|04-11-2011, 05:09 PM||#1|
Join Date: Dec 2009
VF Racing: Silverstone 9th & 10th April
Silverstone National: April 9th/10th 2011 (Rounds 1 & 2 of BRSCC EuroSaloons)
Running for the first time in the EuroSaloon Championship, we approached the event not really knowing what to expect. We’d seen a couple of rounds last year, and we knew that there were some seriously quick machines in our class, with the likes of Rex Stamp’s Supercharged Lotus Exige and Nick Williamson’s Escort Cosworth to name just two.
Also with the planned appearance of a pair of Ginetta G50’s this season, (the ones that supported the BTCC rounds last year) it would be a battle to run near the front.
Running on the “National” circuit, meant for each lap we would be covering 1.639 miles, and with the revised layout at “Maggotts” we were interested to see what this did to the circuit.
Following our last race at Oulton Park, the car needed some timely remedial work in order to get it back up to 100%, which was something we’d need if we were to stand any chance of a good result.
Both the clutch and brakes were a cause for concern, with neither working as they should.
The clutch master and slave cylinders were replaced with those from a later model Impreza, and a heat shield has been added to help stop the fluid boiling.
At the same time a new clutch from Exedy has been fitted, and the front disc’s were also replaced as.
To address the issues surrounding the wheel bearing failure, new sponsor “Racing Logic” has provided some of their track day suspension as an interim measure until their purpose built race kit arrives in a few weeks.
The benefit of using the upgraded suspension is that it allows the car to utilise the later model hubs. These have an improved bearing design that will hopefully stop the issue’s we’ve been troubled with.
With the hubs custom made by “ScoobyClinic” they retain the “classic” PCD of 5x100, but also they allow the hub to be replaced without having to re-set the whole front geometry every time.
With a last minute push to complete the car, it was picked up en-route to Silverstone on Friday night.
With blue skies over the circuit, there was plenty of time to get set up and ready for scrutineering and the subsequent practice laps.
With fine weather for qualifying, the slick tyres were swapped onto the car, and the pressures were all checked and set accordingly. The suspension was given a thorough going over and was set up with what we thought would be best for the circuit. As this was an unknown system to us, we would have to wait and see how it coped.
Looking at our class (A) which consisted of:
5: Escort Cosworth Dave Cockell
6: Ford Falcon Andy Robinson
9: Escort Cosworth Nick Williamson
14: Marcos Mantis Doug Ellwood
19: Subaru Impreza Ian Froggatt
21: Escort Cosworth Charlie Jackson
22: BMW Z Coupe Dean Irving
33: Evo 5 Ian Roberts
66: Toyota Supra Steve Linton
75: Evo 9 Barry Squibb
83: TVR Cerbera John Wilson
93: Mosler MT900 Phil Keen
96: Evo 9 Gary Prebble
Alongside the seasoned Eurosaloon regulars, and last year’s class winner Dave Cockell, we were also up against the likes of the Evo 9 of Gary Prebble (who we knew from the 2010 AAA Saloon Cup) Steve Linton’s “Time Attack” Toyota Supra with over 720 brake horse power, John Wilson’s GT Cup TVR Cerbera and a monster Le-Mans spec racer in the form of Phil Keen’s GT3 Mosler MT900!
It was obvious that this was going to be a tough day at the office, but if nothing else, we would use the event to test the new suspension.
With a grid of 35 cars, getting clean laps for the best qualifying times would be difficult.
With the Mosler showing its dominance, he was quickly back in the paddock having set his fastest time after just 6 laps. With the exception of Charlie Jackson in the Escort, everyone else in class “A” completed qualifying and secured their place on the grid for race 1.
With qualifying over, the car was back into the paddock to be checked over and have the tyre pressures and temperatures recorded.
The tyre wear looked good, but with room for improvement, and the new suspension was delivering the goods with positive feedback from the driver.
When the times came in, and given our power deficit we were pleased with the results.
