Heave springHow nice does this heave spring look? I'm really pleased with how Nigel at Altiss has built it. I designed it in Fusion 360, and its a generic design, commonly seen on car's with third elements. It needs powder coating, but I'll wait until I've trial fitted it on the car.
Pair of fourth places at CadwellGood grief it rained, a lot, and hailed, and the sun shone just to tease everyone in to thinking it might brighten up and dry out. But regular as clockwork, the rain would then return, making the track wet again, then damp, then wet again. Having never driven the Mygale around Cadwell, my first practice run was red flagged when a competitor ahead fell off. So I only manged the first kilometer at pace, the remaining two kilometers were at 30mph expecting to find a car beached somewhere. During the red flag, another National A driver ahead managed to spin off, so much for progressing at a moderate pace when the flags are out.
So not the best start to the day. The event was then halted for over an hour whilst a driver was attended to by the medics after suffering chest pains. Another driver was also being examined for back injuries after crashing backwards in to the barriers on their practice run. When the meeting restarted, the final car to complete its practice run finished at 11:55, and then it was straight in to the first timed runs and the quailifier for the run off. The track was very wet, again following another downpour, and I put in a mediocre time as I completed my first lap at a decent pace. But I qualified 4th fastest.
Then more rain, and then a dry spell, and we were out for the second timed run which was the first run off. I found some more pace and managed to finish 4th behind Pete, Smiley and a blistering pace set by Simon Bainbridge, some 10 seconds quicker ahead of 2nd place! Ouch. Still it was a good 22 points and a nice start to the year.
Following an almighty hail storm, the organisers then decided on a thirty minute break, to allow the surface water to drain. They even had a tractor out on the start/finish straight, blowing air on the to track to remove water. We eventually restarted, and then our turn came around for the third and final timed run of the day, which was also our second run off run.
Whilst I set off at a relatively good pace, still on the wets, to find that the last two kilometres were just damp, certainly not wet enough for wets. When I had almost completed the lap, the red flags came out, and I found Steve Brown had fallen off ahead in his Empire. So I returned slowly to the start line area, and joined the queue to have a re-run. Five minutes later, after Brown was recovered, the cars that were queued ahead, started off again, and this time property developer Nick Scott had a big off, landing heavily backwards in the barriers, resulting in a very expensive repair bill for the Force owner. The recovery truck, ambulance, and the course safety car all went out, and it took over 15 minutes to clear the mess. With one eye on the weather, we were then able to restart again, and this time, knowing where the dry areas were, I managed to push very hard, with corner speeds >20mph higher than the previous red flagged run, to improve on my first run off time by almost 10 seconds with a 95.61 ending up less than a second behind Goulding in third (94.84), with Stephen Miles second (93.41), and again, Simon Bainbridge simply miles in the lead with an 87.38s! in first place. But then what would you expect from a car with 750bhp!
After helping Nick Scott turn his trailer around so it could be towed down to the scrutineering bay for collection, I continued putting the car back in to the trailer, by which time it started raining again. The it was time to applaud the trophy winners, and start the journey home, getting back to Leicester for 7:30pm
There were no issues with the car, the data is proving very valuable, and I was able to give full throttle and let the traction control take care of the wheelspin, and it was surprising how little wheel spin there was until I really provoked the car in to trying to spin the rears. The brand new Avons were fantastic. My 95 second run sadly wasnt recorded as the camera battery had gone flat with all the hanging around. But I do have the 104 second run, my first run off run, now posted on youtube, and the video can be seen below.
I'm fourth overall in the British Sprint Championship, and I'm joint first place in the BARC Speed Championship. So not a bad day really.
During the day the car used 6.01 litres of race fuel and covered approx. 18km, with all five runs completed on the Avon wet tyres.
