Alfa Romeo gtv6 restomod (Part 4: Engine)/1 Comment/in News
So last time out Luka determined that the pistons, liners and valve guides were all in perfect condition. So why then was the gtv6 blowing plumes of smoke out the exhaust? Well, lets first list the parts that have been replaced so far. Its worth mentioning that so far 95% of parts have been sourced from EBSpares (UK) and 5% from Highwood Alfa (UK) The ordering process with both companies has been excellent. All prices are ex. VAT and shipping:
1. Clutch kit (AR 75 T/S): £175.00
2. Diff mount: £13.00
3. Propshaft rear (Guibo) or donut: £88.00
4. Clutch slave cylinder: £48.00
5. Clutch slave hose: £11:00
6. Handbrake cable: £24.00
7. Centre exhaust section S/S: £225.00
8. Rear exhaust twinpipe section S/S: £225.00
9. Main air intake hose: £58.00
10. 6no. Plenum intake hoses: £40.00
11. Head Set: £58:00
12. Head Gaskets: £80.00
13. Waterpump: £64.00
14. Cam belt & tensioner: £120 (This i am not sure about but i think its around this figure)
15. Oil filters (2): £12.00
Christmas hamper for anyone who has ever embarked on a project car looks like this regardless of the contents:
Luka embarked on a minor top end rebuild since everything was in pretty good shape. He did however identify that the main intake rubber hose was badly cracked which was resulting in over fuelling and could well have been a contributor towards the sooty exhaust. Plugs were oiled up and the engine was generally running rough.
So, new gaskets and seals were all installed. Valve guides were all fine so whilst the parts were purchased; they weren’t actually installed. Luka faced a number of challenges with the car. The engine was sitting off-centre by 30mm for some reason and the exhaust centre section didn’t mount up to the front downpipes for some reason. Luka proceeded to rebuild the top end and overhaul parts as he went along. We decided that a black & silver look would compliment the car so thats what he did.
For those with a keen eye you will notice that the Alfa Romeo script on both engine covers are different. This confused me also! So much so that i even asked the previous owner did he know why? He replied saying he was sure he sold the car with the original plain Alfa covers which in turn got me thinking even more… so eventually I remembered around 2008-09 i had two gtv6’s. The other was a project which I had transplanted a 3.0 engine into along with a 75 twinspark gearbox, pas and isostatic linkage. Now for some reason i had decided to swap the covers over as I thought the script looked better… i may have changed one at a time and not noticed they were different… until now!
To be honest i’m ok with it. Its part of the story why the car is where it is and every Alfa is unique so now its a little bit more unique!
I think a re-cap on work completed thus far might be good at this stage:
New inlet gaskets
New exhaust gaskets
New valve stem oil seals
New head gaskets
Exhaust manifolds cleaned and refitted
Servo removed and repainted
Brackets for powersteering painted
Alternator stripped and cleaned and brackets painted
Thermostat housing cleaned and painted.
Covers removed to be painted
Timing belt changed
Gear linkage sorted
Engine position sorted
Engine covers painted
So whats left?
Well not a lot as it happens….
Remove, clean and new gasket to sump
Fit up new exhaust
Bleed braking system
With all that at this juncture and in a typically Alfa’ism way… the gtv6 has now decided it doesn’t want to fire up at all!
Next up… new exhaust and a proper body wash and detailing after 12-years in a shed!
Alfa Romeo gtv6 restomod (Part 3: Engine)/1 Comment/in News
At last… the Busso! So whats wrong with that? Well, lets see… the last time i drove the car the engine was great or at least it felt great! When I bought the car it had just had the bottom end bearings done and as far as i was concerned should have been fine. However on its maiden and only voyage 11-years ago it was smoking a lot under hard acceleration and leaving large black oil spots over the rear of the car… valve guides? Piston rings? Oil seals? Hard to tell really…. At this point in time (September 2019) the car had been with JRC Auto for a year. Jonny of JRC was hesitant about working on the engine on the basis that others had done some work and the quality/issues were unknown. I was stuck! I tried another guy who had rebuilt a gtv 24v engine for me before but again difficult to manage when 3,000kms away! I explained my predicament to Luka who once again came to the rescue! He told me if i wasn’t in a rush he would be willing to take on the project. What is most interesting at this point is to consider the bond, trust or faith between one Alfisti and another…. I never met this guy. I don’t even know where he lives, i don’t even know if he knows what he is doing… He doesn’t know me! but there is something worth mentioning… the very first Alfa i ever bought was an unfinished project: A black Alfasud 1.5ti greencloverleaf. I bought it from a guy called Peyman Agahi in 1994. Imagine after 25-years i still remember the name of the guy who sold me my first Alfa! I bought a bmw and volvo before my first alfa and more than 50-cars since. I remember the volvo as it was for sale at a bookshop near Queens university Belfast but who sold me these cars or many others after… i have no idea (With the exception of one which HSBC became interested in but thats another story!) Anyway, Luka knew Peyman and then my memory worked more and i remembered that black sud was in K1-garage until it closed and at that time it became an ‘unfinished project’ K1: Keyvan was Luka’s father reputed to be the foremost expert in Alfa Romeo in NI in a time when gtv6’s were new cars so i figured for sure he will keep an eye… so all good 🙂 ! Enough rabbling… some pics:
Alfa Romeo gtv6 restomod (Part 2: Wheels)/1 Comment/in News
If we take a step back to 2008 shortly after I had bought the gtv6 i got in touch with someone online who was selling replica SZ alloys. He had a beautiful SZ at the time and used to carve artistic SZ models out of lumps of brass. Interestingly at the time he was considering to sell his SZ which had these 17” alloys and looked staggering for the price of around £24,000 but it was over market price due to the low mileage and I didn’t see the value! If we only knew then what we know now!… I bought 16” SZ replicas for the gtv6. As it transpired they are ‘Image Wheels’ and still available online today in 2019. https://www.imagewheels.co.uk
The problem however was whilst they looked great the rears were just too wide for the car and scuffed the rear arches hacking lumps of rubber out of the tyres (literally) so initially i thought maybe changing the springs would fix the problem but the guys at EBSpares instead of simply selling me parts advised that the Harvey Bailey springs were quite high to start with so perhaps that wasn’t the solution. Of course it could also be true that the rear springs were tired and had lost compressive strength and perhaps this is why the rear squats down under acceleration but the problem existed 10-years ago when I last drove the car so more likely attributable to the massive wide wheels!
Initially i decided to revert back to the OEM wheels which i still had. I thought at least if they are cleaned up and fitted we will be able to fully test the theory of springs versus wheel width and then make an informed decision pertaining to new wheels.
So my dad kindly dug these out of a shed.
At a glance (from the photo) they looked fine so they were sent off to a wheel refurbisher for a rub down and a lick of paint… but… the previously mentioned shed was not particularly watertight and these wheels were magnesium and it had been 10-years! The result on close inspection was not good as the photos below detail:
So the upshot was these were scrap. Around about this time (2019) I connected with a guy on instagram @alfabuildblog (Luka) located in NI who was embarking on his own home build project: restoration and improvement of a rare white Alfa Romeo 75 2.0 twinspark. His approach being practical, affordable and DIY. Something all of us can appreciate. I happened to ask if he had any 75 alloys for sale and he replied that his Dad had an original set of speedlines. These wheels are mostly seen on US/AUS market cars but i’m told they were an optional extra on UK gtv6’s when sold new.
They were straight but needed a little work and repaint. So a deal was struck and Luka kindly organised everything including powder coating and polish by @cobracustomsni, new Toyo tyres and delivery to JRC Auto.
it can be argued at this point that a gtv6 restomod looks better with a modern classic wheel whether it be 5-spoke revolution, ronal, sz replica etc. and I don’t disagree with that however there was something about going back to the original look that appealed to me with this project at this time plus it wasn’t actually the original look or at least not for 99% of UK gtv6’s. Ive never seen another UK car with these specific OEM wheels. I guess the final judgement will have to come later…
Alfa Romeo GTV6 restomod (Part 1: Brakes & Box)/in News
Something a little different then…. The car is question is an 1982 Alfa Romeo gtv6 2.5 and the project is to recommission and improve it.
Around 20-years ago this car underwent a bare metal restoration and restomod of sorts way before it became a thing. I suppose blokes in sheds have always been modifying cars and manufactures like Alfa who were strapped for cash in the 80’s and 90’s tended to re-use mechanical components with many components shared between the Alfetta/ Guiletta/ gtv/ gtv6/ 75/ SZ and 164. The advantage being upgrades could often be retro-fitted to the older models. This gtv6 was fitted with a later 3.0 12v engine from the Alfa 164 which increased the power output from 160-190bhp. The gearbox was sourced from an Alfa 75 twinspark which had the advantages of better ratios, improved linkage, LSD and a single plate clutch over the v6 twin plate, an advantage which only manifested itself in 2019 when it transpired that the single plate clutch costs £170 versus £850 for the double (IF) you can find one!
This gtv6 also benefited from the well regarded Harvey Bailey handling kit, power steering and a nice Ansa stainless steel exhaust. The gtv6 had been parked up since 2008 with a host of problems which oddly didn’t fix themselves over the period! So 10-years later in August 2018 it was loaded up and sent to NI Alfa Romeo specialist JRC Auto to begin the recommissioning process.
There was a long list of “potential problems” issued with the car all of which were “actual problems” however its best to tackle big projects step by step.
First problem to tackle was badly routed and corroded brake lines. The whole car was like spaghetti junction and there wasn’t a lot of logic, performance or safety associated with the current installation. Below are a couple of example pics of brake line oddities:
With some careful thought and attention the entire brake line system was removed and carefully replaced, routed and safely secured. Below are a few much improved images:
With that work completed attention turned to the gearbox. While sitting up for 11-years the clutch plate had welded itself to the flywheel and liklihood was that the slave cylinder was also kaput! The gearbox was removed and a list of necessary parts drawn up which included: Clutch kit, slave cylinder, diff mount, rear guibo, hose and handbrake cable (since it is inboard and wise to change while the gearbox is out).
So with new brake lines and clutch completed the project took an unexpected turn due to a chance meet on instagram with a fellow Alfisti. Stay tuned for part 2 (Wheels)
Race day diary UAETCC Round 3 (Dubai Autodrome)/in News
ZRT motorsport diaries… UAETCC Round 3 (Dubai Autodrome)
Following on from our double wins in rounds 3&4 we were once again back at Dubai Autodrome with the primary aim to continue with our goal of attaining the Class 2 Championship. This time it was the International Circuit configuration which skips the National section of the Autodrome circuit and comprises 10 corners. (6-right and 4-left).
The main technical differences from the last round were that we implemented some geometry setting changes especially in relation to the rear of the car given that we are now running an uprated ASR anti-roll bar.
Ricky Coomber of RKC/TGM (Honda) UK was again back in the drivers seat as he took the opportunity to further advance his knowledge and experience of the Autodrome in the European winter off-season.
This weekend unfortunately there was no time for testing as Ricky’s flight arrived Friday at 7:20am with Drivers briefing 8:30am. A dash from the airport landed us in 5-mins late but the ever accommodating race team lead by Frazer Martin at Dubai Autodrome gave us a separate briefing and we were good to go to Qualifying at 9:00am.
From the outset Ricky clocked a 2:01.9s and with every one of the 8-laps becoming faster the time dropped: 1:58, 1:57, 1:56… eventually resulting in a quick 1:55.62 just 0.17s slower than the Class 1 leader Alex Annivas in his turbocharged Seat Supercopa. We had set a target time of 1:57 so the 1:55.62 surpassed all expectations. Smiles all round!
Subsequently the driver de-briefing was held by Team Principal Richard Timmins and checks on the car performed by the team.
Race 1: Ricky had a good start and lead into Turn 1, lap times were consistent and without any drama we came in P1 in class and P2 overall. Our friend Costas Papantonis whilst leading the race had a stroke of bad luck when his front brake disc in the TCR Seat Cup Racer shattered which sadly put an abrupt end to his race day.
Meanwhile Ollie managed to snap up the last two slices of pizza….
…. and the guys had a laugh as usual!
Race 2: Started at 5:20pm so started in daylight and finished in the dark. We were positioned on pole for race 2 but a bad start which resulted in a loss of 5-places on Lap 1. It was a close battle for sometime with the Clio Cup Championship Leader (Will Morrison) but eventually Ricky managed to find his way through and thankfully there were no further issues with the gearchange or clutch resulting in a P1 class finish and P2 overall.
We are looking forward to the next round at Yas Marina (19thJanuary 2019) when we will also see fellow ZRTmotorsport team members Phil, Jason and James compete against our Honda in their Toyota GT86 and Honda DC5 respectively. We wish them all the best and of course we will be on hand to support in all respects. Friends first, competitors second.
