“FSWW” said Diz. My innocence had me struggling to decode what was being said. “F*cking Slippy When Wet” he kindly translated. He wasn’t joking. The theory goes the planes landing at the adjacent airport cover the track in slippery hydrocarbons which cause a problem in the rain.
After 9 laps I felt a strange rocking sensation at the rear. The oversteer increased yet further… time to slow up and come back to the pits. By the time I was at the chicane I was watching my rear wheel sail passed me and in to the gravel. It had damaged the upright snapping the caliper off. It looked like the day was over after 9 laps but luckily we had a cunning plan. Even more luckily the good old marshals had found the wheel bolts!
We managed to get the caliper on the rear of the upright missing only one session. We could have even made it out for that session if we hadn’t spent so long deliberating on it!
Fresh from the pickup truck I bumped in to Lester from the Downforce podcast. He couldn’t have picked a worse time for an interview but you can listen to it here
Anyway after the drama we got down to testing the car setup when we found yet another problem. The rain meant all we could do was attempt to find a wet setup like in Oulton. All we found really was the basic mechanical setup was not very good with the rear geometry being quite far out. By far the biggest problem though was the front suspension was, like the rear, far too stiff and once again it was due to the very old Sachs dampers. Without changing these not much could be achieved.
We were also running the car with a lot of rake which simply made the oversteer much worse. We reduced this for the next test and the car was much easier to drive.
The luck was once again with us as we happened to be sharing a garage with the knowledgeable John Loebel who pointed out a few issues with the car. I found the brakes were very impressive and I could easily outbrake cars which were far more stable in the corners. However under heavy braking there were sudden sharp darting movements at the front. John, having already confirmed my suspicions about the dampers, pointed out the castor was uneven on the front axle. This was another issue which needed addressing before we were out next.
We found a lot out about the car but didn’t really move it forward this time. Next time out would be the first Oulton race weekend.