Monday, 30 April 2012

First Race Weekend (Snetterton)

Our first race weekend was at the very wet Snetterton circuit in East Anglia on 28th & 29th April 2012. 
We arrived at 8am and had a pit garage to unload our kit into. 

After signing on at race control, adding the mandatory series decals, the car was safety scrutinised before we headed into the assembly area for qualifying. Our standard exhaust didn't trouble the noise tester!
From the assembly area we were let out onto the track for 20mins of qualifying.  Hitting a very wet first corner was mildly terrifying with a narrow wet racing line to following round the track surrounded by standing water. Going slightly off-line in the corners meant having to back off the power as you understeered towards the grass.  The rear of the car was twitching out of the corners fighting for grip as you bled the power on as gently as possible. I did improve lap by lap as my confidence grew.  I set the 19th fastest time out of 24 and was very happy to have made it round my first competitive track action.

After qualifying our car was weighed for the first time ever at 1373KG.  The minimum weight for the class is 1300KG for our 1st Gen 986 Boxster with 250BHP.

Race #1
The grid is adjusted in class order so I started from pos 12A (aka 13th).  I got away from the line well with no wheel spin but wasn't prepared for the lack of visibility in the spray and the close proximity of the other cars around me.  I got overtaken by both production spec Boxsters and 4 or 5 of the 924's at the first two hairpin corners.  It took the remainder of the race (8 laps) to get back past each of the 924's as I was sandwiched in the middle of great battle for their class lead.I finished 15th of 24 starters.
Race #2
On Sunday morning we returned to a still wet Snetterton and softened the dampers significantly to cure the excessive understeer in the corners.  It worked - giving me confidence to stay ahead of the 924's from the start and set out catching the Boxsters in front of me. I managed to pass one into a hair-pin but missed a gear change at crucial points when lining up the next car for a pass. I finished 14th of 25 starters.
Race #3
During the lunch break it rained even heavier so we softened the front and rear dampers further.  I again got off the line well, loosing places only to the two production spec Boxsters and kept all of Porsche 924's behind me. Taking the confidence from the end of the previous race into the first lap I realised I could keep pace with the Boxsters in front of me and set out catching and overtaking 3 cars.  I was briefly up to 10th but a couple of mistakes let two cars plus a front-runner recovering from a 1st lap spin past.  I finished 13th.

Final Preparations

The weekend before the Snetterton race we still had a number of jobs to complete.

Adjusting the rear tow straighter as I didn't like the feel of the car at the last track day and the race would all be about confidence to push the car.

The aluminium bottle fire extinguisher kit which is from a UK company called FEV was mounted in the car in place of the passenger seat we had during track days.  The supplied tubing was cut and run to four spray nozzles (2 in the driver compartment and 2 in the engine bay) and connected up with t-pieces.
It is fired by externally and internally mounted self powered buttons with a control box to test and arm the system. The E Is for Extinguisher not Electrics!
The final job was to re-fit the standard air box with a performance filter to ensure we were compliant with the series regulations, removing the induction system previously fitted.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Snetterton Shakedown 2

On 30th March we were at Snetterton in Norfolk again.  After passing my ARDS test in the morning (see previous post) we had more running on track. Mechanically the car ran well and reliably.
The day was an open pit lane event and there were really too many cars at the event. Track time was disrupted continuously by red flag incidents and lots of traffic.  Later in the afternoon we ran our race wheels and Toyo 888 tyres - however suffered some rubbing on the rear arches in hard cornering which will need more rolling and trimming of the inner wheel arches to fix.


I have signed up to be a driver in the 2012 Logson Group Porsche Championship run by the British Racing & Sports Car Club (BRSCC). This championship has classes for Porsche Boxster and Porsche 924 race cars on a mixed grid.


One of the final hurdles before entering the championship was to pass my Association of Racing Driver Schools (ARDS) test.  This provides me with a Motorsports Association National 'B' race licence. This is a two-part test comprising a written test of the flags and safety procedures plus a 2-lap driving test.  I passed with 100% in the written test and with a mix of good and average marks in the driving test. I drive the Peugeot RCZ for the driving test and found just couldn't get used to the clutch and brake pedal. Very different from the the Boxster - still I managed to get round safely to pass!
Our car will run no. 46 in the championship with our first race being the 2nd Round at Snetterton on the 28th April 2012.
 There is still lots to do to get the car within the regulations and ready to race!

Race Wheels and Tyres

Work on the car continues.  Some of the car under tray was flapping loose so needed to be repaired.  The heat shielding on the underside of the rear boot floor (above the exhaust) also rattles - but this will wait until the exhaust box is changed as access is difficult.

After the last track day we needed to replace the brake fluid with Castrol SRF and adjust the rear tow slightly.  Our method of running parallel fishing wire lines down each side of the car is basic and cheap - but effective. 
We then trial fitted our Team Dynamics Race Wheels.  These need at least a 3mm spacer at the rear to avoid the rim hitting the suspension tower. They have the medium compound Toyo 888 tyres fitted and should make a massive difference in handling on track.