360 Motorsport Snetterton 6 Hour

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360 Motorsport Snetterton 6 Hour

Postby Vindi (Russell) » Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:41 pm

Last weekend I went down to Snetterton, to support a friend racing in the 6 hour. To any of you not acquainted with Malcolm and his race car, get yourself over to Nuts and look for his thread in Members Rides. I don't know of any car I like / respect as much as this one, the attention to detail is amazing and it just needs a few niggles ironing out to reach it's potential. Considering this was only it's second race, the speed in qualifying was just amazing. I'll just quote Malcolm for a description of the race, and add some of my thoughts / photos at the end.

Well, we raced the 6 hours!

Ok, should qualify that a little. We turned up and took part but were forced to enjoy a drink as the other competitors crossed the finishing line! Poo! But it was quite an adventure along the way.

Brands testing had gone well and the car was in the best condition I could make it. As is typical in motorsport there is always a last second glitch. This time it cropped up when I was switching wheels to the race wheels and tyres and noticed some tiny splats of graphite grease on the rear passenger wheel. Very small amounts but clearly an indication that a CV boot had a hole in it. First of the spares used up but all back on track and headed to Snetterton late Friday afternoon. Note to self; roads are choc a block full on Friday afternoons so leave earlier next time!

4th July turned out to be very hot indeed, the forecast was for 28C although it felt way more. I stayed in a super farm house B&B the night before and enjoyed a curry in Attleborough.

Format for the day was for half hour free practice, then 1 1/4 hours of qualifying and then race from 12:15 to 18:15. Our plan was to do just enough laps to bed in new pads and scrub race tyres in during free practice, then switch to some qualifying tyres (nothing special but saves the race tyres) and do enough laps to qualify each driver and then be ready for the race.

Not a huge entry which was a bit disappointing but we were not the only MX5 as Jon Earp had entered his 5 so it was great to see his team in action again. Other entries included BMW M3s, a BMW Mini run by Track Toys, Rover 216i, VW Golf Mk6, MG ZS180, Alfa 156 and a relay team of Caterham 7s.

Qualy was good as we placed 3rd on the grid behind the Caterham team and the Intersport Racing BMW M3 coupe which was on pole. This is a very serious BMW race car indeed so no real surpises there! And Caterham's are normally always quick for obvious reasons, however were not in the race overall as they made up a relay team.

So the race began on schedule and our problems promptly turned up to join the party! First issue for a fuel tank breathing issue. It's only worked fine forever beforehand so this was quite annoying. Combined with this was a loss of fuel pressure. Pressure was dropping from the required 45 psi to 13 psi for no apparent reason. In and out of the pits trying replacement relays to the various fuel pumps didn't cure it but taking out the fuel pump selector switch seemed to make the issue go away. Very odd as these switches are very common and normally bomb proof reliable so not really convinced the issue is the switch but it did behave thereafter so maybe it was heat affected?

Matt had taken the start but after a few pit stops I went out to see the issue for myself and as things seemed to run ok so I stayed out.....until coming through the chicane before the pit straight, there was a ping and the car jumped off the circuit! Straight into the pit and everyone starts working on the car again trying to fix the now working fuel system while I am yelling suspension failure! Car is jacked up and the front drivers wheel looks a tad wobbly. Quickly spot a snapped rose joint! This is also odd as there was only about 3 mm of exposed thread but fortunately I carry some spare joints and Paul, our fab crew chief, quickly swaps them over. A guesstimate is made for settings and later with hindsight it was a very good estimate as no one complains about the handling. However there is a ruddy great dent in the damper tube but low down.

Now we are getting a high fuel pressure warning on the dash but Paul thinks this is because we don't run a vacuum on the fuel pressure regulator so it goes up when lifting off the throttle which does agree with what was being experienced. Its a non issue really today but needs sorting for later.

Did I mention that after qualy we noticed some oil on the garage floor? Oil levels are being checked at every pit stop as we are losing about 1/2 to 3/4 a litre each hour. It is coming out the gearbox bell housing so must be engine rear crank shaft seal. Topping up regularly keeps ample oil in the engine but the underside of the car will never rust now!

We now settle into a rhythm but clearly we are carrying a poorly car. A vibration has started under braking which we can't work out what it is. Blame is on the dented damper. The effect is that the steering wheel is violently bouncing up and down. Trying to think of words to describe how bad it is, and apologising in advance, it reminds me of the Buckeroo position, you know, the one when you're behind and lean forward and whisper in your wife's ear...."you're not as good as your sister!" and hang on tight! It's a bad vibration Ok?