The team retired to Noel & Nikki’s villa for a BBQ (Thanks guys) and now look forward to Rounds 7&8 on January 19th 2019.
Again ZRT encourage everyone to come and enjoy the day’s racing. Dubai Autodrome have really a superb offering with a family focus so take your kids along and start to inspire the next generation of petrolheads or electricheads as it may transpire! The next round of course is at Yas Marina which also boasts a Belgian Café at the track along with Johnnie Rockets and other food outlets so something for everyone with access to the F1 pits and facilities. Yas is a special place and it really is worth coming along.
We welcome any kids who want a photo in our car and provide helmets and drivers pics. The UAETCC echoes a spirit of competition without complication. We are all in it to win it but look out for each other…. Thanks Dubai Autodrome and all our fellow competitors ☺
Photo credits: The awesome: Rohan Ganapathy www.carculture.ae
UAETCC Round 2 – Race Day Diary/in News
ZRT motorsport diaries… UAETCC Round 2 (Races 3&4 Dubai Autodrome)
After the uneventful opener of the season at Yas Marina whereby ZRTmotorsport (ZRT) suffered a double DNS (Did Not Start) with zero championship points due to the failure of the new clutch, all eyes were focused on the first race of the season (UAETCC rounds 3&4) at Dubai Autodrome.
ZRT were back but with a twist; with had a new driver at the wheel; Ricky Coomber of RKC/TGM (Honda) UK who are regulars in the Creventic 24Hr series.
Ricky, Jonathan and Sander attended the Thursday late afternoon test day and Ricky was finding his way with the new car, settings and dusty conditions.
From the outset he clocked a 2:30s and after a quick pit-stop and tyre pressure adjustment dropped to 2:27s which was aligned to anyone else testing in Class 2 / Clio Cup. Before the end of the session Ricky continued to improve and eventually managed a 2:25.7s . At this point the team conferred and considering that Ricky was already acquainted with the track (GP circuit layout) and had adjusted to the DC5 Type R quickly, it was decided to save the tyres and skip the second session in favour for a fresh race day start on the Friday.
Friday morning started with Drivers briefing, ZRT team briefing by Team Principal Richard Timmins and qualifying. A solid run resulted in P1 with a time of 2:24.s
Race 1: Ricky had a reasonable start but Wil Morrison (Current Clio Cup Champion) managed to get his nose in front heading into Turn 2. Jonathan had briefed Ricky that there was a high probability of this happening prior to the race on the basis that; Wil would likely get a good start running a sequential and the Clios are better on cold tyres than the Honda. Ricky showed composure and slotted in behind although lost some time in the first sector (National corners). We had noticed in qualy that Ricky was taking +1-sec out of the quickest of the other competitors in sector 3 alone so we waited calmly too see how the lap would transpire. By Turn 16 Ricky had placed himself perfectly to get a run up behind Wils’ Clio and use the drag (DRS?!) to pull out and take the lead on the start-finish straight heading into Lap 2. Over the course of the race, Ricky continued to stretch the lead and came home P1 in class and 3rd overall. A solid result for the team and a fastest lap of 2:24.5s. The team were most impressed by the consistency of the lap times.
Meanwhile Ollie got some hot laps in….
….and Adnan had a nap!
Race 2: Was a night-time race starting at 6:00pm. Anyone who has driven the GP circuit at Dubai Autodrome will be well aware that pretty much the only part of the circuit with lights is the Start/Finish straight. Now in a 24Hrs race when you have 99 other cars on track this helps to light the way but with a UAETCC grid it can be a leap of faith into the darkness whereby the drivers really do have to rely on their knowledge of the track…. and brave pills! With the new regulations the top 6 cars started in reverse except for the Class 1 cars hence Ricky started 8th on the Grid. There was a spin in Turn 1 by a Clio driver which sent everyone in all directions like the red arrows but thankfully all cars made it through intact and so the race began. Ricky systematically picked off all 5 of the Clio Cup cars to assert ZRT as clear class 2 winners with a best lap time of 2:25.3 with Ms. Reema Al Juffali (of Dragon Racing) scoring an impressive runner up spot in both races.
ZRT took top step in both races and Ricky was awarded the Airlink international (UAE) Driver of the day award which we are very proud of and thankful for.
The team retired to Jason & Christina’s (Thanks guys) for a ROCCEBOX home made pizza party and look forward to Rounds 5&6 on December 7th 2018.
ZRT encourage everyone to come and enjoy the day’s racing. Dubai Autodrome have really a superb offering with a family focus so take your kids along and start to inspire the next generation of petrolheads or electricheads as it may transpire! We welcome any kids who want a photo in our car and provide helmets and drivers pics. The UAETCC echoes a spirit of competition without complication. We are all in it to win it but look out for each other…. Thanks Dubai Autodrome and all our fellow competitors ☺
Spotlight: Rohan Ganapathy/in News
Meet the Team: Graham Davidson/in News
Name: Graham Davidson
Left / Right Handed: Right
Favourite Colour: Purple
Favourite new Road Car: McLaren 675LT
Daily driver: Cayenne S
Favourite Race / Rally Car: Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3
Favourite Race Series: Blancpain GT Endurance
Event would like to race in the most: LeMans 24hr
Best Race You Have Been In: sprint – GT Cup Spa 2 x1hr GT cars and LMP3 on same grid finished P1 + P2 OR Endurance – Dubai 24hr 2017
Driver You Most Like Racing Against: To be confirmed
Favourite Film: American Pie
Favourite Band: The Prodigy
Favourite Album: Coldplay – Parachutes
Favourite Restaurant: Any Thai Restaurant
What Do You Do To Relax: Never get the time to relax
Meet the Team: Chris Yarwood/in News
Name: Chris Yarwood
Left / Right Handed: Right
Favourite Colour: Blue (metallic)
Favourite new Road Car: Pigani Zonda
Daily driver: 911 Turbo, KTM 1190, 17 year old home made camper van, it depends on the weather
Favourite Race / Rally Car: Porsche 917 / Lancia Stratos
Favourite Race Series: Creventic 24hr
Event would like to race in the most: Le Mans 24hr
Best Race You Have Been In: Definitely the Dubai 24Hr
Driver You Most Like Racing Against: Colin Feyerabend, 100% trust inches apart and a great racer .
Favourite Film: The Blues Brothers
Favourite Band: Anything from Stiff Little Fingers to Florence and the Machine !
Favourite Album: Rush. Exit …Stage Left
Favourite Restaurant: The Grand Marnier Crepe stall at Le Mans
What Do You Do To Relax: Ride enduro dirt bikes, cycle, tinker with stuff
Meet the Team: Umair Khan/in News
Name: Umair Khan
Left / Right Handed: Right
Favourite Colour: Gray
Favourite new Road Car: Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Daily driver: Lexus IS 350 F Sport
Favourite Race / Rally Car:
Favourite Race Series: Creventic 24H Series
Event would like to race in the most: Nurburgring 24H
Best Race You Have Been In: Nurburgring 24H
Driver You Most Like Racing Against: Any would do
Favourite Film: Shawshank Redemption
Favourite Band: None
Favourite Album: None
Favourite Restaurant: KFC!
What Do You Do To Relax: Wash Cars
Meet the Team: Jonathan Mullan/in News
As the 2017-18 season has come to an end, we thought we would do a series of “Meet the Team”. So, it only seemed fitting to do team owner and driver first. So, let us introduce you to:
Team Position: Owner / Driver / Sponsorship Co-ordinator
Left / Right Handed: Right
Favourite Colour: Blue
Favourite new Road Car: Alfa 4C
Daily driver: Audi RS4
Favourite Race / Rally Car: Alfa 155 DTM / Lancia Integrale
Favourite Race Series: 24Hrs but such a stressful race!
Event would like to race in the most: Creventic TCES 24Hrs
Best Race You Have Been In: Dubai 24Hrs 2017
Driver You Most Like Racing Against: Alex the Greek
Favourite Film: The Big Lebouski
Favourite Band: Kovacs
Favourite Album: Feather & Stone (Tom Baxter)
Favourite Restaurant: Belgian Cafe (Festival City) Amazing sundowner views!
What Do You Do To Relax: Put on my headphones and work on a broken Fiat Coupe 20VT (Therapeutic!)
ZRT Motorsport: UAE Touring Car Championship (The final rounds 11&12)/in News
D-Day. So the final race day of the season was upon us and it was time for the team and Rhonda2 to stand up and counted one final time. This round it was double points and thus more pressure and no scope for errors. Due to the double points on offer, Ian and Richard had developed a number of strategies, the main one being to win race 1.
At the last race day, the team felt Rhonda2 wasn’t performing as well as she had been with chronic understeer and clunking when shifting gears and so it was agreed that A-Tech would give Rhonda2 a thorough examination.
The diagnosis was not good, the differential was showing severe signs of wear and tear and would need either to be rebuilt or replaced and there wasn’t much clutch left. So little of the clutch was left, nobody can quite understand how the car finished the last race (drivers claim pure natural skill……. Or luck!). The final drive was also identified as being damaged.
Luckily, Jeff (Kiwi) Owen and his Special Project Motorsport sourced the necessary differential rebuild kit from ATS and this was dispatched immediately. TGM arranged for a new Performance clutch kit and lightened flywheel to be sent.
We had to use a 5.27 final drive from the second box as a new 5.08 couldn’t be sourced in time.
Jonathan used the Thursday test day to bed in the new clutch, final drive, differential and see how Rhonda2 now handled post A-Techs surgery, The post test feedback was that the differential was now working, but was wayward as it was still new. There was a serous dose of the below needed in some corners as the car moved around 1-metre left or right (even on straight lines). Thankfully after the second test session the diff started to bed in and became manageable.
Friday saw the usual format of qualifying, race 1: 20 minutes duration and race 2: 1 hour duration. Umair went out 1st in qualifying and soon had the car in class pole position but reported that Willie had dropped oil on the track. As the session was red flagged (to clean up the oil), it was confirmed that Willie had blown his engine, which in theory ended his championship hopes…… Colin agreed that Willie could share his car for the rest of the event.
Race 1 saw Jonathan extending his class lead by between 2 and 3 seconds each and every lap. The recommendation by Kiwi to rebuild the diff was clearly the right decision. We secured the win with over 30-secs to 2nd place. Quite a difference from the start of the season. So, with 20 championship points in the bag, all we had to do was finish the second race (easier said than done when it comes to mechanical components)!
Race 2 and the last race of the season, could we go out like we started the season, with a win?
Umair held the lead into turn-1 and extended his lead by 2-3 seconds a lap. After 40 minutes Umair was called in for the driver change. Umair admitted later that he didn’t want to come in as he was enjoying driving the car so much. Mind you, Umair wouldn’t have been the 1st team driver not to pit when instructed…….
Jonathan was released with 17 minutes to go in the race and yes the theme of the day continued with Jonathan extending the cars lead by 2-3 seconds a lap. At the chequered flag, Rhonda2 had almost lapped all of the Clio cup cars, which can only mean that she was back to full health.
With that done, it was time for the podium and more trophies.
So at the seasons end, we won 9 races out of 12 and finished second and third twice for a 100% finishing record. This is testament to the quality components the team fitted to Rhonda2, so thank you Kiwi of Special Projects Motorpsort and Tom of TGMsport and of course to A-Tech for taking great care in the preparation of Rhonda2 all season.
Race days saw Sander and Heiki meticulously check over Rhonda2 to ensure reliability and safety were paramount; Ritchie, Richard and Ian for strategy and Adnan for controlling pit-stops.
With that done, the team would like to thanks to the two teams biggest supporters, no, not Mastercard and Visa, but the teams sponsors and spouses, who without, ZRTmotorsport would not exist.
So that is it for the team…… for now!
UAE Touring Car Championship (Rounds 9&10)/in News
Race Day 5
Race day 5 saw Jonathan return to racing duties with Rhonda having softer front springs, which the team hoped would solve the long running handling issues.
The softer front springs definitely helped as the car was handling much better (although still not perfect) and Jonathon put the car on pole position and in the voice of Jeremy Clarkson won the 20-minute race “by many, many seconds”, 28.959 seconds to be exact.
Due to rain during the day, the start of the endurance race was delayed by approximately 1 hour. Just as the race was about to start, it started to spot with rain. With the potential that the weather might deteriorate, Ian and Richard had various strategies in place to take into account the changeable weather.
Jonathan took the first few slaps steady as the track was slippery on the kerbs especially in the national section of the track. Luckily the weather held off and Jonathan pulled away from the Clio Cup cars at close to 1.5-secs a lap. Soon enough it was time for the mandatory pit stop and with the events from the previous round in mind, the team and especially Sander made sure Umair had the car restarted well before the end of the pit stop.
