Kirkistown is GoI have entered the Kirkistown event next weekend, in N.Ireland. The ferry is booked. The tyres need another clean. Never been before so I am going to have to learn the circuit very rapidly. The championship battle continues....
Latest standings after 18 rounds
Knockhill 2021This time two years ago, I drove home, with a very dead engine in my car. It blew up on the last run off on the Sunday, so it had held out right to the end. Not much warning, just a bit of oil blowing out the dump valve. But we did suspect it was on its way out.
What a contrast to this year. A second place, and three thirds, and an additional bonus point for breaking the 1600T class record on Sunday, and taking 1.7s off my PB. The Area-six EcoBoost engine performed flawlessly, with no fuel surge, stacks of power, and even with the steeper front and rear wing angles, top speeds exceeding what I’d achieved in 2019. This weekend I scored 94 points in total, stayed out of trouble, and had a really succesful event.
Setting off from Leicester on Friday morning, at 9am, I was expecting to arrive at Knockhill at 3pm, or at least that’s the false hope that satnav gives you nowadays. I was going to use the M1/A50/M6 and follow the motorway network all the way up to Knockhill, or at least as far as it would take me. The trouble is, the entire population of the UK also wanted to use my piece of road. And so the queues started at the MacDonald’s roundabout of the A50 nr Uttoxeter, and once on the M6 the congestion just continued to build, and I was soon stop starting in the heavy traffic. That continued until I was past the M56 Blackpool junction, whereupon it cleared, and then I was heading in to the Lakes on a gorgeous sunny day. There’s nothing quite like the views as the M6 snakes through the mountains. Then it was on to the Scottish border, and up in to the Highlands, and the roads remained relatively calm. I spotted John graham was catching me up, so I let him pass, then followed him and Debbie for the remainder of the journey. (In total it was a return trip of 685 miles, and I averaged 30mpg in the van. Thats not bad for the weight I'm dragging behind me.)
We crawled for 3 miles south of Glasgow which added 50 minutes to the arrival time, and then we were just battling increasing traffic, until finally we were able to follow the signs for Knockhill Circuit, leading us around the twisty and bumpy country lanes.
On arrival I nabbed the last space in the paddock, and was then told I may as well drive straight in to the pitlane and unload, which I did. Sadly, John Graham opened the clamshell cover on his trailer to discover that the nearside rear wheel was at a jaunty angle, and he had difficulty extracting the pair of trailer ramps from underneath the Gould. It was the lower rear wishbone that had sheared off, where the pushrod attached to the outboard end of the wishbone, and I mean completely sheared. John had no spares on him, so we helped him raise the rear of the car again so he could refit the trailer ramps. Debbie cancelled their hotel for the weekend, and they both left. John's had a very difficult year, but luck was on his side this time. Had that lower wishbone sheared on the start line or anywhere else for that matter, then it could have been the end of the Gould.
Everyone else arrived during the evening, Simon Bainbridge kindly let me have some of his left-over Chinese meal, to supplement my salad. I was hoping the catering would have been open but that’s not the case on a Friday. Takeaway chips and ham salad, not a bad combination as it turned out. We all walked the anti-clockwise course, and tried to remember what to look out for on the blind crests, as turn in points were critical for a good lap time.
Saturday morning, I woke to half decent weather, and during the day the clouds cleared and the temperatures continued to rise all day. I had no issues with the car. I wasn’t able to match my PB, in fact most people were slower, but on the first run off, Stephen Miles setoff with a front and rear wheel swapped over on the nearside of his Van Diemen, so he aborted and didn’t complete his run. That meant it was down to me and Terry Holmes for the win, so I tried really hard but only managed to come 2nd to the superior power of the Lola V8. That’s a good start, with 24 points.
On the second run off, I was third, with Terry beating me and Smiles again, but there were no dramas this time. I beat Pete Goulding on all four timed runs, which gave me a good number of points in the Sprint Leaders championship to maintain my 5th place ahead of Pete, and the 3rd place gave me 23 British sprint points.
Simon Bainbridge had an accident after he finished his final run of the day, ending up in the gravel trap. That meant an all nighter and the team managed to glue the floor back together, get the radiator repaired, and Simon was able to continue on Sunday in both the BSC and the Super Lap Scotland events. Top effort by John and Andrew.
