UpdatesThe front wing end plates are all labelled up and fitted to the front wing. I've got some more 102RON fuel on order, which should be with me on Thursday. There's a lot of people in the UK panic buying pump fuel at the moment, so although my Van is fuelled for the trip to N.Wales on Friday, getting home could be a struggle if the supply chain isn't sorted by then. I'm due to collect a set of fresh Pirelli tyres from MMM in the next few days, and its debatable I can get the beemer fuelled for the trip over. I've currently only got enough fuel for 60 miles, which is barely enough to get to Gainsborough from Leicester. The panic buying of fuel has been created by the British Press. They're very good at getting the British public to panic buy items, remember the toilet roll shortage last year?
Meanwhile after the chaotic weekend at Blyton, I've dropped from 2nd to 3rd overall, and I can still claw back 2nd with some determined driving at Anglesey and Combe in October. I'm ready, more than ready, for the challenge. #nothingtolose
Front wing end platesDJ Racecars has produced a pair of front wing end plates (fweps) for me, which should be with me in a couple of days time. I've reset the front wing angle to raise the rear edge of the wing, which should again place the end plates parallel to the ground. The damage to the trailing edge of both end plates suggests that the wing isnt parallel at speed, and that means its not producing the downforce its capable of producing. With the wing angle reset, I will run shallower angles on both the upper front wing elements, which in turn should reduce drag and allow more fresh air in to the intercooler and radiator.
I will add protection again to the underside of the new fweps, to preserve them, and I'll carefully monitor the wear on them to see if they're still touching the deck. The Nylon 6 seems as good a material as any, so I'll stick 3mm thick strips on each plate, using Sikaflex, which is as good an adhesive as I've found so far. I've also added a spacer to both the front dampers to prevent the car from dropping too far under high downforce, which I'll also monitor using the damper pots which are sampled using the Life ECU, to see if the bump stop rubbers are being compressed under load.
Radio changeI've fitted a Pioneer DAB head unit to the van, with an external powered DAB aerial, so the time spent driving should be even more enjoyable, now I can actually receive more than just Radio 1 over FM. Very straight forwards to swap the unit out. It needed a seperate CAN-BUS adaptor, which interfaces the audio controls from the steering wheel to the radio; but it all works, reception is great and the sound quality over the standard VW radio is far better. Its also touch screen, and colour, and I can play spotify tracks through the radio too. Looking forward to the trip to Anglesey so I can test it out properly.
Its quite a big British Sprint turnout at Anglesey in October, more so than at Blyton this weekend, which has only got 12 drivers on Saturday and 11 on Sunday. So Anglesey should be more of a challenge, and I'm almost ready to go. I havent quite got the launch control changes nailed, so I've got some more changes to try at Anglesey, to try and hold the RPM against the base engine speeds that I've set.
Oil changeAfter 18 months of very hard use, the engine deserved an oil change. My sponsors have supplied me with 5.0l of Millers Nanodrive CFS+ 0W30, which makes this possible. Thankyou.
Not especially easy with the EcoBoost dry sump setup, plus I cant get the hose off the bottom of the dry sump since the floor of the car is in the way.
The process is quite basic. First you need to empty the dry sump container, by sucking the oil out from the top, using a suitable pump and tubing. Then replace that oil with fresh oil of the same quantity. ie if you extract 2 litres, you must put 2 litres of new oil back in. Then disconnect the return oil pipe from the top of the dry sump tank, and place the end of the hose in a plastic measuring jug to catch the oil that you're about to pump out of the engine. With the ignition off, spin the engine over on the button, catching a litre of oil at a time. For each litre of old oil pumped out through the hose, add a fresh litre of oil to the dry sump tank. Once you've cycled through approximately 5.5 litres of oil, the oil pumping out from the dry sump should be clean, so at that point you've purged the majority of old oil from the system. Now reconnect the return hose to the top of the dry sump tank. Remove and replace the oil filter with a fresh one, filled with clean oil. And then spin the engine over on the key to ensure that the oil pressure is present. Finally start and run the engine for 5 minutes, and check for leaks.
The messiest part is getting the oil filter swapped over. You have to do this quickly, otherwise a lot of oil runs out of the block, so make sure the fresh filter is ready to be screwed back on to the block once you've removed the old one.