Over the remainder of the race, Umair kept up a pace quick enough to keep pulling away from the Clio’s whilst not stressing the car. At the chequered flag Umair took Rhonda over the finish line 16 seconds ahead of Willie. And so in the words of Dom (Umair’s wife) “yay, more trophies”.
As a special thanks from the team, Sander was presented with one of the trophies for going beyond the call of duty and working so hard to make sure the car was in perfect working order.
After the race the team opened the gearbox to understand the problems with understeer on right-handers. The results were that the diff plates were worn hence Kiwi www.specialprojectsms.com came to the rescue with a diff rebuild kit. The final drive main shaft also had signs of damage which was strange as the crowne wheel was in perfect condition. Our clutch was also showing sign of serious damage with chunks missing from the paddle pucks so a new Comp clutch was sourced from TGMsport UK.
So with 2 races to go (and double points at the last round), the team leads the Championship with a few technical challenges to be ready for the last round.
So until March 30th…… Sayōnara.
UAE Touring Car Championship (Rounds 7&8)/in News
Race Day 4
16th March saw round 4 of the UAE Touring Car Championship being held at the Dubai Autodrome. For this round, Jonathan was away so Umair was “flying solo” for the day. The day followed the usual format, warm-up, 20 minute sprint race and a 1 hour endurance event.
Qualifying saw Umair put Ronda V2.0 on pole position and race 1 promptly disappeared up the track at and was over 8 seconds ahead of our closest competitor (Willie Morrison) when the teams great friend Jon Simmonds gorgeous BMW E30 unfortunately blew its engine. Umair just clipped the oil with a rear wheel which resulted in the car spinning which allowed Willie to slip past into P1. With the last 5 minutes of the race being completed under Code 60, Umair never had the opportunity to try and take the win. So we had to settle for 2nd place.
Race 2 saw Umair again disappear into the distance from the start. Umair was called into for the mandatory pit stop with a lead over 30-secs. However disaster struck when Umair went to restart the car as it wouldn’t start. Sander was soon on the case and despite time lost, soon had Rhonda back-up and running (There was an electrical glitch with the fuel pump). With that Umair set out to finish the race as the 3rd place finish in the team championship could prove vital at the end of the season.
So despite being the quickest class 2 car the team finished with a 2nd and 3rd place finish. Not the results the team hoped for, but it could have been worse. For the next round the team were going to make some set-up changes as Rhonda still wasn’t handling like she should.
To show how “committed” some people are, Jason insisted he dropped round for a bit…
UAE Touring Car Championship Round 5&6: The Outtakes/in News
As the Joker once said “Why so serious?”…
Sander thinking “what music shall I upload for Umair?”
Note to team: No more ginger ale on race days…
Invoice is in the post Chris:
Rear camber feels about right to me…
If you are popping to the shops, we need milk, eggs and don’t forget the paper.
Team “We should tell Sander that “planking” is so last year”.
Umair “Double Dutch I understand, double Estonian I don’t”
UAE Touring Car Championship (Rounds 5&6)/in News
Rounds 5 & 6 of the UAE Touring Car Championship were held at the Dubai Autodrome on Friday 26th January. We were racing on the same programme as Porsche Middle East SuperCup, Middle East TCR series, UAE F4, Formula Gulf and the UAE Sportsbike championship. The Touring Car championship continued with its new 1 x 20 minute (race 1) and 1 x 60 minute (race 2) format with 17-cars taking the start grid.
Qualifying saw Umair going out with used tyres on the rear and new tyres on the front. Umair took a couple of laps to scrub in the front tyres and make sure to get tyres up to the required temperature and pressure and then laid down a good time 1:57secs (without pushing 100%) which put the car P2 in class.
Race 1 saw Umair pushed out wide on turn 1 and completed the 1st lap down the class order. Not panicking Umair reeled in the cars ahead of him and with Will Morrison (2017 Champion) retiring (later confirmed as a blown engine) Umair took the lead. The last 8 minutes was a tense affair as Simon Dennis would close on Umair through the corners only for Umair to eek out an advantage down the straights. Those 8 minutes felt like an eternity to Umair who was mightily relieved to take the chequered flag in 1st place.
Umair reported that the car was unpredictable and nervous under braking. A debrief within the team and A-tech resulted in some front suspension set-up changes being made for race 2, with the selfie king and Umair installing some GoPro’s.
As soon as the race started Umair reported that the V-Tec was not working. A snap decision was made to pit, install Jonathan while the team tried to find the fault. The idea being to make this stop the only stop of the race.
Jonathon was soon back in the race and was lapping 1sec faster than the competition cars in class. However exiting the Turn 13 (Unlucky for some) the throttle cable snapped. Jonathan was able to coast the car back into the pit lane.
The team along with A-Tech managed to bodge a solution which enabled Umair to rejoin the race with 35secs to go and thus take the chequred flag and collect 6 points.
It showed the ZRTmotorsport never give up approach even when things seem to be over. These points could be vital at the end of the season.
After 6 rounds ZRT Motorsport have 5-podiums (4xP1 and 1xP2).
If you would like to know more about the team, please contact [email protected]
Sadly Ian reports his friend and motorbike racer Federico Fratelli succumbed to injuries he suffered during the 2nd bike race on Saturday 27th January. May his soul rest in peace.
Photo Credits: CAR CULTURE www.carculture.ae
2017 Season Review/in News
So as 2017 come to an end, we thought it worth reflecting on a year that has seen its fair share of highs, lows and sadness. So, grab a drink, settle down in a comfy chair, put your feet up and let’s review ZRT Motorsport 2017: A Year of Reflections.
January saw the team complete its most ambitious undertaking to date, the completion of Rhonda 2.0 from a bare shell to a track breathing, VTEC monster. This project could not have been completed without the support of the team members (and their families), team sponsors, Saluki Motorsport, A-Tech, Special Projects Motor Sports, TGMsport and Motorsport Wheels.
The Dubai 24hr event saw mixed emotions as 2 cracked exhausts, 1 broken steering arm and a fuse in ECU restricted the teams overall finishing position. However, the car was fast and took the chequered flag after 437 laps, 2,359km and 24Hrs of racing, which was a first for the team (yes there was more than a few tears of happiness shed).
After many years of courtship, Umair and Dom finally got married (the team were on the verge of taking bets on which would come first, a class victory in the Dubai 24hr or their wedding…..). Of course, the team celebrated in the traditional fashion at the next race day….
March saw the team compete in the 3hr mini enduro at the Dubai Autodrome. The issues encountered at the Dubai 24hr had been resolved and despite the heat, the odd rain shower and Jonathan carrying a knee injury, the car was fast and more importantly reliable. The team finished the race in 2nd place overall (1st place went to a Lamborghini Super Trofeo) and 1st place in class.
After much discussion, it was decided that the team wouldn’t enter the 2018 Dubai 24hr race (Accident risks becoming higher year by year) but return to their roots and enter the UAE Touring Car Championship (UAETCC), which ironically changed their format to a 20-minute sprint race and a 1-hour endurance race for round 2 onwards.
Jonathan and Umair would be sharing the driving with the usual suspects (Ian, Richard T, Sander etc) helping out.
Round 1 of the UAETCC was held at Yas Marina and despite a car that was handling worse than a shopping trolley, Jonathan & Umair won both races. The highlight of the event was the team finally realising that Ian does actual detest mushrooms (after they bought him a lovely juicy chicken burger with EXTRA mushrooms…..). Ian would like to point out at this juncture, that he had been saying that he detested mushrooms for the best part of 3 years. Who knew! J
UAETCC Round 2 saw the championship move to the Dubai Autodrome for the new format 20-minute sprint and 1-hour enduro format. For the event it was agreed that Umair would race in the 20minute sprint race (which he won his class), Jonathan would drive the 1st 40 minutes of the enduro, with Umair then driving the last 20 minutes. As a result of being pushed off the track by a couple of BMW cars, the team finished 2nd in class but crucially ahead on the team main competitor (and great friend) Willie Morrison again collecting full points for the Championship.
With no UAETCC round in December, the 2017 ends with the team leading the team championship by 8-points over Willie Morrison. 4-races down and 6-races to go in 2018.
Please come and join us in 2018:
26/01/18: Dubai Autodrome: Race 1: 11:30am, Race 2: 5:25pm. The same day hosts Porsche GT3 and TCR Middle East races.
16/02/18: Dubai Autodrome: Timings TBC
02/03/17: Dubai Autodrome: Timings TBC
30/03/17: Dubai Autodrome: Timings TBC
Sadly, the year ends on a very sad note. A long-standing supporter of the team and co-founder of www.GulfPetrolHeads.com (which most of the team are forum members of and they met), Neil “Biggles” Greer sadly passed away. Neil was a real motoring enthusiast, a past racer, built a Caterham and Mk1 Escort in his garage, rode motorbikes and most recently developed a real passion for cycling. Neil donated the team his wheel dollies.
Everybody in the team thanks Neil for everything he has done for the motorsport and automotive community in Dubai and we are sure he is looking down on us with a big smile.
Pictures thanks to team members, carculture.ae and Tim Ansell for the picture of Neil in his car.
UAE Touring Car Championship (Rounds 3&4)/in News
Rounds 3 & 4 of the UAE Touring Car Championship were held at the Dubai Autodrome on Saturday 18th November. The race was billed as the International TCR series support race and the event saw a significant departure from the normal 2 x 20 minute races to the new 1 x 20 minute (race 1) and 1 x 60 minute (race 2) format. This brought a lot of tactical intrigue for tyre management as most teams / cars would only be using 1 set of tyres for the event.
Qualifying saw Jonathan going out with used tyres from round one to set the lap time, with Umair then scrubbing in two new tyres (to be used for race 2). Two issues were reported, (1) the back end of the car was still way to loose and (2) due to the relatively cool conditions the V-Tec was not working. Without V-Tec the engine is significantly down on power. Two new tyres solved the grip issue and the time honoured use of duct-tape blanking off some of the radiator ducting along with our technical wizard Sander dropping the V-tec temperature set point on the ECU solved the problem. Still, Jonathan qualified the car 2nd place in class within 0.5secs of P1, so all was not that bad.
Race 1 saw Umair having to take the first few laps conservatively to scrub-in and not root (technical racing term for not destroying) the new front tyres. This resulted in Umair being ~14 seconds behind 2nd place with half the race elapsed. As the second half of the race evolved Umair found his pace and more and the start of the last lap saw Umair power past 2nd & 1st placed cars and into the lead, which he held to the chequered flag.
Race 2 saw Jonathan start the race and after pressurizing Alex Annivas for 5 laps he felt it was time to take over and build a lead. For the few next laps Jonathan extended his lead by ~1 second a lap until he had established 7-second lead. Most of the other competitors pitted for the mandated pit stop (minimum stop time 3 minutes) after 30 minutes, however as our tactics were to pit after 40m Jonathan rose to 3rd place overall just behind the Ferraris before his stop.
As a result of being a little over cautious, the teams pit-stop time was 5 seconds longer than it should have been and so Umair came back out into a group of 5 other cars. Umair pushed hard and took the class 2 lead only to be pushed wide by a Class 1 BMW and back into 3rd place. At the chequered flag Umair had recovered to 2nd place a mere 2 seconds behind the class 2 winner.
After 4 rounds ZRT Motorsport have 4-podiums (3xP1 and 1xP2).
We will close with this:
If you would like to know more about the team, please contact [email protected]
Photo Credits: Rohan Ganapathy, www.carculture.ae & Dubai Autodrome
ZRT Return to Motorsport Roots:/in News
After a 3 year sojourn tackling regional endurance races, ZRT Motorsport with A-Tech Racing decided in the off season to return to their roots and enter the 2017-18 UAE Touring Car Championship. Both Jonathan Mullan and UAE Touring Car stalwart, Umair Khan agreed to share the driving and thus the team would be focusing on the Team Championship rather than individual honours. This approach very much epitomises the ZRT philosophy of teamwork first.
The new season kicked off at Yas Marina circuit on Friday 27th October. The plan was for Umair and Jonathan to drive a race each, which made the qualifying session tricky as both Umair and Jonathan each had to set a time within the 20 minutes session and with lap times 2min 40secs. the total number of laps possible including driver change was restricted Umair was first out, one warm-up lap, 3 gradually quicker laps then in for Jonathan to take over. Unfortunately Jonathan could not set a fast lap time as yellow flags were being shown on the exit of turn one (The class 1 car of Costas had stopped in a dangerous location). Umair qualified the car P2 in class, on the same row as Willie Morrison in the Ironman Renault Sport Clio Cup car (Also run by A-Tech Racing). The consensus was that the car was a hand full to drive and so a set-up and geometry check up was carried out.
