Donington Park April 6th 2013

Porsche Club Championship

Class 1 Porsche 996 Carrera – Car 28

As we had a bit of a disaster last time we visited Donington, it was with some trepidation we made the 4 hour trip north. It didn’t turn out too bad in the end…

Pre Season

Our engine imploded on our last race in 2012 and after much investigation and searching for solutions we decided to take our time to ensure the following year’s racing didn’t turn out the same. While this meant that our 2012 season ended prematurely it did mean we were better prepared for 2013. The weather pretty much scuppered our plans for pre season testing but we did manage to shake down the car, which for us was unusual as work commitments normally mean we simply don’t get the time.

This year we are running Pirelli slicks for the first time in the championship. We were very much looking forward to being out on proper race tyres and hoped that our experience with our GT3 Cup car would hold us in good stead. We’d made some set up changes to allow for the new tyres and were reasonably confident that we would be going in the right direction at least.

Qualifying

If anything, motorsport can be extremely frustrating, and during qualifying  Paul reported that the car was locking the brakes making it very unpredictable and impossible to put a quick lap together. Needless to say, we have never had a problem with brakes locking before, so this was a mystery. Unfortunately this ruined qualifying so we would be starting well down the grid in both races. A slightly despondent team returned to the paddock to try and find the problem.

The ABS appeared to be failing but initial investigation couldn’t find the problem. All the obvious things were tried and eventually we managed to get the ABS fault cleared so we thought that a poor plug connection was probably the culprit. Our front tyres had flat-spotted quite badly so we fitted fresh fronts for the race. Not a decision to take lightly at over £500 a pair, but you can’t run around on 50p pieces and have a good race!

Race 1

Starting from 24th is bound to mean that it will be a busy start, but Paul pushed on and eventually made it up to 15th. However, our problems weren’t over – the ABS fault had reappeared half way through the race, meaning progress through the field was very difficult. Understandably, Paul was also very conscious of not destroying another set of tyres, so he had to hold back and be content with his lot – not easy for a driver who likes to compete.

Back in the paddock we set to work on the ABS fault with renewed determination. Wiring diagrams were produced,  multi-meters put to work and eventually we identified an intermittent fault with an ABS sensor loom. The soldiering iron was out and a temporary fix was in place.

Race 2

Race 2 found us starting in 23rd so there was much work for Paul to do. A reasonable start and some good driving through the back of the field saw us get up to 11th, which while isn’t a great result at least the car behaved and ran well. It was also the first time Paul felt able to give any feedback about our set up changes and we’re confident that we’ve made good progress here.

Round Up

From this report it might seem like we didn’t have a good meeting but in fact we all really enjoyed it – it was the best day of motorsport we’d had for a very long time and it was all smiles in the transporter on our way home.

We’ve got a few small improvements in the pipeline for Brands Hatch and we are all very much looking forward to our next meeting. We are confident we can qualify in a much better position and this will give Paul a better chance to challenge the cars in our class.

Thanks to the guys from the Wessex Car Club who made the journey up from the south coast to support us. Check out their Flikr feed for some great images of the meeting.

Also thanks to John for demonstrating, once again, the versatility of the Racelogic Vbox and how it can be a great aid to driver improvement.