|06-27-2011, 06:22 PM||#1|
Join Date: Dec 2009
VF-Racing Mid-Year Review
VF-Racing 2011 Mid-Season Review
2010 had ended on a high for the team by scooping the 2010 class win and the overall series win in the Nippon Challenge. The series had been an excellent place to develop the car and become accustomed to racing, having only switched from track days for the start of the 2009 season.
Faced with the option of leaving everything well alone (if it ain’t broke don’t fix it) or addressing those jobs that had been put off due to lack of time. It was decided that we would take the latter option and pull the engine and gearbox as a matter of course.
The engine was second hand when fitted in 2009 so as a precaution a leak down test was performed. This turned out to be a wise move as the test showed that several of the valves were leaking and, one of the head gaskets was on its way out! Further investigation showed that each combustion chamber had cracks radiating from the spark plug, so basically both heads were scrap!
Main sponsor “ScoobyClinic” came to the rescue with a pair of STi 8 cylinder heads, which were damage free. These were rebuilt with “Supertech” components throughout, who joined us as a sponsor for the 2011 season. With the exception of the cylinder heads, the rest of the rebuild centered on reliability instead of out and out power.
“Goodridge” again supplied all the necessary hose’s and fittings to allow us to replace the fuel and oil lines, which were re-routed inside the car for safety reasons.
New sponsor “Japspeed” provided new chassis components to further improve on the car’s cornering performance, and also supplied some of their carbon fibre mirrors.
In addition to overhauling the mechanicals, new wheels from “Revolution” and tyres meant that the bodywork needed to go under the knife in order to fit the arches that would cover the extra width of the rim and tyre.
With everything ready, the season could commence. With a decision to move on from the Nippon Challenge for 2011, a fresh challenge was sought.
It was late March when we arrived at Oulton Park for our first outing in the BARC Classic Thunder series. With a drastic change in our competition, we lined up against some of the UK’s finest and fastest machinery.
Qualifying saw the Subaru place 1st in class and 5th overall, despite suffering brake and clutch issues.
During the race, the “ScoobyClinic” prepared Impreza held it’s own. The power of the leading cars showed their superior straight line speed, and Vaughan settled down to stay in contention, finally crossing the line in 6th overall and 1st in class.
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, including some of the regular “Classic Thunder” entrants.
It was obvious that this was going to be a tough day at the office, with probably the least powerful car in class, but we would still go out and do our best.
With a grid of 35 all attempting to set the fastest lap of the day, we ended qualifying with an 8th in class and 10th overall.
Surrounded by the aforementioned quick machinery, we were able to keep pace, but the high temperature was taking the edge off the turbo’d engines performance.
Finished 6th in class and 9th overall
Race 2 started off well, with a push towards the front of the grid. Several top runners soon retired, which meant we climbed further.
Battling for position against stiff competition saw the water temperature rise to over 107°c. At this level, the car’s ECU has a safety cut out to preserve the engine, and the car switched to “limp” mode to stop any irreversible damage.
Early May saw our next outing in “Classic Thunder” at Brands Hatch in Kent. A single header race meant a long wait between qualifying and the race, but we would be out to try and re-take the A4 class lead that we had lost when we missed Snetterton the month previous.
Brands Hatch supremo Rod Birley had joined the grid for the day, and barring any kind of mechanical disaster we would likely to be playing second fiddle to Rod and his 600 brake WRC spec Escort Cosworth.
Qualified 2nd in class and 4th overall
With the lights out, the race got underway with the Neil Philpotts in his Evo powered Mitsubishi Starion taking an early lead over the black Escort of Birley.
Following a battle with Joss Ronchetti in his Sunbeam Lotus, which saw the pair switch places twice, ended with the Subaru in 4th place.
Finished 2nd in class and 4th overall
The car lapped the Indy circuit in 51.654, which was a new personal best by over 2 seconds.
It was another change of series for Combe, with a return to the Nippon Challenge for the late May Bank Holiday Monday.
With torrential rain, the Toyo 888’s proved they were worthless, and would need to be replaced with something more suitable for the race.
Due to the conditions, the qualifying session was called to an end after only 4 laps.
Qualified 1st in class and 1st overall
A wet tyre and suspension set up were added to the car for race 1 as the conditions showed no signs of improving.
Starting from the grid as apposed to a rolling start, the Subaru struggled for grip until Vaughan short shifted to 2nd gear to get the power down.
Whilst those around him struggled to get cleanly away, Fletcher was able to pull out a safe lead and bring the pack home in the lead.
Finished 1st in class and 1st overall
It was decided that we would switch back to the 888’s for race 2, as a dry line forming on track.
With lights out, the Impreza hooked up and put distance between him and the rest of the field. He went on to continue lapping up to 7th place and remained unchallenged throughout.
Finished 1st in class and 1st overall
Home for the 2011 “Classic Festival” Mallory Park hosted rounds 5 and 6 of the “Classic Thunder” championship.
With a damp track, and the possibility of further showers, we opted to run with the Toyo 888 tyres and adjust the suspension accordingly.
With the circuit still holding onto some moisture, the car performed well initially until the tyres began to loose traction when pushed through Gerrards and the Esses.
Qualified 1st in class and 5th overall
From the off, Vaughan and the other top 4 cars pulled away from the rest of the pack.
For half a dozen or so laps, we held a lead over Ronchetti and his Sunbeam, until a back marker decided to let go in front of Vaughan, blocking his line. This helped Joss to capitalise and drive around the outside to take the place.
Finished 1st in class and 4th overall
For race 2, the ex-Aussie touring car powered ahead when the lights went out with Whittaker, Ronchetti and then the Fletcher tucking into the train that was leading the race.
A red flag incident involving Joss and the Porsche of Brett Winstanley meant the race was stopped while the debris was cleared away.
On the restart we held position and pulled away to run the last few laps in relative comfort.
Finished 1st in class and 3rd overall
A great weekends racing, and a new PB lap record by well over 3 seconds and a class lap record for A4.
At the halfway stage in the year we are now leading our class in the Classic Thunder championship, and sit in 3rd place overall.
Our next event will see us head to Pembrey in South Wales, followed by a double header at Thruxton and then one round at Cadwell and Rockingham to round off the season.
Thanks to everyone who helps support the team, to all our sponsors that help us get to each event and of course to ScoobyClinic for preparing the car.
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