If you have been reading my race reports this year no doubt you will have noticed the number of times this year either our racing or qualifying has been curtailed by wet weather. Well not this weekend, at least not until after our first round against Krister Johansson which he won, but could not continue due to the weather and time constraints.
So for our first qualifying attempt in Germany we still had the motor and set up which we had installed in Sweden but never got a chance to try.
Unlike in Sweden where we were due to try it in the first round of eliminations and would have had to risk all or nothing! In trying it for the first time in qualifying at Hockenheim we would be able to do a partial run to 1000 ft and check engine condition afterwards in order to reduce the risk of engine damage and still get a good enough time to qualify.
Good plan and it worked, shut off after 4.5 sec @ 1000 ft. No engine problems and qualified No.4 and our best 1/8 mile speed all year, 226 mph.
For our second qualifier we just made some small adjustments to our fuel system and planned to run the full distance under power this time. Not quite as good a time in the first half of the track (maybe due to a difference in the left and right lane) but an improvement overall to 5.50 @ 264 mph and still qualified in No.4 position and the engine responded to our adjustments in the way we expected and that’s a great feeling after the struggle we have had this year.
After yesterdays performance and the data we had been able to look at after two runs in a row, we made some further changes in the same direction but to a greater degree and fitted our new wheels and tyres.
Maybe too big a role of the dice? but “nothing ventured nothing gained”.
The result of all this was unknown after the run as we were struck down by an old problem that we have suffered intermittently since we started!! Sometimes the engine just stumbles instead of getting the “revs up” and burning out properly, this wasn’t helped by me trying to start another burn out without backing up into the water box again. That failed just like the first one and also succeeded in over heating the clutch and ruining its carefully applied setting (I’ve now made a solemn promise to all the crew to never, never, ever, do it again!!).
Needless to say the result was almost instant tyre smoke at the green light due to unscrubbed tyres and a red hot clutch, and just maybe we had more power as well after our more aggressive changes to the engine.
For our second qualifying run today and the last before eliminations we changed back to our old tyres as they were used and a known quantity and changed my burnout procedure slightly as we have to find an answer to this problem permanently.
Good result! Great burnout no problems all the way down the track the car was on the edge of smoking the tyres but they just held on, although they were slipping enough at the top end of the track to make me do some extensive steering in order to stay in my lane. Despite which we got our best time of the weekend, 5.48 @ 260 mph so our engine changes seemed to be progressing in the direction we expected again, just maybe “there is a light at the end of the tunnel”.
There had been a considerable change in the weather overnight with a drop in temperature, this probably would mean more power and less traction, not quite what we needed after being on the edge of traction the day before. So we had to reduce power in some way or increase traction, so of course we did both.
In these situations where the track or weather has changed overnight you always end up having to guess what setting to use.
I think we got pretty close, we ran 5.50 @ 262 mph, slightly slower but with no wheel spin at all. Successful except our competitor ran 5.49. The slightly better time he had plus a problem I had with the tree lights while staging the car saw the win light in his lane, so our race was over.
However, with the results we got from our tune up this weekend we do feel the car is starting to respond as we expect and with a possible two days testing before the final race we hope to crack the problem and return to our old form.