Established 23 years
TC changedMade the changes to the TC system last night, then checked the car over ready for the trip up to N.Ireland. No issues found, so the next job was to brim the fuel tank in the car, and ensure that the Jerry cans were all empty. The Stena Line ferry company prohibits the carrying of petrol, even in sealed containers, so I cant take fuel over with me. Instead I'll be running Renegade TS102, as supplied by Motorsport Supplies, which is being provided to me at the circuit when I arrive. Its almost the same specification as the Sunoco RTF-R5, but with the fuel in the tank, mixing the two shouldnt cause any issues, though I will be keeping my eye on knock levels.
I've made some behind the scenes changes to the HTML code for the website. Its to make it easier to navigate from mobile devices, and includes new code for the menu's. Any issues, please let me know.
TC for the wetThe weather forecast isn't looking great for the coming weekend. Although the yaw based traction control is now working 100% in the dry, I need to amend the target slip angles for the wet, as I've set the dry targets to allow up to 15% slip up to 150mph, but thats not desirable in the wet. So I've copied the Spin Target table 1 values (dry) to Spin Target table 2, and configured the switches on the steering wheel to select Spin Target table 2 when the Wet Tyre range of TC settings are selected, so this gives me another area to tune the wheel spin for the wet. I've reduced the slip targets down to the range 6% to 10% for up to 150mph, when the yaw angles are <10 degree's. So effectively when driving in a straight line, any wheelspin > 10% and the ECU will retard the ignition in proportion, which should keep the car, and driver, safe. As yaw angles increase, it further reduces the wheelspin targets, which reigns in any if not all, wheelspin. I'll make further adjustments to the settings over the weekend, and see what difference it makes during the two days competition. There's nothig else to do on the car. I may clean the tyres again, I'll check them tomorrow and make a decision.
Kirkistown is GoI have entered the Kirkistown event next weekend, in N.Ireland. The ferry is booked. The tyres need another clean. Never been before so I am going to have to learn the circuit very rapidly. The championship battle continues....
Latest standings after 18 rounds
Knockhill 2021This time two years ago, I drove home, with a very dead engine in my car. It blew up on the last run off on the Sunday, so it had held out right to the end. Not much warning, just a bit of oil blowing out the dump valve. But we did suspect it was on its way out.
What a contrast to this year. A second place, and three thirds, and an additional bonus point for breaking the 1600T class record on Sunday, and taking 1.7s off my PB. The Area-six EcoBoost engine performed flawlessly, with no fuel surge, stacks of power, and even with the steeper front and rear wing angles, top speeds exceeding what I’d achieved in 2019. This weekend I scored 94 points in total, stayed out of trouble, and had a really succesful event.
Setting off from Leicester on Friday morning, at 9am, I was expecting to arrive at Knockhill at 3pm, or at least that’s the false hope that satnav gives you nowadays. I was going to use the M1/A50/M6 and follow the motorway network all the way up to Knockhill, or at least as far as it would take me. The trouble is, the entire population of the UK also wanted to use my piece of road. And so the queues started at the MacDonald’s roundabout of the A50 nr Uttoxeter, and once on the M6 the congestion just continued to build, and I was soon stop starting in the heavy traffic. That continued until I was past the M56 Blackpool junction, whereupon it cleared, and then I was heading in to the Lakes on a gorgeous sunny day. There’s nothing quite like the views as the M6 snakes through the mountains. Then it was on to the Scottish border, and up in to the Highlands, and the roads remained relatively calm. I spotted John graham was catching me up, so I let him pass, then followed him and Debbie for the remainder of the journey. (In total it was a return trip of 685 miles, and I averaged 30mpg in the van. Thats not bad for the weight I'm dragging behind me.)
We crawled for 3 miles south of Glasgow which added 50 minutes to the arrival time, and then we were just battling increasing traffic, until finally we were able to follow the signs for Knockhill Circuit, leading us around the twisty and bumpy country lanes.
On arrival I nabbed the last space in the paddock, and was then told I may as well drive straight in to the pitlane and unload, which I did. Sadly, John Graham opened the clamshell cover on his trailer to discover that the nearside rear wheel was at a jaunty angle, and he had difficulty extracting the pair of trailer ramps from underneath the Gould. It was the lower rear wishbone that had sheared off, where the pushrod attached to the outboard end of the wishbone, and I mean completely sheared. John had no spares on him, so we helped him raise the rear of the car again so he could refit the trailer ramps. Debbie cancelled their hotel for the weekend, and they both left. John's had a very difficult year, but luck was on his side this time. Had that lower wishbone sheared on the start line or anywhere else for that matter, then it could have been the end of the Gould.
Everyone else arrived during the evening, Simon Bainbridge kindly let me have some of his left-over Chinese meal, to supplement my salad. I was hoping the catering would have been open but that’s not the case on a Friday. Takeaway chips and ham salad, not a bad combination as it turned out. We all walked the anti-clockwise course, and tried to remember what to look out for on the blind crests, as turn in points were critical for a good lap time.
Saturday morning, I woke to half decent weather, and during the day the clouds cleared and the temperatures continued to rise all day. I had no issues with the car. I wasn’t able to match my PB, in fact most people were slower, but on the first run off, Stephen Miles setoff with a front and rear wheel swapped over on the nearside of his Van Diemen, so he aborted and didn’t complete his run. That meant it was down to me and Terry Holmes for the win, so I tried really hard but only managed to come 2nd to the superior power of the Lola V8. That’s a good start, with 24 points.
