May 2022

31May

Pembrey prep

The front wheels are now balanced, for the second time. The wheel that didnt need any weights, now has weights stuck on it. And the other rim has less weights than before. The question now is when to test them. Or even if the weather will allow it, as the forecast is rain both days this weekend. Which is fine, I like driving in the rain, but records will be out of reach which would be a shame.

Undeterred, four out of the six Ultrasoft tyres are now clean, with just the two left, which I'll tackle tomorrow.

30May

Pembrey prep

With the car sat on the Pirelli sprint tyres in the garage, there is a 55mm gap from the ground to the edge of the new skirts that I've fitted, all around the car, so there is no chance of me failing a ride height check. I did just fit deeper nylon strips, cut 55mm tall (50mm previously), so I think the next time I replace them, I'll go for 60mm strips to reduce the gap to the ground further. But these will still touch the track at speed as no track is without bumps, and they will find their own height, but I'm happy with the gap for now. The threaded M5 rods that suspend the floor ahead of the rear wheels are adjustable in length, so I can lower or raise the floor and skirts if I want to. I'll get some lighter and stiffer carbon rod to replace the M5 rod in time for the Curborough outing also in June.

I've refuelled the car, and comfirmed again that the fuel consumption shown by the dashboard is 100% correct. The Life ECU showed 5.26L had been used at Blyton on the Sunday over 5 runs, and I could just about get 5 1/4 litres of fuel in to the tank to brim it. So thats now sorted out the fuelling, so I can focus on my driving. The Pembrey circuit is the first two lap layout that we've used this year, so I am expecting to use more fuel during the day. Starting with a full tank, they are predicting we'll do one practice and three timed runs, so that should see me through without refuelling. For the British Sprint, that will mean the first timed run is the qualifier, the second is the first run off, and the third run will be a joint qualifier/run off, unless we're really lucky and get a run-off after the third timed run has completed. Either way, I hope to have enough fuel remaining without needing to top up.

The ignition retard table for launch is now setup to give a less aggressive igntion cut and hopefully a smoother launch. The IGN RET table was flat with 35° retard across all points, which is what makes the longG so jaggy when accelerating. I'll try the new table out on the first practice run, and fine tune during the day. I wasnt logging launchRpmEerr, which is now logging at 50Hz during the PIT/LAUNCH burst mode, that coupled with LaunchMapErr also at 50Hz will help me see whats happening and adjust the IGN RET accordingly.

26May

BSC Results

I've written a little bit of PHP that queries a mySQL database I've created holding all the BSC results from 1970-2021. This is just a proof of concept, I'm working on a few ideas like adding scores to the runs so we can see drivers all time scores etc. Let me know what you think.
BSC History search engine

24May

Skirt replacements side 2

I've finished the opposite side off, and have had to get some more M5 ball joints ordered for the floor supports. I'd also ran out of M5 threaded rod so a quick trip to B&Q was required, and a glance around the tools section whilst I was there of course. Speaking of tools, I've now got one of those cordless ratchet wrench gizmo's, with a 3/8" drive. Nothing flash, just something to use when I'm out and about, and it should make the front crash box removal a lot simpler, as it has six M8 bolts securing it to the chassis, and they're a royal PITA to get to using allen keys. I've a set of impact Hex Bit Socket Set 3/8" Drives coming, so I can undo socket head screws using the tool. Its not a bad spec for the price, two batteries and a mains charger, variable speed, 50Nm torque and 300 rpm. Plus it is reversible, and even has a LED to illuminate whatever you're working on.

Cordless ratchet
Cordless ratchet from Amazon

Hex Bit Socket Set
Hex Bit Socket Set 3/8" Drives

Record Corrections

Some of the published records for the British Sprint Championship are incorrect, and the coordinators have compiled a new list that is being published this week. Retrospectively, we cant go back to 2021 to correct any errors, but this year, there's already one bonus point that I know of that is incorrect, so I'm expecting the scores to be adjusted and re-issued. I didnt spot the initial error, I had a tipoff, but if that's now lead to corrections then so be it.

Speaking of records, my times set at Blyton broke both the Class L records, set by John Graham and Terry Holmes in their V8 cars, which goes to show the progress that I'm making. My ambition is to set new records at all of the venues this year.

23May

Skirt replacements

The side skirts on the near side are now replaced, so I'll move the car over inside the garage, so I can work on the opposite side. I've fitted threaded rod to support the floor, because the wire ropes simply couldnt support the loads generated. They're quick release and fully adjustable, with ball joints on the ends. The picture below shows the area on the floor on both sides of the car, where the flexing of the floor has allowed the skirts to be ground away, losing valuable downforce. Skirts worn away due to contact with the track

The entry list for Pembrey is out. And I can confirm that I have an entry, and will be there intending to break records again.