Side skirts changedThe black nylon 6 sheet turned up from Directplastics, pre-cut in to 50mm strips, so I've swapped the Tufnol Whale skirts for them, which took about an hour to do. I had no aluminium rivets left over at the end, so I've got some more on order from eBay. The Nylon sheet looks on paper to be more suitable. The Tufnol did a good job but it wore down 20mm in places where it was touching the ground, and it was fitted last October so replacing it now is a good move anyway.
Pad changeThe fresh set of brake pads turned up too late for Aintree but as they're a 2 minute job to fit, I've fitted them last night ready for Anglesey. I must remember to bed them in again on the first run. My van had a full service at the dealers yesterday too, its done over 4,500 miles since the last service, barely run in now with just shy of 45,000 miles on the clock. No issues, just an oil change, and fresh filters for the engine, fuel and cabin. I did ask when the Haldex was last serviced, and they said Feb 2019, so I've covered around 9,000 miles since then, which hopefully means it's not due again for another 10,000 miles.
Anglesey prepThree weeks to go, and I'm changing the engine oil and filter, replacing the side skirts as they've worn down in the last 12 months, and ordering a new pair of front wing end plates, which will be receiving additional protection as they're quite badly worn away on the trailing edges, due in part to the wings striking the ground. An explanation for the movement at Aintree is that there was a bolt head missing on the wing mount, which was allowing the wing to drop at speed. I've replaced the sheared bolt with a fresh 12.9 grade socket screw, and then checked all the other bolts are also 12.9, in case I'd fitted an 8.8 by mistake. I've not found any other issues with the car, so I'll focus on the side skirts, and fitting the fweps in time for Octobers trip to N.Wales.
Congratulations to Wallace Menzies on securing the British Hillclimb Championship this weekend in N.Ireland. Great driving. We're still a few events away from declaring the British Sprint Champion, I think we all know who it's going to be, but the visit to Blyton in two weeks is followed by the trip to Anglesey the following weekend, so anything could happen. I'm missing Blyton, and will be driving the socks off the car at Anglesey, which should see me closing the gap a little more to Smiley. If the plan comes together.
Aintree FTDSetting off at 4:30am for the journey up to Liverpool, the plan for the day was to do some testing and see if I could improve on my PB (40.44) at the same time. The last time I was there was June 2019 when the BSC made a visit, which I enjoy, as I always do, it’s a great little circuit, with one of the longest finishing straights that we get to play on. And one of the slickest run events too, with two practice and usually around 4 to 6 timed runs. That doesn’t give you long between runs, 45 minutes sometimes, which keeps you on your toes. So long as there aren’t any distractions.
For the two practice runs, I was bedding the brand-new Kruger Engineering disks in. And I was also testing changes to launch control. I was trying a lower cut-off speed, of 25mph down from 30mph, to let the traction control take over sooner, which I could definitely feel on the first launch.
During the day I continued to adjust the launch control parameters, and I also adjust traction control to make that work even smoother, and it felt great to drive, inspiring so much confidence. I could really chuck the car in to Village, and it just stuck, and with the TC working so well I can just plant the throttle and the car sorted itself out.
Air charge temperatures (ACT) also behaved themselves, keeping the engine running perfectly. They peaked at 51C all day, and that also had a knock-on effect on the EGT’s, which were much lower than they were at Kirkistown, and are clearly directly proportional to the ACTs.
The wings were set to the same angles as my last visit in 2019, and there was a small amount of front wing wobble on the finishing straight, triggered by the high speed and the bumps of the track, but the car was solid all day, with no issues.
I gradually improved my times, beating my PB three times, and lowering it to 40.11 on the 3rd timed run with a finish line speed just shy of 150mph (149.8mph GPS). On the 4th timed run I came across a black rectangular object in the middle of the track on the final corner, so I did have to take avoiding action. I immediately reported it when I got back, and then decided that as I’d gone fast enough, with some great results, I’d call it a day and loaded the car back on the trailer.
I’d done enough to win FTD, and collected a big trophy and an equally big bottle of prosecco, and during my acceptance speech, I mentioned that the recently departed Chris Mansley was clearly missed by one and all, and the event just didn’t seem the same without his presence.
Thanks to Liverpool motor club for another exceptional day, and to the volunteers and marshals who put so much effort in to making the event run.
I scored 24 points towards the Sprint Leaders championship, securing my 6th place. I scored 10 points in the HSA championship, which has now moved me in to the lead of Class L, 4 points ahead of Goulding.
My next outing is the BSC round in Anglesey on October 2nd, which I’m really looking forward to.