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My 2022 BSC Scores


In 2022, after 28 rounds I scored 420 points finishing in third place overall (613 total points without dropped scores)

I took part in every championship round, I qualified for twenty eight run offs, I won two run offs, with zero DNF's. I lead the championship for fifteen rounds, won two National A FTD's, and set five new British 1600T Class Records, winning the BSC 1600T Class

Records:
Anglesey International 03.04.22, 77.35s
Blyton Eastern 14.05.22, 60.00s
Blyton Outer 15.05.22, 55.59s
Pembrey Club 04.06.22, 103.92s
New PB Snetterton 100 28.08.22, 78.88s
Blyton Eastern 24.09.22, 59.85s

Latest News

4Feb

Engine runs

After refitting the ECU I started the engine, and left it running for several minutes to warm up. Whilst I was watching the gauges I glanced down at the fuel tank, and noticed there was a significant fuel leak. So I quickly stopped the engine and disconnected the battery, and started mopping the mess up. I couldnt find any loose hoses, and then noticed that the vacuum port blanking plug on the top of the Fuelab Mini regulator was missing. And I couldnt find it anywhere around the tank, so it must have fallen out some time ago. I fitted the spare blanking plug, and tried priming the fuel system again, and the fuel pressure rapidly climbed over the 5.5bar it was set to, and rose to over 7bar. And petrol was leaking out of the port despite the blanking plug being fitted. Not good. The blanking plugs are 1/8NPT which means they're a tapered thread, and despite me doing it up very tight three years ago when it was installed, the plug has clearly worked loose, and dropped out. When I then removed the regulator and, on the bench, removed the blanking plug, petrol came out of the port which means the diaphragm inside has burst. So the regulator is scrap. Not good. I'm pleased I hadnt refitted the seat as I'd not have noticed the leak. But I am annoyed that the regulator has failed.

So I've had to order a replacement. I will make sure that the blanking plug cant come out, and seal it with PTFE tape and cross check to ensure it never leaks or vibrates loose again. Delivery is Tuesday.

The plastic oil filler was fitted when I ran the engine, and it performed perfectly. I realised that in order to fit the replacement engine loom, I need to modify it first to add the twisted pair of wires for the second CAN bus connection, which goes to the X10. This will be done on Monday.

The entries for both the May and July Lydden Hill events opened on the 3rd of February. This is really unheard of, and event in July opening 5 months before it runs. Many people have entered, and paid the £175 entry fees. I havent. I find Lydden extremely hard on the tyres, so I will be skipping both events in 2023. And the BSC championship still hasnt opened for entries yet, nor Sprint Leaders, so again, how can people enter qualifying events when their championship hasn't been given a permit?

3Feb

Oil filler update

Faced with some frankly frightening costs to get my FTR oil filler printed in PA12-CF (> £300) or aluminium, I've instead modified the design to make the filler more robust by increasing wall thicknesses, and I've ordered a pair in Nylon-PA12 from 3d People. In the mean time I expect to run the engine this weekend and I'll have the prototype fitted, to make sure it doesnt leak any oil.



I've also had to modify the design of the heave spring supports, as there were three sections around the base, which were very hard to machine. I've added a chamfer to the edges, so that should now make them possible to mill without any issues.



The ECU is now ready to be refitted to the car. I had an error when programming the calibration, well it was actually a warning. Basically the LifeCAL was saying that I shouldnt have any preliminary injection during starting, as it was a Direct Injection engine. There are two preliminary injection tables, and table 1 was all zero's. The ECU only uses table 1, however table 2 has always had values in it. But the new firmware makes sure both tables are empty before the warning goes away. DI engines dont inject fuel on the starting phase until the engine is cranking at the desired speed. This is mostly done for emissions, but it also prevents the fuel from wetting the cylinders/plugs.



The Registration for the British Sprint Championship still hasnt opened. And the regulations published are still only draft. Yet entries have opened for Cadwell, and drivers are registering. This is very risky, when you dont even know the registration costs or the final regs for the championship. I did hear that Motorsport UK are slow this year at approving permits, lets hope they dont take too longer over it.

31Jan

ECU returned

The ECU arrived on Friday, and the first task was to load the most recent calibration file in to it. There's two ways of doing this. From LifeCAL, either load the previous cal in to Pastecal and Tag and Import each branch, one a time, which only takes a few minutes. Or the easier method is to stay offline from the ECU, load the calibration you want to program the ECU with, change the software version, then save the file with a new filename, connect to the ECU, and finally program the ECU with the calibration file.

