Time Attack 2021 Round 1 – Cadwell Park
After finishing most of the prep on Saturday sorting out issues from the Friday Test Session, we finished Saturday night with an oil leak to sort and a passenger seat to fabricate a seat frame for and install on the Sunday morning. Sunday morning, went in order to sort the oil leak so we could wander up to Cadwell to setup for a nice an easy, relaxing day. How wrong i was…
In my haste of trying to juggle producing customers orders (The Money Maker) and building the car (The Money Pit) I had neglected to order to correct fittings for the additional oil gauges to keep an eye on the engines health, so we fitted 3 gauge sensors on what fittings we had which comprised of adapters on adapters on a 3 way, on adapters to suit the gauges – Not the best way, but i deemed it “OK” for the event and fix at a later date, Just so i had the data in the car to see if something was going wrong.
Long story short, Fridays Test Day had cracked the fittings i had used (Yes, I know you all told me so….) and upon trying to extract the remains from the back of the block, we discovered the block had cracked, but not just cracked, a rather nice chunk of the block had fallen away. With zero means of access for a TIG Torch….and after MANY swearwords…..
Luckily, I had already planned for a potential engine failure, as the engine installed had several signs of once being turbo charged. But it was better to be prepared for it than not, so i picked up a complete CG13 Swapped K11 last week.
I called in some help and we began taking the engine out of both cars, 2 teams, one on the race car, the other on the engine donor. We started at 1pm, and managed to load the car onto the trailer after a single, anger driven, 1-2-3 limiter bashing session down the road just after 7pm. Luckily, i emailed ahead to get dispensation on the passenger seat as i just knew we wouldn’t get it done with having to do the engine swap. (A few people pointed out the lack of passenger seat yesterday – so I had to clarify why)
Engine swap went mostly perfect, Whilst the engine was out, we installed a CG.Motorsport- Stage 3 clutch, which i had purchased weeks ago just in case of a clutch failure on the Friday test session (Brand new, LUK Clutch kit – Didn’t miss a beat!)
So, tired, wet, cold, dirty and miserable, we headed to the track and setup camp ready for Monday.
Now, I’ve been fortunate that for every trackway I’ve ever done, its been at least Dry, so I’ve never prepared for wet weather as a result. But with the weather predicted to be a wash, it seemed more and more likely we would need some wets. Once again, a bit of luck is i bought a set of Rainsport 5’s for the Civic Track Car last year, but never got them fitted to a set of suitable wheels, Luckily with the micras wide arch, i was able to use my old set of Rota RKR’s (In a 15×8, ET0) off the old 4WD Twin Charged Civic Shuttle Project (Yes, I Still have it….) to fit the tyres to. Being an SRE, we didn’t need to run a Pirelli Wet Tyre. Adam at Skegness Tyre & Exhaust Centre Came in on the Sunday to swap the tyres and wheels for me – a Very wise decision.
Monday came and was a nice, relaxed day. We went out for our first warm up session. Weather was dry at this point so we kept the AR-1’s fitted. Didnt managed to get a decent lap in due to some traffic in places, but about 4-5 Laps in going down park straight, i noticed the engine note change and the terminal speed around 70mph (We had been hitting 80-85mph here on friday). I Slowed down and went through the gears and it was pulling fairly well down low RPM, but fell flat in the higher RPM and the engine sound like it was on 3 cylinders. A few laps before this i had noticed the tracking was also miles out (Was perfect at the start of the lap). We had concluded that hitting the rather large kurb at the entry to the mounting had knocked the front camber out of alignment, which resulted in the front drivers with excessive toe-in.
Pulled off early into the pits, and the engine was on 4 cylinders, it appear to rev up nicely. No smoke or steam from the exhaust, So the plugs were removed to inspect. Where we found Cylinder 3 had eaten the electrode off the plug. Bosch Plugs! F**K!! We didn’t need this after swapping the engine the day before… We didn’t change the plugs when we swapped in the engine, it got the best of us to do that in the mess of a day. Luckily we brought spare NGK’s so in they want, started up and sounded great and sorted the alignment issue as best we could.
