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reddevil

Gone endurance racing

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As if rallying over the winter wasn't enough of a time commitment, my friend (and engine builder!) Ben rang me up a couple of months ago and said he was done with endurance moped racing (yes it is a thing https://www.facebook.com/PlopEnduro/) and did I want in on the Citroen C1 challenge for 2018. Of course!

The racing is typically 4hr culminating in a flagship event the 24hrs of Spa (for which we'll need A licences) at the biggest 2CV festival in Europe.

C1 racing is a natural extension of the 2CV enduros that have been going on for years. Those cars are now starting to be a bit valuable so it is no longer the budget category it once was. Hence enter the C1.

I suggested we rope an old colleague of mine Dave along as he likes to tinker with track cars and lives just up the road from Ben's workshop.

So the team was formed, under the name "Majestic Motorsport" and Ben located a Cat-D black C1 on co-part in Wolverhampton for just under 500 nicker. The car arrived with a slipping clutch, binding rear drum (probably caused the former) and some rear impact damage which hadn't split the bumper but had pushed the rear panel in a bit. 

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5 minutes with a hammer sorted out the crash damage, and Ben ordered up a clutch kit and some service parts. We spent yesterday stripping the interior (literally 30 minutes!) and whilst Ben fabricated some seat mounts Dave and I gave the car a service.

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The car has 110k on the clock and I don't think the spark plugs had ever been replaced. The electrodes had burnt away and the gaps were like 4mm! We added some new ones, fresh oil and filters and an aux belt. Whilst we were in there we compression tested - all three cylinders 195psi on the nose - that's Toyota engineering for you. Here's Dave struggling with the aux belt:

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I had an old out of date Sparco rev seat hanging around and an ancient Luke harness which we will use to shake down the car.

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The plan is to get it on track for September, and Ben will use it as his daily for a bit too; so we can get well used to driving it and maybe doing some simulated runs so come next season the car will be well prepared and ready to go. We'll need it to be reliable as we'll need 6 stamps on our licences each to get the relevant upgrade for Spa.

Next immediate jobs are do the clutch, a refresh of the front brakes, new wishbones, bushes, a new set of dampers and some braided lines.

All in our budget to buy and prepare the car is about £3k split three ways I don't think it's possible to go circuit racing for less.

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So, first time out in the C1 this weekend at Pembrey.

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About 100 laps in total between Ben and myself, seeing what the car was like on the control tyre, oil consumption, what's going to break.

The weather was a mix, tyres initially took a battering but then settled down (we'll shave the next set I think) and the handling even on the 114k mile standard shocks and springs was predictable and adjustable with a nice bit of lift off oversteer. Some instability under braking might be worn bushes, once the C1 club decide on their regs for 2018 we'll be changing all of that anyway.

Nothing broke, we all agreed the seating position was pap (wonder if the regs will let us drop the column) and the next thing to spend money on is the safety gear and some driver training.

Used about 750ml of oil and about 18mpg on track. Which is more than I got in the g-wagen towing the thing there.

 

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Thanks for the update, looks like excellent fun!

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21 hours ago, jevvy said:

Thanks for the update, looks like excellent fun!

Ditto the above and looks like great fun at a reasonably cost

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So rallying is done for the summer, this weekend the focus turns to our little endurance racer, the Citroen C1. 

  • New suspension, club driveshafts and safety parts installed - check
  • Test day done and pre scruitineered - check
  • Realise forgot to install bump stops, chassis grinding on driveshafts, reinstall and MOT - check
  • Pit crew practice, driver change and wheel check times down to 36 seconds, can change two wheels in under 30 seconds - check
  • Break fuel pump plate, sod about on bank holiday Monday looking for another in a scrappy, new plate and pump installed - check
  • Install JPS colour scheme, photoshoot outside of a castle - check

Our first race is on Saturday at Rockingham, 3hr support race for the 24hr. Live feeds available on MotorsTV and other places TBC if you want to see the slowest race cars in the world on an oval circuit.

 

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Looks like great fun.

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A neat trick to speed up driver change is to ty-wrap/tank tape surgical silicone tube to the seat belt harnesses

When the harness buckle is undone the belts automatically spring out of the way saving time when refitting them on the new driver 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, World Citizen said:

A neat trick to speed up driver change is to ty-wrap/tank tape surgical silicone tube to the seat belt harnesses

When the harness buckle is undone the belts automatically spring out of the way saving time when refitting them on the new driver 

 

 

Already done, but with bungee.