Swivel seatI've fitted a Rusty Lee swivel seat base to the front passenger seat in my van, so I can turn the seat around when the van is parked, for some additonal room and comfort. Its a heavy part, weighs over 10Kg, but the construction has to be sturdy as it supports the seat and an adult sat in it. The only criticism is that it didnt come with a pair of 20mm M8 socket head screws, for the rear mounts. They expect you to re-use the oem bolts that held the seat to the base, but the swivel seat base is very thick, and the oem bolts only went in two turns; so I replaced them with a pair of 12.9's, and its all installed and working really well. I'll try it out this Friday at Cadwell. I also need to apply some helicopter tape to the windscreen pillars; the blackout cover I've got for the front windscreen and side windows, is marking the paintwork, which I managed to polish out. But the helicopter tape will prevent any further damage.
With the trailer home again, I jetwashed the grp clamshell using the T5 T-Racer surface cleaning brush that fits on the Karcher pressure washer. It takes less than ten minutes to restore the white, and the next job will be to give the clamshell a polish, when the weather permits.
I cleaned the Pirelli tyres the other evening, so I'm now ready for the trip to Cadwell tomorrow. The Avons seemed to come up quite clean after the 30kms around Blyton so I'm leaving those as they are. To be honest, I think I'll be on the wets all day as the forecast is heavy showers.
Anglesey garagesThe online booking form for the garages at Anglesey Circuit opened at 8:00pm last night, and I was lucky enough to get the garage that I wanted. Two minutes later, all the garages had sold out!
I fitted the first T45 pushrod last night, and tried the heave post on the rocker for the first time, and it fits perfectly. I cant use the 3rd element yet though as I'm still waiting for parts.
Shakedown at BlytonOn Friday I spent the day at Blyton Park, with around 10 other sprinters, all busy testing their cars and modifications for the 2023 season. I ran three sessions. The first one on a very damp track, I just did a pair of laps and then checked the car over, while the track continued to dry. On the second run, I noticed the front near side wheel was locking when braking hard, so the corner weights needed checking. I was expecting to have to do this, and had already arranged to use the lift ramp inside the Ginetta building as a flat floor. So I pushed the car in to the garage, rolled her on to the ramp, and then set about adjusting the nearside rear pushrod length, until the car was level. It was about a turn too long.
With the rear suspension sorted, I lowered the rear wing angle by 6 degrees, and went out for another play, and completed six very hard laps, pushing the car hard out of the corners, to see if the traction control was working, and it was, better than ever. The floor modifications have improved the downforce so much, the skirts just touched the ground, and I was reaching speeds over 145mph, so I'm very happy with how everything turned out. No electrical gremlins either.
I used a total of 7.166 litres of 102 fuel, covered 30km's, and the car was faultless. So I'm looking forward to the first round at Cadwell this weekend where the british sprint championship kicks off.
Photo (c) Anthony Mitchell
Cadwell BSC entries
Fuelled and readyI had to refill the fuel tank last night to check for leaks. The cork gasket around the top of the unused fuel gauge sender had been leaking, there was evidence of where fuel had seeped out on to the top of the tank; so after tightening the six screws that fasten the sender in place, I carefully added seven litres of fuel, checking for any leaks and it all seems to be ok. I just need to reset the fuel consumption recorded by the ECU and I'll know then how much fuel to add the next time I need to do a refill. I generally start each day with a full tank, and the consumption zeroed, and I just run it down until the next day. The consumption recorded by the ECU is 100% accurate, so if it says I've used 7 litres, I know exactly how much to add. The tank doesnt have a working fuel gauge, and there's no sight gauge either, and I used this consumption technique for the whole of 2022 with no issues.
Next job was to refit the firewall behind the driver seat, and seal it up. Then the seat could be refitted, and thats pretty much everything done, the car is now ready for Cadwell on the 25th of March. And yes the seatbelts are in date this year :D
The third element/heave spring setup isnt complete yet, I am still waiting for parts, the telescopic spring is being manufactured locally, and the FTR oil filler is being CNC machined by the same team that made the heave posts; I may have them for Anglesey at the start of April, but its looking more likely they'll be fitted for the Blyton weekend in May. And still no news on the Force Racing wheel centre I had to send back.