Not much progress with getting the oil filler 3D printed in aluminium. The quotes I'm getting are from £350 up to a whopping £950, which is way more than I wanted to spend. So it is looking like I might need to use the plastic version, so I'm also getting a quote for one printed in Nylon CF12 which has carbon fibre strands included for additional strength. 3DPeople used to offer this service, but sadly no longer provide what they called Onyx. So I'm trying to find another supplier that can print CF12.

A pair of replacement pushrods for the rear of the car are on order. They will have 3/8UNF one end, and 1/2UNF the other, and are 550mm long. I should have them back for the end of February. They will be a different wall thickness to the ones that keep failing, so I'm not expecting to have any more issues.

I still have no wheel centres from Force Racing. I just need a single pair and have been asking for many months, but for one reason or another, they're proving difficult to obtain.

And finally machining of the heave spring support posts will soon be underway. They are also looking difficult to manufacture, and consequently, expensive, but I need to try the solution as it should transform the handling and mechanical grip.

23Jan

ECU ready!

Life Racing have finished upgrading the ECU. Jumps up and down with excitement. Fingers crossed I can make some engine noises in the garage soon now that the ECU is upgraded and ready for return. Just the small business of an invoice to pay.



Now I can get on with replacing the engine loom, and the dozens of cable ties holding it all down, and when the ECU is plugged in, press the starter button and see what happens. I've some work to do on the ECU Calibration first. I need to load the 1.693 cal in, make a few changes, and then she should be good to go. One of the benefits of getting the new firmware is unlocking the C frames on the CAN bus receive. I'm going to see if I can use C frames to unlock the pair of steering wheel mounted (CAN Switch Board) rotary switches that the ECU is unable to read using B frames (8 bit). C frames transmit data in 4 bits rather than 8 bits, so fingers crossed I can assign a rotary switch per C frame. With the B frame the ECU couldnt differentiate between the two rotary switches encoded in the same 8 bits of data. Very frustrataing.

22Jan

2023 British Sprint Regulations are out

There's one new rule, thats appeared in this years Draft regulations, which is regarding the awarding of bonus points for breaking track records. The new rule says:

"Such records will be revised during the season should the Championship visit the same course more than once. Any times set in the timed run or runs upon which points are based which break the existing Championship Record shall attract an additional point to those awarded by virtue of the competitor's finishing position."

This is a significant change, and will have a direct impact on the overall standings during the year. In previous years, the times of all the class records are declared at the start of the year, and when a class record was broken, a bonus point was awarded to the driver who broke it. And a new rule for 2022, was that only one driver per class was awarded the point, even if more than one driver broke the class record. I agree'd with that, it made sense to reward the faster driver.

However, from 2023, if the same venue is visited twice, and the record is broken on the first visit, then that lower time is used as the new record for the second visit, which might even be the next day in the case of the Snetterton 100 layout which is used both Saturday and Sunday.

With the absense of the Pirelli tyres, will any records fall? It'll be interesting to see what other directions developments will take this year. My money is on bigger and better aero, and improved mechanical grip, which is why I'm focusing on the heave spring development.

20Jan

Testing the fitment of the oil filler

It fits, perfectly, and I'm now in a position to get one printed in aluminium. Just looking at what options are available, and if the finished product is going to be a high enough quality to avoid any machining.


19Jan

Heave spring model video

I've created a video showing the heave spring model that I've built in Fusion 360, all with components drawn by myself, which are then inserted in to the model, and joined together to allow motion to be simulated.


18Jan

3D printed oil filler

Arrived today, in the post from 3D People. I'm so impressed with the quality of the printing, and the threads are so accurate. This video shows the oil filler body in detail.

17Jan

3D printed heave spring mounts

They came on Saturday, and I'm very happy with the finished product. I've offered the posts up on the Mygale and the clearance looks bang on. So I've now modified the design, following some changes that I think are required, and the design is ready for CNC machining.




The final design




15Jan

Missed the autosport show?