Illegal on the shoulder straps these days though, as interfere with the HANS. 

Also we have an enduro TRS harness which has the lap adjusters near the buckle, not the eye bolts 🙂

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Well, an encouraging start ended ultimately in a DNF.

The test day on Friday revealed an interesting fault with the car where the clocks turned off over every bump. Not a problem, because the car kept running, but indicative of a wiring fault somewhere which we just couldn't trace. 

Otherwise the car was brilliant and each driver growing with confidence. We did manage to do some setup and work on tyre pressures and shave about a second from our best times as a result.

Roll on race day and an early morning scrutineering and sign on, another problem distracted us from the clocks was a leaky tank seal which is an issue as you must present at scruit with a tank so full you can see it in the filler neck (they then lockwire the ballast after weigh in). Somehow we got through that stinking of fuel.

During qualifying, where you need to run all three drivers in 45 minutes, we managed to pin our best lap time of the weekend with a 1.54.1 which is not bad at all on a full tank. This put us on P9 of a 35 car grid for our first ever race as drivers and a team, which is not shoddy at all in an equalised formula.

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Ben went out for the first stint and lost a few places at the start (we agreed to be cautious to bring the car home, after all it is a 3hr race) but soon started making up places settling at 11th. Then after about 50 minutes he passed the pits slowly and then came in a lap later - the car had been cutting out on the straights. After an extended confab discussing whether or not to risk it we agreed to send him back out for a couple of laps to see if it had resolved itself, then come in for a driver change - at this point we were 2 stops in and last. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NC3a-AszPUw&feature=youtu.be&t=39m58s

I took over and made up 6 places in the next 25 minutes but unfortunately the car stopped again just after piff paff - it seemed to go into a limp mode, idling but with no response to the throttle. The clocks at this point had been going mental for about 5 laps, indicating no fuel one corner, full the next, speedo dead, STOP light on, P/S light on etc. etc.

The safety car came out and we got a tow back to the pits (instant 3 lap penalty) and we spent about an hour trying to diagnose the problem with a code reader - which seemed to indicate immobiliser - but we suspect the clock binnacle where a lot of the electronics route through has a circuit board fault.

Very. Frustrating. Indeed. 

So unfortunately a DNF although 2 of us got signatures for the amounts of laps completed (essential to upgrade our licences for Spa). Unfortunately Dave didn't get to drive at all.

Amazingly, we were one of only 2 DNFs in the whole weekend (both in our 3hr race) - all 49 cars completed the 24hr race which is unbelievable - and rubs salt in the wound slightly.

We were also driven into by another car so have some damage down the side to repair.

However it was amazing fun and we'll be back in a few weeks time for the 5hr of Pembrey. 

Racing is addictive and wheel to wheel with other drives is a massive adrenalin rush! This could be the start of a very expensive hobby...

 

 

Edited by reddevil

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2 hours ago, reddevil said:

 Racing is addictive and wheel to wheel with other drives is a massive adrenalin rush! This could be the start of a very expensive hobby...

So very true, after my one and only race, a Class 1 autograss Mini 😀 I promised myself I'd never use my own money to go racing

Since then I've saved myself a fortune, still done plenty of racing, just not behind the wheel

Sounds like you guys had a heep of fun, great stuff

 

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That looks like an amazing laugh! Have you seen what Dale Lomas from Bridge to Gantry is doing with Club 1000?

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48 minutes ago, runnersp said:

That looks like an amazing laugh! Have you seen what Dale Lomas from Bridge to Gantry is doing with Club 1000?

I haven't, but I have now, looks like fun!!

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So next up was 5 hours of Pembrey, the weekend before last. 

The electrical fault at Rockingham was traced to a badly seated plug deep inside the dash - very frustrating, and a racing lesson - don't panic and go back to basics. If we had been more methodical we would have found it rather than messing around with fault code readers and pointing to faulty ECUs and wotnot.

