Here we go again

The new season is just about here so it’s time to at least write something here. I’ve done quite a few things over the winter although probably not enough. Here’s a short summary of them.

As usual I’ve had a massive tidy up. Top of the list here, of course, was taking out the engine and putting one in the car that should (?) work and didn’t have CBR death rattle disease. Luckily I had the current spare rebuilt last year. (It’s the one that I overheated at Brands.) The problem is, of course, that I no longer have a spare worthy of the name. Hence, I’m going to look in my dead engine heap to see if there’s a worthwhile crank there. I suspect there is but I’ll have to take an engine apart to check first, If the engine dies early in the season then I’m stuffed.

Perhaps unwisely, I’ve spent some real money on new dampers. I was never too happy with the Protechs as communication with the chaps there was hard; they didn’t seem to want to talk details about damper dynos and so on. I probably didn’t try hard enough.

Anyway, I’ve bought some new dampers from Black Art Designs who at least are localish to me. After a long time chatting to the people there and sending them lots and lots and lots of numbers and spreadsheets they built me some dampers and have supplied a bunch of data to help in setting up. I’m on track soon so I’ll know whether it was all a very bad idea. Luckily at the moment I’ve still got the Protechs although if it goes well I’ll probably bung them on Ebay. The new dampers are 3-way adjustables so that gives even more scope for confusing me…

I’ve been a bit concerned for a while that the splitter was drooping a bit and I couldn’t really do anything to stop it. So, emboldened by the fact that these days I have to carry a stack of ballast I made a sort of support frame for it (out of steel, eurch…) and used some little marine turnbuckles that I found to make it adjustable. You can just about see them if you click on the photo above.

You can possibly also see that I’ve used the new support frame to relocate the tow loop. It looks a but alarming in the photo but remember that most of that is hidden under the bodywork usually. I hope that that’s going to stop weird photos of my car with a sort of red tongue sticking out of the front of it.

I’ve done lots of tidying up, neatening activities. For example, I replaced every bearing (there are quite a few) in the gearchange system. Hopefully that’ll mitigate against the sort of failure that I had at Pembrey last year. Thankfully, we’re not making the trek to Pembrey this year, and likely not for quite a time.

Taking advantage of a change in the regulations I’ve moved the fuel tank into the passenger area of the car. The tank was drawn up using Fusion360 and, as usual, fabricated by the nice chaps at Allyfab who do a tremendous job for such things.

The big advantage of doing this is that hopefully the fuel won’t get so hot anymore. In the past it actually used to boil in the tank which was a bit alarming. The original fuel tank is actually distorted from the pressure that built up inside it all the time. Luckily, the master switch is still accessible, you can just about see it behind the tank. There’s an advantage I didn’t think about in advance in that the presence of a large arm rest means it’s much easier to get out of the car now.

The other advantage, of course, is that there’s now a big space at the side of the engine which means that things are a bit easier to get at. This photo might help those wondering how I was going to get fuel into the tank. Anyone’s who’s also wondering how I know how much fuel there is in there should know that there’s an appropriately long, suitably bendy, stick…

Look carefully at that photo and you’ll see the drybreak connection for draining fuel from the tank that we’re supposed to have, but few of us do. I’m feeling all virtuous about this…

My fire extinguisher has been dutifully serviced every year but this year it’s over 10 years old and I know that the manufacturers say I should buy a new one. So I did, not until after trying hard to read the rules in the Blue Book and getting monumentally confused. Why it’s so opaque is beyond me. I think I’ve done this right and here’s the new extinguisher which is a good deal larger than the older one. Being larger means that I had to relocate the ballast which you can just about see behind the extinguisher. Of course, due to all this added weight there’s rather less ballast than there used to be.

After all that, I did the usual setting up. I used a different approach to adding a fake Tim this year in that I’ve been collecting empty fluid containers for a while and I filled a lot of them with water. Using this, rather than bags of sand, means I don’t have to rupture myself lifting a 25kg bag of sand out of the car. It’s easy getting it in, but lifting it out is tricky.

Finally, I spent a while doing some minor tidying up of the bodywork. In particular a bit of respraying to get rid of the worst of the stone chips at the front. Obviously, as soon as I go out on circuit all this is doomed, of course.

That’s due to happen soon, check back here in a year to see if I’ve managed to write anything.

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