Well it is fair to say that the last two weeks have been extremely testing, taking me from the brink of giving up on trying to get the car ready for brands hatch to moving heaven and earth to get there.
We got there having run in the freshly rebuilt engine on the dyno on Saturday evening at surrey rolling road (thanks Charlie) and unloaded in garage 12 at brands hoping that all would work on the day.
As the only car in pro class running a completely standard H pattern gearbox we were already carrying a substantial time penalty but with Phil Glew‘s knowledge of the track we were confident of producing a performance if everything else was working.
We needed some luck though.
We needed the fresh liners in the block to not slip (as they almost always do)
We needed the std gearbox to hold together for its last round in the car before the long awaited upgrade to sequential to arrive.
We didn’t want much really and didn’t want competitors to pull out – well done for all of those in pro class for battling against the clock and what is humanly possible in getting out there, particularly Gareth Lloyd and the SVA team for phenomenal work on the day to get out and blitz it. Well done also to Paul Doyle in the K Sport Impreza for implausible modifications to get out and eventually pip up by 0.003 of a second to take the last podium slot. Very small margins define a season.
Anyway back to my car … and the liners…. These almost always settle after running on power, and despite praying for some piece of luck in them not settling, they did. Result being breaking the head gasket seal and misfires if you run on proper boost and loss of coolant. Bugger. Unfortunately it is the nature of the unstable Subaru block that makes this happen and nothing we could do about it. However once settled they tend not to move again so this engine will be strong as an ox once the block has been decked to account for the settling. We were limited to 1.8 bar in the final as a result. Not the end of the earth as still decent power if everything else survived and was functioning.
Now… as for everything else… the main handicap we have been carrying all season has been the 100% standard gearbox. The ratios, the speed of change and general use of it costs a lot of time. Speed traps on the straights always show us down on speed purely because of how long this takes to change compared to sequential. Normally manageable to get a good show in as we have proved this year but always a penalty in this competition when such small margin define whether a good day or not. Anyway to cut a long story short, we had no 4th gear. Probably the most used gear in the box. Suspected bent selector rod rules out that for us.
Enough of the excuse list, we got 4th place and despite everything else i was pretty pleased with that considering the issues, the lack of sleep, lack of energy remaining and general disappointment of losing the podium slot by 0.003 of a second.
We did however secure 3rd place in the championship for the second year running – superb !!!! Amazing considering the issues we were fighting and the competition we were up against.
What now … and what next – big questions that I don’t have the energy to answer at the moment lol
Some sleep, rest and time away for building a racecar might help make a clearer decision Watch this space !
I would like to thank all the supporters, friends, family and anyone that has put up with me and helped me over the season and couldn’t have done it without you – thank you.
Also huge thanks to :
HKS Europe Oils,
Thank you for your help and support.