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.
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.
The first round of the 2014 AMOC Intermarque championship kicks off next Saturday at Silverstone on the 1.6 mile national circuit. If you want to come down to watch it costs £10 on the gate for a ticket that gives access to all the open grandstands and the paddock. We are in garage 9b so come along and say hello. The intermarque qualifying is at 10:40 and the race is at 3:30.
Donington park looked like it may be the first warm and dry race day of the year, and it didn’t disappoint. Temperatures were high and there was no signs of rain so we were in for a good day for the AMOC intermarque.
In the past I haven’t done many laps of Donington park in the dry so I didn’t really know what to expect from qualifying or even what lap times I should be looking for. We bolted on a brand new set of Toyo R888’s and went on the hunt for a quick lap. With 26 cars on a relatively short circuit I didn’t get many clear laps in but I managed to qualify 9th which was not bad, with quite a few cars putting very similar lap times in there was potential to improve my position in the race.
I didn’t have a great start loosing a position to the V12 ferrari 456 of Brooks and Kearney. After a lap to get the tyres and brakes up to temperature I started to attack the Ferrari’s in front. passing the 456 into old hairpin and pulling the same move on the next lap on the 355 of Tim Mogridge. I managed to pull a small gap on the Ferrari’s but could catch the 964 of Neal and 355 of Marrs ahead.
My brake problems from Silverstone started to reoccur before the 15 minute mark forcing me to take an early pit stop to let the car cool down a bit, by this time the 2 Ferrari’s had re passed me. I managed to jump the 456 and other 964 in the pit stops but was just behind Tim in the 355. Now the car had cooled down the brakes were better and I was able to get on with chasing down the Ferrari.
Quickly the race turned into a battle to see who could get past the back markers quickest, which caused the gaps between the cars in front and behind to fluctuate a lot.
I got tangled up in someone else’s accident with about 15 minutes to go. I was lapping an Aston and thought I was safely through when the leading Tiger that was lapping us both made contact with the Aston. The Aston hit my front left wheel, whilst the Tiger hit the tyre wall on the outside. Both other cars were out of the race and the safety car came out to recover the stranded Aston. The contact had knocked my front left wheel at a strange angle which made turning right slightly more tricky but it was now better at going left. During the incident I lost a place to the Neal 964 which now meant I was second in class.
With everybody bunched up behind the safety car it was going to be a made dash to the finish. I managed to get a good run on the 964 on the front straight which got me the lead of class back. By now the brakes had started to fade again and it was getting difficult to fight back. On the start of the last lap the brake pedal went all the way to the floor so I cruised home to finish 7th and 2nd in class.