A safe and steady start saw Jonathan follow Willie round whilst the tyres came up to temperature. On lap 2, Jonathan closed up and out braked Willie into the corner at the bottom of the South Straight. The rest of the race was spent maintaining a 2 second gap to Willie and 20 minutes after the start of the race, Jonathan took the chequered flag as the class 2 winner.
As a result of Jonathan’s win in race 1, Umair started on the inside line to turn 1 (The pole position favoured side). The race can be summarised as Umair heading into turn 1 ahead of Willie and then controlling the gap back to Willie (1-2s).
First round: 2 races, 2 class wins, job done.
Ollie practicing for when he becomes Serbia’s first F1 driver.
UAETCC Round 2 is to be held on 17th November at Dubai Autodrome. The weekend also hosts the Middle East TCR series so another exciting weekend of regional motorsport ahead.
Photo credits: carculture.ae
The Yarwood Report: Silverstone 24hr/in News
Chris Yarwood who drove for the team in the 2017 Dubai 24hr hour race has quite clearly caught the endurance racing bug. So much so he drove with Vanquish Motorsport in the 2017 Silverstone 24hr race. Of course the team wanted an account of Chris’s and the team trials and tribulations at the event. So over to you Chris…..
Thanks Ian, and thanks for asking me to write this report, it was great to know ZRT were following us at Silverstone and pretty amazing that you were watching live feeds from the car in Dubai and South Africa. We were even checking the car based on your feedback from the videos!
I first met Vanquish when ZRT asked me to get more FWD experience prior to the Dubai race. One thing led to another and we ended up working together on Vanquish’s first attempt at a 24-hour race. Full of knowledge gained from Graham, Jonathan and Umair off I went to Silverstone…
Warm-up, drivers briefing and qualifying. The drivers briefing was a combination of welcome meeting and quick fire instructions telling us what we could do but more importantly what we could not do……
Practice and qualifying. There were 3 main objectives for the day, 1) get the drivers familiar with the car, 2) get the drivers familiar with the track layout and 3) get the team used to driver changes / tyre changes and refueling. Up until Friday morning we were a three driver team but at the last minute we were joined by JM Littman whose plan to drive a Cayman came unstuck when one of the other drivers put it in the wall in the warm up session. As we decided all his bad luck was probably behind him we welcomed JM to team Vanquish.
Our lap times in warm up and qualifying were where we hoped they would be but we decided that cycling four drivers through the seat was more important that one driver using the whole session to set a quick time (as some of the other teams did). Taking Ian’s advice that starting nearer the back in 24 hour races is the wiser move we settled for a place nearer the rear of the grid. As someone said “It’s unlike that we will lose by 20 yards at the end!”
Night practice was used to check the lights were pointing in the required direction and for the drivers to pick out night time reference points. The drivers were happy to see fluorescent marker cones and even cat’s eyes on the corners until we realized they were just stuck down and probably wouldn’t last ten laps!
The warm-up session was used to make sure no gremlins had struck the car overnight, they hadn’t so we were all set to take the start. The very experienced guys on the Vanquish pit wall, Alex and Dan, with F1, ELMS and over ten years of Le Mans experience between them set out a strategy and briefed the drivers.
I was asked to do the 1st stint in the race which I was proud to do but I was a little bit nervous. Actually, a lot nervous. I’d watched Umair do it in Dubai and thought what a tough job it was. Still, a small piece of solace was that with only 29 cars and the grid, the start would be less frenetic than at the Dubai 24hr race (90+ cars).
2 warm-up laps and then at 4pm it was go, go, go.
With a lot of similar cars on track the first part of the race was a little like a courteous sprint race. High pace and door to door driving. I was trying to be as cautious as a racer can be but came very close to hitting a spinning golf. A heart stopping moment that we didn’t need so early on.
The first stint settled down and was going fine until about 1 hour into the race when the car started to suffer from noise and vibrations on right hand corners. We tried to stay out but discussions with the pit wall concluded that I should box in two laps. Unfortunately, I only made 99% of those two laps before the front suspension let go 100 yards from the pit lane. Typical 24 hour luck.
The car was recovered and Harry and the team did a super quick drive shaft change and rebuilt the suspension. We were back on track.
Day soon rolled into night:
The car ran reliably into the night but more 24 hour luck struck when the door number board illumination failed. The organisers were very reasonable about it but told us we had to get it fixed at our next stop. Torches taped to the door wouldn’t do !
As the long night ticked away it looked like positions were starting to stabalise. Paul was setting super quick laps (and was actually told to slow down), whilst Simon delivered the requested consistent times. Three laps on the same 100th of a second ! We were running third with a small but safe margin back to forth but what seemed to be an unassailable gap to 2nd. We were counting positions and laps like a sprint race not one with 12 hours to go.
Sure enough everything changed and changed again. JM was hit from behind mid corner necessitating a shock and suspension arm change and then out of nowhere the class leading Cor Euser M3 suffered a differential failure.
Maybe we were in with a chance of a higher position. With all the chopping and changing we actually led the class for a while but as things settled we were back to third but with a small posibility of taking 2nd if everything fell our way…Then more trouble. More noise from the front suspension this time on the right and serious vibration.
The pit team diagnosed a drive shaft failure but a full investigation and change would have meant taking the floor off the car. We didn’t have the time!
So we pressed on with a mission to complete enough laps to take 2nd from the still stricken and pit bound Cor Euser car. Paul had run a long and solid session and I was asked to do the same, taking it very easy on the damaged parts. Fortunately a code 60 played to our advantage and we managed to tick away the 9 laps to second at a car saving 60kph. Alex said I was the best slow racing driver he had met, I think that was a compliment but I’m not entirely sure! We pitted again for more checks then sent Simon out to complete the race.
And so at 4pm the chequered flag was shown and Simon drove the car over the finish line. Let the celebrations begin.
Given it was the first 24 hour event for the team and two of the drivers, a “few” cold refreshing drinks were very much deserved. The champagne tasted great.
Many thanks to everyone at Vanquish motorsport for the incredibly hard work in every single area and off course thanks to ZRT for all the advice and support.
This endurance racing is most certainly a bug that has no cure, so until the next one……bed.
NGK 3hr Enduro/in News
Saturday 4th March saw the running of the NGK 3hr Mini Endurance race at the Dubai Autodrome. The team decided to enter the race as it would enable them to test a few modifications that had been implemented on the car following the completion of the Dubai 24hr race in January.
Jonathan and Umair would share the driving duties, the strategy being handled by Ian and Richard and the car looked after by Sander, Jason, Phil, Adnan, Noel and Theo.
For warm-up new tyres were fitted with Jonathan driving in the session to assess the handling and to scrub in the new tyres.
For qualifying it was the turn of Umair to drive. 1 out lap followed by 2 progressively quicker resulted in pole position by nearly 1 second. With pole in the bag, Umair returned to the pits where the team carried out a practice pit-stop, car filled with fuel and then returned to the garage.
At 13:50 Umair headed out onto the grid and took up his pole position space. With all of the cars on the grid, the grid was cleared with the safety car leading the cars round for 1 warm-up lap. With the safety car pulling into pit entry, Umair controlled the pace of the field and led the grid round the last turn. Lights off, lets go racing….
2 gentle laps to warm-up the tyres and then Umair was straight away down to the target 2:24-2:25 laps times, which resulted in Umair extending his lead by ~1 second per lap (all part of the plan of building a small lead to cover any pit stop eventualities).
After 65 minutes he asked how long he to go in his stint as he had consumed all of his drinks bottle? Luckily, it was planned for Umair to drive for 70 minutes so he only had to complete 2 more laps.
So pit-stop 1 was Umair out, Jonathan in and 2 new front tyres. With that done, Jonathan headed out onto the track to be greeted by spots of rain…. The rain soon stopped and Jonathan was soon back into the groove of repeated 2:25-2:26 laps. However, just before the end of Jonathans stint the rain returned harder and entering turn 15 the car stuttered. No problem as the pit entry is at the exit of turn 15, so into the pits Jonathan came.
Jonathan out, Umair in and down to the refueling area for 45L of petrol. The pit-stop left Umair with a 8 second lead and 43 minutes of racing to go. A gentle request from Ian for Umair to increase his pace slightly soon saw the lead extend by 1 second per lap.
With no further dramas (weather or fuel wise), Umair brought the car over the finish line 1st in class and 2nd overall (overall winner was a Lamborghini Huracan). Podium time.
So mission accomplished with lots of new data gathered and a few areas where car set-up could be improved. With that, the team would like to thank the Dubai Autodrome for organizing the event, the sponsors who made it possible for the team to compete and everybody who came to help and support them.
So until next time.
Oh and the team took the opportunity to congratulate Umair and Dom on their wedding…
The Ladies of ZRT/in News
There are number of ladies within the ZRT Motorsport team. So we thought it would be a good idea to dedicate a page to these ladies who play an integral role within the team.
So ZRT Motorsport proudly presents: The Ladies of ZRT Motorsport.
Maja is from Serbia and is Jonathan’s wife. Maja is instrumental to the social media aspect of our team and was newly appointed as our sponsor relationship manager due to her skills and professionalism in this field. In 2016 Maja accompanied the team to Barcelona and played a huge part in the successful Dubai 2017 race and in many more races to come….
Charu is the wife of the teams Sporting Director Ian. The team has a lot to thank Charu for as she is always promoting the team and invites as many people as she can to come down and support the team. Charu can nearly always be found in the pits supporting the team, more often than not with a group of friends or family in tow.
Cristina likes speed, vintage cars, painting and music. The teams tyre manager (Jason) allocated wheel cleaning duties to Cristina, who likes her wheels to be spotless (a brave man as Cristina is his better half). Her day job is in HR Recruitment, so the team is expecting a trainee wheel cleaner to join soon. Cristina has a rescued dog, a rescued cat and claims to have rescued Jason from bachelorhood.
Dubai 24hr 2017: Race Overview/in News
Dubai 24hr 2017 Pt4: Race/in News
14:00 lights out we are racing.
After approximately 20 minutes Umair reports that the car will not rev past 4,000 rpm. Despite resetting the power, a decision was made to pit the car (and causing the 1st Code 60 of the race, which got quite a bit of tv coveage).
The team spent the next 40-minutes in and out of the pits whilst the team tracked down the issue (finally found to be a loose fuse).
Chris was second to go after Umair and reported that the issue had been resolved much to the relief of everyone.
Chris receiving some last minute advice from Jason
With the issue resolved, Graham was installed and dispatched for his 1st stint of the race. With ~90 cars on track, the circuit was a bit busy.
He soon settled in setting consistent fast laps (and the cars fastest lap of the race). After just after 50 minutes a small collision with another car resulted in a broken tie rod. This took the team approximately 1 hour to fix the problem and reset the geometry.
The next stint was driven by Jonathan who after a spin (1 hour into his stint) reported that the steering was not as it should be. Another damaged tie rod was diagnosed which took ~25 minutes to fix.
After that, the car ran faultlessly for the next 14 hours.
With ~2 hours left to go in the race, the exhaust decided to separate again at the manifold in the same place as the day before. The team all agreed that Jonathan as the team owner and main driving force behind the team should have the honour of driving the car over the finish line.
The event commentary team (Radio LeMans) interviewed Chris who spoke really well about our team ethos. The team was further nominated by Radio LeMans for their Spirit of the Race Award as most of the commentary team were convinced 22 hours previously that we the car would not be running at the finish.
As the 2pm race finish time approached, a number of the team members climbed up the pit wall fence and celebrated by showering the car with water as it passed them. Some of the team members were quite emotional which is understandable given the teams previous results.
The joy and happiness in the pits after the race was in stark contrast to the faces when the 1st problem occurred in the race and this just goes to show how motor racing turns emotions upside down
So after 3 days and 24 hours of racing the team wish to thank everybody who came down to support, all of the sponsors and the family members who allow the team to go racing.
So until next time…..
Dubai 24hr 2017 Pt3: Warm-up/in News
The 30 minute warm-up session was used by Graham and Chris to verify the set-up changes and refuel the car ready for the start. Both drivers confirmed that the car now handled much better and that the team were ready to race.
Before the car headed out onto the grid, the team, supporters and sponsors gathered around the car for the usual team pictures (a quick count gives ~40 people excluding drivers!).
At 13:15 Umair (starting driver) headed out on to the grid where he was met by the team and guests.
13:50 saw the grid clear ready for the 2 warm-up laps.
2017 Dubai 24hr Pt2: Practice & Qualifying/in News
The minimum requirement of the day was for each driver to complete 2 timed laps between the 2 free practice sessions (30 minutes and 1hr 55min) and qualifying (30 minutes) and 2 timed laps in night practice (2 hours).