On the second run off, I was third, with Terry beating me and Smiles again, but there were no dramas this time. I beat Pete Goulding on all four timed runs, which gave me a good number of points in the Sprint Leaders championship to maintain my 5th place ahead of Pete, and the 3rd place gave me 23 British sprint points.
Simon Bainbridge had an accident after he finished his final run of the day, ending up in the gravel trap. That meant an all nighter and the team managed to glue the floor back together, get the radiator repaired, and Simon was able to continue on Sunday in both the BSC and the Super Lap Scotland events. Top effort by John and Andrew.
Sunday again dawned to beautiful blue skies and higher temperatures than we were expecting. I had a moment in the first practice run, when the brakes didn’t slow me down when I stood on the brake pedal. Nearly in to the gravel, confidence a bit knocked, I continued around the track, and the brakes were quickly working again. I checked the data and the brake pressures were fine, so it must have been just the standing overnight had put a glaze on the disks. Something I’ll be more wary of the future. No times were recorded. The cable running from the start line to the timing hut had been cut accidentally in the heavy steel plate that the marshals use to gain access to the track, so I had no idea how quickly I’d driven. First timed run was then upon us, and on the gold rims with the practice tyres on, I drove as quickly as I could, but I was slower than my PB from 2019, so I sat down with the laptop and compared data with the 2019 data, and made a discovery about my driving style. Hmm, I needed to amend my approach. I fitted the black rims back on, with the fresher run off tyres, and I lined up for the first run off, and set off hoping to put the changes in to effect. When I returned, I’d found that I’d knocked 1.7s off my PB, and broken the class record, and finished again in 3rd place. What a result. It had definitely worked, so I knew what to do for the remaining two runs.
After a long lunch break, we were back out again for T3, and I’d put the older tyres back on again, to preserve the run off tyres. I was slower, but that was to be expected on the harder rubber. I’d still qualified of course, so it was all down to the last run of the day, run off two, to try and break the record again.
Graham Porret managed to strip 3rd gear in the Lola on the third timed run, so Terry drove round in 155 seconds in second gear, to qualify and then they removed the gearbox casing and replaced the damaged gears. I was quite surprised that Terry even risked driving it around in second gear, as the box was full of broken piece of gear teeth, which could have done even more damage to the few gears that were remaining. But they stripped the box down, cleaned it, replaced the gears and were ready in time for the final run of the day. Top work guys.
I was in the Run Off queue, when Pete Goulding set off ahead of me, not having the best weekend, discovering a bolt had fallen out of the steering wheel on Saturday, meant he was pushed back from the line and had to rapidly replace the bolt and have another go. However, on this run off run, Pete flew past the end of the pitlane, completing his first lap, and seconds later we heard a screech of tyres, and then it went quiet. The officials were on their radios, and I could overhear them saying Pete was beeched in the gravel after the chicane. So we turned off engines, and sat waiting for 15 minutes for the recovery, and for the stones to be swept off the track.
Once given the all clear, Terry Holmes went out ahead of me, as his lap had had to be aborted, and so it was then my turn. Sadly, I didn’t drive my best, and put in another poor time, but still finished 3rd behind Smiley (FTD) and Holmes, so on Sunday I’d bagged two thirds, and a bonus point, totalling 94 points for the weekend.
So that was that. Pete’s car was towed back after we’d all finished, and it looked a very sorry sight, plastered in dust and stones. I prepared my car ready to be loaded back in to the trailer, and eventually left the circuit around 6:45pm for the 6-hour journey back to Leicester, arriving at 12:45am, trying not to wake the neighbours as it took two attempts to reverse the trailer on to the drive.
A great result though. A eureka moment which has unlocked a lot more potential for knocking seconds off my time, and I’m really looking forward to the next outing.
Knockhill 2021 class record breaking Onboard videoThis is my 1600T class record breaking run in 4K and stereo sound, from Knockhill on Sunday, putting me 3rd in the run off with a 92s run. I scored 94 points over the two days, including the bonus point for breaking the record. Not bad at all.
I didnt have to take a spanner to the car all weekend. Just top her up with petrol, and drive :D
Its a shame I accidentally pulled the helmet bleeper cable out the helmet during the run, as that meant I wasn't able to hear when to change gear, which probably cost me a few tenths. Never mind.
Onboard videoUnfortunately, the memory card in the camera was fuller than I thought, so this isnt a full lap and 3/4, but you should get the general idea. This was my quickest run of the day, the final run off, where I was .08s off the class record with a 67.20s, finishing 2nd in the run off, just 0.43s behind winner Matt Hillam in the 2.0 Dallara. Definitely should have been quicker, still lots of time to be found in the corners. Must try harder.
Lydden Hill, rounds 13 and 14Second place, twice. Well technically it was a first and a second place, more of that later.
Arriving at Lydden on the Friday afternoon allowed me to get a good spot with the van, nearest the start area, pay a tenner for the 240V hookup, and get everything unloaded. With the promise of a heatwave, it was important to park in the shade, and keep cool for the weekend. The gazebo was unloaded next, and the car positioned underneath it, and then I unloaded the van of all the wheels, front wing, tools etc, to let me setup my airbed for the night. A track walk came around 7:30pm, and I’d taken the same approach again that I’d used for Snetterton, to look through my old data and write down the lift off points, gears, and corner speeds. It all made sense to me, and by the end of the walk I’d some ideas for braking points, carrying more speed, and using fewer gearchanges. Whereas in 2019 I’d used 6th gear, I was not going to use it this weekend, choosing to rev the engine out again in 5th where required.
