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Old 7th April 2008, 09:37 AM   #1
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Race Report - Snetterton 6th April 2008

Snetterton CSCC Future Classics 6th April 2008

Having travelled up the day before and stayed overnight in a superb B&B we awoke to find ourselves in a blizzard! Fortunately by the end of breakfast it had ceased snowing but there was a good coverage of snow on the ground and I was initially concerned that the organisers might cancel the meeting as had happened two weeks earlier in similar bad weather circumstances. However concerns were ungrounded as the temperature rose to 1 degree Celsius and the snow worries soon departed my mind. Only to be replaced by other issues!

Build up to this event had been quite busy but completed on schedule. Glenn had been over and we had the car prepped and just as we wanted it with time to spare (for once!). Only problem we suffered was in replacing all brake discs and pads as the handbrake had adjusted itself right up and so we struggled to work out how to release it to make room for the new discs and pads. Can you believe there is no Haynes Manual for the MX5? A full calliper service sorted the issue and we learnt our lesson which left me with the next two days to play about making video camera mounts and fitting lap timer gear. I like my toys….
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Old 7th April 2008, 09:38 AM   #2
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Re: Race Report - Snetterton 6th April 2008

Our car before we left home.....the idea is to bring it back the same....
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Old 7th April 2008, 09:41 AM   #3
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Re: Race Report - Snetterton 6th April 2008

As we were first timers at Snetterton (for racing purposes anyway) we had to attend an extra briefing with the stewards who talked us through the procedures and positions of the marshal posts etc. A very good briefing but it ate up a lot of time considering we had sign on at 07.45, scrutineering at 08.00, briefing at 08.15 and practice/qualifying at 09.00! And we also had to get sound tested as well. Actually for us that is a bit of a joke…..

Our Mazda MX5 (Spec Miata) ran for a number of seasons in the MAX5 championship so is built to meet their regulations. This means we have a pretty much road standard everything. So when the noise tester asked for max rpm I told him 7250, he asked me to take it to 4900/5000 and of course I overdid it and the revs shot to 5500rpm. Ooops but not to worry as even then we only managed 89dB. How pathetic! You can hardly hear our car!

Our race is a two driver event with 30 minutes of practice/qualifying and then a 40 minute race (£285 entry fee in case you wondered). Over the preceding number of months we had bumped into a number of people and spoken with others, all of whom said they would be entering the Future Classics series. Excellent we thought, there should be lots of MX5’s to play with (and blag spares off in needed). So today we are the only MX5 in the paddock! Hmmmm. And we seem to have a reputation already, not because of anything Glenn and I have done, but because of the MAX5 series being a bit of, shall we say, “a close fought” series that seems to have dried up the national supply of front bumpers….. We need to be on best behaviour here.

And the conditions are not good. The snow may have disappeared from the track (but 3 inches deep 25 miles away according to one marshal!) it is still damnably cold and the track is like ice. Mistake number one coming up. All previous experience in Miata and MX5’s tells us that no matter what the conditions are, you set tyre pressures cold at 32 psi. It has always worked before, rain, shine, hot or cold, a cold set of 32 psi puts you on or close to 38 psi hot. So we do this but being so cold and slippery the track conditions prevent us getting any temperature into the tyres. After 30 mins of sliding around (one spin for me!) we manage to get tyre pressures up to a measly and certainly no grip 33 psi! No wonder we were third last on the grid of 22 starters with a qualifying lap time of 1 min 48 seconds. Both of us are disappointed with this but hey ho, nothing to do about it now.

One aspect of racing we have yet to deal with is the fuelling of the car for the race. We know that the car does roughly between 12 to 15 mpg. But how does that help us with a 40 minute race with an approximate fuel gauge and weight being our only weapon in the armoury? We set to about draining the fuel out of the car and putting in a fixed quantity of 20 litres. I have another 15 minute qualifying session for a Sports V Saloon race for the last race at the end of the day so with not having time to do all this before our feature race qualifying session I will run the 20 litres next, we will drain the car afterwards and see what weight of fuel we get through in the next 15 minutes. The answer is 5 kg (6.6 litres) or 0.33 kg per minute. So we next set to weighing 15 kg of fuel which gives a margin of 1.8kg in case of a restart or a balls up in my calculations! I am quite nervous about this as firstly running out of fuel in the first race with a new series is really embarrassing and also as second driver it will happen to me and not Glenn!
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Old 7th April 2008, 09:43 AM   #4
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Re: Race Report - Snetterton 6th April 2008

On pole position is a Porsche Carrera followed by Jaguar XJSs, Triumph TR7 (V8), Porsche 944s, Toyota Supra, Toyota MR2, BMW 1600Ti, Rover Tomcat, and Jaguar XJ6. And let’s not forget the RS500 Ford Sierra Cosworth. We are only ahead of the BMW and XJ6. In our class are the Toyota MR2, Cosworth and the BMW being all under 2000cc engine size. We have been bumped up from the 1600cc class due to lack of entries. So basically we are on a hiding to nothing here. But we weigh peanuts compared to most of these cars. The heaviest driver/car combination is 1000kg more than what we weigh. We are 955 kg with driver and we need to milk this for all it is worth. The top XJS is running 1350 kg (without driver) but has 450 bhp on tap. And to make matters worse we are on hard (but cheap) control tyres from the MAX5 series with all other runners on far stickier rubber (something again we are learning about quickly).
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Old 7th April 2008, 09:45 AM   #5
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Re: Race Report - Snetterton 6th April 2008

By race time, the track is now fully dry and the world is a warmer place to be in! We have adjusted tyre pressures to what we think will put us up to 38 psi hot as we now have a proper chance to get heat into the rubber.

