Latest News

Established 22 years

30Nov

Engine cover complete

Stripes are now on both sides of the engine cover. I now need to project the diagonal lines on to the side pods to maintain a consistent 45 degree angle.

Stripey engine cover

Having sat and watched the terifying crash that Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean had at Bahrain at the weekend, it 100% vindicates the decision to introduce the Halo, and proves just how strong the modern cars are. It was a one in a million accident, but Grosjean had a miraculous escape. Had he been knocked unconcious, extracting him from the burning reckage would not have been easy. The steering wheel and seat belts would need to be removed first, and that simply wouldnt have been possible with the inferno that engulfed the car. I'm driving an 8 year old Formula Ford, that has undergone FIA impact tests, but it doesnt have a Halo. Having seen how succesfully it protected Grosjean, a Halo car would 100% be my next choice.




25Nov

Stripes

I've added stripes to the near side engine cover, using the widths I calculated from the photograph. I've found a font that matches the ADVAN typeface, so I'll get some logos ordered. I think I might replace ADVAN with ECOBOOST Grin



24Nov

Wrapping the engine cover

Nothing like as easy as I'd hoped, but the hardest piece to wrap was always going to be the tail end of the engine cover. I used the knifeless tape to give a good straight edge on both sides, and its a real godsend. I was worried it would live a jagged edge but it looks clean and sharp and I'll use some more on the stripes I'm now adding. Here's a timelapse of me fitting the vinyl, which was over an hour, but the end result is very good.



The next task is to add the stripes, four in total, which have varying widths. I've taken the photo of the Advan car, and measured the % of the overall width, of the black and red stripes, and in Excel I can enter the overall width of the four stripes, and it produces the individual widths that I need to cut the red vinyl and the width of the gaps I need to use, to give me an accurate replica of the original Yokohama Advan colour scheme.



21Nov

25 Years for McRae

Colin won the WRC 25 years ago. This footage has just been published, of Colin and a lot of other cars and drivers from the WRC around Gt Britain. Brings a lot of memories flooding back. Was it really 25 years ago we were sat in the forests, waiting for the stages to start, to cheer Colin and Derek on?


21Nov

Rear wing is refitted

I refitted the rear wing to the support brackets on the gearbox, and replaced all the mild steel fasteners used on the wing, with flanged head stainless ones, and I've also replaced the steel locknuts with aluminium ones. Once that was done, I removed the zetecinside and area6 stickers from the engine cover, and cleaned it using meths, to get it ready for the red vinyl I'm about to add.

I also reconneted the Lithium battery and switched the ECU on for 30 mins. This is vitally important to maintain the onboard battery charge within the ECU. If the battery goes flat, the ECU loses its config. Which isnt as bad as it used to be before the ECU was unlocked. I can at least reload the config now if it does lose it. But its still a good practice to keep it charged with these monthly boosts.




18Nov

Finished the rear wing

There is just the main element to wrap on the rear, so having removed the yellow vinyl from the end plates, and wrapped the wing using three sections of vinyl, its now ready to be reassembled over the weekend.


17Nov

Finished the front wing

The front wing is now wrapped and reassembled. I have started on the rear wing, and will post more progress pictures this week.


13Nov

Wrapped the fweps

Both the FWEPs are wrapped, now I can do the front wing elements, and then the wing itself. The Oracal 970 vinyl has something called air draining technology, which basically means you cant get any air bubbles under the surface, which makes it so much easier to apply that standard vinyl. Its very forgiving.


12Nov

Wrap started

I've wrapped the first front wing end plate, and removed the old vinyl from the second one ready for the same treatment. This is a render of how they look. Only the outside will be wrapped.


8Nov

Wrap

The Oracal 970 wrap is ordered, in Cardinal Red, so I can start on the transformation of the car for 2021. The first task will be to tackle the front and rear wings, and I'm hoping to have them both wrapped before the end of the week.

Speaking of 2021 I've stepped down from producing the British Sprint Championship scoring spreadsheet and the live timing, and the wiggly lines graphs, the reason being that due to other commitments I simply wont have time to dedicate to the task next year. I'm now back on the exercise bike, to get fit for 2021, this time starting two months earlier than this year. I've maintained my weight around 86Kg, and I want to drop down to 80 which is going to take some sacrifices over Christmas. The aim is to be as competitive as I can be for the Great Western Sprint in March next year.

4Nov

Graph time

Three graphs, showing a comparison between different venues and the changes to launch base rpm, reluctance rings, and my launch technique, which I've been working on since September. The 16 tooth reluctance rings have produced a significant increase to the quality of the data. I've also been tuning the logging configuration of the ECU, so the channels and logging frequencies provide higher quality data, which allows for more stringent analysis of the cars performance. From the third event this year, Blyton, I was starting to see around -1.4G longitudinal acceleration on initial clutch release, and with the raised rpm's during launch at Combe, the car definitely accelerated more rapidly. More tweaks can be made to further tune the setup, and I'll making further adjustments in 2021 to see if the 64ft times can be reduced.

