Early Saturday morning at Donington Park was dry and bright and looked ideal for a day’s racing for the AMOC Intermarque. Reports from people arriving at the circuit from the west seemed to indicate that thunder storms were coming our way, which they eventually did about an hour before qualifying. The rain stopped well before qualifying and the circuit looked to be drying at a similar rate to Oulton Park a few weeks earlier.
How wrong I was. The circuit didn’t look too wet but it was very slippery, and qualifying was a case of keeping it on the track and try to learn where the grip was. The times in the session were all over the place, with some cars electing (correctly) to use wet weather tyres, others (like myself) were struggling on dry’s. We qualified 15th, with our main championship rivals much further up the grid.
With a lot of ground to make up during the race we needed to be on the correct tyres, and an hour or more of torrential rain around lunch time made that decision an easy one, we went with wets.
We have never used proper wet weather tyres before so the first few laps of the race would be a step into the unknown, as we had no idea how much grip would be available, we also had to guess on pressures and suspension setup.
The lights stayed red for a very long time making the pack very bunched and moving very slowly. This allowed us to use the 911’s greatest asset, traction (with the engine hanging over the rear wheels grip off the start is brilliant). With others struggling to put their power down the 911 squatted down and took off. Making up about 5 or 6 places by the first corner. Then we had a tentative first couple of laps, I think it was down to having to build up tyre temp slower than normal as it was so wet and simply not knowing how much to push them.
We had made up several positions during the first half of the race, but our championship rivals were a long way up the road still. Around half way through the safety car came out and we took this opportunity to pit. We got a bit lucky here, as other cars had to be held at the end of the pits and a group of cars got stuck behind a slow moving car on track and didn’t catch the safety car up.
After the safety car we weren’t far behind our championship rivals, with Porsche team member Steve Atkinson and Wayne Marrs in his Ferrari 355 just ahead. Trouble with traffic and a lapped Aston Martin getting in the way meant we couldn’t move any further up the order. We eventually brought the car home 6th overall and 2nd in class.
The tittle battle is getting closer, with 3.35 points covering the top 4 cars, with Wayne Marrs on 94.6, Tim Mogridge on 93.5, Steve Atkinson on 92.5 and we are on 91.25. More importantly Porsche is still in the lead of the team championship.
We should have a full gallery live before the end of the week, so check back.
The second round of the AMOC intermarque championship was held at Oulton Park. Oulton Park is a circuit I don’t have much experience of and therefore we weren’t expecting a great result, just to come home with as many points as possible.
Friday testing was predominantly dry, so we had some good running, and I was able to get back up to speed with the circuit layout. The car ran well and reliably.
Saturday morning was very wet, before the qualifying session we had to make a decision whether to run wets or dry tyres. We went with dry’s and for the first 3 laps it was very slippery, several of my competitors went with wets, the 355’s pitted though when they realized they needed to dry tyres to go quick. With our dampers on wet settings and our tyre pressures probably set a bit too high, we didn’t manage to qualify well.
I lined up 11th on the grid, around some very fast cars, I knew I needed to move forwards in the pack, to make sure I didn’t give away too many points to my competitors. I had a flying start and by the hairpin I was up to 5th position, and holding onto the back of the leading pack. Over the first 15 minutes I settled into a rhythm not far off the back of the leading group, and then the rain came. Once it rained I tried to stay out as long as possible hoping it would pass over, as I didn’t want to lose too much tyre pressure in the pit stop whilst it was still wet. Eventually I had to pit, the 2 Astons in front fell back during the heavy rain, the 2 ferrari’s changed tyres and lost about a minute to me and the other Porsche was slowing after the pit stop. This left me with a very large lead, but on dry tyres in the wet. I was unaware I was leading, I could see no other cars in front or behind and found it very difficult to judge my pace, I had some very close near misses, and lots of instances where all 4 brakes were locked. Eventually I was caught by the 2 Ferrari’s and Aston, and so did another class B 911. This meant I fell back to 5th overall and 2nd in class. At the chequered flag I was just relieved to bring the car home undamaged in conditions like that.
In the end it was a very good result considering it’s not my best circuit, but we were painfully close to our first AMOC podium and I’m sure it won’t be that far away.
Now we have had two rounds of the championship I am tied 3rd overall and equal 1st in class on points, and Porsche have around 14 points lead in the team’s championship.
The 2014 AMOC Intermarque season kicked off at Silverstone on Saturday. After we cruised through scruitineering we got the car back to garage and noticed brake fluid coating the inside on the left rear wheel. After bleeding the brakes the night before we must have had a weeping bleed nipple. After some investigation we had found a nipple that had worn the thread on the caliper and would no longer tighten. We tried some PTFE and plumbers tape, but this didn’t work. We found a similar sized bolt and forced it to fit into the hole in the caliper, and this worked and held fast throughout the day.
So after a brief panic with brakes, we had a very good qualifying. We qualified on class pole by about ¼ of a second, but after setting this lap time, we had fuel surge coming out of right hand turns. So the next problem of the day was a broken fuel gauge. The gauge was showing a full tank but it clearly wasn’t. So we had to guess the amount of fuel to put in for the race.
The start of the race was good, we didn’t make up any positions in the first corner, but over the first couple of laps we started to move up the order whilst maintaining the class lead. We had a great first half of the race, holding on to the back of the eventual winner and second place. After about 15 minutes the tyres started to go off and we started to lose lap time. We lost time to our competitors during the pit stops, and coming out the pits we were right up behind Steve Atkinson the eventual class B winner. The tyres were well past their best at this point and we were only going to go backwards from here.
We finished 9th overall and 2nd in class, which considering the bolt jammed into the brake caliper and the dodgy fuel gauge was a good result for the day, but our competitive spirit means we are never satisfied with coming second.
Next time out in Oulton Park on 10th of May. See you there.