Overnight I left the gearbox heater pad plugged in, seeing as I had 240V available, and in the morning the gearbox casing was 25C. At least the oil wouldnt be totally cold for the first practice run. I probably need a higher wattage heat pad, as the one I bought from RS doesnt really do a great deal. I reckon a duvet over the gearbox would help keep the heat trapped inside, so I might try again at Knockhill and see if I can get it a little warmer.
Saturday morning soon came around, and refreshed from a decent night’s sleep for a change, I put the airbed and bedding away and prepared for the first practice run. My friend Chris Brown from ATW Motorsport had kindly offered his services for the day, and he turned up in time for the first run. I opted for the practice tyres, on the gold rims, and there wasn’t a huge amount of grip available. I’d fitted a GoPro to film the air flow in to the intercooler side pod, with several strips of yellow wool applied around the intake, and the video shows just how well the air flows in and through the radiator. I definitely won’t be fitting the barge boards back, not this year anyway.
With the fresher 2020/21 tyres fitted, I then concentrated on my first timed run. With a lot of delays from accidents and an oil spill, my sister and her partner arrived, on his Triumph 800 motorbike, having travelled from Brighton, in time to see me take my first run at Midday. I gave it my all, and recorded a 68.54, which was a 0.6s off my PB (67.95s) and that time had easily qualified me for the run off. I’d also beaten Pete Goulding, which was a pleasant surprise.
Another 90 minutes later, and it was time for the first run off. I lined up behind Pete, and I set off determined to go quicker than before. Checking TSL Timing when I got back to the paddock, I was shocked to find that I was in first place, with a 68.49. No Matt Hillam. He’d been out and completed his run, but he had no time showing. Sure enough 10 mins later still no time. What? I’d won a run off? I’d beaten Smiles and Pete, and Matt?
It turns out that when SBD did the driver swap from Steve to Matt, they’d not covered over the #5 on one side of the car. So when Matt set off, it showed 5 on one side and 3 on the other. That’s a DSQ. In fact, there wasn’t even a time recorded for Matts run, hence it was missing from the TSL website.
So some 30 mins passed, and the next batch of cars had started their 3rd timed runs, and Matt and our championship coordinator had appeared from the timekeepers hut, where they’d successfully argued that Matt be given a re-run. So the proceedings were halted, the Dallara was driven to the line, and Matt set off on his run off run. Sadly, he beat me, and that dropped me back down in to 2nd place.
Was it worth a £250 protest fee? It was after all a technical infringement. But £250 for 1 point? Go figure. The majority of drivers I spoke to said it wasn’t right; we all arrive at the line fully prepared to do the run, and we certainly wouldn’t have been given a rerun if we’d run out of petrol half way round. This sets a precedence, and it reduced everyone's score by 1 point, not just mine.
Whilst waiting for the next run, Chris spotted water leaking from the rear wing. Which was very curious, I didnt remember it raining during the night. So we undid the end plate, and pushed the end of the wing downwards, and about 1/2 a litre of water must have poured out. I reckon when the car was out overnight at Pembrey in May, during the heavy rain, it must have run inside, and couldnt find its way out again. So I'd run at Snetterton with 0.5kg of water ballast inside the rear wing too :D
On to the third timed run, and I qualified 4th with a 67.94. which was a new PB by 0.01 seconds. Must have been the weight reduction that improved my time. I’d yet again beaten Pete, and Smiles, and the support from my team was paying dividends.
A new PB meant time for an ice cream, and my sister kindly obliged with a Magnum from the shop. Thanks Sis xxx
So for the fourth timed run, which was our second run off, I’d convinced myself to take the corners quicker, and I absolutely nailed the throttle out of the corners, the traction control was working beautifully, and I knocked 0.75s off my PB to record a 67.20s. Matt then went out, and beat my time by 0.43s, winning the run off, and again placing me again in 2nd place.
I couldn’t really believe it. I’d beaten Smiles again (FTD winner), and Pete four times, the car was brilliant. All that work invested in optimising and tweaking the settings was really paying off. Credit where credit is due, the Life ECU is a brilliant piece of kit, and the more time I spend researching all of the features, the more performance it seems to unlock. Yaw based traction control is fantastic now I’ve programmed it properly. Its just taken me a few events more than I anticipated to get it set up.
And the best bit of the day, collecting a trophy for coming 2nd overall. About time too :D
So after packing up, and leaving at 6:15pm, I had a 3.5 hour journey home, with the music turned up, and a satisfying days motorsport behind me. I had netted 48 points, which leaves me in 2nd place overall with 289 points to Smile’s 337, and no work to do on the car. Its Knockhill this weekend, and I’m really looking forward to having a chance to drive the car again around the undulating circuit, which we take in both directions during the weekend.
I shall clean the tyres again, as this seems to restore a lot of grip to the Ultrasofts. Aside from that I’m going to check the data from Lydden, and make any necessary adjustments to the settings. My thanks to Chris Brown from ATW, for his support, and my sister and her partner for allowing me to show them just what the EcoBoost can achieve.
SoundsI've repositioned the external microphone for the Kodak 4K camera, even further away from the engine this time, to try to reduce the sound level which its picking up. The camera has an inbuilt mic, but that just records wind noise once the car is rolling. The external mic is now down on the floor inside the cockpit, so it should work a lot better down there away from the noisey engine.
