Wednesday, 12 May 2021

CALM Porsche - Brands Hatch Grand Prix

Our first outing of the season was on the famous but rarely used Brands Hatch GP circuit.  We were again sharing the largest possible grid with the Bernies V8's which made for a challenging time last year.  

As a single day event the paddock was rammed so we had to make our own space on the end of a row to setup in.  At least the weather was nice!  

We had pre-prepped the car as usual so it was just a case of setting tyre pressures and heading early to the holding area given 44 cars needed to be noise tested on route.  

I was near the front of the queue so had good track space.  It took 2 laps for tyres to come up to temperature before I could really push and I matched my race time from last time out. 3 secs faster than previous qualifying on this layout. 

I had several laps where I was up to 1sec up on my best time, but fading tyres and traffic prevented me carrying that to the line.  I finished 4th Porsche and 12th overall which was a really good effort. 

After a wait long enough to watch the full F1 race we got ready for the 40min race in late afternoon.  I made a small suspension tweak to try and overcome some front  understeer.   

As we rolled round the green flag lap, I kept really close to the V8's around me during the rolling start so a not to get jumped by too many.  I managed to hold the middle of the track as much as possible to block potential over-takers.  Despite that a couple V8s just pushed past with their power and slowed me down into the corners.  

This pushed me back into the clutches of the class 2 Boxster's.  I was struggling with grip and handling and so was defenceless against them coming past me. I just tried to lap consistently after that hoping to regain some time or get clear track after the mandatory 90sec pit stop. 

A car in the gravel triggered a safety car just as the pit window opened so I went into a crowded pit lane with half the field.  In hindsight I should have stayed out and pitted the next lap as we lost a good 10-20secs queuing into the pit lane. 

I got a couple of places back on the restart but within 2 laps the lead TVR's took each other off causing another safety car period.  For some reason a V8 car in front refused to catch the safety car so I finished behind several slower cars that benefited from our pit stop delay but still 3rd in class. 

The car needs some TLC before we go racing again with more grease leaking underneath and some gear shift issues to resolve and a broken wheel stud to replace. 

2021 Season Preview

In 2021 we will again be racing with the CALM All Porsche trophy.

We'll miss the opening round of the season but have entered the remainder including Brands Hatch GP, Snetterton 300, Silverstone International and Brands Hatch Indy.  

With limited access to the Boxster we have had to wait for lockdown rules to be relaxed to begin the season prep work.  Given we only did a single event last year due to Covid restrictions the list isn't too long. 

We started with bleeding the brakes to make sure no air is in the system.  This was followed by bleeding the clutch slave cylinder because since the engine rebuild the clutch pedal wasn't returning fully and went to the floor after the event at brands hatch.   Sat on the top the gearbox access is impossible with a traditional 11mm bleed spanner so the nipple had to be loosened with a socket extension and opened / closed by hand.  The recommended technique is also to have the pedal pushed all the way down during bleeding.  As expected a load of air came out and the pedal now returns nicely. 

Whilst under the car we spotting what looked like an oil leak on the back of engine by the oil cooler.  

However on closer inspection it was grease which has sprayed out of a tiny nick in the inner CV joint rubber boot.   Luckily the inner joints are serviceable (the outer isn't) as are both boots - so we can change this ourselves.  It required removal of the hub nut which with loctite needs the longest 3/4" breaker bar to undo. 

Whilst sorting this it we also removed the rubber boots on the rose joints of the roll bar drop links which had perished. 

The car is ready for a shakedown track day at Snetterton which went well but we had to change the exhaust after the internals failed, and this cut short our afternoon running.