Sunday again dawned to beautiful blue skies and higher temperatures than we were expecting. I had a moment in the first practice run, when the brakes didn’t slow me down when I stood on the brake pedal. Nearly in to the gravel, confidence a bit knocked, I continued around the track, and the brakes were quickly working again. I checked the data and the brake pressures were fine, so it must have been just the standing overnight had put a glaze on the disks. Something I’ll be more wary of the future. No times were recorded. The cable running from the start line to the timing hut had been cut accidentally in the heavy steel plate that the marshals use to gain access to the track, so I had no idea how quickly I’d driven. First timed run was then upon us, and on the gold rims with the practice tyres on, I drove as quickly as I could, but I was slower than my PB from 2019, so I sat down with the laptop and compared data with the 2019 data, and made a discovery about my driving style. Hmm, I needed to amend my approach. I fitted the black rims back on, with the fresher run off tyres, and I lined up for the first run off, and set off hoping to put the changes in to effect. When I returned, I’d found that I’d knocked 1.7s off my PB, and broken the class record, and finished again in 3rd place. What a result. It had definitely worked, so I knew what to do for the remaining two runs.
After a long lunch break, we were back out again for T3, and I’d put the older tyres back on again, to preserve the run off tyres. I was slower, but that was to be expected on the harder rubber. I’d still qualified of course, so it was all down to the last run of the day, run off two, to try and break the record again.
Graham Porret managed to strip 3rd gear in the Lola on the third timed run, so Terry drove round in 155 seconds in second gear, to qualify and then they removed the gearbox casing and replaced the damaged gears. I was quite surprised that Terry even risked driving it around in second gear, as the box was full of broken piece of gear teeth, which could have done even more damage to the few gears that were remaining. But they stripped the box down, cleaned it, replaced the gears and were ready in time for the final run of the day. Top work guys.
I was in the Run Off queue, when Pete Goulding set off ahead of me, not having the best weekend, discovering a bolt had fallen out of the steering wheel on Saturday, meant he was pushed back from the line and had to rapidly replace the bolt and have another go. However, on this run off run, Pete flew past the end of the pitlane, completing his first lap, and seconds later we heard a screech of tyres, and then it went quiet. The officials were on their radios, and I could overhear them saying Pete was beeched in the gravel after the chicane. So we turned off engines, and sat waiting for 15 minutes for the recovery, and for the stones to be swept off the track.
Once given the all clear, Terry Holmes went out ahead of me, as his lap had had to be aborted, and so it was then my turn. Sadly, I didn’t drive my best, and put in another poor time, but still finished 3rd behind Smiley (FTD) and Holmes, so on Sunday I’d bagged two thirds, and a bonus point, totalling 94 points for the weekend.
So that was that. Pete’s car was towed back after we’d all finished, and it looked a very sorry sight, plastered in dust and stones. I prepared my car ready to be loaded back in to the trailer, and eventually left the circuit around 6:45pm for the 6-hour journey back to Leicester, arriving at 12:45am, trying not to wake the neighbours as it took two attempts to reverse the trailer on to the drive.
A great result though. A eureka moment which has unlocked a lot more potential for knocking seconds off my time, and I’m really looking forward to the next outing.
Knockhill 2021 class record breaking Onboard videoThis is my 1600T class record breaking run in 4K and stereo sound, from Knockhill on Sunday, putting me 3rd in the run off with a 92s run. I scored 94 points over the two days, including the bonus point for breaking the record. Not bad at all.
I didnt have to take a spanner to the car all weekend. Just top her up with petrol, and drive :D
Its a shame I accidentally pulled the helmet bleeper cable out the helmet during the run, as that meant I wasn't able to hear when to change gear, which probably cost me a few tenths. Never mind.
Onboard videoUnfortunately, the memory card in the camera was fuller than I thought, so this isnt a full lap and 3/4, but you should get the general idea. This was my quickest run of the day, the final run off, where I was .08s off the class record with a 67.20s, finishing 2nd in the run off, just 0.43s behind winner Matt Hillam in the 2.0 Dallara. Definitely should have been quicker, still lots of time to be found in the corners. Must try harder.
Lydden Hill, rounds 13 and 14Second place, twice. Well technically it was a first and a second place, more of that later.
Arriving at Lydden on the Friday afternoon allowed me to get a good spot with the van, nearest the start area, pay a tenner for the 240V hookup, and get everything unloaded. With the promise of a heatwave, it was important to park in the shade, and keep cool for the weekend. The gazebo was unloaded next, and the car positioned underneath it, and then I unloaded the van of all the wheels, front wing, tools etc, to let me setup my airbed for the night. A track walk came around 7:30pm, and I’d taken the same approach again that I’d used for Snetterton, to look through my old data and write down the lift off points, gears, and corner speeds. It all made sense to me, and by the end of the walk I’d some ideas for braking points, carrying more speed, and using fewer gearchanges. Whereas in 2019 I’d used 6th gear, I was not going to use it this weekend, choosing to rev the engine out again in 5th where required.
Overnight I left the gearbox heater pad plugged in, seeing as I had 240V available, and in the morning the gearbox casing was 25C. At least the oil wouldnt be totally cold for the first practice run. I probably need a higher wattage heat pad, as the one I bought from RS doesnt really do a great deal. I reckon a duvet over the gearbox would help keep the heat trapped inside, so I might try again at Knockhill and see if I can get it a little warmer.