James Abbott has sent me a video clip of the Revolution race car from Spain at the weekend, with the camera focused on the 3rd element, and its amazing to watch how much the chassis is forced down by the aero. Revolution use Belleville washers rather than the rubber spring that I've chosen, but its good to see how well they work on a race car being driven hard. Thanks James :D
Turning vanes fittedWith the floor finished, I fitted the rear wing and the pair of stays that support the end of the diffuser from the rear wing end plates, to make sure the skirts sat straight and parallel to the ground, and it all looks perfect. So I then stuck a pair of turning vanes on to the body work, ahead and above the side pod inlets, to try to influence increased air flow towards the intercooler and water radiators. If this works I'll add further turning vanes to increase the air flow.
I've just sent my registration off to the HSA for the British Sprint Championship. There are still just twelve drivers entered, and only thirteen in Sprint Leaders, which I am not entering. I dont see why we should have to pay to enter a second championship to win the class awards that were taken from the British Sprint Championship. It's just a revenue making exercise. I tried to withdraw my entry from Sprint Leaders last year, but it was refused. So this year, I'm not entering.
Floor repairedI've replaced the side skirts on both of the floor sections, using 5mm 55x1000mm thick nylon strips from Direct Plastics. The 2mm strips I fitted last year, were badly deformed, and were not presenting a smooth surface for the air to flow along, and were also ground away quite badly where the floor sections meet the diffuser just ahead of the rear tyres. This is because the joint wasnt rigid enough. So I've reinforced the area under the floor with several strips of right angled aluminium, in parallel to the direction of the airflow, which has made it far more rigid. Rather than using nylon on the diffuser walls, I've used rubber strips, which should provide a better seal against the floor at speed, and might prove longer lasting than the nylon.
When you consider the peak low pressure areas under the floor, are at the leading edge of the floor, and where the floor kicks up in to the diffuser, which is just ahead of the leading edge of the rear tyres, you can see why that joint between the two surfaces needs to be reinforced.
All of these mods are aimed at retaining the low pressure generated by the floor, therefore increasing the downforce, allowing me to run lower wing angles.
Masters Historics testing at DoningtonI drove down the road to Donington Park yesterday morning, to have a look at the car's that were testing in preparation for the first round on April 8th/9th. There was some awesome machinery on display. Mark Harrisons Shadow DN9, ex Elio De Angelis, an Arrows A11 of Eddie Cheever, John Watsons McLaren, and a lot more besides. They all sounded great, between the breakdowns and red flags. The photo album can be found here.
Entries opened so farThe expenses are coming in thick and fast. So far Cadwell, Anglesey, both Lydden events, and Blyton have opened, meaning some drivers have had to fork out £1005.00 already!
Longton have their own Sprint championship, which costs £30 to enter, however you get £5 discount off the entry fees for their six rounds, and not only do they have trophies at the end of the year, but there is also prize money! So thats a no brainer :D
Heave posts deliveredBoth the heave posts arrived, and I am very happy with how they've come out. The Fusion CAD software calculated that they'd weigh 100.9g each, and the scales show they weigh 101g. Impressive. The finish on them is beautiful, I love getting CNC machined parts back. I've now had to order some -21 length NAS bolts to hold the posts on top of of the rockers, and they should be with me soon.
On the top of the posts I had to place a 10mm diameter hole to allow the M8 tap to pass through to tap the hole in the heave post body below. Therefore a top hat washer needed to be sourced, to sit inside a recess on the top of the post, to reduce the diameter back down to 8mm for the M8 socket head screw to sit against. I found some zinc plated top hat washers on ebay, and measured them when they arrived, and then altered the design to accomodate the washers. SO I'm pleased to say that the washers fit perfectly inside the recess in the top of the posts :D
This week I've drawn the front wing drop plates in Fusion as I had no drawings for them, and if I bent them in an accident, reverse engineering damaged parts would prove exceptionally hard to do. I've improved on the original design, by adding chamfers to edges and placing the scallops on both sides of the plates, and I've reduced the overall size which saves more weight, and I'll get a price to have a pair made so I can carry them as spares. They would weigh 161g each.