1st out in Free Practice 1 was Jonathan, who soon reported high water temperatures. With the car returned to the garage the team set about identifying the problem (diagnosed fortunately as being an incorrectly fitted radiator cap) No terminal or lasting damage had occurred despite the temperatures reaching 109-deg C.
2nd Free Practice Jonathan went out 1st to test the car and to complete his mandatory laps after which Chris drove for approximately 30 minutes.
On Chris’s last lap he reported the exhaust had broken….. Back in the garage and with the car up on the jacks the flange on the exhaust manifold was found to have sheared.
The team took the decision that rather than try and do a quick weld at the circuit, (which may break again) to take the manifold and flange to Robbie at Saluki Motorsport (the company who built the roll cage) a man the team trust explicitly.
By the time the manifold had been welded-up and refitted to the car, there was enough time for Umair to complete his mandatory laps in the qualifying session.
This left just Graham who hadn’t completed his mandatory laps. Time for the Team Manager to pay a visit to Race Control to explain our situation and to request permission for Graham to continue in the event….. Race Control accepted the teams situation.
For Night Practice Graham was dispatched to the fueling area ahead of the session so that the drivers could assess the handling of the car from full tanks to low fuel levels. The session passed with no issues with all of the drivers completing a good number of laps (especially important for Chris who hadn’t driven the track at night, or with 90+ cars on the track).
A debrief with the drivers was held to identify any car set-up changes. With that, the drivers were sent off to rest whilst the mechanics set about making the set-up changes and give the car a full spanner check.
2017 Dubai 24hr Pt1: Set-up/in News
2017 Dubai 24hr Pt1: The Report
January 2017 saw ZRT Motorsport enter the Dubai 24hr race for the 3rd time. Since the 2016 race the team had bought a new car shell, had a brand new roll cage fitted with the running gear from the previous car transferred over and many more upgrades.
Three out of the four 2015 and 2016 drivers continued, with Chris Yarwood joining the team for his first 24hr race. Sponsorship wise, the team was pleased to see the majority of the previous sponsors staying onboard with a few new sponsors supporting.
So grab a drink of your choice, sit back and read the trials and tribulations of the team.
The car, spares and hospitality equipment were delivered to the circuit. The main tasks for the day were to get the car scrutineered, garage, pit wall and hospitality area set-up. With those tasks completed the team had a relatively early night.
Tyre Management Bay:
It’s Hero Day 2017/in News
The team is always looking for ways to inspire people. Today’s example is Dom (wearing Umair’s race suit) and Tara (wearing the team shirt and holding one of Jonathan’s old helmets). The occasion was “Its Hero Day 2017”. We just hope Umair had washed the suit….. And let’s be honest, the race suit does look a lot better on Dom than it does on Umair.
Dubai 24hr: The Outtakes/in News
One advantage of having people dedicated to taking pictures is that a lot of candid moments are caught on camera. Of course this also means that there is ample opportunity to have a spot of fun (the team apologies for a few dodgy film references)….
And one just for Umair:
Dubai 24hr: Sleep/in News
Sleep is not something any team member will get a lot of during a 24hr race, especially once the race starts. Now the drivers have the luxury of being able to grab a few hours sleep in the teams Astro van (vehicle on the left):
Senior management of team (aka Theo) gets to grab a few hours in his Ford Flex:
The mechanics stretch out camp beds or just sleep in chairs:
Sleeping in the above locations is acceptable and goes unpunished. However, falling asleep in the hospitality area…..
Sadly for Adnan and Christina they made the fatal mistake of falling asleep in the hospitality area, and the fun began:
Of course one question, remains, what are people dreaming of?…. Richard provides an idea:
Dubai 24hr 2017: The Future/in News
The future of motor racing is the children of today, so what better way to encourage children to race but to let them sit in a race car. Not one to hinder the potential career choice, the team are more than happy to let children to sit in the race car.
Here are few pictures of use promoting racing.
Not quite sure this one has fully grasped the “race car” part.
Helmet Design: Jonathan/in News
bam International were keen to extend their sponsorship of my racing helmet. The original design (by Andy Blackmore) was clean and simple but stood out in the sea of garish multi coloured designs.
For the 2nd helmet it was agreed to keep the design simple (and the bam international corporate colours) but to add more white to the design. Iain Baldwin of Liquid Designs (based in Northern Island) came up with a number of ideas and after a few iterations the following design was agreed.
Added touch on the back is a tribute to Jonathans nationality (a shamrock) and Jonathans new son (Ollie). Liquid Designs procured and painted the helmet.
The helmet had its race debut at the Barcelona 24hr in September last year but saw its Dubai debut at the Dubai 24hr in 2017.
Helmet Design: Graham/in News
A friend Craig of “Element Nine Graphics” offered to do a paint job on my Bell HP7. Craig normally paints helmets for riders in the mountain bike scene. My only guidance was something a bit more edgy and less complex than the typical race car designs and leave some of the helmets original carbon showing. Craig came up with a design that uses two shades of pearlescent blue are deployed, along with white and pearlescent black in a solid design, finished with a white custom rubber trims.
I think it turned out pretty good and have had it for a couple of years now. For next season, I think I’ll go for a fresh scheme for the start of the UK GT cup season with black and orange to tie in with my McLaren (and the ZRT colours).
My helmet is also shown on the Element Nine Graphics website.
Custom Race Suit/in News
Race Suit Design
There are various reason in opting for a custom suit over and off the peg suit but most competitors usually want to create something that fits in with the teams/sponsors image as well as having a made to measure suit rather than a ‘best fitting’ suit off the shelf. There is a lot to be said about feeling comfortable in the race car and having a correctly fitted suit is a fundamental part of this. After all, if you are comfortable you will drive faster!
For the 2017 season, the team decided it was time raise the professionalism of the team one more notch by going for a common team driver race suit which would be custom designed.
Chris knew of a local to him race suit design and manufacturing company called “Torq Racewear www.torq-racewear.com”. Torq have 10 templates from which a customer come up with design options, for example:
So after a few discussions between the team and Torq Racewear, it was agreed that they would produce 4 Torq 1 race suits for the drivers. This being the final agreed design:
Such is the importance of the stitching only allows any embroidery to only go through the outer layer. This is why you hear stories from time to time of suits been thrown out of scrutineering due to embroidery going through all layer of the suit. This is a safety point and normally occurs when the embroidery has been carried out by a third party who has embroidered the suit once it has been made.
During production of the suit, first the material is cut are the arms, torso and legs. Before the any stitching is done the outer layer is embroidered. This happens in most cases as even on standard suits there is normally a brand logo embroidered on the suits. Embroidery happens at this stage for 2 reason. The material is perfectly flat and of course the material can go through the embroidery machine as one (outer) layer.
After this, the second and third layers can be stitched to the embroidered outer layer before the suit is assembled as you see it on the driver.
The suits successfully arrived in Dubai in time for the race and very dapper the drivers looked in their new matching suits..
Car Rebuild – Part 21/in News
So I thought… do we do another update or do we just leave it and show a finished product in the New Year. On one hand I dont want to become like Project Binky dragging the thing out and on the other there are still a few interesting things going on before the lot gets covered up.
Firstly theres the matter of wiring. To be fair years ago I had a Honda civic racecar rewired and it was fantastic. The guy had a skill or a signature of basically hiding all the wires so that when you looked at the car it was like wifi. Wireless! This was fantastic right up until around the point the car wouldnt start because of a loose earth. Not a big issue apart from the fact we couldnt find the wire never mind the loose wire!
So, whats the point?
The point is wiring is a skill or maybe even an art! Especially when you have nothing to copy so below is an image of work in progress which I hope you can zoom into to fully appreciate how well thought out and amazingly neat the schematic is.
As the build continues it becomes more and more apparent that it is possible to dismantle the entire car with an allen key tool from IKEA which is slightly weird and somehow very cool.
Next is an image of our pedal box. To be honest we had one which was also AP Racing but it was a curse. In last years race it stuck half way on me and then after it was adjusted it stuck at say 5% throttle. Believe me there is nothing more frightening than driving a Dubai 24Hrs at night at 40kph and trying to get back to the pitts safely! Later in the race (19-Hrs later) It stuck in the wide open position and after a few seconds for whatever reason valves and pistons whilst uninvited joined together and spoiled the party!
So, having decided on a few choice words to describe the old pedal box we ordered a new one from our local friends MW (Motorsportwheels). So all was good. Nice new pedal box… the best part was that we also had nice new cyclinders from last year except! Our old pedal box was from a Nascar which was imperial whereas our new one was from UK and metric! Initially this looked like a problem (No idea why) but our Friends at MW came through and delivered 3 lovely new cyclinders for the box as you can see below.
Below are the rear brake internal lines. Again fitted with the infamous IKEA tool. Who needs Snap on eh!!
That pretty much concludes it for now. The car will be finished in a day or two (photos are a little bit behind the writing as such) so in the next update maybe we can show you the livery design and the team race suits. For now the last pic shows the other side of the car which also has the refuelling option. The doors are on the way but if you look closely you can see a pair of trainers on the floor. If you remember we talked about perfectionism! Well Julian doesnt let anyone in the car with shoes on…. might be a challenge for the drivers
Til next time, Seasons Greetings to all our petrolhead friends from all at ZRT
Helmet Design: Chris/in News
I first of 4 part series, we thought it would be interesting to get the drivers to explain their individual helmet designs. So first up is Chris.
I didn’t really have a clear design idea for the helmet but knew roughly what colours and overall style I wanted. I wanted blue white and yellow to be the main colours with some shading in orange and visibility of the carbon shell (well it would be a shame to cover it all up).
I wanted the helmet to look like a car helmet, as opposed to a motorbike helmet but not to use the traditional car roundel style (like Sennas helmet for example). When I first met Rich (From Rich Art) we talked through those things and also decided that some depth to the design would be good. Shading and finer details, so seeing the helmet close up reveals more design whilst still keeping something quite bold from a distance. Rich has many of his helmet designs on his iPad so we spent some time picking out ideas and styles.
Rich took the ideas away and developed a first pass sketch of his idea. He does these by hand and they are a work of art in themselves. The first sketch had orange as one of the main colours whereas I wanted more yellow with orange shading.
In the second sketch yellow become a main colour and Rich also incorporated a big Y shape for Yarwood. At this stage some of the details at the front reminded me of iron man or storm troopers for some reason (funny how your brain works) so these were dropped in the third design.
From the third sketch Rich painted the helmet with plans to use gold and orange honeycomb patterns.
I’m really pleased with the way it has turned out, the design process was really fun and the finished article is just what I wanted. It now just needs to be seen on the top step of the podium 🙂
I Can See Clearly Now/in News
If racing with nearly another 100 cars over a 5.5km lap wasn’t hard enough, a good 2/3rds of the track is not lit. So to help the drivers (Support team say “pamper…..”) see at night, we add extra lights.
We have (thanks to Phil’s fabrication) removed the existing headlight fittings and replaced them with 13 spot LED lights and still keep the original headlight covers. To add extra illumination at night we fitted a light bar to the bonnet. Thus, our set-up used to be this:
However, for the 2017 season, the events organisers (Creventic) have changed the rules to include the following rule:
A LED-unit (up to approx. 20cm, at discretion of scrutineering) is considered as one headlamp.
So for 2017, the team has decided to install the 2 extra LED lights in the bumper (this also improves the aerodynamics slightly). So how did we go about installing the extra lights.
Take one complete front end:
Mount extra lights to the chassis.
Take one front bumper:
Mark up, cut out and fit bumper.
Strong wire mesh panels have been fitted in the cutouts to protect the extra LED lights.
The reasons for adopting this approach are:
- Makes the mounting more rigid, keeps the wiring neater and makes adjusting the lights more precise;
- If the bumper gets damaged (and not the lights) it is quicker to just change the bumper as we don’t have to worry about disconnecting and reconnecting lights;
- Another advantage is that if we enter shorter endurance races we can simply unbolt the extra lights:
Steering Update/in News
The factory rack bar slider is a wear item made of black nylon. The design is minimal with only four small pads contacting the rack housing. The mold is also fairly loose in the rack even when new. After time and abuse the nylon will wear and stretch allowing play which causes bump steer by letting the tie rods shift up to 2 degrees but also affects the rack/pinion gear mesh since the rack bar is able to rotate. This is compounded by the low quality grease used by the factory which tends to be pushed out of the contact areas and dry out.
The team contacted SHG Motorworks who have designed a Delrin insert to replace the OEM part. SHG Motoworks have increased surface area, depth, hardness and tolerances have been reduced to just a few thousandths of an inch. The final design was derived after testing and exploring the limits of tolerances.
The video below clearly demonstrates the improvement between the OEM part (on the right) and the SHG Motorworks part (on the left).