I've also finally managed to attach the leading edge of the diffuser floor, to the chassis. It's been a real struggle over the past couple of years, to keep the diffuser floor from dropping, which opens up a gap, in to which air passes above the diffuser, and this was defeating the whole purpose of it. I cut out a rectangular piece of carbon, which spans the width of the aluminium floor underneath the engine, and this is bonded to the aluminium floor. The leading edge of the diffuser floor now sits above that sheet, and is fastened securely to it. Hopefully at Lydden it'll produce even more downforce, so I can increase my corner speeds. I've also relocated the pair of titanium skids further forwards, which will add more protection to the diffuser, and may create a few more sparks. I'll fit a rear facing camera, just in case.
The number of drivers entered for Lydden has been reduced by two. Steve Brown was making his debut in the Empire Evo, but he's got some gear shift issues with the MBE ECU and the interface to the Geatronics GCU. And Grahame Harden has also withdrawn, both are disappointing to hear, so it's just 14 of us fighting for the wins. Stephen Miles discovered some sheared hub bolts on his Van Diemen at Llandow at the weekend, which forced his retirement. He's lucky that didnt happen at Lydden, or he'd have lost his 100% qualifier record, and dropped a lot of points.
@bsc_results on InstagramIts even easier now to see the results from each Top 12. Follow @bsc_results on Instagram.
Dash changesI've made a couple of tiny modifications to Screen 2 on the Dash4Pro, which should be of use when I'm on the track at Lydden. Screen 2 is automatically selected when the vehicle speed exceeds 15mph, so its important that the information displayed is relevant, and accurate. I'll see if the change helps on Saturday.
Speaking of the Dash4Pro, I've produced another how-to video, this time showing how the gear can be displayed when the ECU sends Gear values which dont necessarily equate to the actual gear selected. For example, where an ECU sends -1 for Reverse, and 0 for Neutral, you can have the dashboard display a letter R for reverse, and N for neutral, which is far more useful than showing -1 and 0. (Turn on closed captions if the captions dont automatically appear)
Revolution MentionI got a mention in the latest July 2021 edition of the Motorsport UK Revolution magazine.
BrakesLast night I removed all 32 brake disk bobbins, and replaced all the rusted ones with the fresh spares that were supplied with the car. I have also fitted M5x16mm stainless bolts and washers, secured with loctite, so in future I shant have any issues removing them should I need to replace a brake disk in a hurry. One on corner, three of the bolt heads sheared off when I tried to undo them, they were certainly overdue some maintanence. I also had to drill a couple out, using a 5mm drill bit, which was both messy and time consuming. I've got another set of 6 brake disks on order with Krugers Engineering, as Graham Porrett needs a set for the Ash Sutton car that he's currently upgrading for sprinting. The other set is going to Pete Goulding.
TC tweaksI've now altered the traction control setup, to reduce the amount of ignition retard being applied, and reduce the torque clamp more rapidly, which will make the acceleration under TC less jerky.
I've developed an Excel spreadsheet and a series of VBA macros that models the traction control system on the car. I simply import the vehicle speed, gear, and yaw angles from a previous run that I want to model, and the spreadsheet produces a graph which is based on the chosen Yaw Spin Targets, plus the position of the traction control switches, and then using the calculations that the ECU has to perform in order to arrive at a wheelspin value for any given speed/yaw angle, it generates a graph. It's working really well, and I can run it through every switch position, to produce a set of graphs, which then gives an indication of the effectiveness of the spin target values across all the switch positions, for that track.
There is very little documentation on the web for how to derive a Yaw based Spin Table, and despite searching for many hours, I couldnt really find any examples on how to achieve what I had set out to do. I think I've now got a fully functioning Yaw based setup, and sorry, but I wont be sharing the settings.
This is an example of the output from my Excel spreadsheet. It shows the vehicle speed and yaw angles, captured by the ECU for Pembrey. From that data, I worked out the profile of the Spin Target table, and the spreadsheet then runs the speed and yaw angles through the formula used by the ECU to determine the allowed wheelspin.
New brake disksJayde Kruger (2014 FF200 Champion) has made a set of Mygale brake disks for me and Pete. They arrived last week, and they're identical to the OEM disks from Mygale. I've started trying to free up the disk bobbins from each brake disk, which isnt as easy as I'd expected. The bolts have rusted inside a few of the bobbins, which would make a rapid brake disk change rather tricky. I've gone for a set of replacement M5x16mm bolts, in stainless steel, which should mean once I've replaced them all, they'll not be seizing/rusting again.
A big thank you to krugersengineering.co.uk for getting us out of a tight spot.
Standings after 12 rounds
Lydden preparationThe next outing is a return to Lydden Hill circuit down in Kent in July. In the same way that I prepared for Snetterton, I shall be going through my data from the last visit to Lydden in 2019, working out the optimum gears for each corner. When I was last there, the old engine was suffering from fuel starvation on the bends, which I have 100% cured by fitting the Radium anti-surge tank, so I know I wont be affected in the same way. I'm also going back with significantly more power, better aero, better traction control, in fact better everything, so there is every much an opportunity for my first win. I'll certainly be trying my hardest. Matt Hillam will be there in the Dallara, which is very quick, as will Smiles and Pete, but I'm sure I can put on a good performance if the weather stays kind. I'm now going through the data from last weekend, to refine a few settings, and on the car I've got a modification which should raise the horse power by a few percent.
Fokus Media photographs are now online
Photos from the weekend are now available to purchase. We were in the INV 4 class.
