Race Season Update

Well what a season of motorsport. Perhaps one to write down to experience but fun with the RPM guys none-the-less.

We’ve learnt a lot about running the car on the new control tyre for the Track Day Championship, the Toyo R888. In common with a lot of the teams we found that the tyre didn’t perform well for the whole of a 45-minute race. We also found that on the advice of Toyo, we shouldn’t use the tyres for more than two races.

We’ve played around with lots of different settings and seem to have found one that works for both the car and tyre.

The season started at Donnington where we were running well in an incident packed race. We got completely wrong footed by a safety car just after we had pitted and re-joined the race which left us behind a lot of slower cars and ultimately cost us a few places. Overall though, a good race and we were pleased with the car and lap times.

The Snetterton 200 round was somewhat disappointing. Running well up the order after a good start, we were T-boned by a higher-class car, a Seat Leon Cup, which left the circuit and re-joined via our rear left wheel spinning us around at the same time! Whilst we finished the race it was at a much-reduced pace with a car that wasn’t quite pointing in the same way as the steering wheel. We got the car back to base and repaired just in time for the Silverstone National round.

The series runs on a power to weight basis. We ran in Class A, up to 200bhp/tonne. We were notified just before the Silverstone round that there had been an error in a DIN correction to our pre-season power runs at the rolling road. As such we had to add a load of weight to the car. This all seemed very odd as we haven’t done anything to the engine and we were ruled to be putting out around 10bhp more than in the previous season.

Silverstone was fine and very uneventful really, other than the extra weight which dulled performance all round, we still finished ok. 8th having qualified in 13th.

Then off to Rockingham, we really enjoy this circuit. Great spectating, as you can see the whole circuit from the stands. Again, an uneventful race, we qualified 10th and once again finished 8th. Really pleased considering the weight of the car and the quite technical in-field of the circuit. The one banked bend we use on the oval is very quick and very scary!

Round 5 was back to Snetterton but this time to the longer 300 circuit which has a great in-field series of bends. Qualifying was dismal! We came into the pits to check and re-set tyre pressures after three laps to warm up the tyres. Just as we left the pits the heavens opened. We just didn’t have a chance to put in a fast lap. We did, however, get a good feel for the car in the wet after some changes to the suspension geometry which was good.

Interestingly, after qualifying, we were asked to attend an on-the-spot power test. This confirmed that we had been wrongly corrected for power and had been running 40kg overweight for most of the season. As it was only a spot test though we weren’t allowed to reduce the weight of the car for the race. Starting in 12th, we had a good start and soon worked our way up to 8th. On the sixth lap though we were passed on the main straight by a, very fast in a straight line, VLN BMW 235i. Unfortunately, the driver, the team-mate of the Seat in the previous Snetterton round, ran out of talent and road on the exit of turn one. He was on the grass and we were level with him on the track doing 97 mph when he re-joined the track at 90 degrees taking out our rear left wheel, again! Another retirement and disappointing round but a great consolation milkshake at the OK Diner on the A1 on the way home!

Fortunately, there doesn’t appear to be much damage to the car, nothing that the RPM guys can’t fix! We’ll miss the Brands Hatch GP round at the beginning of September but we’ll be back for the season finale at Oulton Park in October.

Thanks once again to RPM for great car preparation and a whole lot of fun. Sorry we haven’t brought home the bacon this year.

Looking forward to next year there is a chance we might be running two cars. A friend would like to start racing and we are going to look to getting him out in a reliable old friend, the red 968 as well as running the Boxster again.

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