When installed with a high quality, high temp rating silicone grease such as Ford Motorcraft XG3A, the team can expect safe, reliable and consistent steering throughout their races.
Car Rebuild – Part 20/in News
So where were we!….
Team roles and responsibilities have been updated this week with each of the drivers having the been allocated the sole task of “DONT CRASH CAR!”.
Oh yes… the build..
First up we recently read on www.shgmotorworks.com website about their experience with steering rack failure and what was the cause (track rod slider) and how they developed a solution made from deralin. Evan from Shg (So Honda Garage) took the time to explain to us that the plastic slider wears and allows significant play. This not only causes bump steer by letting the tie rods shift up to 2* but also affects the rack/pinion gear mesh since the rack bar is able to rotate.
Evan designed a Delrin insert to replace the oem part. It increases surface area, depth, hardness and tolerances have also been reduced to just a few thousandths. The cost is $65usd plus shipping and on the face of it seems a must have upgrade for anyone racing or tracking an Integra.
Next then is the infamous footrest. 2-years of moaning from Umair Khan prompted us to finally make something nice and fit for a king khan! I tested it and can confirm it is perfect for his code 60 exploits.
The drivers seat has been fixed in place with three fundamental differences over the old car. (1) It is much easier to get in and out of comparing to the corbeau revenge series, (2) The seat is much lower and (3) The FIA approved slider had to be fitted upside down so in otherwords to slide the seat you have to push the slider down as opposed to pulling it up. Thats a bit un-natural but nothing we can do and besides it still works fine.
The fuel cell that had some of you wondering about some time back has also now been fitted. We chose to fit dual fillers. The reason being we are not restricted to which side of the pumps we can go to in the refuelling station during the race. (Sometimes there are queues).
Below are two pics showing the installation along with the filler cap (installed within the rear 3/4 windows). It is also worth noting that the rear visibility has been hugely improved along with significantly lower centre of gravity.
Our doors this year a much lighter. They are not the crazy expensive carbon fibre doors but still pretty good at a fraction of the cost. They do however need some fettling with regard to final fitment which resulted in no end of moaning from Julian but for those of you who know him, he would be lost if he didnt have something to moan about!
You can see the markings in the below image for trimming and painting. We ordered plastic windows (front/rear and sides) from plastics4performance in the UK. Due to the design of our doors the windows will need to be cut down slightly and fitted within the frame as opposed to sitting over the frame in the standard Integra.
We think it will still look really great and we ordered the pro-slider for the drivers side which is really an impressive quality product. More on this next time.
Last up for this update is the dash. The holes have been filled and sadly no room for the Alpine stereo I ordered.
Go on ask the question…. Whats the fuel button for?
Answer: I have no idea!
Not sure we will manage another update this side of Christmas and New Years so in the meantime Happy holidays from all at ZRT
Car Rebuild – Part 19/in News
Firstly and a bit random but the team bus (24Hrs sleeping wagon) has been fitted with a new set of headlights I bought for AED 300 (£60 for those following the blog on pistonheads.co.uk) in in Al Ain. Actually our friend Kinan Dawood sourced them for us. Probably my favourite new part of the year to be fair. Transformed the look of the old girl (or at least the front of it anyway).
The inside got a spring (winter) clean and its ready to do its annual 100kms driving!
Meanwhile. When I visited the car last weekend there were a few more jobs completed.
New electrical lifeline fire extinguisher kit was fitted (Supplied by our friends MotorsportWheels Dubai):
… along with a spanking new battery holder which can be seen in the above image. Much nicer than the big ugly red box we had previously.
The accusump was positioned and new loom pretty much wired in pending final terminations to things like lights and the control panel.
The AST suspension adjustable canisters have been mounted front and rear for easy access. Below is a pic of the rears.
All of the engine connectors are in place on the bulkhead including engine loom plug (from wireworx USA), battery positive and oil lines from the previously photographed accusump.
Last up is a pic of the dash mounted in place. Still not sure what the two holes are for but all will be revealed soon.
Meanwhile the doors and hatch are all in the paint shop to get tidied up and refreshed in a nice crisp white. I also visited Leadright Dubai earlier today to finalise the shade of orange for the colour scheme. Again something a little different coming your way soon.
Further updates next week!
Car Rebuild – Part 18/in News
So, to another short interim update…
First up is the new front splitter which despite being made from nothing more than plywood really looks like a work of art. Its a shame to cover it with a bumper later but what to do…
Next is the infamous footrest known because Umair Khan has been moaning for at least 2-years about us fitting a footrest so finally its being done although i have no idea when he will get time to use it ?
Our nice newly painted bumper has been fitted up and rain light installed. Looks pretty good we think!
Next update we will be showing where we have mounted all the AST suspension adjusters and how the oil filter has been relocated to a central (easy access) location on the bulkhead and more importantly… why?
Car Rebuild – Part 17/in News
Front & rear bumpers painted up nicely. Holes in the front are for bolting up to the flat floor. Holes in the rear is to allow airflow and prevent the parachute effect. Nice well thought out engineering from A-tech.
Our old dash has been cut up to remove the unnecessary underside and all old holes filled and finally covered in alacantara fabric. This will prevent glare (previously was carbon fibre). The big hole is for the cartek switch panel. We are still not sure what the smaller cut out is for! Maybe the alpine stereo system!!! Time will tell…
We bought a nice new radiator from our friends at Performance garage. Its actually EP3 but is the same as what we have so both will be modified to be idential.
Last up is the test fit of the engine & box to allow all the plumbing (water & oil), associated coolers and wiring looms to be finalised.
Car Rebuild – Part 16/in News
Another brief update mostly by virtue of images it must be said. Things have progressed and we expect the car to be race ready in little over 1-month from now for its first shake down.
Suspension is being shotblasted, repainted and built up at each corner.
Above is the rear assembly and below front albeit missing springs as they will be fitted later.
Most of the body panels such as bumpers are all fitted using 4mm allen key bolts c/w Japanese writing on them to give that authentic look! ?
Below you can see the typical mounting backets and the actual bolts.
We have started fitting up engine & box using the excellent ‘innovative mounts’ products. www.innovativemounts.com
The really special K-tuned billet alloy shifter has been mounted. This time however to preserve the aesthetics of the product we have used stainless steel fixation bolts.
We use a front splitter bracket system provided by specialprojectsmotorsport (KIWI). A-tech made a slight change this time by welding the brackets to the subframe. We will do the same with the spare bracket set and a spare subframe so that in the event of serious damage we can quickly swap both over.
Last up is just a shot of the car itself from front and rear. Bumpers are currently in the paintshop so within a week or so we will be able to post another update. All in all we are really happy with how the build is coming along. It might be the newest Honda Integra in the world at this point in time ?
Car Set-up: Aerodynamics/in News
Prototype race cars are very highly influenced by aerodynamics and thus create significant quantities of downforce. This downforce increases the speed by which the car can go round corners. The greater the downforce the greater the drag and thus as our race car is based upon a street car, the aerodynamic downforce is limited partially by the power from the engine.
The team has fitted a front splitter, site skirts, diffuser and a rear wing provided by the teams technical partners and good friends Special Project Motorsports.
In terms of the aerodynamics parts fitted, we have worked from the front of the car to the rear. The following provides a short description of the impact each of the components has on the car.
Car Set-up: Ride Height/in News
Some racing series or classes (eg: GT3) specify a minimum ride height which is measured to the lowest point of the car. The lower the car runs to the ground, the more efficient the underbody aerodynamics and the better the car handles as the centre of gravity is lower. However, running the car to low means that the drivers have to avoid running over the kerbs or if the track is bumpy, the drivers run the risk damaging the bottom of the car or ripping the exhaust off.
Thus, the team has to balance the ride height with the ability to ride the kerbs and not damage the bottom of the car / exhaust.
Car Set-up: Front / Rear Weight Balance/in News
Racecars actually spend a very little amount of their time in corners; in fact, most of their time is spent accelerating and braking between them. Having a greater rearward mass helps the car do those tasks better. Generally speaking, you always want to keep the weight in a car as far back and as low as possible. Here are some of the benefits of having a rear weight bias:
- Better braking.
- Better acceleration.
- Better corner entry.
- Better corner exit.
The reason for these benefits is as follows:
Better braking: Having this weight in the back naturally uses all of the tires more efficiently during braking, instead of overloading the front tires which is what tends to happen in a front biased car. Needless to say, the rear brakes do more work on a car that has a greater rear weight distribution.
Better acceleration: With more weight over the rear axle, it’s obvious that there is going to be more traction. Thus, the car can put down more power without spinning the tires.
Better corner entry: Cars with a rear weight bias will steer quicker and have a natural tendency to oversteer. A slight tendency to oversteer is required for proper corner execution.
Better corner exit: For the same reason given for better acceleration. A car with a rear weight bias can put the power down sooner when coming out of a corner.
As our race car is front engine and front wheel drive, the majority of the cars weight is located around the front axle. In order to balance the car, the car battery has been moved from the engine bay to where the rear of the front passenger seat would be and the 100L fuel tank is located where the rear passenger seats would normally be.
We could have fitted the fuel tank above the spare wheel well and hence push the weight further back. However, over a 2 hour stint approximately 80kg of fuel will be consumed and thus the weight balance would change significantly. Also, if the car was hit at the rear, we would risk the fuel tank getting damaged and thus putting the car out of the race.
This resulted in a front / rear balance of approximately of 66% / 34%with our old chassis.
Car Set-up: Car Weight/in News
Most race series state either a minimum or maximum weight limit. In the case of the Creventic endurance series, they allow (in some of the classes) 2 different weight limits, with each weight limit permitting a different maximum fuel volume permitted at a pit stop. In the case of the class ZRT Motorsport race in (A2), the minimum weight is 980 kg which permits 100L of fuel per stop.
The heavier the car the more stress is placed on the driver, steering, brakes, suspension, tyres and a higher fuel consumption rate. Components will also wear out quicker. Thus, it is essential that we try and get the car weight down to as close as the minimum as possible.
The team have removed all superfluous tabs and brackets, replaced the glass side and rear windows with polycarbonate, carbon fibre seat etc but short of taking a 6” section out of the car, we cannot get close to the minimum weight limit (the old car weighed approximately 1,200kg).
The next stage is look at the front / rear weight balance.
Car Set-up: Overview/in News
A car that is well set-up will provide the driver with a balanced and stable car which enables in the driver being able to produce constant fast lap times over the duration of the driving stint. There are multitude of parameters that relate to a cars set-up, these being:
- Car weight;
- Front / Rear weight balance;
- Ride height;
- Brake balance;
- Toe in / out;
We have written a series of articles describing each of the above components, how they impact on the performance of the car and how you adjust the settings.
Car Rebuild: Part 15/in News
Ok so its October instead of September but the good news is that things have moved on and we now have a really smart looking shell (painted under, internally and externally). The bodyshop faced three main issues:
– Front wings needed some modifications at the top where they meet the windscreen posts (actually the windscreen posts were modified as opposed to the wings) with added metal since they both didnt marry up cleanly.
– Doors were modified to fit.
– The shot-blasting caused a lot of damage particulary to the roof and rear 3/4 panels. There was a lot of hammering required to straightening those three sections of the car as opposed to opting for filler.
A-tech insisted in their trademark metallic grey for internals/under/inside the wheel arches/bonnet etc. And a nice clean white for the exterior. Our final livery will be revealed in due course but this year you can expect to see more white as the main part of the scheme.
First up is under the bonnet:
Below is the roll cage which you can see is painted as nicely as the exterior:
Internally we need to start some fit-out
And the last few pics show the exterior of the shell: Doors/bonnet/hatch and bumpers will all be fitted at the end of the build. The other panels will now all be masked off to avoid any damage while the rebuild continues:
So, with some luck in the coming weeks we shall start to see the shell transforming into a #racecar!
More updates as the build progresses…
Barcelona 24hr: Video/in News
The teams close friend Omran Al Owais put together this little video of the teams participation of the event. Thanks Omran.
Barcelona 24hr: Race Report/in News
2016 Barcelona 24hr: The Team Diary
With Graham doing track days and at least one round of the GT Cup and Chris competing in his regular sports car, Jonathan and Umair arranged to race in the 2016 Barcelona 24hr race. They had both competed in the event in 2015, however this year they had arranged to race a Honda in the A2 class (same class as ZRT Motorsport competes in the Dubai 24hr races). In addition, Ian and Richard T also arranged to be at the event and help the team Jonathan and Umair were racing with. So put the kettle on, make a brew and read the teams exploits.
Wednesday 31st August:
Ian (+wife), Umair and Omran Al Owais check into ZRT Motorsport Headquarters (aka Hotel HC Catalan). It was agreed that the team would leave the hotel at 08:45 to be at the circuit by 9am to meet the team.
