Here Michael tries to bodge in some AVO double adjustable dampers on to the Mondiale M89S Formula Ford 1600 race car. We had been quoted an 8 week lead time for the preferred Quantum dampers so we had no choice. We’ll see how these go at the track before passing further judgement but fitting them… hmm… was not easy!
Fresh from testing on Tuesday and still nice and dirty the stickers finally arrived. Shame we missed getting them on for the test session as it would have been nice to get some shots of the car at Oulton with the stickers on. Never mind! It looks a lot more interesting with a bit of writing on it I reckon.
Excellent news! After months of rain the BBC predicted a nice dry day; just what we needed to get those new AVO dampers set up. Pissed down all day. Good work BBC!
With the dampers on full soft… I ventured out for a few slow laps to check all the new bits were pointing in the right direction. I’d never driven Oulton before despite never living more than 30 miles away and these were not ideal conditions for learning a new fast track with walls on every corner.
The car darted around at the rear a lot in a straight line which was not helping my confidence so when the mirror started acting all mirror like and showing only my own face and not the track behind me I headed in. A bolt had come loose and by the time I got to Lodge it was spinning around like one of those van roof ventilators until the screw fell out!
Anyway that was easy to fix. To sort out the stability we rechecked the rear toe settings and also reduced the rear camber as it was so wet which improved the car greatly for the next session. Throughout the day we also checked the corner weights (which turned out to be miles out!) and kept the tyres at about 18psi when warm. The only other significant change was to completely disconnect the rear anti-roll bar instead of just leaving it on soft and by the end of the day it was nicely balanced in the wet. On reflection the dampers were too soft though making the car feel too floaty even for the wet. We really need to look at this.
I learned two important things about Oulton that day. Firstly, when it’s wet short shifting at Dear Leap is a good idea. To use all of the revs means shifting as you go over the top when the car is very light. Deer Leap nearly became Dear Leap as it did for one poor BMW driver also testing that day!
The second, unbeknown to me, is that there is a big bump on the exit of Druids. I found that the hard way and nearly ended up buried in the tyres but luckily it was just another big save.
I did manage a crash that day though in the last 2-3cms of driving. The ramps were down on the trailer as I pulled up to it making it ever so tempting to just drive it on… forgetting the nose was still on the car. Crush! Anyone know how to fix glass fibre?