd be a bit silly to push any harder considering it was just a test session. I'll check the GPS datalogger to see what the true speed was, it felt very fast! I packed up at 5pm as the rain started to come down, and after 25 minutes of torrential rain, I headed back home, drenched. I shared the track with three very quick EVO 8's, and a couple of Radical Tracksports, so at times I was having to move out of the way of much much quicker cars.
I just need to fit the Michelins for Sundays run at Curborough. The forecast is heavy rain, but as I found out last year, the cut slicks still give plenty of grip, even in the wet. I'm car #37, on my own in Sports Libre, so Sunday will be a case of pushing in the wet to see where the limits are. In the dry today, with 2° camber, the turn in is phenomenal, with hardly a trace of oversteer, just a hint of understeer if you go in to a corner too quickly.
The new exhaust stayed on OK. I've suspended it in two places with heavy duty springs, and the JEGS.COM exhaust clamps worked perfectly. She sure is loud inside the car now though. I had to wear ear defenders on the test drive, as its truly deafening inside the car.