Thursday 1st September:
Ian, Umair and Omran head to the circuit early. Ian starts helping set-up the garage (Umair, Ian’s 1st question was “does the team have a pit perch? If so we should claim our space on the pit wall”) with Umair and Omran confirming the days testing schedule.
Richard arrives in Barcelona at ~ midday, checks into team headquarters and heads up to the circuit. The drivers sign-on for the event and the afternoon private test session. Umair and Omran drove the car to get a feel for how the car handles and for Omran to learn the circuit.
Jonathan and his family arrive in the evening.
Friday 2nd September:
1st order of the day was to have the car technically inspected and cleared for the race. Other than having to change the drivers seat, the car passed 1st time.
Ian and Richard were allocated / volunteered to be the teams refuelers for the event and arranged their safety equipment (race suit, balaclava, glove and goggles).
After signing on and having their safety equipment, the drivers attended the drivers briefing.
Practice, qualifying and night practice. The drivers complete their minimum laps and report no major issues. The hotter than expected weather caused increased track temperatures (50oC+) which resulted in higher than desired tyre pressures and the resulting decrease in tyre longevity and the tyres not lasting as long as hoped, even with the hard compound tyre (same comments from practically every team at the event).
The teams other car was running to hot so Ian helped lead the fabrication of some additional radiator ducting using CAD (Cardboard Aided Design). Clearly some of Richard B’s and Phil’s fabrication skills had rubbed off onto Ian (Richard B, Ian is still banned from the garage…).
Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th September:
11:15 and Jonathan rolls out of pit lane and onto the grid, where the rest of the team joined him.
Jonathan took the 1st stint of the race and settled into running consistent lap times without stressing the car.
After 25 minutes he reported that the clutch pedal had gone to the floor. Bringing the car back to the pits, a failed sealing ring in the clutch master cylinder was identified. After a 20 minute repair, Jonathan was back in the race. 2 laps later however, and Jonathan reported the same problem.
The team again removed and stripped the clutch master cylinder and carried out a second repair. With the unit re-installed, Omran was installed and he headed out onto the track. No major dramas just a couple of short Code 60 (all cars drive at 60 kph) periods and a tap on left rear wheel towards the end of his stint.
No damage was caused and so Umair took over for stint number 3. After a Code 60, Umair reported that the car was struggling to accelerate. Umair was requested to head to the refueling area (the team were confident that there was fuel in the tank) where the team were not able to put a significant quantity of fuel in the fuel tank. Investigations led to the conclusion that the fuel tank was vapour locking. A quick couple of mods to the fuel filler line and the car was sent back out on track.
A strategic call was made that from this point forward in the race the team would pit for fuel and driver change as soon as a driver reported an acceleration problem, rather than try and run the drivers stint to the 2hr maximum.
During Umair’s night stint (~01:30) he reported high water temperatures, which upon investigation in the pits were being caused by a damaged radiator, which was thus changed.
Just as dawn was breaking and Willie setting some consistent fast lap times, he reported over the radio that he had no drive. With the car returned to the pits on a flat bed, a broken drive shaft was found and replaced.
Hot tyres + having to stop the car on the grass = tyres like this.
Jonathan was installed in the newly repaired car and was doing his usual job of setting ultra-consistent lap times when he reported drive problems (~08:30). He limped the car back to the pits where the diagnosis was a broken clutch. Based upon the time left in the race and the time it would take to change the clutch, the team took a collective decision to retire from the race.
Despite not finishing the race, Jonathan and Umair managed to get significant seat time and are able to compare the handling of another Honda class A2 car with the teams own car and identify the relative strengths and weaknesses and determine where the teams car needs to be improved.
Throughout the event, Ian kept the circuit and Radio LeMans listeners updated with the car and its issues…
Jonatham, Umair, Richard and Ian would like to thank all at RKC/TGM for their hard work, support, catering and for making them feel welcome.
Don’t think that we hadn’t forgotten……
Barcelona 24hr Program/in News
You just cannot keep us out of the press can you? This picture was in the 2016 Barcelona 24hr race program.
Car Build: Part 14/in News
I think this will be the last update on the fabrication works as everything seems to be finished. A big thank you to Robbie and Mark at Saluki for the speedy, quality and efficient service. Its worth mentioning that they kept us updated at all times and they took a genuine interest in our project which is reflected in the quality of the Engineering.
So first up the seat rails were fully welded.
The lugs were also strengthened using fillet gusset pieces.
So with the seat positioned and fixed the pedal box reinforced floor plate was installed. Note the multiple holes are for flexibility in terms of the fitment position of the pedal box. They have been fitted with bolts to the underside so it is easy to install/remove/refit the pedal box.
Saluki then firmed up the steering column position and finalised the welding.
This then enabled the finalisation of the front CDS bar and the triangulated bars to the strut turrets.
Below is the bar which comes through the bulkhead and provides the lateral strength to the turret. You can see how tidy the hole has been closed.
Now the car is in the paint shop for bodywork. Initially it will be protected to prevent rusting of the welding then some bodywork to fix the panels which were damaged by sandblasting then, interior and underside painted then we will definitely start the mechanical works.
Brakes Part 6: Brake Fluid/in News
So the final step in the braking system is the selection of the brake fluid, but which one DOT3, DOT4, DOT5, DOT5.1 or a manufactures specific type (eg Motul RBF660)? Each type of brake fluid has different properties, making some of them less / more suitable for racing use. A summary of these properties is detailed below:
|Dry Boiling Point||Wet boiling point||Viscosity limit||Primary constituent|
|DOT 3||205 °C (401 °F)||140 °C (284 °F)||1,500 mm2/s||Glycol Ether|
|DOT 4||230 °C (446 °F)||155 °C (311 °F)||1,800 mm2/s||Glycol Ether|
|DOT 5||260 °C (500 °F)||180 °C (356 °F)||900 mm2/s||Silicone|
|DOT 5.1||260 °C (500 °F)||180 °C (356 °F)||900 mm2/s||Glycol Ether|
|Motul RBF660||325 °C (617 °F)||204 °C (400 °F)||1,698 mm2/s||Glycol Ether|
Dry Boiling Point
Tested with 0% water volume.
Wet Boiling Point
Tested with 3.7% water volume.
Tested at -40°F.
DOT 4 fluid will have a more stable and higher boiling point during the early portion of its life, but ironically once the fluid does actually begin to absorb water its boiling point will typically fall off more rapidly than a typical DOT 3
DOT 5 fluid specification was expected to be fulfilled by silicone based (SSBF) composition. It was designed for use in applications where its resistance to water absorption (and therefore low corrosion) was desired – like in military equipment. These characteristics were only achieved by unacceptably high compressibility. As such, the DOT 5 grade SSBF is of little value to any conventional automotive or high performance application.
Taking the above points into consideration, the runs Motul RBF 660 which has the highest dry and wet boiling points and equally importantly is available locally at either DAS Auto Centre or MotorsportWheels.
Brakes Part 5: Cooling/in News
Most of the enormous amounts of heat generated during deceleration must be dissipated into the free air stream. Most high performance (and/or heavy) cars today use some variation of the “ventilated” brake disc in which air entering the center or “eye” of the rotor is forced through the interior of the rotor by the pumping action of the rotating assembly.
The most efficient practical way yet devised to accomplish this is through the use of the “curved vane” ventilated brake rotor originally designed for the LeMans winning Ford GT 40s in 1966. In this design the interior vanes are curved to form an efficient pump impeller.
They also stabilize the rotor from distortion and serve as very effective barriers to stop the propagation of cracks due to thermal stress. In laboratory testing it has been shown that race discs with vane rotors have increased air flow through the rotor by over 50% over some OEM rotors. This results in a cost effective but very stable direct replacement rotor that runs typically 15% cooler than stock. Of course the brake discs have to installed in the correct orientation….
Additional cooling can be provided through the provision of brake cooling ducts. These are used to take air from a high pressure point at the front (or rear) of the car and direct it to the centre of the brake disc. This is only really needed on the high end GT3 cars that have significantly greater heat levels to dissipate.
Brakes Part 4: Brake Pads/in News
It can be considered that the specification of the brake pads is the singular most important component of the braking system. You could have fitted the “perfect” brake system for your car from the pedal box, master cylinder size, rigid and braided brake lines, 6 pot calipers and then fit brake pads that are made of “cheese” (ie:- very soft and last about 20 minutes) or “concrete” (ie:- so hard they will outlast mankind).
Of course there is a middle ground that gives both stopping power and durability. In sprint racing you would aim towards the ultimate stopping power and in endurance racing you would aim towards the endurance side (on the basis that you save time not having to change the pads during the race).
In simple terms the longer lasting the pad the harder the compound (and the pad thickness is greater) and the lower the overall peak stopping power.
A brake pad is made up of a number parts and these are detailed in the following section:
- Friction Material
Friction material formulations to ensure the material is a suitable match for the performance requirements of each vehicle application.
- Scorched Friction Material
Speeds up the bedding in process by ‘scorching’ the pads to burn off gases and excess resins instead of allowing them to be burnt off on the vehicle during the bedding in process.
Used where required, this reduces noise during the ‘bedding-in’ process.
- Intermediate Layer
This layer of friction material has a higher resin content. This increases the bond strength with the back plate and reduces heat transfer to the brake fluid, which can reduce braking performance.
This bonds the friction material to the backing plate.
Used where required, this damping material absorbs vibration and minimises noise.
Used where required, this allows the pad to flex under pressure and prevents the friction material from cracking.
- Backing Plate
The backbone of every brake pad. Our backing plates are powder coated to prevent corrosion.
Brakes Part 3: Brake Caliper Components/in News
A brake caliper has three main components, these being the caliper body, the caliper pistons and the brake pads, as shown in the diagram below:
The main function of the caliper is to hold the brake pistons in place when the brakes are not being applied and to direct the brake fluid onto the back of the brake pistons when the brakes are being applied. As a result of the massive forces that applied through the braking system during a race, the caliper has to exceedingly stiff. Stiff calipers also give greater pedal “feel” as more the pressure exerted by the drive goes to pushing the brake pads onto the brake disk and not causing the brake caliper to flex.
Brake calipers are often made of high strength lightweight aluminium.
In order to ensure even pad brake wear, modern racing calipers are designed with differential piston sizing that minimize pad taper by equalising piston pressure to the pad backing plate.
As brake disc sizes increase the number of pistons that push the brake pads onto the brake disc increase. This gives a more uniform pressure application, more even brake pad wear and greater stopping efficiency. This is often referred to a “? Pot” calipers, where a 6 pot caliper has 6 pistons. Of course, the more pots, the bigger the caliper
Caliper pistons can be manufactured from a range of materials depending on the available budget. The thermal expansion of the piston material has to be known when designing the caliper body and the seal.
Titanium is the ideal piston material as it does a really good job of insulating the fluid in the caliper from conductive heat transfer from the pads. Virtually all-serious racing cars use Titanium caliper pistons with an anti-galling surface treatment, which changes the colour from a natural almost dull silver to gold.
Brakes pads will be covered in another update.
Brakes Part 2: Brake Discs/in News
DRILLED VS SLOTTED ROTORS
For many years most racing rotors were drilled. There were two reasons – the holes gave the “fireband” boundary layer of gasses and particulate matter someplace to go and the edges of the holes gave the pad a better “bite”.
Unfortunately the drilled holes also reduced the thermal capacity of the discs and served as very effective “stress raisers” significantly decreasing disc life. Improvements in friction materials have pretty much made the drilled rotor a thing of the past in racing. Most racing rotors currently feature a series of tangential slots or channels that serve the same purpose without the attendant disadvantages.
INCREASING DISC DIAMETER
The problem with increasing the effective radius of the discs is that, since the designers used the largest rotor that would fit inside the wheel. Typically, increasing the rotor diameter means increasing the wheel size. The expense involved is only one issue, a major issue is the impact on race suspension geometry.
The camber curves and roll resistance characteristics of any proper suspension system are designed for tyres with a specific sidewall height and stiffness. Increasing the wheel diameter means decreasing the sidewall height and the compliance of the tyre. Carried to an extreme, this will hurt cornering capability and might actually result in a loss of braking traction due to “edging” the front tyres under heavy braking.
All metals “grow” when heated. The diameter of cast iron brake discs can increase as much as 2mm at elevated braking temperatures. When the disc is radially restrained from growing (as in all one-piece discs) the friction plates are forced into a cone shape as temperature increases, adversely effecting both temperature and pressure distribution within the pads and the feel of the pedal.
Racing and high performance street discs are mounted on separate hats or bells, usually of aluminium. The fastening system is designed to allow radial growth and minimal axial float resulting in a mechanically stable system. Hats or bells should be made from 7075 or 2024 heat-treated aluminium billets that are pre-stressed and relieved, not from 6061 or from plate stock.