Saturday morning soon came around, and refreshed from a decent night’s sleep for a change, I put the airbed and bedding away and prepared for the first practice run. My friend Chris Brown from ATW Motorsport had kindly offered his services for the day, and he turned up in time for the first run. I opted for the practice tyres, on the gold rims, and there wasn’t a huge amount of grip available. I’d fitted a GoPro to film the air flow in to the intercooler side pod, with several strips of yellow wool applied around the intake, and the video shows just how well the air flows in and through the radiator. I definitely won’t be fitting the barge boards back, not this year anyway.
With the fresher 2020/21 tyres fitted, I then concentrated on my first timed run. With a lot of delays from accidents and an oil spill, my sister and her partner arrived, on his Triumph 800 motorbike, having travelled from Brighton, in time to see me take my first run at Midday. I gave it my all, and recorded a 68.54, which was a 0.6s off my PB (67.95s) and that time had easily qualified me for the run off. I’d also beaten Pete Goulding, which was a pleasant surprise.
Another 90 minutes later, and it was time for the first run off. I lined up behind Pete, and I set off determined to go quicker than before. Checking TSL Timing when I got back to the paddock, I was shocked to find that I was in first place, with a 68.49. No Matt Hillam. He’d been out and completed his run, but he had no time showing. Sure enough 10 mins later still no time. What? I’d won a run off? I’d beaten Smiles and Pete, and Matt?
It turns out that when SBD did the driver swap from Steve to Matt, they’d not covered over the #5 on one side of the car. So when Matt set off, it showed 5 on one side and 3 on the other. That’s a DSQ. In fact, there wasn’t even a time recorded for Matts run, hence it was missing from the TSL website.
So some 30 mins passed, and the next batch of cars had started their 3rd timed runs, and Matt and our championship coordinator had appeared from the timekeepers hut, where they’d successfully argued that Matt be given a re-run. So the proceedings were halted, the Dallara was driven to the line, and Matt set off on his run off run. Sadly, he beat me, and that dropped me back down in to 2nd place.
Was it worth a £250 protest fee? It was after all a technical infringement. But £250 for 1 point? Go figure. The majority of drivers I spoke to said it wasn’t right; we all arrive at the line fully prepared to do the run, and we certainly wouldn’t have been given a rerun if we’d run out of petrol half way round. This sets a precedence, and it reduced everyone's score by 1 point, not just mine.
Whilst waiting for the next run, Chris spotted water leaking from the rear wing. Which was very curious, I didnt remember it raining during the night. So we undid the end plate, and pushed the end of the wing downwards, and about 1/2 a litre of water must have poured out. I reckon when the car was out overnight at Pembrey in May, during the heavy rain, it must have run inside, and couldnt find its way out again. So I'd run at Snetterton with 0.5kg of water ballast inside the rear wing too :D
On to the third timed run, and I qualified 4th with a 67.94. which was a new PB by 0.01 seconds. Must have been the weight reduction that improved my time. I’d yet again beaten Pete, and Smiles, and the support from my team was paying dividends.
A new PB meant time for an ice cream, and my sister kindly obliged with a Magnum from the shop. Thanks Sis xxx
So for the fourth timed run, which was our second run off, I’d convinced myself to take the corners quicker, and I absolutely nailed the throttle out of the corners, the traction control was working beautifully, and I knocked 0.75s off my PB to record a 67.20s. Matt then went out, and beat my time by 0.43s, winning the run off, and again placing me again in 2nd place.
I couldn’t really believe it. I’d beaten Smiles again (FTD winner), and Pete four times, the car was brilliant. All that work invested in optimising and tweaking the settings was really paying off. Credit where credit is due, the Life ECU is a brilliant piece of kit, and the more time I spend researching all of the features, the more performance it seems to unlock. Yaw based traction control is fantastic now I’ve programmed it properly. Its just taken me a few events more than I anticipated to get it set up.
And the best bit of the day, collecting a trophy for coming 2nd overall. About time too :D
So after packing up, and leaving at 6:15pm, I had a 3.5 hour journey home, with the music turned up, and a satisfying days motorsport behind me. I had netted 48 points, which leaves me in 2nd place overall with 289 points to Smile’s 337, and no work to do on the car. Its Knockhill this weekend, and I’m really looking forward to having a chance to drive the car again around the undulating circuit, which we take in both directions during the weekend.
I shall clean the tyres again, as this seems to restore a lot of grip to the Ultrasofts. Aside from that I’m going to check the data from Lydden, and make any necessary adjustments to the settings. My thanks to Chris Brown from ATW, for his support, and my sister and her partner for allowing me to show them just what the EcoBoost can achieve.