My quickest Run Off Onboard video from Snetterton
Snetterton weekendEvent results: https://www.tsl-timing.com/file/?f=sprint/2021/212581.pdf
For the event this weekend, I had removed both the front wing elements, and trimmed them so I could run them at a steeper wing angle than I’d ever tried before. Both elements had been prevented from being raised that high, due to the proximity of the nose cone. So I either had to trim the nose cone, or the wing elements. The elements were easier to trim, and I was looking forward to seeing if the additional downforce would glue the front of the car to the ground. At the same time I ran a steeper rear wing, to maintain the aero balance.
I had also loaded a new Yaw based Spin Target map in to the ECU, to make the traction control more sensitive. On the steering wheel controls I was running an 88% multiplier. This multiplies the Spin Targets in the ECU by 88%, therefore reducing the Spin Target. So for example, if the Yaw angle was 36°, and the speed was 50mph, and the Spin Target was 6%, that would allow up to 6% wheelspin as the car accelerates. To this value, the 88% multiplier is then applied, which reduces the wheelspin allowed to 5.28%. The steering wheel control allows me to run from 120% down to 40%, so I can quickly alter the setting depending on the conditions.
The Spin Target map was arrived at by analysing in Excel, the yaw angles and speeds from the data gathered from Pembrey and Castle Combe, and this gave me an indication as to the shape of the curve that I would need.
Before first practice I decided to adjust the brake bias one click to give me more front bias. I’d had difficulty generating the brake pressures that James Abbott used to reach when he raced the car, and during the week I’d looked through the ECU data from 2012-2013, I could see how the pressures were split, with around 70:30 front to rear. I wasn’t getting that bias, so I thought the best thing to try was to adjust the bias to the front one click, or one half turn.
When our turn came, I then lined up for the noise test, and was asked to give 3/4 max rpm, which was around 4500 revs. I was quite surprised to be told I'd failed, and I was pushed back out of the queue, whilst others then took their turns. The Lola of Terry and Graham was also failed, and the day didnt appear to be heading in the right direction. I was asked if I'd like to try again when the engine was warm, so I sat for 5 mins with the engine running, at high rpm, and when the oil temperature was around 70C I moved forwards for another go. This time I was allowed through; alas the Lola wasnt so lucky, and the guys had to miss first practice while they attempted to reseal some gaps in their exhaust.
On the damp practice run the brakes felt terrible, worse than ever, which was puzzling. I then checked the pressures from the logged data, and I was seeing 30:70 front to rear, so the bias had in fact jumped to the rear. I think what had happened was the bias adjuster mechanism at the base of the brake pedal, had jammed, and me adjusting the bias had made it jump to provide more rear bias. So I removed the bonnet, and watched the mechanism as I adjusted full rear, full front, full rear, and back to full front again. And sitting in the car, with the dashboard showing the brake pressures, pressing the pedal firm I was seeing over 50bar of front brake pressure, and 40 bar rear. This was much more like the pressures that James used to generate, and it was taking me far less effort to achieve them. Result.
However on the first timed run, trying to qualify for the run off, with amazing brakes, the engine tripped in to Limp Mode at the end of the first lap. My first lap was 40.50s which was fastest of all drivers, how annoying. As I lifted and braked at the end of the straight, changing down for the left hander to start my second lap, as I pushed the throttle pedal, the engine lacked all power. I knew straight away what had happened, and there was little I could do about it apart from risk restarting the ECU and possibly damaging the engine. So I limped around on my second lap, heart sinking knowing I’d not qualified for the first run off. When I got back to the paddock I read the data from the ECU, and found that the engine had tripped due to the air charge temperature (ACT) reaching 80C. At the exact moment I’d lifted at the end of the straight, the ACT had just reached the highest temperature it’d have ever reached, and the ECU was set to trip at 80C. It’s a safeguard, so it was doing its job. Why though, why had the ACT reached that temperature? I couldn’t see any reason for it, and raised the ACT trip to 100C and tried again. On the second timed run, I set a time that would have put me 6th had I been in the runoff, and when I read the data the ACT had reached 89C. Something was clearly wrong.
I checked the engine coolant temperature (ECT), and noticed that that was also running 10C higher than it would normally reach. The ambient air temperature (AAT) was quite low compared to Pembrey, where the ACT’s were only reaching 60C. What could it be? What had changed, apart from the front wing angle. I wondered, if the steeper angles were deflecting more air over the car and away from the side pods. So I either lower the front wing angles, to restore the airflow, or remove both the barge boards and see if that cured it. I opted for removal of both barge boards, and on my next run, I was 0.7s quicker, and the ACT’s were >30C cooler, and the ECT was also 10C lower. That was a very interesting discovery. Clearly the barge boards had been robbing both side pods of cool air, and coupled with the steeper wing angles, there was insufficient air flowing through the radiators, hence the rise in temperatures. So both barge boards are now consigned to the garage roof when I get home.
For the next two timed runs, I broke my PB, and qualified well for the run off with an 82.73, and finished 7th in the second run off, netting 19 points. Not a great result, but at least I was scoring good points again, and I was 6th fastest overall.
With the dramas of yesterday behind me, I woke in my van at 3:30am to the sound of rain. I don’t know if it was something I’d eaten, or the fumes of petrol generators again running all day, but I felt very unwell and after two trips to the toilets, I then threw up at 5am, and felt decidedly poorly. Avoiding breakfast seemed a good idea, and I sipped a Lucozade sport which stayed down.
