Arriving at the circuit late on Saturday evening we were greeted by the normal Time Attack torrential downpours however Sunday morning brought the sunny, dry weather we had been hoping for.
Having achieved a 52.3 last year versus the lap record of 52.2 set in 2008 by Kev Horsley the aim for the day was a sub 52 second lap.
Out for warm up and it was a great feeling to be on our home track but with the circuit being so short and a full entry list, traffic was proving to be an issue. Trying to get a clean lap was very difficult and with a slight misfire we decided park up and sort the issue before pushing a little harder in Practice.
Out for practice and the plan was to try a few corners at speed but on low boost to see how the car felt. After finding some space and pushing the car a little it was a total shock to look down at the AIMS dash and see a recorded time of 50.982, a new lap record for club 4wd. The car still had a misfire so once again we parked up in the pits and continued our investigations into what the problem was.
After lunch and into the qualifying session it was time to add a little more boost and top up the Torco Race fuel. We managed a banker of 51.068 but the traffic on the circuit hampered any chance of bettering our 50s lap from the practice session. Our time was good enough for a win in qualifying so maximum points gained once again. We still hadn't resolved the misfire so we replaced the spark plugs and made some other small changes in the hope that we could complete a lap without issue, a 49 second lap could be a possibility. Out onto the track with Simon Griffiths in the Mitsubishi Evo hot on our heals, the pressure was on. A brisk outlap then into a flyer but we had caught up with the cars that were exiting the pits, these cars were on cold tyres and we're just crawling along like rolling road blocks. Manoeuvring between the cars and getting what felt like a decent lap in was brought to a premature end as a quick change into 5th gear resulted in the gearbox letting go and we were stuck in 5th. Crawling back to the pits the dash was showing a 52s lap putting us in 1st place. The session was red flagged with ten minutes remaining and Simon Griffiths was really on form. All we could do was watch the live timing and see if Simon would beat our time. Simon pushed hard and managed a 51s lap getting him a well deserved P1.
The Legacy has done incredibly well and gets a real pasting every time it is run, the reliability of the car has surpassed so many other race cars but to continually punish the mechanical components over and over again we have to expect some sort of breakage. The damage looks to be minimal so with the help of SD Motorsport we should be back out on track very soon.
We would be nothing without our support team and sponsors. Thanks to all our Torco USA for helping to keep the car out there and smashing Lap Records.
Cadwell Park 2015
After several invites to attend a Whiteline 22B Sprint Series event we finally gave in and agreed to give it a go. The main culprit in twisting our arm was David Coe, our rival and the Championship winner in the 2014 Time Attack Club 4WD Championship. David and his team are great guys and such good fun to be around so we were really looking forward to meeting up.
The chosen event was to be held at Castle Combe Circuit, one of our favourite and most regularly visited UK tracks. We have had some great times there chasing Phil Collins Rallying in their amazing Mk2 Escort during the annual Rallyday event.
With only a week between this event and our biggest event of the 2015 calendar, the Brands Hatch round of the UK Time Attack Championship, we were playing with fire. If we had a problem with the car at Castle Combe it would be a race against the clock to get the car ready for Brands Hatch. To make things even more interesting we invited our mentor and friend Steven Darley of SD Motorsport Limited to duel drive the Legacy.
Duel Driving has significant advantages and disadvantages. Drivers can share their experiences in the car and help each other improve, however the car gets very little time to cool down between runs and it was this issue that was set to cause some problems during our day at the sprint.
Turing up to a sprint after some impressive Time Attack results leaves a huge target on your back and some of the "banter" in the run up to and during the event made it obvious we would need to be on form.
In line with almost every event we have attended to date the weather wasn't on our side. Walking the track at 7am left us soaked through but at least we managed to identify the more treacherous areas of the circuit. Some sections of the tarmac had been recently relayed leaving a surface very different from what we were used to at Castle Combe. Steven had never driven Castle Combe so this was to be quite a challenge and the rain wouldn't make it any easier.
