March 1st

Car on corner weight scalesEeek, it's March and there's a race later this month. What's more, I haven't run the car in any sort of anger (or even equanimity) since I put it in the garage just after the last Mallory incident. (And I'm supposed to be doing two races at Mallory later this month?)

Anyway, I arranged for the local corner weight scales to be in my garage for a short while. (They sort of go on a continuous tour around Cambridge and the environs, but we never let them go back to Steve, who actually owns them.) Then I perched the car on top of the scales and started tweaking things a bit. There's rather more to do yet. What's more, it's clear that I really need to chop off a couple of limbs. That way I could probably get under the weight limit of 530 kg. As it was, I did something I've been meaning to do for a while and took the radiator fan out which saved a couple of kg. There's a few other ideas about saving weight over in the to-do list that I think I might have to do though.

March 6th

Gap in scuttleOne of the jobs I've had on the to-do list for a while is to finish blocking up the various holes in the engine compartment bulkhead. I've never managed to properly sort out the gaps where I originally cut the rear bodywork in two. The photo here shows the problem, a similar situation pertains on the other side.

I've been trying to work out the best way to bung this up for a while and it suddenly occurred to me how to do it.

Sealed up gapSo, I just cut out a bit of ally and riveted it on like this. This seems to do the job, although removing and refitting the bodywork is now a but trickier, but I suppose that's not such a big deal really.

If nothing else, this all holds things more firmly than before.

The other problem I had with holes was that around the extinguisher release which is mounted so that it's accessed through a small hole in the bonnet. The rules about holes this year mean that this needs blocking up somehow. So, I built a small surround around the release so that the hole doesn't connect to the engine compartment area. I hope this will be all right for the scrutineers, but you can never tell really. I haven't included a photo here because I put some red tank tape on it and it seems to have confused the camera so much that all you get is a red splotchy area.

Now it's redLastly, for this weekend, I went out and got some paint that I thought would match the rear bodywork. This was a Nissan red colour and it seems to match fairly well. The idea with this is to paint the bonnet scoop with it. I reckon the chance of getting a properly matching yellow is pretty small but the red should be fun and as it's not directly connected to the rear bodywork it shouldn't be too noticeable if it doesn't match exactly.

So, I ended the day by masking it all up and giving it some coats of primer and then the red. Yes, I know I should have rubbed it down lots but it's a race car, OK?

March 9th

Stopping grot getting in the engineAfter much faffing about I finally decided that the only possible chance I have to get some testing done is to brave the wintry weather and go to Snetterton tomorrow. So, I spent some time this evening doing some little tasks, such as blocking up the tubes down the plugs with the tape (otherwise they fill up with little bits of rubber).

I also spent a while checking all (well, a lot anyway) of the settings and preparing some new setup sheets. I left it at the wet setting I ended up with at the end of last year, although I suspect as it's going to be cold I need more pressure in the tyres. I did find that the camber setting on one of the rear wheels was a bit squiffy but I doubt that will make much difference to the handling.

Ready for the off, yet againFinally, I got the trailer back from the place it's been in for the past few weeks and got the car back on it. It's been a while since I did this and lots of things, such as the tie-down straps, needed a bit of TLC.

I sorted out all my tools and so on and with luck I can sort my gear out in the morning. However, for now it's late and I'm off to bed.

Hope the weather's good, and nothing breaks; especially the new bits. I'm a bit worried about the gearchange to be honest, although I don't really know why.

The one problem is that I'm bloody nervous!

March 16th

Well, it's taken me a while to write it up, but the test went fine. I wasn't really trying to go as fast as possible, just to make sure that the car worked. In summary, it did. The engine ran fine and the gearchange was great. Although I made a couple of slight grabs for the nonexistent gear lever until I was completely up to speed with the new system.

One problem was that the gear indicator didn't work at all. This has since been traced to a problem in the lead that connects the DL1 to the Palm and has now been fixed. In fact, I've been doing a lot of fettling getting the car ready for the Mallory race this weekend. There's actually going to be two grids for this race, as the number of entrants is so high, so all us class Cs are all together. That should make things interesting. I keep wondering what the goal is for this year, but still haven't come to any conclusion. I wonder if a top-10 finish is at all possible?

All the same, the DL1 itself worked fine, although I haven't had time yet to really pore over the logs. However, what I have done has shown that I was about a second quicker than during the qualifying and race last October. Unfortunately I haven't got any logger data from before that, in particular the test I did before the race.

Since then I've been preparing the car for Mallory. The tyre temperature data acquired at Snetterton showed that I needed to reduce the amount of negative camber slightly everywhere so I adjusted everything by the smallest amount that I could. I also need to adjust the reverse which didn't work at all in the garage at Snetterton.

One change for this weekend is that we've bought a motorhome. This cost a huge stack of money but might make the weekend rather more relaxed, albeit at the cost of having to drive a huge thing across the country to get to the circuit. Not to mention manoevering the thing down the narrow lane towards Mallory circuit.

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