No? This tongue in cheek video could have saved you 30 quid :D


12Jan

Autosport International show

Not the busiest of shows that I've been to, I did manage to speak to Life about my ECU and they said they would have an update for me next week, so progress is slow but they are working on it. Not today obviously, since the staff were at the show. Not starting to worry just yet, but if it keeps dragging on in to February then I will be getting anxious about when it will return.

Speaking today to Kumho and Yokohama, it sounds like most manufacturers are dropping 13" slicks altogether; the writing was on the wall when F1 changed to their 18" rims. This isnt good news at all. When Avon/Cooper Tyres closes, there will be no manufacturers producing slicks in the compounds that we need in 2024. Unless Pirelli start back up, or someone steps in to save Avon/Cooper Tyres. What to do?

Circuit racing is looking more and more appealing.

I found Ian on the Popbangcolour stand in Hall 4, and managed to buy three stickers of my car off him. He threw in a free rosette which was appreciated :D

Coding

I've so far deactivated the start/stop button on the beemer, so I no longer have to press the button every time I start the engine. So far so good. I need to see what else I can change; its a shame there is no offline mode with the Bimmercode app, so you can peruse the settings availble at leisure instead of having to sit in the car scrolling through the menu's.

05Jan

Autosport International show tickets booked

I'm looking forwards to the pilgramage to the NEC near Birmingham next Thursday for the Autosport Show. I'm going to see the Live Action show too, its been a few years since I saw Terry Grant doing his stuff.

I've sent the STL files off for the redrawn heave spring mounts. They're going to be SLS printed in Nylon12, and I went for the black dye finish. Delivery is possibly the end of next week. Interestingly, the prices for the individually printed near side and offside mounts, was about half the price of the same pair combined in to a single STL file!

ECU news!

The clever people at Life Racing are working on my ECU this week, and given its age, its taken some care to get the firmware updated. They've checked the DBW circuitry, and can find nothing wrong, nor can they find anything with the analogue voltage spikes I was seeing. This confirms to me that the Engine Loom needs replacing, so I'll start planning that in the next few weeks. When the ECU is returned, I need to confirm that the engine runs OK before swapping the loom over. It's not been run since October. And if the stubby oil filler is back by that point, then it'll also allow me plumb the oil hose in and check that it works without any leaks. I'll be changing the oil before the first event, time to get messy again.

BMW map update

What a struggle it was to get the latest map update on to my 3 series. I let the subscription lapse, the car has just passed four years old, and I paid off the final baloon payment in December. So I thought I'd treat it to a fresh 12 month subscription, but no matter what I did to get it to recognise the 64GB flash drive, it failed. I ended up buying a fresh Kingston drive, dropped the map on to it using the BMW download manager, and it worked first time. Cue the rollseyes emoji. With that out of the way, I'm going to code the car next, using the ODBLinkCX bluetooth adaptor, and a copy of Bimmercode. There's a few changes I'd like to make, like turning off the infernal stop/start for instance, so I'll have a play and see what other features I can unlock.

04Jan

Heave spring updates

I've sent the two stumpy oil filler and filler cap STL files off to 3DPeople, for printing, and they should be with me by the end of next week, possibly the week after. I made some more refinements to the drawings, adding a spiral to the inside of the outer cylinder to help the oil find its way down inside the sump. And the filler cap has an M10 threaded hole in the top, which will allow me to fit a pneumatic hose attachment, with a 6mm breather hose, so the dry sump tank can breathe, and the cap can still be easily removed. I'm going to tap the M22x1.5 thread by hand, as the printed threads are not going to be accurate enough and I need to reduce the possibility of oil leaks.

I've also spent another day on the heave spring mounts, beefing them up a bit, and they are also ready for printing so I can make sure that the prototypes will fit the gearbox.

The final oil filler model can be seen here: Link to FTR oil filler

These are the heave spring mounts, ready for printing.



03Jan

RIP Ken Block #43


29Dec

Hewland FTR oil dearator/filler

I've sketched a model in Fusion of the Oil dearator that is fitted on to the top of the Hewland gearbox, and returns the oil from the dry sump scavenger pump, to the sump tank. The one on the car is too tall for the heave spring to fit where I want it, so I've designed a stumpy version of the dearator, with a new filler cap, and the plan is to get one printed in Nylon/PA12 first, then set about getting one made from aluminium.

Do you like the design?





I've also made some more changes to the pair of heave spring posts, which I'm now ready to have 3D printed, again so I can prove that they provide clearance for the spring which sits above the rockers/dearator.