Standing start (a first for both Glenn and I) and Glenn makes a clean getaway passing a stalled starter and the field makes it through the first turn. However Snetterton has the longest straight in the UK at over 900m so our distinct lack of power (we estimate 120 bhp max) means that the field simply pulls away from Glenn and this proves to be very difficult to overcome for the whole race. But boy oh boy are we quicker through the corners. Any car that passes us on the straight and gains about 50m or less on us before they hit the brakes for the Esses will dramatically hold us up through the Esses, Bomb Hole and the chicane and not only until they hit the front straight will they easily pull away again. We will lose 2 secs per lap off our lap time due to this each time it happens as the corners are a strong suit for us but the straights are stronger suit for every other car! Frustrating indeed.

Glenn was in the middle of it at times.....
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Old 7th April 2008, 09:49 AM   #6
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Re: Race Report - Snetterton 6th April 2008

Our class battle looks set quite early on but to finish first, first you have to finish. The Cosworth retires early in the race for unknown problems so in reality it is now between us and the MR2 as the BMW is roughly 4 seconds a lap slower. The MR2 is pacing faster than us and builds up a comfortable margin of over half a lap. But this is a two driver race…..

Every car has to do a mandatory pit stop. If the car only has a single nominated driver they have to simulate a pit stop by coming in, stopping the engine, getting out, shutting the door and then getting back in, not being allowed to restart the engine until the harness is pulled up tight. For two driver teams such as ours, you come in stop the car and engine, swap over drivers, harness up, restart the engine and off you go. Pit lane speed limit is 60 kph. The pit lane is not long so you don’t waste too much time on entry and exit laps. Pit stops happen in a window of between 15 minutes and 30 minutes into the race. The MR2 pulls in at 17 minutes and goes to what I think is its garage. The driver does not get out but instead a crew member looks at the front of the car. Then quite swiftly the driver drives to another pit garage further up the pit lane and a driver swap happens. No idea what all that was about but it looks inefficient. As they are in the pits, Glenn goes past and takes the class lead. As he is coming round again we give him his pit board signal to come in next time around. The MR2 pulls out the pits 50m in front of him having had a long pit stop and driver swap. But we are now nearly a whole lap ahead.

Glenn and I have planned our pit stops allowing for the differences between us as drivers. Also we have designed our cockpit to make things easier to swap drivers. If you are lapping a second a lap slower than your competitor but can pit 5 seconds faster you gain 5 laps of breathing time. Applying that principle now to the MR2 allows me to exit the pits with a 40 second lead over the MR2!
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Old 7th April 2008, 09:52 AM   #7
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Re: Race Report - Snetterton 6th April 2008

Our car was stationary for just 43 seconds (and we had a marshal watching us to check we did things legitimately!). With roughly 13 laps to the flag it is a margin I will not lose and we race home 1st in Class with a lead of 21 seconds over the MR2. We are both very pleased with this result whilst realising it was with reliability and team work that got it instead of power! Our overall position is 10th and that is the result that is interesting on this power circuit.

20 minutes later I am back on track for a sprint of 15 minutes with 20 Caterhams and a few other assorted sports/saloons and get another first in class but in reality this means nothing as I was the only class runner this time! The only benefit this race gives me is the license upgrade signature I want. Shame as a Lotus Elan had entered and had posted similar lap times in practice but never made it to the grid.

Overall we both had really uneventful races, quite often with no other car in sight either in front or behind us. Only at the start and at the time of pit stops do we get any traffic so really it was almost boring as there was little to race except the clock. Once I came across three cars tangled up at the chicane and Glenn had a 944 spin out trying to keep ahead of him through the Bomb Hole.

Our next race is at Brands Hatch on 27th April where the ratio of corners to straights is far more in favour of corners…..and we have learnt a few things that we may choose to put into practice to make us quicker still!
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Old 7th April 2008, 10:18 AM   #8
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Re: Race Report - Snetterton 6th April 2008

PS I do have video footage of this but the friendly people at MSV ie circuit owners get you to not only sign a disclaimer in case your gear falls off and hurts someone but also to ensure you don't post footage on the internet (You Tube etc) or else they will fine you £25,000. Very friendly!
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Old 7th April 2008, 11:42 AM   #9
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Re: Race Report - Snetterton 6th April 2008

Well done Malc and Glen - Good account of what sounds a fun day.

Q - Have you got any trackside footage? - i.e. something that a 'spectator' might have taken?....
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Old 7th April 2008, 11:45 AM   #10
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Re: Race Report - Snetterton 6th April 2008

They would have to be have been hanging on bloody tight.....You can't even leave tickets on the gate for someone any more in case you then accuse them of selling them on instead of giving them to your mates. For motorsport this is extreme risk averse behaviour....
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Old 7th April 2008, 04:35 PM   #11
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Re: Race Report - Snetterton 6th April 2008

Really interesting Malcolm. Please keep us up to date with your progress during the year. I drive an MX5 on the road and really like it. They are great cars.
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Old 8th April 2008, 12:47 AM   #12
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Re: Race Report - Snetterton 6th April 2008

Way to go guys.......nice to see you two doing well in the Max5 deal.
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Old 8th April 2008, 10:54 PM   #13
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Wink Re: Race Report - Snetterton 6th April 2008

A win is still a win in my book Malc doesn't matter how you get them. It's very lonely when you have no one to race against isn't it. Well done, I can be positive for you cause your not in a blasted P...... car.

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Old 9th April 2008, 04:41 AM   #14
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Re: Race Report - Snetterton 6th April 2008

Funny you say that as I was thinking of you every time a P.... car went past! Ross, you have screwed up my mind so I dedicate this picture to you!
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