20May

Repairs

The new side skirt material has arrived, in Nylon 6, from Direct Plastics. The strips will replace the sections that took a battering at the weekend when the rear floor stays ahead of the rear wheels, decided to stretch and allow the plastic to touch the ground. Not that you can see any evidence of that on any of the photographs, but the skirts are now very uneven and there is a lot of daylight under the car. I've gone for 2mm rather than 3mm sheet, so that will save some weight. I've also got a sample of some PTFE and UHMWPE (Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene) sheet, which I'll look at attaching under the front wing end plates to protect them. I've currently got some Nylon there, but its wearing away. Whereas the PTFE and UHWMPE are meant to be far harder wearing, and they dont weigh anything. More aluminium rivets are on order, so I'll get them fitted next week.

The deeper rear wing end plates are due to arrive before my next event, so I've ordered some more race numbers, which will allow me to fit everything ready for testing.

19May

Blyton Park on-board from Sunday

Standings after round 8


18May

Blyton Park British Sprint Championship report

Arrived in good time to find the parking spots had just been marked out, and I was right next to the Ginetta main building, which meant I wasn’t too far away from the 240V hook-up points. I quickly plugged the van in to the mains supply, and rolled the car off the trailer ready for scrutineering, which was very light touch, and I then put the car away, and transferred as much of the stuff out of the van, inside the trailer, so I could bed down for the night.

Saturday

After a good night’s sleep, the electric blanket and electric airbed this year have certainly made things a little more comfortable in the van, I unpacked the car from the trailer, and set her up, fitting the freshly rebuilt black practice wheels, front wing, and other bits, ready for first practice.

Glorious sunshine greeted everyone, and the day turned out to be one of the warmest of the year so far. First practice I discovered that the front wheels were still badly out of balance, despite me fitting new inner rim sections, and having them balanced. That meant I was going to have to use the fresher tyres for the entire weekend! Well, the Gold fronts at least.

First timed run, and I was in second overall behind Goulding (first blood to Pete), but I then pulled out all the stops to record a class record winning 60.00s run on the first run off, beating him by 0.03s. That time was good enough for my first run off win of 2022, and the national FTD, as on the two runs after lunch time, I was around 0.9s slower on both, as were others, as the temperatures seems to be too much for the ultrasoft rubber. I was 2nd in the second run off, beaten by Terry Holmes in the V8 Lola. No particular reason, other than I didn’t capitalise on the stuff I learnt before lunch. #disappointed

So FTD, 25 and 24 points plus a bonus point, I therefore netted 50 points in total and that moved me in to the lead of the championship, 2 points above current champion Steve Miles.

I’d sliced a whopping 3.86 seconds off my PB from the previous year, a testament to the coaching that I’d had from Triple M motorsport. Trail braking was getting more natural, and my times were showing it.

Saturday results

Sunday

For Sunday, on the Outer circuit, we had a very light rain shower around 7:30am, and I had to put the gazebo up. I was busy cleaning the fresh tyres on the gold rims, and didn't want to do that whilst sat outside in the rain.

The weather forecasts ranged from 6mm of rain, to a sunny day, and it was certainly looking promising whilst the clouds passed by.

I was determined to get full throttle out of the first chicane, and when I tried it, the front of the car washed out. So back in the pits I adjusted the high speed compression by 10 clicks on both front dampers, which on the following run made a good improvement in the grip. I had no time given for my practice run, but it felt quick. I then went in to battle with Matt Hillam in the 2.0 Dallara. On the first timed run I was just a second off the class record, and a second under my PB (58.27s), which was pleasing. On the first run off, I was 2nd, broke the class record by 4/10ths, scoring 25 points, and a couple of tenths behind Matt. I had gone another 1.5 seconds quicker, I was amazing myself how much pace I had.

On the next run I went slightly slower, so it was all down to the final Run Off, to see if I could beat Matt and get a second FTD. I made a great start, and following a plan-of-attack brewed by my helper for the weekend, Jamie Pursall, I corner by corner, put the plan in to affect, and crossed the line, 55.59s, putting me in to first place overall.

With just a few cars left, Matt went last, on his warm tyres from sharing the car with Steve Broughton, and he threw the Dallara around, went 0.85s quicker to get in to the 54’s, to a round of applause from all of us watching from the mound. That put me again in 2nd place. My new class record 55.59s run was an improvement of 2.69s on my 2021 PB.

So I’d scored 24 points plus 24 points and a bonus point for the new record, bringing my total for the weekend to 99 points. This moved me even further ahead of Steve Miles. I finished with an 8-point lead in the championship.