Meantimes, we purchased a second C1 parts car from co-part - "Zippy" - with a youthful 50k miles and a battle scarred nearside rear quarter, with MOT no less. It was promptly taxed, washed and brought into service as our crew transport. We are considering building up Zippy into a full spare race car to be used for pay drivers next year, to fund our racing - it really is not much more difficult as a team to run two cars than one....

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We also picked up a new sponsor, MAC tools, who donated a £400 impact gun to our cause. Thanks!

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Anyway back to the racing. We did a test session at Pembrey in the wet eons ago, but that was before we swapped the suspension and added a cage, plus we couldn't remember the lines. Just 20 min each to practice in qualifying saw us a disappointing 26th from 40 on the grid. 

Quick distraction before the race in the form of a very unlikely tow car in the pits. An F40 doesn't have much luggage space so it must be pretty convenient being able to store all your Hermes luggage in that caravan on a weekend away!

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Dave was in for the start, seeing as he didn't get to drive at all at Rockingham. We got mugged again, dropping back to P37 at the end of the first lap. But a solid stint from Dave had us back up to around P28-ish, after which I took over.

There was some panic about the fuel level in the car - it should be capable of 2.5-3hrs, but after 1hr it was showing only 1/4 full. The team were not ready to fuel so there was a discussion during driver change about doing a few laps and seeing if it would fall further and then coming in for a slash and dash mid-stint. I had understood to wave to the pits if they put out the in board and the fuel level hadn't dropped, indicating I was staying out!

Remember there is no pit lane to car communication other than pit board and hand signals. Anyway 10 laps in the signal comes out and I wave it away, as the fuel level was not altering. Another 15 minutes goes by and the board comes out again, I wave it away... 5 minutes later the chief mechanic is standing angrily next to our pit girl pointing "vigorously" at the sign, plus other hand guestures... OK better come in.

We added not as much fuel as we expected (so we would have been fine) and then I am out again for another half hour. Then a safety car occurs within our driver change window, so I duck in and hand over to Ben in something like P18. At this point we put fresh front tyres on the car.

There is about 2hr 15 to go in the race, the deal is if Ben is feeling OK he can stay out till the finish. This would have put us in a great position, having already done all our of mandatory 3 stops. I think we are running as high as P15 at one point with other teams yet to stop. 

However a re-reading of the rule book shows that 2hr 10 is the maximum stint time, not 2hr 15. I go to speak to race control, and we work out that leaving Ben out would have us at 2hr 11.5m and risk of exclusion. Bugger, we're going to have to bring him in again......

We decide to wait and see if there is another safety car. About 30 min from the end there has been no sign, so we put the board out and put Dave back in the car. As soon as he leaves the pits, bloody SC comes out! Worse, as he is leaving, one of the pit team notice the front right tyre is down to the banding.. Too late as he is already on the gas.. So we have to bring him in once more and change the tyres.

So this puts us back to P22 at the finish. The quickest way to the finish was 3 stops, we did 5. We could have been near the top 10 with a better strategy. But a finish is a finish, and we all get 2 signatures towards our National A licences for Spa. With the one sig we got at Rockingham, and a bank holiday Monday spent marshalling at Mallory, we only need to finish one more race to be up to 6 and loose our novice status and be ready for Belgium. 

Next up Snetterton 4hrs in early August, and more work on the pit, communication and fuel strategy!

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Another weekend, another C1 race... This time a record grid of 53 cars at Snetterton.

None of us had ever driven Snetterton before, so we popped down for a test day the week before to try and learn the circuit. 

Back to the race weekend, qualifying was disrupted by someone rolling a car (right in front of me) in turn 1... But we managed a mid-field P25 on the grid. This despite qualifying on a near full tank of fuel, which was a bit of an error.

Dave ran the 1st hour and a bit, and we were up to respectable P15 as I jumped in the car. My stint saw two safety car periods, neither of which we could capitalise on. I did manage our fastest lap of the race, a 2:44.3 (in the vid below) but in general I felt like we were going backwards. Indeed others managed 2 free pitstops which is worth about 4 minutes with refuelling...

Ben jumped in for the final stint and made some progress, but had a little off into the barriers after almost surviving a tank slapper at Hamilton. Cue another pitstop to change a bent wheel and check over the car. Overall we finished P39 which was disappointing, but on the flip we all got 2 signatures for a total of 6 which means we can upgrade our licences to National A and we are clear to race at Spa!

