Not the best result I could have hoped for at Brands Hatch but looking at the positives the car was reliable and predictable. I’m still finding it difficult to commit to Paddock Hill Bend on turn in, Clearways always feels messy although I have been told it never feels quite right and I’m loosing too much speed along Brabham Straight. Still, I managed a 56.16 lap which isn’t my best but not too far off it. Oh yes, and I got 2nd in class again.
I did manage to leave the circuit with some interesting data though. First off I actually remembered to turn my data logger on so once I work out what it all means I’ll be able to post up some interesting data. I did have a quick look at the G meter results which was reading 1.5G in the corners.
Probably the most important data of the day was the car’s weight. After the race we were pulled into the post race scrutineering bay and weighed. The combined weight (car and driver) of the Phoenix is 512 kgs compared to 470-ish kgs for the front runners. As you can imagine 40 kgs represents a significant disadvantage in a low-weight, low-power formula such as the 750 Formula.
So, what am I going to do about it? Well, on the left you may have noticed an image of a box with some items in it. This is my “diet box”. As the next race I will be entering will be in June I have enough time to modify some of the more over engineered parts of the car and what ever I remove will be kept in this box as tangible evidence of my achievement. Hopefully, further tangible evidence will available in the form of better lap times! I’m going to set myself a target of a 20 kg weight reduction by the next race… Let’s see how it goes…
Mallory Park April 1st 2013: If the first race of the season is anything to go by then 2013 is set to be a great year. The practice session went well with me posting a best of 53.42 seconds to qualify 10th in both races – 1.5 seconds quicker than my previous personal best. This was mainly due to me having the confidence in the car to enter “Lake Esses” at a much higher speed than before. I do remember the car used to be very twitchy in this corner but the modifications to the rear anti roll bar have really helped here.
Race 1 went better than expected with me finishing 9th overall, claiming 1st in class B and posting the fastest class B lap time of 52.90 seconds. So now that’s 2 seconds faster than my last visit.
Race 2 didn’t fair so well though as, although I did finish (2nd from last) I had not tightened the strap on my crash helmet and it was very distracting not at least because I couldn’t help thinking what would happen if I had an accident and it flew off! After careful consideration I pulled into the pits to tighten it but I only got 2 laps in after that. in hindsight I should have pulled in a lot sooner – for my safety and because my lap times and finishing position would have been a lot better.
Having said that, I was very happy with how the car performed. It was reliable and predictable. I didn’t have any of the understeer I experienced at Brands Hatch and I reckon with a bit more confidence I could get a sub 52 second lap time without any other changes.
Time to reflect on this season and look forward to the challenges 2013 will bring with it. There are some slight changes to the car to try to reduce the turn-in understeer but essentially it’ll be the same car as this year although without the reliability issues.
Watch out for some exciting changes to racingaspirations.com in 2013. Yes, big changes are afoot and you’re going to love them.
An interesting days testing yesterday. I got 65 laps in and managed a 55.7 second lap in the second session. I had six sessions, two and three being the best. After that the lap times got worse until eventually the left front stub axle came loose. Probably explains why my lap times were slow getting worse!
The car has some hesitation on turn-in. It is quite difficult to place it without having to turn the wheel a few times and because of the hesitation hitting the apex can prove difficult leading to understeer when exiting. Maybe some more caster would help?