(Just for context before anyone mentions injectors – we DID pull the plugs from the old engine on the Saturday and all 4 plugs were 100% Perfect)
Session 2, Practise. Whilst sat in the assembly area, Rain started to spit, we are still on the AR-1’s at this point. 5-10 Minutes into the session it started to rain more and more, and grip started to fade as the rain poured more. There were approx. 10-12 cars in our class, so a dry line didn’t have chance to manifest with such little traffic and i eventually spun coming out of Barns Corner. Got ourselves sorted and cracked on. Then…I started to notice the same lack of power and engine tone from the previous session, But was rather weird… One lap i was struggling to get 60-65mpg down park straight, and the next lap reaching 80-85mph (I use Park straight for my base line for top speed). Luckily the session was chequered the following lap so in we come.
Pulled the plugs, Cylinder 3 plug had been eaten again, except this time it had eaten a LARGE Chunk of the ceramic! New plugs in, Engine started and ran fine with zero evidence of smoke or steam from the exhaust.
At this point I had accepted the engine maybe hurt, but we are here now, no way I’m letting everyone down who helped swap in the engine, so its do or die!
Ash from Giz-Motorsport Suggested we pull some timing out the dizzy for the next session.
The next session came and by this point, Cadwell has become a swimming pool. Puddles of standing water all over the track, making the parts that were under tree cover, especially dangerous. We Fitted my spare wheels with the rainsports for this session.
This would of been my first time driving a track in these, monsoon conditions, but never the less, i went out. I had decided to take it easy on the engine and short shift at 6000rpm to save the engine for the rest of the day, especially over the mounting where the front wheels become off loaded results in alot of wheel spin (Previous session i had limited bashed before going into 3rd – Now i was going into 3rd as i reached the crest to avoid limiter bashing)
But this is where things took a turn…. I had noticed that despite my slower corner exits due to the track conditions, Less Grip and short shifting, I was reaching 90-95mph down park straight…Engine was running great!
So i settled in and just turned lap after lap. I found confidence in the level of grip and started to push more and more! we swapped positions 2-3-4 throughout the session! I had what i believed was was going to be my fasted lap of the session by traffic as only 1/2 second separated me from the next position. If i would of had another 1-2 laps, i would of easily got this time as i had full confidence in where there was grip, and where was super slippy. (Parts of cadwell circuit are overlooked by trees that overhang the circuit, rain water washes all the Sap and wax off the leaves onto the circuit making this particular areas rather dangerous).
In we came, checked the plugs. Perfect. Cylinder 3 looking a bit damp….But still alive.
We sat waiting for the last session, but unfortunately was cancelled as the rain had got worse and parts of the circuit where covered in large puddles of water.
We finished 2nd in the SRE Class, with 2nd overall in Pocket Rocket. But as an SRE….We are not eligible to claim the 2nd overall in Pocket Rocket.
So there we have it, our Debut in our Shop Built, K11 with our entire (Well, Most of it…) catalogue of parts we do for the Micra, fitted and proof they are fit for purpose
Are we going to another round? Yes! Just not sure which…
Some special mentions.
Ash @ Giz-Motorsport (Engine Swap, Tuning Diagnosis and Pit Radio)
Tom @ TE Services (For appearing 2 minutes after calling for help to swap the engine)
Adam @ Skegness Tyres (For trailering the vehicle to and from the event, Swapping tyres at the lost moment and monitoring the tyre pressures for the day)
Jon, Luke, Beck and Dad – For helping prep the car over the last few weeks. with some late nights and sundays engine swap included, and pit support at Time Attack.
Stewart @ PaintLab for a last minute paintjob.
Ayden @ Vivid Graphics for applying the livery at 1.30am in the morning
ICB Design and engineering for some last minute laser cutting to change some parts of the aero