Qualified 8th in class
Qualified 10th overall
Fastest lap: 1:03.606 sec on lap 16 of 17
Mosler on pole: 56.975 sec
Following 1 formation lap, the pace car pulled in and the rolling start got underway.
As expected, the Mosler just disappeared into the distance, never to be seen again. That is until it lapped us!
On the grid we were surrounded by the other runner’s in our class, along with the Class B “Touring Cars” of Kevin Wendt and Ilsa Cox.
Into “Copse” Ilsa put her Seat Leon ahead, and proceeded to stay there.
On the entry into Brooklands, with the second Subaru of Ian Froggatt alongside, one of the red Civic’s decided to use the rear bumper for additional braking, and tapped the rear. Despite this, the Civic remained behind and Vaughan pulled through to complete the lap still ahead.
The front running Escort Cosworths of Cockell and Williamson were already off in the distance, with the orange Evo 9 of Prebble unable to do anything to stay in contention.
The touring car “Primera” of Richard Hawken started to close during the mid point of the race, and despite having an edge on the straights the sheer stopping ability and higher cornering speed meant we were unable to hold him at bay. Once past, the Nissan showed its racing pedigree on its way from 16th on the grid to an overall 6th place and class win.
During the race, Barry Squib in the Evo 9 appeared to suffer a mechanical problem as he dropped back down the field. The fault looked to rectify itself, as he mounted a late come back, and carved through the grid to put us back a place into 9th.
With the chequered flag out we had:
Finished 6th in class
Finished 9th overall
Fastest lap: 1:03.639 sec on lap 4 of 20
Whilst a way off the front runners, we had managed to hold off attacks from some impressive machinery, and secured our grid slot for race 2.
With an overnight break, we had plenty of time to prepare for race 2. It was noticed that towards the end of race 1, the front tyres were struggling to turn in around “Luffield”, and we were not alone with this problem. The majority of the 4wd cars had worn the outside edge of the passenger front tyre as they had fought to take the corner.
To try and address this for the race, we adjusted the suspension to soften up the passenger side, and we also reviewed the data to adjust the camber and castor of the front suspension.
Tyres were swapped to ensure we had the best on the car, and the tyre pressures were dropped a little to take into account the high temperature that we were again experiencing. The turbo’d engine of the Impreza is not a fan of the heat, so we ensured that there was as much air flow into the engine bay as possible.
All the fluids were checked, and the car was refuelled in readiness.
With a better start for race 2, everything looked on track for a higher placed finish.
With the same cars as in race 1 challenging Vaughan for position on track, and in class, another hard battle soon unfolded.
The front runners again took off, but were soon down by two as the Mosler pulled in and the Cosworth of Williamson retired following fuelling issues in race 1.
These were soon to be followed by the TVR of John Wilson and the Evo of Prebble in a huge cloud of smoke.
Keeping in contention with Ilsa in the Seat, Vaughan kept his racing honest and close. The front half of the grid began to stretch out, and after half a dozen or so laps without loosing a place, the Supra of Steve Linton that was alongside at the start sped past on the back straight.
The Primera of Hawken again gave a good battle during the race, with Vaughan having the initial lead. The credentials of the ex-works touring car came into play as the race progressed, and again using the car’s strengths squeezed through on the kerbs in the complex.
The hard running however had taken its toll on the car and at 12 laps into the race the car decided it had had enough for the day.
With the engine refusing to rev cleanly, Vaughan did the only sensible option and returned to the paddock.
Fastest lap: 1:33.280 sec on lap 9 of 13
Post race diagnosis leads us to believe that due to the weather being very hot and the car slipstreaming/chasing cars in front, (meaning reduced airflow into the car) the temp of the engine coolant hit a pre-determined safety cut out, which put the car’s ECU into limp mode, to save the engine from letting go.
The test of the “Racing Logic” suspension has also produced some encouraging results, and best of all was the fact that the improved hubs had remained intact with no sign of bearing failure.
The car is now back at the ScoobyClinic to have a full investigation into the issues surrounding race 2, and rectify the body damage following the incident in race 1.
We’ll be back soon………..
Pictures courtesy of “adeycorp” photography
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