Click the each graph to open in a new window for easy zooming-in.





3Nov

ARDS test's on-hold

My ARDS test next week has had to be put on-hold for the immediate future, since the lockdown in the UK starting this Thursday has outlawed most non-essential gatherings of people, and quite right too. I'm happy to wait until the new year, or whenever its all calmed down. Work is keeping me busy, and I'm analysing my launches over the year to see what changes made the greatest improvements. Expect some fancy graphs in the next day or two.

28Oct

FTR reluctance rings IN-STOCK

The latest batch of FTR reluctance rings are now in-stock again.

23Oct

FTR reluctance rings on-order

I've just sold the last pair of FTR reluctance rings, thats 18 now gone to new homes. I've ordered another set, they've proved so popular. I'm also selling the front wheel reluctance disks that I'm running on the Mygale, these are the same price at £20.00 per pair plus P&P. And I've just had a batch of 3D printed GT101 sensor brackets made. These are £13.00 a pair plus P&P. Go to the new Shop page to order.







19Oct

1st in class and 3rd overall at Castle Combe

I had to walk the course, there was no avoiding it, I was not going to do my best at Combe unless I had a good look at the sausage kerbs on the 1st and 2nd chicanes. I was worried I'd do some damage if I hit them, and my visit in July wasnt my best performance, far too cautious. So I set the alarm for 3:30am, left Leicester at 4am, and arrived at the track at 6:45am. That was a novelty unloading in the dark, but dawn soon broke, and after 45 mins I'd fitted the wing, bodywork, and the Ultrasoft tyres, and grabbed my coat for a walk around the Combe circuit. I had a good look at the kerbs on the chicanes, and they really were nothing to worry about. A fast racing line could be picked, and the plan was to carry more momentum through them both. I'd studied some Formula Ford footage on Youtube, which helped tremendously. I had confidence, and so long as the track remained dry, I'd have nothing to loose by trying to go quicker.


The 3500cc Gould of hillclimber Terry Graves lines up for a run at Combe

For the one and only practice run, I'd increased the engine speed during launch to try and make the car accelerate more rapdily in first gear. With untested wheel speed sensors, this probably wasnt the best idea. With it being cold (~9C), and the start line very green, the first launch was a bit too exciting, leading me to getting off the throttle, so after the first run I reverted to the previous settings, and added +10%. Looking at the data, both the rear speed sensors were absolutely perfect, with no dropouts or noise. Steve Broughton (SBD) was saying that he has known of reluctance rings that have caused false triggers, unless the surface of the tooth is absolutely perfect. But my reluctance rings were not causing any issues, and the Traction Control and Launch Control were working better than ever.

Rounding Tower Corner
Rounding Tower Corner

The car was much better on the first timed run, with the launch control adding a bit more wheelspin than normal, the car still accelerated nicely, though without the benefit of 64ft times I wasnt really sure if it was any quicker. I was just off my PB (56.05) and watching the video back I could see where I was still being too cautious. We broke for lunch at 12, and the plan was to resume at 1pm. I had a chance to sell another pair of reluctance rings to Jonathon (the new owner of Geoff Wiltshires Zeuss) and SBD bought two pairs, which was a first for me, selling parts to SBD!

On to the 2nd timed runs, I made a slight tweak to the TC Adder switch on the steering wheel, selecting -4 to bring the allowed range of wheelspin against yaw, down a little further, just to make the TC kick in a little earlier. Whilst sat in the queue, the red flags came out, and a Lotus Cortina had dropped its sump's contents somewhere on the track, and it turned out to be on the 2nd chicane. After 20 minutes, we restarted, and I drove much harder than before, and arriving at the 2nd chicane at over 100mph, I could make out the extent of the oil spill, which was on the racing line right through the centre of the chicane. I had to be cautious through it, and lost a little time, but when I got back to the paddock, I could see I'd knocked over half a second off my time to do a 55.33s, which was 0.7s behind Steve in the Dallara. I was very happy with that.

Bobbies covered in oil
The extent of the oil spill at Bobbies Chicane

With no more changes to the TC settings, since the car felt so good, it was now the final run of the day, and knowing where the oil spill was, I set off on my final lap, and went quicker again, though I still had to exercise caution at the 2nd chicane. However I managed to lower my time to 55.25s, which was 8/10ths quicker than the PB I'd set at the warm July meeting. I was very pleased. Furthermore, I'd beaten Terry's Gould V8 to come 1st in class, though I'd been ahead of him all day, that's another V8 kill sticker I'd just earnt.

Final times
The final times after the 3rd timed runs

The only niggle during the day was the ability of the Lithium battery to start the engine. Twice I'd been caught out, when sat in the car the engine wouldnt restart without having to get out again to connect the booster battery, so I'll replace the mini anderson connectors with the bigger heavier duty ones, and see if that cures the issue. If not, then I'll go for the next battery size up in the range.

