Haven't updated this topic in a while, but we've just come back from Anglesey so thought it might warrant a check in!
After our year racing, we decided to turn the team into a business to support our own racing. Over the winter we built a second car, christened Zippy (car 341).
The season started with a trip to Croft for a double 3hr race, and with drivers of mixed abilities and a very wet meeting, a result in the race was going to be tough. Indeed our drivers managed to park both cars in the mud (requiring a tow back) in both races, but one highlight was Mike Hart our "team pro" driver peddling from P29 -> P1 in race two.
Onwards to the Silverstone 24h. We had 9 drivers signed up across the two cars. Car 421 had an early extended trip to the pits for an engine change due to a missed gear shift, so was circulating around at the back. The other car qualified a very respectable 16th and was still running in that position after 4 hours, from there our race unravelled.
First, a trip to the gravel trap for 341 from that 16th place just before midnight lost us time and brought a 3 lap penalty for a tow back, putting it in the mid 70's.
All was relatively quiet through the night, come morning I'd already been up for 26hrs when I made a mistake on fuel calcs and left 341, who had recovered to top 30, out too long and it ran out of fuel on his in lap. Tow back... Another 3 lap penalty.
Finally I decided to go for a sleep at around 8am and managed two hours... During which all hell broke loose.
Car 341 was rear ended at Village by a car with brake failure. He came into the pits and the damage was extensive, the boys fitted a new bumper and sent him back out and he did manage to finish the race in that state, but when we got the car back after parc ferme we realised how bad the accident had really been. The rear floor was ripped apart, the rear chassis rail bent and the fuel tank shifted forward. Still managed to set a time within 1s of the fastest lap of the race in that state!
A massive recovery drive meant that the car actually finished in the top half of the race, the remaining 8hrs being a little quieter...
Car 421 also had it's own incident whilst I was asleep. A car had gone off at Stowe and come back onto track in front of our driver, who hit it square on in the side. This badly damaged the front end of our car breaking the engine block where the mount attaches, finishing off the rad and many other parts. Worryingly the driver of the other car needed to visit the medical centre but was thankfully OK.
Back in the pits the crew worked hard and gave 421 it's third engine of the race, a new cooling system and some gaffer tape "ballast", and had the car out in 40 minutes. Sadly this engine perished a few hours' later too due to an over rev and the car was out in hour 22 - we ran out of engines!!
So a difficult meeting.
It was a short month until the Anglesey 4hr meeting, and with two broken cars we were really on the back foot to get something in place.
Car 341 was a definite re-shell, so we decided to concentrate on 421. I spent a morning stripping him down and removing the broken engine. Amazingly the damage was largely cosmetic and the engine had taken the bulk of the impact, the geometry was good but a new slam and rad support panel was required, along with crash bar and all the external panels. Amazingly the washer bottle, tucked up at the front right corner, a survivor of no less than 3 front end smashes now, was still good!!
We sourced another good low mileage engine, bought all of our panels, made sure he was nice and straight on the jig and commenced the rebuild process.
He was finished on Thursday morning last week, and we polished then loaded him up for the trip to Wales, and testing with our customers on Friday morning (minus livery on the front!)
In between sessions we finished off the livery and our drivers Geoff, Greg and Jonny rewarded us with a P4 quali on the grid of 25 cars.
Yesterday was race day. After the first corner the boys were up to P2, and by the end of the first lap they managed to snatch the lead, extending a gap of 25s by the first round of pit stops. So the rebuild went well then!
At the first stop, unlike other teams, we elected to change tyres and long fuel, knowing others would need to do so later and the race would come back to us at the end. We were back out in P7 and once the first round of pit stops had ironed out, we were P4. Stop two at the 2.5hr mark for us was a quick splash and dash, only dropping us a couple of places with many ahead of us still to make a second stop.
The races have a mandatory 3 stops, so with 3 drivers, the plan was to do a "joker" stop right near the end of the race, unless the SC came out. This was the same strategy as the cars we were racing, most being 2 or 3 driver teams. However, with about 35 minutes to go we had the driver in the pits reporting a clonk on gearchange, he was worried something was loose or about to imminently fail on the car, after a quick safety check of the suspension and driveshafts etc. we sent him back out, telling him just to go for it until the car broke if necessary - we wasted about 30s or so compared to a normal joker pit stop.
Having completed all of our stops and back out in P7, everyone in front of us needed to make at least one other stop. Luckily for us the race did come back to us, there was no SC (allowing others to take a "free stop") and after everyone's final stops with 10 mins to go, we were P3 - only 5 secs behind the P2 car. Greg our driver put in his fastest laps of the race to close to 0.7s at the flag, with the winning car just another 25s up the road.
So we had to settle for the small step on the podium, thinking what might have been without a little more time spent in the pits, but our little car had come back from the brink and lead the most laps of the race, the sun was out and the drive home via Conwy on the coastal A55 spectacular as the sun went down. And no contact to the car, our drivers really looked after him.
We're back out in two weeks' time for the double 6hr race at Pembrey!
Meantime the 205 rally car has been sold and the next Majestic Motorsport car is here....... Also an endurance racer. I picked it up week before last. Needs a few bits doing and a livery but we hope to be racing it in August. I can't wait, it's epic and has a few tricks up its sleeve. A step onwards from the little C1s.