Well here we are at sunny Santa Pod (I wish). First race of the year and after a long and particularly cold winter, here we are ready to run and try out all our modifications and improvements made over the winter, but the winter appears to still be here! Our first run of the year on Saturday with a track temperature of 48 degrees netted a 5.77 @ 249 mph to make us No.1 qualifier. Quite a surprise for us, in these temperatures we knew it would either go down the track or more likely “blow the tyres off”. Well on a soft tune up we got away with it and were able to check out the new rear wing and get some useful data. However we did find a worrying problem with our oiling system on the engine which made the bearings look a lot less happy then usual.
As we were No.1 qualifier at this point we elected to miss the second qualifying session to continue checking out the motor.
Sunday was even colder and as we weren’t happy with the engine we continued to try to resolve the oiling problem with some success, and by afternoon we were ready to try to improve our qualifying position as we were now down to No.4 having missed two sessions.
Well we didn’t move more than three feet before the tyres went into smoke and that was that run over, we would be No.4 qualifier in the eliminations next day.
One of the problems of the A-fuel combination compared to that of the blown methanol car is the limited amount of input the driver can have in these sort of conditions, where with the blown car you can use less RPM on the startline, use less throttle at launch and short shift and react to what the car is doing on the run. With the A-fuel combination the idle is pretty much fixed, you can take power out with retarded timing and use less clutch weight but then you have to hit full throttle at launch to start the timer systems running and if you can’t take enough power away it smokes the tyres so quickly and takes so long to recover that the race is all over before you can do anything!!
On the Monday, first round of eliminations, we were mindful of the conditions and tried adjust the tune up to compensate, but despite this the result was the same as the day before, moved three feet then “up in smoke”, race over we were knocked out of competition.
Not quite the result we wanted as we treated this race as a test and tune for the FIA Championship, we did not get much testing and tuning done so we will now look forward to the first round of the FIA European Championship at Santa Pod Raceway and have to continue working on the tune up then.
SEE YOU THERE