A perfect day otherwise. I really enjoyed myself, I know I can go even quicker. I reckon rather than 4th I should be in fifth in a couple of places, and hard on the throttle. Shame I've got to wait until March before I can try again.
Top 20 drivers ranked by best time with average speed. Only three of us had an average speed of over 100mph




15Oct

Fitted the reluctance rings

I sprayed a couple of the rings with black paint, and fitted them to the gearbox. The ECU easily sees the peaks as they pass the GT101 sensors, so the gaps are now around 2mm each side.


14Oct

Reluctance rings

Just in the nick of time, my reluctance rings have arrived in the post. Once again, I'm extremely impressed with the quality and finish, and very relieved that they are a nice tight push fit on the output flanges. I wasnt sure what dimension to specify for the interference fit, so I just made them the same size as measured on my digital verniers, and as luck would have it, they fit perfectly, which is helped by the springy nature of the design of the ring. I shall fit them to flanges tonight, adjust the gap to the sensor, and set the ECU up to use 16 pulses, per revolution.

It certainly builds confidence in your abilities, when you can draw something as simple as this in Fusion 360, submit the order to www.fractory.com, and two weeks later the identical part is in your hand











10Oct

Race license upgrade

I am upgrading to a full race license for 2021. I've bought the starter pack from MUK, which is £99.00, and includes the first years license! I need to book my ARDS at Mallory Park, which will cost £300.00 for the instruction and exam, and hopefully if I learn all the flags and dont make a mess of things, I'll have my race license.

Why a race license? Well, following the huge price increase in 2020 for the RS National license that I currently hold, which is now £150.00 per annum, a race license is just £5.00 more, and a race license lets me test anywhere. I'll finally be able to drive at Silverstone, or Donington. And you never know, I might get to race a little too ;-)








8Oct

Signing on

The final instructions are out for the Pegasus sprint on October the 17th, which is my last event this year. I much prefer the on-line signing-on procedures introduced this year, and I dare say the clubs do too. No more lining up with paperwork in hand, to shuffle in to a room to sign on, this method provides less burden on the organisers and gives competitors more time to unpack and setup in the morning. Same with scrutineering, which is now replaced by a self-declaration. You simply have to provide the serial number of the vehicle logbook/passport, and confirm a few details on eligibility, and there is still a chance a scrutineer may pick on you at random during the day, but again, it's less faff, and I, prefer that.

So at Castle Combe on the 17th, we'll be joined by Steve and Matt (SBD) in their very rapid Dallara, and Chris Jones is making another appearance in his 1000cc Force which is not to be underestimated. I'm sharing my class with a 3500cc GR55 which will make it a bit of a scrap for overall class honours. With the fresh Ultrasoft fronts fitted, and the newfound levels of downforce at the front, I'll be trying to carry far more speed through the two chicanes. I've been studying other drivers lines and speeds, and I honestly dont think I can improve anywhere else. At Blyton, the chassis can be seen to drop as speed and downforce increases, so as long as I maintain a good speed, I shall have to summon confidence that there is more grip than I think there is, and harness it to lower my times.

I'm on course to receive the steel reluctance rings for the rear axles before the 17th, so I can fit them and hopefully finally have 100% working TC.


4Oct

Barge boards relocated

Over the weekend I relocated both of the Dallara F308 barge boards, forwards, by 120mm. This is an attempt to move them closer to the turbulent air from the front wheels, to intercept and direct the air outwards earlier. I'll attach some yellow wool tufts to the boards, and video the results at Castle Combe. I've also lengthened the pair of aluminium struts that support the rear of the diffuser by connecting it to the underside of the rear wing. The struts were approx 40mm too short, and when I raised the rear of the car using the trolley jack, the suspension was resting on the diffuser, placing stress on the rear wing. This mod will also allow the floor to remain 40mm from the ground at rest.

3Oct

Near miss for Degasperi

This is pretty spectacular. Happened at the Cividale Castelmonte hillclimb in Italy at the weekend. Change of underwear I think.


1Oct

Rear reluctance rings

Working with Fractory.com, I've ordered the rear reluctance rings. These are being laser cut from 6mm steel, and should be a push fit over the Hewland output flanges. Took me around 1hr to draw in Fusion 360. Truth be told it took me a few attempts to get the circular pattern to work, but its all good knowledge at the end of the day. 16 teeth will give me a good reliable working setup, and again, I hope this should finally fix the speed dropouts issue. The teeth on the Mazda reluctance rings are only 2.5mm tall, and the GT101's need 5mm minimum. The teeth on rings I've designed are 7.2mm tall, the tops are 6mm square, and should provide a much better target for the sensors to detect. If they dont work and I still get speed dropouts then its got to be a wiring issue. I'll find out at Castle Combe I guess.