3rd Round = 3rd Different Car for Combe

Third Round. Third different car. New Class

For every race review I seem to impart “big news”, “loads of updates” and cause general confusion with what exactly is happening in the Profinity Media / Grant Motorsport camp since the last round. And so it appears that this report remains the same!

As a quick recap, we started the season in April and picked up a 3rd place in Class D at the first round in a rented MGZR which was far from on-the-pace. At this point we were developing a 1400cc VW Lupo but then changed tact and switched to a 1500cc Suzuki Ignis Sport. This didn’t make the second round so Technical Sponsors Part-Box.com ‘loaned’ us their race-built Ignis Sport – great chassis, not much on standard power but a lot better than the MG.

That brings us to the third round. To bring you up-to-date, the Ignis has struggled to secure the necessary parts from Japan in time to make the third round, so that left us either searching for another car or simply dropping the round.

Then along came FC Performance with their recently acquired Fiat Coupe 20v Turbo track-car. Now this would mean a change to Class A, but at this point we have 8 rounds remaining and each driver has to drop 2 scores. So in theory, if we’d didn’t perform or the car wasn’t going to set the world alight then we’d only lose one of our bagged dropped scores from Class D. If we went OK, got the data we needed and could develop the car throughout the season, then my first two rounds could be ‘dropped’ and there may be an opportunity to contest the rest of the season in Class A.

The car itself was not really ready to race, but came prepared with a welded roll-cage, part-stripped, mildly uprated suspension and a 350-400bhp mildly tuned engine. So we had an opportunity to race – but....

So three days work began by Grant Motorsport to transfer our Powervamp Racing products, install a fire extinguisher, fit my seat, remap the engine and cure a boost leak, source and fit appropriate tyres, swap-over some front suspension parts and make the car race-ready – albeit in pretty much standard road car form. All in all an awesome job completed by the teams at Grant Motorsport and FC Performance and we made it to the grid (including sponsor decals – plug to Image Sign Systems) ready for the third round in Class A.

Qualifying

For the third time running the first opportunity I’d get to try the car was during qualifying and flipping heck – the difference attacking the circuit with some power beneath me was awesome! Pushing 400bhp compared to the 116-140bhp I’d be used to was a relief, but I immediately noticed the lack in chassis developments in comparison.

For the first couple of laps learning braking points and where the car was strong the clutch was slipping as the turbo came on boost at 4500rpm, then on braking the now-known-to-be-warped-discs gave me some real bite back. We also discovered later than the severe rear end instability on braking into Avon Rise was caused by a non-working rear brake caliper!

After 7 laps it was noticeable that the car’s power would be enough to give the Astra VXR’s a run for their money, but the car suffered extremely bad understeer in the twistys, which meant a much slower entry, and exit speed so all the ground I would gain during the race would be lost on every corner. But with a pretty stock chassis it’s definitely something that can be developed should be carry on in Class A.

I managed to put in a few semi-decent laps whilst learning the car and of course getting used to approaching everything at a more realistic speed giving me a1:23.667 (New Personal Best) which put me 18th on the grid of 28 drivers and 7th in Class. Whilst the car definitely has the legs despite to standard engine specification, it was the braking and corner stability that slows us down to around 3-4 seconds off the overall Class A pace.

A few adjustments planned for the break between Qualifying and the Race so we shall see how we get on!

Qualifying Lap Time: 1.23:667 (PB)
Overall Qualifying Position: 18th
Class Qualifying Position: 7th

The Race

Another new experience. Starting the race from the middle of the grid – and with some power to boot.

Leighton from FC Performance was on hand after qualifying to adjust the boost and mapping in an attempt to overcome the clutch slipping and the team at Grant Motorsport disconnected the rear calipers in order to reduce the braking instability. There wasn’t a lot that we could do to help the understeer other than adjust tyre pressures, so we set something up for the race and hoped for the best!

I got a much better start than I was used to and although the clutch did slip slightly off the lights, it didn’t trouble me again and only slightly compromised my start. That said, I was looking for a place to pass on the approach to Folly, but with 5 cars covering the width of the circuit I had nowhere to go so fell in line on the approach to Quarry.

In all honesty the first lap was the only real lap where I was with other cars until the leaders started to lap the backmarkers. The Peugeot 106 of Rodney Apperly gradually increasing his lead over me whilst I slowly increased the gap to the VW Lupo of David Rose.

Overall the car lasted well, the power and delivery was perfect for the clutch to handle and whilst the understeer was never really succumb, the overall traction was consistent despite the warped brakes seemingly getting worse.

Finally I crossed the line finishing 16th overall and 6th in Class A picking up 5 points. So no trophy again and a slightly disappointing day given the straight line pace of the car, but it definitely gives us something to think about for the remainder of the season.

Once again a huge thank you to the team and sponsors backing me this season! Thanks to Grant Motorsport for as usual, getting everything together in the midnight hours, thanks to FC Performance for the opportunity to trial a Class A car competitively. Thanks again to Powervamp Racing for their ongoing support andImage Sign Systems for yet another last minute job!

Fastest Lap Time: 1:22.947 (PB)
Overall Race Position: 16th
Class Race Position: 6th

Published on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 by Antony Weeks

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