Out onto the track and grip was noticeably better than expected on the new areas of tarmac however there were some very slippery corners to overcome. Practice runs came and went with only one visit to the crop field due to a surprisingly slippery corner.
The weather was slowly getting better but we were off the pace on the road tyres, it was time to try the SD Motorsport wets and see how we could improve our time, running on our lowest boost setting so not fully taking advantage of the potent Torco Race Fuels we started smashing in some competitive times, things were looking really good but it was time to go after the big guns. On went the SD Motorsport Avon Slicks, a top up of Torco Race Fuel and some proper boost. Steven set off in the car and managed a 1:08.61 putting him in 4th overall and really in the mix of it, the run was far from perfect and there was more time to come.
Having overheated the car on the previous lap which resulted in an aborted run the pressure was on, missing a change into 2nd and 4th gave a time of 1:10 a PB for me but not enough for a podium. With coolant temperatures getting high and Steven looking at a 3rd in class I was ready to pack up and call it a day but Steven was adamant there was much much more to come. Out I went for the last run to bring home a 1:08.50 just 0:00.11 faster than Steven and enough for a 4th place overall and 3rd in class behind two of the fastest Subarus in the country.
This result was one of our best to date, we were right up there with our home built 1992 Subaru Legacy on a H pattern OEM Subaru gearbox. Huge thanks once again to Nimbus Motorsport and Torco Race Fuel for giving us the power when we need it.
Thanks again to Steven for dual driving, it was an epic day and one to remember.
Thanks to ABW Motorsport for coming down to support us.
Thanks to all our sponsors for helping to build and run such an amazing bit of kit.........Our Legacy!
Snetterton Time Attack 2015
Arriving at the track at 5.30am on the morning of the event it was great to see that SD Motorsport were out in force with the Legacy sitting ready to go.
What wasn't so good was the weather! The track was very very wet, just as it was at last years event and although we managed a 2nd place the car was a real mess after two front end crashes during Snetterton 2014.
Out behind the safety car on our "wet" tyres it was obvious that the conditions were far from ideal. Grip levels were very unpredictable which became more apparent as soon as the safely car returned to the pits and the session wet live. Warm up and Practice resulted in several casualties but fortunately we weren't one of them.
During lunch the track dried considerably and the clubman session times indicated that a good time could be achieved, however with dark clouds overhead and light rain on the windscreen we would need a banker very early on. After what seemed like an eternity we had a green light and made our way out onto track at the front of the pack. Getting some heat into the tyres and making some space on track was set to be a winning formula, setting a 1min 30s lap before the heavens opened, someone was looking after us. Back into the pits after completing only 4 laps we watched the live timing confirm that we had made the right decision with lap times getting slower and slower as the rain got heavier and heavier. We had just won the qualifying session and gained ourselves top points.
Once again leading the pack out for the final session track conditions were difficult to judge. Some corners still had standing water. With Josef hot on our heals we managed a banker of 1:26. Returning to the pits the live timing reported that Josef was ahead with a 1:25.9. It was time to take full advantage of the potent Torco Race fuel and turn up the boost a little. Back out onto the track and the car was flying, the power increase was incredible resulting in a great time of 1:22.6. Once again though the event had its casualties and the session was red flagged. Sitting in the queue to get back on track Paul and Steven made some adjustments to the car and provided some much needed coaching on using the brakes a little later and a little less. Out for the final few laps behind Josef we needed a clean line so down the back straight the Legacy let rip and provided that much needed space. A reasonably clean but cautious lap time of 1:21.3 flashed up on the AIMs MXS dash but it wasn't until the chequered flag and a return to the pits that our win was confirmed. What a result, another win on what could be considered our most challenging circuit of the Time Attack 2015 calendar.
Once again we showed the competition how much of an advantage Torco Fuels provide in Time Attack events.