I fitted the fresher cleaned rubber, the rears were bought in 2020, and the fronts in 2021, and driving to the start line I was once again tested for noise, and was quite surprised to be told that I had again failed, although for the second time no one told me the pressure level that had been registered. So I was pushed back, and sat revving the engine trying to get it warm, whilst officials buzzed around the car, listening to the exhaust from the turbo. I know she's quite loud static, but under load it's one of the quietest cars on the grid. I then moved forward for a second go, and once again, on the second attempt I was allowed through. For sprints and hillclimbs the revs are meant to be 2/3rds not 3/4, but the scrutineers were applying racing rules rather than sprint rules on us, heaven knows why. But its just best not to arque with them, just do as you're told and they normally oblige. I am thinking about removing the RPM readout from the display. I dont need one, I never look at it. I wonder how they'd perform a noise test without a rev counter?
On the first timed run, I flew around, with great brakes, and even better ACT’s, and easily qualified for the run off with an 84.16s putting me 6th overall.
On the first run off I took 0.6s off my PB and finished 6th again with an 82.12s.
On the next timed run, I took another 0.7s off my PB, and qualified 5th with an 81.43s. This had broken Pete's 1600T class record, but sadly Pete had lowered the record earlier so I wouldnt be getting a bonus point unless I broke his new record.
And on the final run, the second and final run off of the day, I took nearly another second off my PB, posting a 80.55s run, which not only placed me 4th in the run off, netting 22 points, but I was 4th fastest overall, beating Steve Broughton, Terry Holmes, and our current champion John Graham. I jumped in the air when I was told my time; An incredible result for the challenges thrown at me.
So I’m still second overall in the championship; Rob Tonge had a snapped chain on one of his run offs, and suffered repeated 1st-2nd gear shift issues on the run off starts, which means we both scored less points than we could have done during the weekend, but Rob retains his 3rd place overall, albeit with a larger gap between us.
My car was amazing, so much confidence in the grip, and the brakes, and the traction control was just perfect. The next event is Lydden Hill in July, which I am really looking forward to.
The replacement near side front wheel speed sensor behaved perfectly all day, so I had all four wheels reporting speeds with no outages. The data I've captured from the weekend, I'll analyse, and I'll be tweaking the torque reduction for traction control, as it was very noticable when TC took charge, and I think I can back off the reduction to make the acceleration even smoother. The fuel level sensor or gauge were both still playing up, so I was having to top up with a litre or two between each run, guessing the fuel level. I'll have another think about wiring the level sensor in to the ECU so I can get a more reliable reading via the dashboard rather than the seperate gauge.
20 BSC drivers at SnettertonIt's looking like a great British Sprint turnout at Snetterton this weekend. It will be several drivers first time there, and the weather forecast is looking iffy, so qualifying could be interesting. Only one practice run, we're all out in the first batch, and we know how slippery the track is when it's just the tinyest bit damp.
New how-to videosI'm posting a series of how-to video's explaining how I use the brilliant Life Racing software tools, to examine data, configure the logging parameters etc. The two latest videos are now on Youtube. Please give a like and subscribe.
I've ordered more race fuel, 50 more litres, hopefully arriving on Wednesday. The race car is ready for the weekend, it just needs loading up on the trailer for the trip down to Snetterton Friday evening. The forecast isnt great. Now I've got a wet lap on slicks under my belt, I have a lot more confidence about driving on the ultrasofts, so if its wet, I'll be in a better position to push. Likewise, now the release agent is gone from the new Pirelli wets, having used them once at Pembrey, I'll be in a better position to use them in the wet if needs be.
Fuel sender unit issuesI've tackled the fuel sender in the Gemzoe tank, which was giving spurious readings on the digital fuel level gauge. One minute it was showing 70% full, then it would show Empty. At Pembrey I was never 100% sure of how much fuel I was carrying. I wiggled the pair of spade terminals that connect to the top of the sender, and then watched the gauge drift from 70% to 0% in around 20 seconds. There was my clue then, it was definitely an electrical issue. I removed both terminals and tried to remove the sender unit from the tank, but sadly where I've placed the sender, is below a chassis tube, so alas I cant get the sender out. So the next task was to simply fit it back, and with a split washer under the head, tighten the bolt up that earths the sender return feed, tighter than ever. And the gauge then read 70% full (ie 7 litres) and despite trying to disturb the wires, the gauge doesnt move. I'm hoping that this has now cured the issue, I'll find out at Snetterton. The car is now ready, I just need to check how much race fuel I've got, as I used a fair amount at Pembrey over the 20 laps I covered, and order another pair of drums if required.
My missing bonus point has been added to the points gained at Pembrey. I now have 173 pts, not 172, two new Personal Bests, and one new class record. Not a bad start to the year. Snetterton is showing 20 BSC drivers for both days. Rob Tonge is first reserve for Sunday, having chucked in a late entry. I fully expect him to get a run, people often drop out, mostly due to car issues. Rob was at Daytuner last week, getting the latest SBD MBE gearshift strategy programmed in. A different MBE user told me the ECU allows the car to change gear in 7mS. I think thats not the whole picture. The gearcut period is the time it takes to change gear. My gear cut is down to 130mS now, with another 30mS to be removed through some careful testing. But 7mS, nah, I dont think so.
Chris Jones will be out, in his Force, having repaired the brake issue he had which prevented him from going to Pembrey. No news on whether Terry and Graham are going to be out in their Lola following the big crash at Blyton. And Pete Goulding is still repairing his car, with further modifications to the fuel system, which might include an anti-surge pump setup like the one I pioneered.