SoundsI've repositioned the external microphone for the Kodak 4K camera, even further away from the engine this time, to try to reduce the sound level which its picking up. The camera has an inbuilt mic, but that just records wind noise once the car is rolling. The external mic is now down on the floor inside the cockpit, so it should work a lot better down there away from the noisey engine.
I've also finally managed to attach the leading edge of the diffuser floor, to the chassis. It's been a real struggle over the past couple of years, to keep the diffuser floor from dropping, which opens up a gap, in to which air passes above the diffuser, and this was defeating the whole purpose of it. I cut out a rectangular piece of carbon, which spans the width of the aluminium floor underneath the engine, and this is bonded to the aluminium floor. The leading edge of the diffuser floor now sits above that sheet, and is fastened securely to it. Hopefully at Lydden it'll produce even more downforce, so I can increase my corner speeds. I've also relocated the pair of titanium skids further forwards, which will add more protection to the diffuser, and may create a few more sparks. I'll fit a rear facing camera, just in case.
The number of drivers entered for Lydden has been reduced by two. Steve Brown was making his debut in the Empire Evo, but he's got some gear shift issues with the MBE ECU and the interface to the Geatronics GCU. And Grahame Harden has also withdrawn, both are disappointing to hear, so it's just 14 of us fighting for the wins. Stephen Miles discovered some sheared hub bolts on his Van Diemen at Llandow at the weekend, which forced his retirement. He's lucky that didnt happen at Lydden, or he'd have lost his 100% qualifier record, and dropped a lot of points.
@bsc_results on InstagramIts even easier now to see the results from each Top 12. Follow @bsc_results on Instagram.
Dash changesI've made a couple of tiny modifications to Screen 2 on the Dash4Pro, which should be of use when I'm on the track at Lydden. Screen 2 is automatically selected when the vehicle speed exceeds 15mph, so its important that the information displayed is relevant, and accurate. I'll see if the change helps on Saturday.
Speaking of the Dash4Pro, I've produced another how-to video, this time showing how the gear can be displayed when the ECU sends Gear values which dont necessarily equate to the actual gear selected. For example, where an ECU sends -1 for Reverse, and 0 for Neutral, you can have the dashboard display a letter R for reverse, and N for neutral, which is far more useful than showing -1 and 0. (Turn on closed captions if the captions dont automatically appear)
Revolution MentionI got a mention in the latest July 2021 edition of the Motorsport UK Revolution magazine.
BrakesLast night I removed all 32 brake disk bobbins, and replaced all the rusted ones with the fresh spares that were supplied with the car. I have also fitted M5x16mm stainless bolts and washers, secured with loctite, so in future I shant have any issues removing them should I need to replace a brake disk in a hurry. One on corner, three of the bolt heads sheared off when I tried to undo them, they were certainly overdue some maintanence. I also had to drill a couple out, using a 5mm drill bit, which was both messy and time consuming. I've got another set of 6 brake disks on order with Krugers Engineering, as Graham Porrett needs a set for the Ash Sutton car that he's currently upgrading for sprinting. The other set is going to Pete Goulding.
TC tweaksI've now altered the traction control setup, to reduce the amount of ignition retard being applied, and reduce the torque clamp more rapidly, which will make the acceleration under TC less jerky.
I've developed an Excel spreadsheet and a series of VBA macros that models the traction control system on the car. I simply import the vehicle speed, gear, and yaw angles from a previous run that I want to model, and the spreadsheet produces a graph which is based on the chosen Yaw Spin Targets, plus the position of the traction control switches, and then using the calculations that the ECU has to perform in order to arrive at a wheelspin value for any given speed/yaw angle, it generates a graph. It's working really well, and I can run it through every switch position, to produce a set of graphs, which then gives an indication of the effectiveness of the spin target values across all the switch positions, for that track.
There is very little documentation on the web for how to derive a Yaw based Spin Table, and despite searching for many hours, I couldnt really find any examples on how to achieve what I had set out to do. I think I've now got a fully functioning Yaw based setup, and sorry, but I wont be sharing the settings.
This is an example of the output from my Excel spreadsheet. It shows the vehicle speed and yaw angles, captured by the ECU for Pembrey. From that data, I worked out the profile of the Spin Target table, and the spreadsheet then runs the speed and yaw angles through the formula used by the ECU to determine the allowed wheelspin.
New brake disksJayde Kruger (2014 FF200 Champion) has made a set of Mygale brake disks for me and Pete. They arrived last week, and they're identical to the OEM disks from Mygale. I've started trying to free up the disk bobbins from each brake disk, which isnt as easy as I'd expected. The bolts have rusted inside a few of the bobbins, which would make a rapid brake disk change rather tricky. I've gone for a set of replacement M5x16mm bolts, in stainless steel, which should mean once I've replaced them all, they'll not be seizing/rusting again.
A big thank you to krugersengineering.co.uk for getting us out of a tight spot.