Cadwell Park 2015
After an intense couple of weeks of late nights and early mornings preparing the Legacy for the first event of the year we set off for Cadwell Park. The car was sporting a green theme in memory of the late Simon Roe.
The main upgrades to the car since last year have been the new Aims MXS Dash and a reduction in height of the rear wing to comply with MSA regulations, hardly performance enhancing modifications!
Having read posts on Facebook and hearing people talking the general thoughts were that we would walk away with Club Challenge 4WD at Cadwell park as the likes of Dave Coe, Jason Bird and Eric Holmes would not being there to keep us on our toes. The competition, Simon Griffiths and Josef Calagia are great drivers with very quick cars. Simon was considerably faster than us last year at Cadwell Park so it wasn't going to be as clear cut as people expected. The aim was to beat last years winning time of 1:37.016 set by Dave Coe in his awesome Subaru Impreza.
Arriving at the circuit at 7.30am on Friday for the track day we were greeted by Steven, Trevor and Brett of SD Motorsport shortly followed by Rob of Ten Tonne Motorsport. The Legacy was parked up next to the iconic car that is the Lateral Performance Bannana and we set about finishing some of the little jobs that needed doing. The weather was amazing and other than a split CV boot the car performed very well all day. Tuition from Steven Darley and Gavin Renshaw totally changed our lines and the cars composure around the track. This tuition together with walking the track with Steven on the morning of the event were hugely significant in achieving the lap times we managed in the final.
After some final tweaks to the dash configuration and completing the wiring to the Cartek rain/cool down light we had an early night. Saturday morning brought with it glorious sunshine and the Legacy was really looking the part on the stand next to the Bannana. Disappointingly the Bannana sustained a split liner on the track day and wouldn't be joining us on track for Time Attack.
Warm up and practice flew in and we managed a reasonable time of circa 1:42 but both Simon and Josef were putting in much better times. Getting a clean lap without traffic was a real challenge, some new entrants made overtaking a little difficult. After doing our bit by taking a marshal out for a couple of laps over lunch we changed tyres and added the secret weapon, our commercially available Torco 118NOS supplied by Nimbus Motorsport was poured in, some tweaks on the map from Paul Blamire and we were all set. Boost was set at 1.7bar to gain a banker saving the "man sized" boost for the final. Making great space behind Logan Black it was all looking good until Umar Masood parked up on the grass for a little break :D, session red flagged and back to the pits. Umar was recovered and we were off again. Gaining some space we went for a banker and managed a 1:36 with traffic, even getting air over mountain with a near stationary Mini on the inside line. which was enough for 2nd place but time was ticking on. Into the pits and Steven says Simon Griffiths is 2 seconds ahead, ok we had a job to do. 2.1bar of boost set and out onto track again with only a few minutes of the session remaining.
Rounding the hairpin and into Barn it was time to open her up, 2.1bar on Torco race fuel is something else. The tyres struggling for grip onto the pit straight towards one of the most challenging yet rewarding corners on UK race tracks "Coppice". Into 5th across the start finish line then a dab on the brakes into 4th, floor it and hold on for dear life. Using the all of the available tarmac on exit of coppice left me buzzing. Through Charlie's and onto my "problem corner", Park Corner is where I tend to do a bit of grass cutting, shaving off loads of speed I got it just right and back on the power. The rest of the circuit fell into place nicely and crossing the line on the checkered flag with the dash showing a 1:34 lap was incredible.
Back to the pits and it was confirmed that not only had we won qualifying by over 1.8s but we had the new Club 4WD lap record for Cadwell Park too.
Getting ready for the final and the heavens opened, the standing water was declared too dangerous and the session canceled. Finishing positions from Qualifying were used to award the podium positions so we have our first win of 2015.
Huge thanks to all our support team and sponsors. Also a special mention to Simon Roe, you are sorely missed but your memory lives on in the Legacy. RIP Simon Roe AKA Jollygreenmonster.