Revolution magazine appearanceGood to see the results from the Pembrey rounds made it to the editors of Motorsport UK's Revolution magazine in time for the latest edition.
0 to 60 improvesMy best 0-60 at Pembrey was completed in < 2.9s on Sunday afternoon, with just a few adjustments made to lower the launch RPM via the steering wheel controls. Thats almost 0.5s quicker than my best launch previously, so the changes I made for Pembrey have definitely improved the starts. The biggest change was dropping the LC to TC transition from 40mph to 30mph, so its clear a further reduction in the transition speed should reduce the times even more. The S curve I've programmed for the LC definitely worked wonders for controlling the initial wheelspin. I've now modified the Yaw spin target table, to make TC more aggressive for Snetterton. With the freshly cleaned tyres, I'm hoping for some even better results.
Tyres cleanedI've cleaned my tyres following the event at the weekend. One pair, used since 2019, it was their first clean, and I removed around 1mm of dead rubber from the surface. I've now got 8 pristine looking Ultrasofts for Snetterton, where I intend to exploit the new found grip. It took around 90 minutes to clean them using the heat gun. Once cleaned I wrapped them back up again to preserve the rubber. The HSA is currently preparing the points for the championship, they still havent credited me with my bonus point, I've sent an email to the coordinators to let them know that I have 173 points in total. It doesnt make any difference to my second place overall in the British Sprint Championship, as I am 6 points ahead of third place. But it would be great to get at least some kind of acknowledgement to my email.
The 2019 rear tyres were particularly bad, with around 1mmm of crust removed using the heat gun.
Flat in 6th around Woodlands at Pembrey, which is taken at approaching 130mph
2nd overall after rounds 9-12Bonus points have been awarded for those drivers that broke records at Pembrey, which has given me 1 extra point for the new class record I set on Sunday on the first timed run, taking me to 173 points.
I've replaced the XS608B front left wheel speed sensor with another one that I've used before, but I think its from the rear axle, so it was definitely working when I last had it fitted. The faulty sensor that it has replaced, exhibits the same symptons when I connect it to my bench PSU. The amber LED comes on when it detects the presense of a metal trigger disk, but the LED sometimes doesn't extinguish when the disk is removed.
Looking at the data I captured at Pembrey, I can see an imbalance in the aero, which lead to less lateral grip than when we were last there in 2019. For Snetterton I shall address that with higher front and rear wing angles, and I shall focus on carrying more speed around the corners. Having the suspension travel logged is proving very useful, however I must inspect the data at events in order to diagnose grip issues.
Pembrey Rounds 9-12After a pretty dire journey of around 5 1/4 hours, we arrived to a warm and sunny Pembrey, hoping for some decent weather over the weekend. Only my 4th ever time at the track, just 15 BSC drivers were entered, including Dave Cutcliffe's first outing since 2019. News soon came of the retirement of Chris Jones' car, with brake issues discovered when testing at Llandow the day before. Chris was double driving the Force, with MBE man Chris Price, so neither were to score any points this weekend. That left 13 drivers. This was also the first the appearence of the SBD team with their impressive Dallara F399, wearing yet more new aero which, looking inside the rear diffuser, had grown some channels and louvres to help increase downforce without increasing drag.
Dave Cutcliffe managed one practice run until his new clutch broke, ruling him out from further competition. That left 12 of us to score points. Sadly the dry weather rapidly turned to showers, more of a sea mist to be honest, which looked to be saturating the track surface. The remaining timed runs and run off runs were interspersed with rain, then sun, and it was a case of never being on the right tyres at the right time. We all changed to wets for the first timed run, but that was a mistake, as the rain then ceased, and by the time we were all in the queue, it was rapidly drying. Steve Broughton was double driving with Matt Hillam, and during their driver change over, they drove back in to the pits and fitted the slicks on. So when Matt went out, he set a blistering time compared to the rest of us.
In the run offs, I managed a 5th place (see unsafe release below), and an 8th, earning 39 points. Prior to the 2nd run off, we'd had more rain, but the track was drying. This time everyone was on slicks, but I didnt want to fall off trying, and its a score I can drop at the end of the year. At least I now have the experience of driving on slicks in the damp, so I know I can try a lot harder if those conditions are repeated. The points scored kept me in 2nd place overall. I'd had more intermittent front left wheel speed issues, which I was going to swap out on Saturday evening, but 30 mins after we'd finished, the heavy rain arrived, and everyone disappeared in to their motorhomes, and that was that. In the morning I had reduced the gear cut duration by 10mS and 2°, to see if we could reduce the wheelspin during gear changes, and it didnt have a negative effect, but then it didnt really reduce the wheelspin either. Try again tomorrow.
Waking up with a headache wasn't ideal, the smell from the exhaust fumes of generators next to me was overwhelming, but we werent allowed to use the 240V hookups, nor the new garage complex, so people had to run gennies to charge batteries etc. Not much you can do about that. Take some tablets and keep drinking plenty of water, especially with the warmer weather forecast for the day.
Word quickly spread about a cam belt issue on the Dallara, and sure enough the SBD car was being prepared to go back in to the trailer. On Saturday evening, Matt had spotted damage to the cam belt whilst he was inspecting the dry sump belt, and the car was instantly withdrawn. Steve transferred the number 5 on to Zoe's EcoBoost Westfield, so he was now double driving with Zoe, who is also in the British Sprint, running in the ModProd class. So that took us down to 11 drivers.