With the front end grip increased, I was more confident than ever on the throttle pedal, and the video shows I'm just flat to the floor after the chicanes. The traction control was working great. This was a huge confidence builder, and I now know that the car will cope with full throttle out of all corners :D
Sunday results
No problems with the car at all, I never even opened the toolbox. The fuel consumption figures showed the car used 5.1 litres Saturday, and 5.2 Sunday, meaning I’d used just 10.3 litres in total all weekend (a little over £60 of fuel!). Saturdays fuel consumption was 6.90mpg (12.498km and 5.117 litres). Sundays fuel consumption was 6.83mpg (12.727km and 5.26 litres)

The modifications to the rear diffuser had made a marked increase in rear downforce, meaning I was able to run a lower rear wing angle than before for Blyton. The printed Bosch supports on the dampers all stood up to the weekend, with no breakages. The louvres stayed in the diffuser, so I now know silicon rubber can be used to glue the printed parts on to the car.

Looking forward to the next event where I can defend my 1st place. Commiserations to Pete Goulding who crashed badly in the sister car on Saturday on the second run off, resulting in a DNF; fortunately, Pete wasn’t injured, and the car should be repairable in time for Pembrey if he can get the parts, including a front upright, upper and lower front wishbones, various suspension clevis brackets, brake line, camber shims, wheel speed sensor, and damage to the body work ☹

A very big thank you to Jamie Pursall of JP Racing, for the support over the weekend. You definitely helped with the strategy and building my confidence.

17May

Coaching leads to improvements

I had a coaching session last year with Alan Mugglestone,in the MX5, where he was trying to get me to learn how to trail brake properly. Putting that in to practice at Blyton, I knocked a whopping 3.86s off my PB on the Eastern Circuit layout, and again, 2.69s off my PB on the Outer Circuit layout. Thats a massive improvement. I highly recommend a chat with Alan if you want to see similar improvements.



16May

Records fall at Blyton

An amazing weekend at Blyton. On Saturday I won my first T12 run off of 2022, and was 2nd in the second run off, and I convincingly broke the class record, with a time quick enough to take the National FTD. Only Colin Calder has lapped quicker than me around the Eastern, which was the same circuit I won my first ever National FTD, back in 2018 in the wet :D

And on Sunday, I was FTD for a few minutes on my final run, until Matt Hillam shaved a second off his earlier time to knock me in to 2nd place. I did demolish the class record again though, and finished 2nd in both run offs. Netting lots of points, in fact, I'm now in first place in the British Sprint Championship, 8 points ahead of current champion, Steve Miles.

Punching the air

I'm still recovering, I'll post up video and a full report in the next 24 hours.
2022 standings

10May

3D supports

The 3D printed sensor supports for the Bosch linear sensors, arrived, and took a few minutes to fit. They clip nicely on to the nuts on the head of the dampers, but do need cable ties to keep them secure. I tapped the 5mm holes with an M5x0.8 tap just to make fitting the M5 screws in easier. Very pleased with the end result. From Fusion 360 to physical print in less than a week. These are PA12 Nylon, SLS printed, and dyed black. Thanks to 3D People for the rapid turnaround.


9May

ECU mods

Made a few changes to the ECU Map today. The fuel consumption injector scaling has been reduced from 15.12ml/S to 12.55ml/S. This is after refilling the fuel tank with 7l of race fuel, and the consumption figure from Anglesey for the Sunday showed 8.387 litres. The calculated consumption figure was therefore approx 17% high, so reducing the scaling by 17% will hopefully produce a more accurate usage figure at Blyton this weekend.

And finally I've reduced the recovery off time for the alternator from 5 seconds to 2, to allow the alternator to be turned off again after 2 seconds rather than 5, so long as the battery voltage has recovered above the set threshold.

I've fitted a 12V brushless DC fan (with finger guards!) inside the car, which I can use to keep myself cool when sat in the queue for the start line. I've had several of the 60mm fans for a while, and after finding a PCB which allows PWM to control the speed of the fan, I can switch it on and off when I need to cool down. The small PCB is housed in a plastic box, and is fed from a fused 12V switched supply. The fan has four wires, and I've used some Deutsch connectors to allow me to plug the fan in, if its a warm enough day to warrant it, and remove it for the colder days. 60mm fans are used in Computers to keep the electronics inside cool, and the speed can be varied from off, to 15000rpm, according to the temperature measured by the thermocouple plugged in to the PCB. I've not used the temperature control, as there are two other outputs which have a fixed speed, according to the adjustment of the potentiometer on the PCB itself. A set and forget exercise.

4May

Sensor mount

I have drawn a sensor mount/support which will be fitted to the Intrax dampers. This is designed to clip over the 22mm wide M14 nuts that are fitted at the top of the dampers, and a cable tie can also be fitted through the mount, incase they dont want to stay on. Using an M5 screw, the rod end is then secured to the top of support post.

I've sent the .STL file off to 3DPeople for printing, hoping to get them back next week. I opted for SLS printing with the black dye finish. According to Fusion 360 they'll weigh under 10 grammes each.

22mm support for the damper potentiometer