The cones hotline

At speed with coneDespite the optimistic title of a recent rare report, I’ve still not got up to date. I’m only two meetings behind though, so bear with me.

Next up was Silverstone International. This is the “back half” of the GP circuit and is a meeting run out of the “Wing” that is used for the F1 meetings. It might well be a great venue for F1 but it’s nigh on useless for club motorsport. For a start it’s a prodigious distance from the main gate and there is, to put it mildly, not enough space. Remember that there’s many more of the entire 750 club than a full F1 grid of, yawn, 20 cars.

Silverstone testingStill, I was doing some testing on the Friday before the race so we went up on the Thursday evening and found a sorry parking spot in the middle of a field of hardcore that was to continue to provide problems all weekend as the stones filled up the sidepods.

Testing itself turned out to be a bit of a washout. Firstly, the bright sparks at Silverstone had decided that we could have 50 cars on track at once which, of course, just led to frustration as we couldn’t get any space for a decent lap. The Silverstone staff seemed to have this daft notion that all the cars were going to circulate at the same speed and equidistant from each other. Actually, “daft” is not strong enough. All the same, I at least managed to work out where to go on the circuit.

Come race day it was again a nice day; we’ve only had one half wet race all ┬áseason. That must mean it’s going to piss down in the Birkett. I was 14th out of 33 for race 1 and in exactly the same place for race 2. To be honest, I need to start working on making the car go a bit quicker; I’m fed up with languishing at around this position.

Come the race I got my customary ok-ish start and then backed out of having an accident with Mark when he decided to drive onto the bit of track I was on. After that I got past Mark and had a decent race with Doug. Here’s the video, complete with rear view albeit without logged data because I just ran out of time:

I finished in 10th place (8th in class) although that was helped by some people being daft enough as to let their cars out in an obviously non regulations compliant form.

On the Saturday evening it was the yearly event that we (RGB, that is) put on for the marshalls who donate a lot of their personal time to Close to Tonymaking it possible for us to go racing.

One of the things that I did before the Silverstone weekend was to try changing the angle of the rear “diffuser” panel. (It’s not really much of a diffuser because we aren’t allowed to use vertical strakes to control the air flow.) You can see the angle of the panel in the photo above where I’m right next door to Tony.

After retiring to bed and worrying about the weather we got up to a cloudy day, although the forecast said that it wouldn’t rain until after our race. Unfortunately, the front camera didn’t work in the race. However, the rear view is quite exciting:

Of note is a distant view of the carnage caused by Olly spinning at the first corner (that’s why I slowed down so much) and Duncan, who was starting at the back, bashing into Steve at that corner. Later on you can see┬áDuncan driving over a cone and throwing it at Colin (1:59). That cone’s caused some discussion after the race, especially in the aftermath of Justin Wilson’s death due to being hit by debris. You can see the cone in position 1 (3:44), the cone leaping up into position 2 (3:50) and also in the photo at the top of this post. There’s Nelly and Tony’s bump (6:13).

I finished this race in 12th place, 10th in class.

Torn diffuser mountWhen I got home, I spotted something interesting. The bit of aluminium angle that retains the diffuser panel was torn at the mounting holes, apparently because it had been pulled downwards. That’s interesting because this same bracket has been there since I built the car, in fact I frequently use it to jack up the car. That it should fail in just this manner seems symptomatic. What’s more, I’d been struggling, again, with understeer at the weekend as if the rear of the car had been sticking to the track better.

Hmmm

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