With a further change to the gear cut timing, I just had to fill the fuel tank with some petrol, and go out and have a play on the new circuit layout, which includes a 90 left after Dibeni's, which then spits you back out on to the Senna Esses. I was practicing braking later and harder, and was reaching 40bar pressure, I dont think I can actually achieve much more, I'll have to work on it. It was paying dividends though, and on my 1st timed run, on the fresh Ultrasoft tyres, I broke the class record and set a new 107second PB even with a sideways moment out of Brooklands. On the first run off I was 4th, netting 22 points. Whilst we were waiting for the third timed run, the sun was beating down and we were trying to stay cool by not getting in to the cars until the last minute. As we stood around chatting, we heard a car skidding on the track, and looked over to see Steve Broughton bringing the Westfield to a stop, backwards. The car had lost the floor in a crash which started when he managed to get on to the grass. Steve was towed slowly back to the pits, the westy looking very sorry for itself, wires and pipes dragging on the ground, where it was then retired, as was Steve and Zoe, and that meant two cars for SBD to repair. Kim said she wasnt looking forward to the drive home. That left just 9 drivers remaining.
On my third timed run I was slower with a 110s, struggling with traction out of the corners, in the rising temperatures. John Graham beat me by just 0.06s so it was very close between the two of us. On the second run off (4th timed run), I was 4th again, with a 109s, and the tyres looked extremely dodgy. I'd made some adjustments to the TC settings via the steering wheel, to try and find a happy medium, but I just wasnt able to step on the throttle like I could in 2019, so I'm toying with going back to LatG for Traction Control rather than Yaw. I'll sleep on it and decide in the next few days.
Still I was 4th fastest overall on Sunday, which was quite pleasing :D
So I'm still 2nd overall, with 172 points, just ahead of Rob Tonge in his Force TA on 166 points. We are all trailing behind Smiles on 199 points, with his 7 firsts and 1 second place. He said his car neither understeers nor oversteers, and I'm really struggling to keep my car planted when I'm on the gas. The rear end is very lively, and during the day I softened the rear ARB, reduced the bump rebound on the front dampers, and even increased the rear wing. But looking at the telemetry compared to 2019, despite producing a quicker time than last year, I'm no where near as early on full throttle as I was with less power. Simply because I'm still not able to. I have to run with TC on, and it needs to work, but the slip targets are too high, so I'll reduce them again at Snetterton until such time that I have the confidence to stand on the pedal and let the TC take care of the grip.
So on Saturday, during my first run off, I was building to 140mph on the pit straight, flat in 6th, when John Graham was released from the pitlane exit in front of me. I instantly hit the brakes, and aborted my run, and headed back in to the pit lane to have a second go. It was annoying, and hair raising, and I vented my anger when I was approached. Apologies were offered by the CofC, but that wouldnt have covered the costs had I hit John or taken avoiding action on to the grass to avoid him. Less than a second later, and he'd have been released straight in to me. Simply inexcusable. On my 2nd attempt at the run off, the tyres were too hot to get the maximum grip, and the car squirmed around the corners, losing time. I still managed 5th, but I was on for a far better time had I not been baulked. When I got back to the paddock, the oil temps were around 115° and the tyres, engine and turbo were extremely hot. Not ideal for producing maximum power.
So not a bad weekend, could have been better, but consistent finishing and points is whats paying dividends at the moment. I have stacks of data to go through. The fast acting air charge temperature sensor was paying dividends, I've never felt the engine pull so strong. Coupled with the ITG cold air intake forcing ambient air in to the turbo, the air charge temperatures remained very low compared to previous events, so thats a big tick as far as the development of that aspect goes.
Brown upgradesSteve Brown is selling his JKS Speads single seater, to make way for a new car. Knowing Steve, whatever he buys, he'll be very quick in it. I'm looking forward to seeing the debut this summer, and good luck with the sale.
I made a couple of changes to the dashboard, one to sort out the change lights, and another to make the corner heights appear correctly on the diagnostics screen. Since I'd zero'd the damper pots in LifeCAL, the movement was coming back as a negative rather than a positive value, so I just had to change the min and max values on the bar graphs. I also swapped the left and right dampers over in the ECU pin assignments, as they were still reversed from when I refitted the pots on their new brackets. A quick clean, and a spanner check, and I'm now ready to load the car in to the trailer.
Goulding outPete Goulding's 5th trip to the rolling road in 2021, was again without success yesterday. Having blown up the standard EcoBoost he was running at Blyton two weeks earlier, the fully forged Area 6 EcoBoost engine was refitted and another attempt made last night to calibrate the Life ECU, and again the engine mysteriously lacked power, a boost leak and more fuelling issues are suspected. This means I'm on my own at the weekend, flying the EcoBoost flag. Its a shame Pete wont be there, it'll leave just me and John Graham fighting over the above 2.0 class.
On my car, the modified air charge pipe is refitted to the intercooler, so I now have the fast acting air temperature sensor fitted, ready for testing. I've been looking over my data from the venue from 2019, the first visit there on the Pirelli's, and I was braking in a couple of places I needn't have been (Honda!), and I was not on the power early enough exiting several bends. So I have a plan, and assuming the traction control changes have improved the setup, I shall be trying very hard to get on the gas earlier, and capitalise on all the available torque. So primarily I'll be working on adjustments to TC to allow me to be more aggressive on the throttle. I've also changed the throttle maps again, to give me 100% throttle from 95-100% pedal position rather than 97-100%, and I've swapped one of the 3D printed plastic speed sensor brackets on the gearbox after I spotted two cracks in one of them. I'm not taking any chances.