Next time out is Rockingham 1st Sept, we will optimise the strategy more because without the unforced errors a top 20 finish was completely on the cards (this racing driver excuse thing is becoming natural).

 

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Our second, and last ever visit to Rockingham last weekend for the 3hr C1 race (supporting the 24hr). If you don't know Rockingham circuit is closing forever in December. It's been sold to a lease car company and will be covered with cars awaiting auction, and the pits converted into a prep garage. Some of the stands are going to Brands and Silverstone, the main building already has 80 businesses occupying office space with more to come. A sad loss, as it is a great venue and the infield track configurations are fun and challenging.

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Back to our team, following the crash at Snett we had to do a little panel beating to the rad support, crash bar, wing and bonnet - remarkably we even managed to save the bumper (albeit needed a respray) so it took us a little longer to prep the car. We also changed to racing brake fluid as we were boiling the standard stuff towards the end of the previous races.

A new arrival for this weekend was our newly purchased race truck and tent. Something I fully experienced by sleeping in it Thurs and Fri night!! We bought it off one of the other pro teams who have upgraded to an artic. Although it's a bit rough around the edges it's really great to have a proper working/hospitality area with proper flooring.

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You can see outside the 2nd car we have bought for racing next year, we are getting the roll cage and suspension kit this week and will half prep it for Spa (should the worst happen). If anyone fancies joining us we have drive packages available.

My bed for the night:

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Before the race we had a full test day on the Friday, and joining us was one of our pay drivers for Spa, British GTs (Vantage GT4) driver Mike Hart. It was great to get Mike in the car and get some considered interpretation of the video and data logging, it instantly made us all 2s a lap quicker by the end of the day. It's going to be great racing with him in the team, and ex-Caterham man Paul Aram at Spa.

As fastest of us novices in the test, come Sat qualifying it was down to me to set the fast lap but unfortunately my session included a red flag so I only had one clean lap. This yielded 15th out of 38, I felt we had pace to be at the bottom of the top 10 but hey ho.

The race order was Dave (yet to get his full MSA licence sig count for Spa) followed by myself and then finishing up with Ben. We had our safety car strategy better worked out after the missed opportunities at Snett. In the holding area before the start:

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After the start we dropped a few places but soon Dave settled into P17, his objective was to stay out of trouble and gain his final sig, which he completed without fault and handed off to me just before the hour mark.

Instantly as I exited the pits the safety car came out (damn!) However all is not lost, you need to do 3 mandatory pitstops regardless of number of drivers, which means one of our stops is a fake driver change so I drove as fast as possible to catch the SC train and then dived into the pits for a "free stop" where I got in and out. At this point the team fuelled us to the end of the race too. 

My actual stint was spent battling with the same car as we both passed others through the field, and I spent a lot of time mowing the grass, really I needed to stop overdriving the car... Anyway towards the end of the stint we were up to P14 but on 2 stops verses most in front of us with just 1 completed... then the SC came out again so we managed another free stop!

So an hour to go and P17 we have completed 3 stops, everyone in front of us needed to stop again.........

30 minutes to go P12.

15 minutes to go P8 and more than a handful of cars in front of us...

10 minutes to go and our car is in the pits (via the entrance on the back of the circuit) with a puncture. Damn it! And because he was let in via the marshals on the back of the circuit we are 2 laps down when we exit the pits with 3 minutes to go in P22... 

Massive disappointment but the bright side is I think we were a genuine top 10 team all weekend and maybe P6 was possible if we had managed to run to the end as planned. We are getting better.

Next stop is the big one - Spa 24hr October 4th.

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I read somewhere that at least a couple of teams decided that this event would be a 24 hour mickey up including the drivers!!!!! We’re you aware of this at all?

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51 minutes ago, NigelJ said:

I read somewhere that at least a couple of teams decided that this event would be a 24 hour mickey up including the drivers!!!!! We’re you aware of this at all?

I've worked on 24hr car and powerboat races, cycled in a 24hr mountain bike race but never a 24 hour mickey up???

What is it, sounds fun!

reddevil, great thread, please do one for Spa and good luck

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Loving these updates - please keep them coming.

P.S. I know someone selling a donor car and the full official kit for 3k if you know anyone looking?

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