Despite the race finally being cancelled due to rain on Monday (eliminations day) the Silverline/PlayStation race team actually had a good weekend. The wind was very strong on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and the planned testing on Thursday also had to be cancelled due to rain. So Saturday morning saw us make our first attempt at the cold and windy Santa Pod Racetrack.
The track crew had done their usual excellent job of preparation and we under estimated the grip available and we set the car up for a good A-B run, which is exactly what it did, 5.77 ET @ 257 mph, qualified and in the field at No.8. More importantly (after last years mechanical trouble) we had no damage or issues at all.
Next qualifying run on Saturday afternoon and time to try to improve our qualifying position. This time we applied more power with the tune-up but still were concerned how good the track might be given the weather conditions, result, good run again, gave us exactly what we asked for 5.47 ET @ 268 mph, and at that point No.1 qualifier. We did slip to No.3 qualifier by the end of the session but nobody got within 5 mph of our top speed the whole weekend! That is a good indication we are making power and again when we checked the engine we had no problems and no damage.
We have this year changed our maintenance procedure as well as our engine set up, we now remove both heads after every run just to check engine condition after we found it was quicker and more conclusive to do that rather than check valves and leak downs, etc., and then sometimes have to remove a cylinder head anyway!
3rd qualifier Sunday morning and we needed to improve our performance in the first part of the track which necessitated some changes in the tune-up, the result was indeed an improved 60 ft and 330 ft time but a dropped cylinder caused a drop in the overall time and speed. Nevertheless the car did respond to the changes we made in the way that we wanted, do another successful run which still left us in No.4 position after three sessions of qualifying.
4th qualifier Sunday afternoon. Having underestimated the tracks grip 3 times now, we were determined to tune it up enough to either run a good number or smoke the tyres. In the end we didn’t manage either! What I can only describe as a “torque wrench – con rod interface problem” !!! occurred but due to being shut off swiftly by David, the inevitable major engine damage was avoided. Our excellent crew leapt into action and got the car pushed off the start line so as not to hold up anybody else’s qualifying.
We were extremely lucky to only have to replace one con rod and bearings, but to succeed sometimes you have to have a little luck as well as getting the car to run a best is can.
So, to sum up, a really successful weekend for us. We now move onto Tierp in Sweden which at the moment is an unknown quantity, but I am sure will turn out to be the quickest track in Europe, given good weather. It certainly will be interesting to run on a brand new all concrete track, hopefully in the sun!!
See you there.