The pair of Intel CPU's sure take a hammering when I render the design in Fusion, and I've not yet worked out why hidden bodies appear in the final rendered image.



25Dec

Happy Christmas

To all my followers, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas.

17Dec

Heave spring project update

I've found some spare time this week to create some sketches which show the spring supports are coming along nicely. I'm using Fusion 360 to do all the design work. They anchor to the pushrod and two of the rocker fixings.
I also had a play with the Voronoi plugin, which explains the holes in the side of the gearbox :D






11Dec

Heave spring project

I've started sketching a few changes to the rear suspension, so I can incorporate a 3rd/Heave spring. The idea behind this is to allow me to run more compliant, softer springs on the rear dampers, and use the heave spring to support the force produced by the rear wing. I'm hoping this will also prevent any further pushrod failures, which I had two in 2022.

I've modelled the rear suspension in Fusion 360, and I'm able to try a few different locations for the heave spring. I intend to use a Penske rubber spring, sat across both rocker arms. However given the packaging, its a tight squeeze with the FTR Gearbox oil filler neck sat in the way, but I've got some ideas how to work around that issue.

30Nov

Tyres

The rumour mill is alive and well at the moment, and the latest speculation is that there may not be any more Pirelli Ultrasoft tyres. No more. Gone. Not being made.

Ever?

We dont know, but it doesnt look good at the moment. What are the alternatives? Well, I tried the Avon HC3 compound tyres, and I found the Ultrasofts were around 2s quicker. Now, that may be down to the setup of my car, which is optimised for the Ultrasofts. Other people might find them quicker than the Pirellis. Certainly it splits the Hillclimb camp, with intense rivalries between the two different brands.

And with Avon closing in 2023, what happens in 2024? There are also stories of Yokohama closing their european factory, and Hankook also struggling to meet demand.

So what are we to do? What are the implications?

Well, for some, it might mean a curtailed season would work out best. Just do the minimum rounds, dont wear the tyres out unnecessarily. For those teams like the factory SBD team, where the car is shared, then it means twice the headache. Double driving on last seasons Ultrasofts is going to double the rate of wear, and do you want to jeapordise the run offs by putting km's on your good qualifiers?

It will be an interesting year, to see how drivers cope with the challenge.

21Nov

MUK Trophy

This is my bronze award for finishing in third place in the championship. Its quite impressive, very heavy, even with a carbon fibre base, and a little plaque engraved with 3rd Overall on it. Well worth the license fee. I also picked up a few other trophies on Sunday, but they're not so impressive to look at, so we'll keep this one up for the time being. I collected the Saxon award for having the highest aggregate score in England's events; and my trophy for winning the 1600T class in the HSA Championship.

Sadly there are no class awards anymore in the BSC, they've all be taken away. There used to be great kudos in winning your class. Now all the Top 12 drivers get is a tiny crystal glass championship momento, and a permanent number for the following year.

14Nov

Revolution appearance

Good to see the car was shown in an article on Knockhill Race Circuit in the latest Motorsport UK Revolution magazine.

Speaking of Knockhill, the rumour is that the circuit wont be on the 2023 calendar, however it may be back again in 2024, due to the work undertaken by the WSCC members. Bravo guys. The calender wouldnt be complete without a visit to Scotland. Hopefully it will be a two day event rather than the one we had this year.

All the data from 2022 is now imported in to SQL Server, and I've installed the Machine Learning pack with R and Python so I can try that out. There are 3.2 million rows of data in total, as I deciced to export all the LifeVIEW data files at 100Hz export rate. Lots of detail, and now I can start trying the ML features.

8Nov

Number crunching

While I wait for the ECU to be worked on, I'm working out ways myself of getting the logged data from the ECU in to SQL so I can do some analysis on it. This week I've tried using an influxDB database, importing the data over http using a Python script that I wrote, but it's A) slow to import, and B) doesnt give me much scope for running queries against it once the data is imported. So I've gone back to using my own SQL Server instead, hosted on my desktop PC. This already holds data from 2021, so I'll simply add to it.

To make the process simpler, I've written a Python script that takes the CSV files created by LifeVIEW, and adds two additional columns, for the filename and run data/time. Once imported these additional columns allow me to identify when the data was captured and the original LRD file that the data was exported from. I'll share the .py file once its finished.
LifeVIEW