tiistai 19. kesäkuuta 2012

...and then the unexpected happened.

Due Matra's happenings, I had to take the responsible running the series until Matra got his health issues dealt with and so I had no time to update this blog until now. There was some okayish races and few ones, like Monaco which has nothing to tell about, but season isn't been too bad. Zsoca won the Monaco with KAD Mini.

Summer  is going on here and I have plan to dedicate quite bit of my time to stuff that can't be done during long dark winter months, so I won't be attending all races in July. However I do plan to race in Valencia, which is coming tomorrow already. KAD Mini has gotten some updagrades, with engine gaining middle rev torque and optional 5 speed gearbox, It should be faster, especially in standing starts and what's even better is slightly smaller tyre consumption.

Valencia GP is however 28 laps and I will be heading clear single stop. I am not expecting miracles, but after two bit worse race, it would be nice to be placed in 20th or so... We'll see what happens.

maanantai 19. maaliskuuta 2012

two days until Sepang GP.

After laying some rubber on Malaysian finest race venue, I have been able to slice around 3 seconds from my last season miserable effort with Skyline GT-X. Top racers seem to be making several new lap records in a day, so 5 seconds behind the current leader isn't too bad. That should place me around 25th place in the starting grid.

Mini is strugling here with tyre temperatures a bit, which I sort of expected. After the Melbourne, this track seems to be a lot more slippery and missing a braking point usually means going out of track.

Race should be still interesting. Grip playing greater role here than Melbourne, the decision to change or not to change the tyres during pitstop can be big deal breaker.

torstai 15. maaliskuuta 2012

First Race, AlbertPark, Melbourne. 29 Laps

I came early in the qualify to my pitbox, just to receive long phone call which I had to talk thru. After this 35 minute delay, I had 26 minutes left to make my lap. I had setup which I was happy with made in pre-practice, so I loaded it up and went to the track. First fast lap was 2:18, which was okay as I knew tyres needing time to heat up. Second one I had too much overtrying, so it was a bit slower, but in third I did my personal best 2:16.165, which I was happy with and left me about 6 minutes to prepare for the start. My estimates about pole times were way off, so I was much more further in the grid, in 27th position, than I originally expected but as I did my Personal best, it really did not matter.

In race start, I lost few places due missing friction. Yet, I knew that as long as pack would stay togerther, I would outbrake quite few bigger cars in corners. First half of the first lap went well, took few places and had real battle with Matra in his 2.8 liter Commodore. Unfortunately, when the race is close, things do happen and
I had small scrub with Matra on the near end of the long straight. That caused Mini to lose some of the it's stopping power and I ran out of space. Probably Clemens in his Alfa did not even see me, being behind Matra's Opel and I ended giving him a small push. Clemens spinned and we both rolled out of track. And that calls for waiting to Clemens get his Alfa back on speed. After the incident, I was in 32nd position.

Suprisingly I found rythm pretty soon and started to climb in results. did few overtakes and witnessed few very wild spins and I was lucky not to hit anyone spinning around. In lap 11 I settled a bit and started to shortshifting to make sure that I would not need to pit before lap 15.

I watched the front tyres and made decision to change front tyres during pit. That eventually paid off as I noticed after race that I catched up some front runners in second stint.

After pitstop I had problems with my braking foot, which started to cramp. Obiouvsly my long break from endureance had it's toll. Nevertheless, even though Clemens did overtake me and I was racing much of the time alone, I still enjoyed it. Few laps before finish i was racing at 21st,
I noticed that I was catching fast Seniordan, so I started to push. When last lap started, I knew it would be close call. four corners before finish I saw him cleary, but knew that I could not overtake him, unless something unexpected would happen and it did. when we came to pit entry, Seniordan went to pits, opening me door to take 20th position.

It was good way to end first race by taking one position up in last corner. :) As result, placed 20th, scoring 9 points, which is a good start and way to continue to Sepang in next week.

But before that, Mini will release few additional parts to the car, which do not effect to performance directly, but will help here and there: Much wanted starter is added (so if stalled, car can be started without pushstart.) and revlimit will get adjustable. (revlimit will stay the same by default, but it can be lowered to make setup more flexible.)

Time to get the new parts to the car and call for relax few days before starting to practice for Sepang. :)

sunnuntai 11. maaliskuuta 2012

Preparing for season start in Melbourne

After having time schedule which made me skip the test race in Istanbul Park, Preparation for Melbourne season start in next wednesday has begun. Practicing has been slowed down due slowly recovering from flue which I got over a week ago, but I am hoping to be best possible shape before the race.

Another, much more positive happening was my and my girlfriend's engagement on friday, which called a bit of celebration. :) Having nice very slow weekend at home was also thing that was needed. Quality time, without almost no time schedules at all gave some much needed time to relax and do things you usually do not have time for at all.

In first open tests I was able to find steady basic setup, which differs a bit from most of the tracks in season, due Melbourne having quite lot of grip. Only thing worrying in race is amount of fuel. Race will be 30 laps and by pushing pedal to the metal, I can live up to 14-15 laps per stint, it's going to be a bit close call and there's not much room for pitstop tactics. This is not problem unless something very unexpected happens, causing need of pitting early.

With knowledge of 4 previous seasons from here I expect the pole position being around 2 minutes 13 seconds, maybe a bit below that. As I am now capable of 2:17.lows, maybe 2:15.5 if everything goes perfect, I am expecting starting somewhere between 10th and 15th position. Estimating race again is difficult, as the cars are so different from last time I raced giving 100%. There will be more spins as the faster car leave less space for errors.

Car Homologation process

For this year, after having two bad years racing more or less interesting and competitive cars, I decided to build car from scratch, hoping to get it accepted in the series.

As for the base I took group 5 base Mini used in british one make series Mini Miglia, which bodyworks was nicely produced and provided by James at No-Grip. With little bit of search found the most powerful BMC A-series based naturally asperated engine available today. bored and stroked 1275cc block makes up 1480cc and with KAD's 16valve dual overhead cam head makes almost up to 200bhp and over 120 lb-ft of torque. Of course this all needs strong gearbox, so 4 speed straight cut serves well. As engine screams rather high, very low profile 10" Avon racing slicks were selected for make the final gear ratios fit nicely close together. Not to mention amout grip 235mm wide slicks provide too. Having such powerful engine, calls for stiffen up quite few original Mini parts in drive train and that makes some more weight, but even with 740kg homologation weight, it's not that heavy car.

Kad Mini feels very good and handles beuatifully as soon as you get tyres warm up. As there's quite lot of grip, car needs quite front balanced brake balance and by having correct camber and toe in settings, it handles as well as FWD car can; going just where you point the front wheels. This is exactly what I targeted when constructed the car. For the nature of the races being longer, I equipped the car with biggest racing safety fuel tank I could find, unfortunately 60 liters ain't that much for KAD engine, which is thirsty for to start and rpm limit being in 9300 does not help the situation much.

Car got homologated for the series in time and right now Geoffers signed to race with it as well, so it seems to be competitive enough. Small technical problems have been found, but they will be fixed somewhere in mid season as they do not cause much performance issues.

We'll see in first race how well I can cope up with a lot bigger competition; There's 1600cc Escorts, 2 liter Alfas, 911S, 2.8 liter Opels and BMW's and even one monstrous 6.8 liter Mercedes signed for the championship.