John and Matt both do decent length stints but are now saying there is a worsening misfire. This is different to the low fuel pressure as that just kills the engine whereas this misfire makes it stutter. So the car is stuttering along the straights under power and the steering wheel is trying to rip itself out of your hands under braking. Balanced throttle in the corners is quite pleasant by comparison though! And in the corners our car is quick. We can just cruise around the outside of everyone bar the Intersport BMW and the Caterhams. Our low weight and decent BHP also really punch the car out of the corners to great effect.

Will our car make the flag now? Getting doubtful. And to add to our woes the scrutineers are unhappy with us. Our car should have failed scrutineering as we are running without windows in an enclosed car. As we passed scrutineering we didn't give it a second thought but when other cars start to remove windows to let some cool air in for their drivers they get jumped on and our situation is highlighted so we get jumped on. A further stop, as if needed, is made to fit the window net.

John comes in again half way through a stint and says its just getting too bad and I go out to see what he means and before I get to the end of the pit lane I decide to retire the car. Limp round one lap and park up. We retire just before 5 pm which is how we end up having a drink and toasting the cars that make the flag!

There are definitely many positives to be taken from the day although it is very disappointing to have had so many woes. However each issue is effectively a new issue not experienced on the car before and nothing previously fixed has gone wrong again. I know that I have a blindingly fast car so I really need to crack the reliability issues and then I will have a winner on my hands.

It was great to be joined by John and Matt, so big thanks, but also apologies, to them for being my co drivers. Paul worked his socks off keeping the car going for as long it did go, a genuine motorsport superstar in my books. Thanks Paul. Help for Paul came from Roger so thanks to him for mucking in again when needed.

Dan spent all day on the pit wall holding out our pit board. Thanks Dan, you were a great link between driver and the pit when we were occasionally on track.

It was really good to have support and so thanks to Gill for all the positive comments even when it was going a tad pear shaped, and also to Mick, Lynne, Les, Steve and son Robert and to Russell and son Reuben, for making the effort to get to Snetterton as no one is local to this circuit.

So my job list is quite long (and probably costly) and as proved by the gap between the first race for my car and this second one, it will probably take me a long time to get through. I can't see me racing this car in 2016 but hope to be there in 2017. Hey ho!

So be warned, the Yella Terra may be down but it's certainly not out!

PS if anyone is interested in seeing the Yella Terra, it will be on show at the Camberley Car Show on 22nd August 2015 alongside my GT40 replica and my J2 Ltd MX5. There are about 180 cars entered including Blood Hound the land speed record car (plus simulator), the six wheel Tyrell F1 car of Jody Scheckter, Brooklands museum are putting on a display of cars and Edd China from Wheeler Dealers will also make an appearance. Come and say hi!

Malcolm


A few pics of mine ...
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In the pits ...
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Jon Earp in his MX5
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Have to say I really enjoyed the day, the problems through the day were frustrating but it was interesting to be involved in some of the problem solving when the car came in each time, and I've now taken part in a pit stop which was pretty exciting!

It was also interesting seeing the atmosphere up and down the pit lane, which was just so relaxed and friendly. A lot of this is due to the length of the race, 6 hours really is a long time and because the field is fairly small and the cars so varied, there just isn't the pressure you'd get in a 20 minute race between 30 almost identical cars.

Russell.
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Re: 360 Motorsport Snetterton 6 Hour

Postby Vindi (Russell) » Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:55 pm

Managed to load a bit of video ... the sound this car makes is amazing, and the way it went past cars on the corners was really good to see ... I just can't wait for this car to get sorted!!

Image

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Re: 360 Motorsport Snetterton 6 Hour

Postby greg#2 » Tue Jul 07, 2015 7:36 am

Interesting write up. Shame about the foibles. What is his fix list?
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Re: 360 Motorsport Snetterton 6 Hour

Postby stuartb » Tue Jul 07, 2015 4:47 pm

Sounds similar to last year's Race of Remembrance. Some of the cars breezed through, and some finished the day in the pits. Plenty of tense faces, but a really cheerful mood in the pits.

I would have liked to have watched the 6h, but it's been a busy few weeks and I really needed the extra sleep.
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Re: 360 Motorsport Snetterton 6 Hour

Postby Vindi (Russell) » Fri Jul 10, 2015 8:19 am

greg#2 wrote:Interesting write up. Shame about the foibles. What is his fix list?


Main thing is to get rid of the vibration, which looks to be a damaged subframe from when the rose joint snapped. The next thing is to look at why the rose joint snapped and uprate them if needed. The brakes were getting pretty hot so some ducting might be on the cards? The fuelling issue was kind of sorted on the day but they need to make sure they fully understand what caused it.

Think that's it but with the way Malcolms life goes that will take some time to sort.

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