Time Attack Round 9 Race Report.
We started the day later than normal with a couple of session to. This gave time for the track to dry before it was our session.
Session 1, Track conditions were great and I was able to push almost immediately. I was adamant the time I needed to find was in turn 1. A Few laps in I began to brake later and later before turning in into turn 1, my first attempt was successful and on the following lap not so much. The rear got loose and before you know it I was pirouetting into T1 coming to a standstill right in the middle of the corner, resting on the racing line… Not ideal.
In a panic I neglected to put the car into neutral and tried to start the car still in gear and this tripped the battery breaker. Awesome! I was stuck there for 45 seconds until the breaker reset and I was able to restart the car and rejoin the circuit. Unfortunately because it took so long to restart the engine, the session was red flagged. Woops! We entered the pits and the session restarted almost immediately after entering the pit lane.
Session Two. At this point I was convinced my tenth of a second I needed to achieve my goal of a 1:35.xxx was in turn 1! After getting over the nerves of last sessions off road detour through T1, I started to improve entry speed into T1 without losing control. I started to notice I now needed to go into 4th gear in between T1 and T2 which was a sure sign of the improve speed through T1. Previously I had kept in 3rd gear just touching the limiter as we approached T2. Result – Happy with progress with T1.
I now set my eyes on Murrays once again. Such a difficult corner to get right. With such a lower engine power output, I had to carry as much speed through the corner to avoid bogging too much on corner exit and proved to be a challenge for the remainder of the day.
However towards the end of the session, I noticed what felt like a mis-fire from the engine but was also starting to feel fuel starvation on right hand corners (An issue which has plagued us all year). With just a couple minutes left in the session I chose to use the remainder of the session to cool the car down
We came into the paddock. Inspected the engine checking for loose cables, ignition leads and removed the spark plugs to find the ignition lead contacts stuck to the plug – Hopefully this was the cause of the mis-fire. Recrimped and re-installed we prepared for the 3rd session of the day, Qualifying.,
3rd Session. After a couple laps to warm up the car, we got right into setting some lap times. However, this session the mis-fire became worse with some rather large pops and bangs resonating from the exhaust. The engine started to “Feather” and I noticed when it did this, the dashboard flickered. Nothing we can do now so I pushed on as much as I could. A couple of laps later, exiting murrays and starting a timed lap the car died as I rolled over the start finish, I pulled to the right and coasted and seconds later the car sprung back into life!
The session was then cut short by a red flag. I was first to enter the pits and was at the front of the queue to re-enter once the track was cleared. I noticed on the pit board we had 4 minutes remaining on green flag, so knew we would have to get into it as soon as the track reopened.
The green light came and I was waved into the track, however, as soon as I went into 2nd gear…the car died! No ignition! Balls. Quick thinking, I pulled to the left to allow everyone behind me to pass. Attempts to restart the car were met in vain as power did not come back. The marshals and the handsome Rob started to push be back down into the pit lane. That it – Session over for me. So I began to unbuckle myself, and remove my Helmet and Hans. As soon as they pushed me back into the pit line the car came back to life! By this time my Lid was and harness was off with no time to rebuckle and get back on track… So I used this opportunity to streamline myself through the scrutineering bay.
I drove the car back to the pits and I started to explain to my Dad the electrical issue. He popped the bonnet and as he did that… the car died once again. So I did what every man would do and hit the steering wheel in anger… And the car came alive again… It was at this point I noticed that every time I hit the steering wheel, the dashboard ignition lights flickered. Huh.
We looked for any obvious loose connections to no avail. We deemed the issue to be too deep under the dash to fix before the final session.
Final Session of the day! I pushed as hard as I could but neglected to achieve my target lap time. It was also in this session I nearly rolled the car through Murrays. And then had a big spin there a couple laps later. The session was plagued with the ignition issue throughout and in the end I decided all efforts to keep going were not worth it. So we once again ended the session early and managed to streamline through scrutineering again as a result.
And that’s the end of Round 9….and the 2021 Season of Time Attack!