Brakes Part 1: Overview/in News
Following on from the updates relating to wheels, gearboxes, differentials and headlights, we thought it would prepare a series of articles on the brake system we are running on the car and how we selected the system. So sit back and keep following the website over the next few weeks for regular updates.
Except for high end supercars, stock brakes are capable of a single stop from maximum speed at or near the limit of tyre grip, but not repeated stops from high speed. Most stock brake systems lack sufficient thermal capacity – the system’s ability to absorb and transfer heat into the air or surrounding structure during severe driving.
The stock calipers and their mountings are usually not structurally stiff enough at higher line pressures thus reducing the effectiveness of the brakes and most OEM brake pads are also not designed for severe use, since cold stopping performance and quiet operation typically are considered more important to new car buyers.
There are a few basic facts that must always be kept in mind when discussing brake systems:
1) The brakes don’t stop the vehicle – the tyres do. Thus the type of tyre being used has to be taken into account (we have to use tyres set by the relevant event).
2) The brakes function by converting the kinetic energy of the car into thermal energy during deceleration – producing heat, lots of heat – which must then be transferred into the surroundings and into the air stream.
3) Repeated hard stops require both effective heat transfer and adequate thermal storage capacity within the disc. The more disc surface area per unit mass and the greater and more efficient the mass air flow over and through the disc, the faster the heat will be dissipated and the more efficient the entire system will be. At the same time, the brake discs must have enough thermal storage capacity to prevent distortion and/or cracking from thermal stress until the heat can be dissipated. This is not particularly important in a single stop but it is crucial in the case of repeated stops from high speed.
4) Control and balance are at least as important as ultimate stopping power. The objective of the braking system is to utilise the grip capacity of all of the tyres to the maximum practical extent without locking a tyre. The required pedal pressure, pedal travel and pedal firmness must allow efficient modulation by the driver.
To summarise, braking performance is about more than just brakes. In order for even the best braking systems to function effectively, tyres, suspension and driving techniques must be optimised.
To go further it is necessary to understand some of the physics involved, and that requires some definitions.
- Mechanical pedal ratio: The mechanical pedal ratio is the distance from the pedal pivot point to the effective center of the footpad divided by the distance from the pivot point to the master cylinder push rod. The larger the ratio, the greater the force multiplication, but the longer the pedal travel.
- Brake line pressure: Brake line pressure is the hydraulic force that actuates the braking system when the pedal is pushed. It is the force applied to the brake pedal multiplied by the pedal ratio divided by the area of the master cylinder. For the same amount of force, the smaller the master cylinder, the greater the brake line pressure.
- Clamping force: The clamping force of a caliper is the force exerted on the disc by the caliper pistons. It is the product of brake line pressure, in psi, multiplied by the total piston area of the caliper. Increasing the pad area will not increase the clamping force.
A few things are now obvious:
1) Line pressure can only be increased by either increasing the mechanical pedal ratio or by decreasing the master cylinder diameter. In either case the pedal travel will be increased.
2) Clamping force can only be increased either by increasing the line pressure or by increasing the diameter of the caliper pistons. Any increase in caliper piston area alone will be accompanied by an increase in pedal travel. The effectiveness of a caliper is also affected by the stiffness of the caliper body and its mountings. It is therefore possible to reduce piston size while increasing caliper stiffness and realize a net increase in clamping force applied. This would typically improve pedal feel.
3) Only increasing the effective radius of the disc, the caliper piston area, the line pressure, or the coefficient of friction can increase brake torque. Increasing the pad area will decrease pad wear and improve the fade characteristics of the pads but it will not increase the brake torque.
1) In order to brake effectively, the tyres must comply with and grip on the road. Your braking system is no better than your tyres and suspension. The best money that you can spend is on really good tyres (we race on spec tyres so this is not a consideration) and really good shocks (the team has excellent AST shocks).
2) Proper corner weight is crucial for effective straight line braking (our car goes to the best set-up garage in the UAE, Motorsport Wheels). Optimum corner weight for braking is when the cross corner pairs are equal. That is to say the total of the left front and right rear equals the total of the right front and left rear. The team uses the excellent Motorsport Wheels for this.
4) Use at least a 550 degree non-silicone brake fluid and make sure that your brakes are bled properly and, when used hard, often. The team uses Motul Brake fluid. Brake fluid is hygroscopic in nature – given any chance at all it absorbs water. A fraction of one percent of entrapped water lowers the boiling point of any brake fluid dramatically – and causes corrosion within the system.
Road car brakes are fine for daily driving but provide insufficient continuous stopping power on the race track. Endurance racing takes the braking requirement a step further as brake disc and pad life has to be much longer than required for 20 minute sprint racing.
So the next few articles will delve into the considerations that have to be taken into account when selecting race brake systems.
Car Rebuild: Part 13/in News
As previously mentioned we were waiting on the new seat and pedal box to test-fit with the steering column position before finally welding the remaining roll cage bars. Thanks to Jon Simmonds at MW (MotorsportWheels) the fantastic Corbeau seats arrived fully branded (drivers seat is carbon fibre and the passenger seat is GRP). We opted for the ‘Pro-series’ as we couldn’t fit the ‘Revenge’ seat due to the basic ergonomics of the roll cage design within this shell.
To be honest the Pro-series suits us better. It is easier for the driver to get in and out and gives better peripheral vision, with 90+ cars in the race this is essential. From a marketing perspective the logo will be more visual also.
We did an initial placement along with the steering column, the new AP Racing pedal box (again courtesy of MotorsportWheels) and the gear selector (K-tuned billet shifter). The seat seems a little high. This is partly because we run it on an FIA approved slider rail (10mm), partly because the fact we use the rail we cant put the Corbeau seat on its lowest setting on the side-mount brackets and partly because the actual seat base fixing rails could be lower in the floor. The latter seems to be the easiest fix. It will involve some cutting just behind where the centre console would be but we’ll explain this later with photos.
You can see in the below image how the seat sits perfectly within the roll cage.
Now that all those important components are measured up and positioning is agreed, the car is off to Saluki tomorrow for final welding.
Once the welding is complete the interior, underside and inner wings will be painted metallic grey. Stay tuned for that.
Last note for this update is to say goodbye to our old ZRT #48 shell… which incidentally on picking through the cracked paint on the roof we managed to discover that it started out life as a black car, was then painted metallic blue, red, white, lime green and eventually back to black (twice). If you see the layers it was like a time team geological survey.
Car Rebuild: Part 12/in News
Our original race car has been efficiently stripped to a shell. Just the doors, hatch, bonnet, wings, fuel cell and subframe remain to be removed.
The dash will be reused however re-organisedto be a nice neat enduro spec. Incorporating all the requirements in a cartek power control panel. Plus we will incorporate all of the Creventic 24Hrs gadgets such as the driver ID switch.
So, this is probably the last photos of the old car before it goes off to the big scrap heaven for race cars.
This was our car where it first originated (Sepang) in 2008. The red & white no. 27 car.
Its had a hard life since to be fair ?
Ciao for another while
Car Rebuild: Part 11/in News
When it rains it pours… Nothing for weeks and now two updates at once.
Next stop on our project was to hand the car over to Julian at A-Tech to do the build. The only exception is that our engine will be built by TGMsport in UK.
First task was to undertake a primer coat so that the shell is protected. This is only a temporary coat which will eventually be rubbed down before final priming and painting.
The primer coat was finished pretty quickly and back to A-Tech to plan what is going where.
On the downside the new primer highlighted all the damage caused to the shell by the shot blasting (particularly rear 3/4 panels and roof). On the bright side A-Tech have an excellent panel beater who will spend a day taking the worst out of it and the rest will be smoothed out with a light skim of filler in select places.
Its quite evident in the below photo on the rear panel:
The next update will be the strip down of the old car and some details of what new technology we intend to use in the new car.
Till then… Ciao
Car Rebuild: Part 10/in News
So, where were we?
Finalising the build I guess…. Well its finalised, sort of. As mentioned earlier we ordered the Corbeau Seats from Jon at Motorsport Wheels but he very kindly agreed to arrange ZRT Motorsport logo to be embroidered on the seats so the order delivery will take a little longer. Because its a different seat Saluki want to make sure the seat position and steering wheel level is perfect so the dash bar, seat bases and associated triangulated bars are not yet fully welded in case of any minor modifications required.
Below you can see what I mean:
Below is the seat rail bolted in place just for the purpose of fitting but again final positioning may change. We think its unlikely but better safe than sorry:
Below is the finished installation of the air jack brackets (2-front and 1-rear). You can see how the bracket is fixed to the cage and also reinforced with a strengthened plate on the floor.
On our previous car we had a straight aluminium bar on the front of the car. This didn’t provide much protection so this time Saluki fabricated a steel box section curved to provide more strength in the event of impact.
At the moment it is fixed in place with a nut and bolt but this will be replaced with a quick release pin system eventually (We have fabricated a spare in the event of damage).
Below is a close up:
So, with the exception of some final welding we bid farewell to the Saluki Team and wish to thank Mark, Robbie, Rodel, Ben and Jordan for the excellent work. Cheers guys ?
Safety: Clothing/1 Comment/in News
Drivers wear fire proof clothing to help protect them in the event of a fire. This protection gives the driver time to vacate the car and for the fire marshals to put out the fire if the driver is trapped inside the car.
The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) is generally accepted as being the world governing body for all motorsport (we exclude North America from that statement) and the FIA defines the specifications and lists the approved products relating to the safety aspects (helmets, race suits etc). The standard by which the safety clothing system must comply is 8865-2000.
A summary of the clothing safety requirements are detailed below:
ABSTRACTS FROM THE FIA 8856-2000 STANDARD
- Design elements (stripes, piping…) must be made in aramid fabric (ISO 15025A standard)
- Shoulder pads are compulsory
- Badges backgrounds must comply with the ISO 15025A standard and be fireproof
- Thread used to attach badges must comply with the ISO 15025A standard and be fireproof.
- Resist a flame for a minimum of 11 seconds
Protective clothing is split into two parts, these being the inner garments (known as underwear) and the external (suit, shoes and gloves).
Each driver has his own preference for the inner and outer layers based upon their individual shape and size.
Safety: Fuel Tank/1 Comment/in News
Under the regulations, a drivers stint can be upto 2 ours in length. The existing fuel tank in the car had insufficient volumetric capacity (30L) to achieve this stint length. So, a larger fuel tank was required. The team knew the fuel tank capacity requirement and based upon the space available in the car with the roll cage design, the fuel tank dimensions where determined.
The team then held a series of discussions with Mike Scott at Gulf Sport (http://www.gulf-sport.com) to determine exactly the components that would be needed based upon the Creventic / FIA regulations (eg: tank, aluminum case, pumps, fittings). Gulf Sport are the local agents of Aero Tec Laboratories Inc commonly known as ATL.
The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) is generally accepted as being the world governing body for all motorsport (we exclude North America from that statement) and the FIA defines the specifications and lists the approved products relating to the safety aspects (helmets, race suits etc). The standard by which the complete fuel cell and the auxiliary components must comply is FT3-1999, FT3.5-1999, FT5-1999.
The overall fuel cell comprises of several components and these are detailed in the diagram below:
Internal collector pot:
The collector pot sits at the bottom of the fuel cell with the flaps designed to allow fuel to flow into the collector pot but not out of the collector pot. This ensures the internal fuel pumps have sufficient volume of fuel even under hard corning to supply the engine and prevent fuel starvation. This is especially true when running low fuel levels.
The yellow foam baffles are a specific sponge material that helps reduces the fuel sloshing around the tank under hard acceleration / braking and cornering and suppress explosions.
The team runs two fuel pumps on a 1 duty + 1 stand-by configuration, with each pump having “sock” filters with independent switches on the switch control panel on the dashboard. The pumps are rated to ensure that the fuel is supplied to the engine at the required rate and pressure.
Fuel Level Sensor:
Although the pit wall team calculate the volume of fuel used per lap, the fuel level sensor has been set to illuminate on the dash at a prescribed level. This helps verify the fuel burn rates.
All of the above components fit inside the fuel cell. The cell is designed to contain the fuel and not to split open in the event of a crash. The fuel cell inlet has a non return valve that prevents fuel spilling out of the tank in the event of the car being on its side or up side down.
As per the FIA and event regulations the fuel cell has to contained inside and aluminium container of minimum 2mm thickness with 4 aluminium straps and 40mm wide (2 in each direction across the of the aluminium container) that are bolted to the chassis.
The fuel cell certificate must be visible with a new the cell re-certified after five years by the manufacturer, which if passed is re-certified for a further two years.
The final stage of the installation after fitting the fuel lines and filler, is to box in all the connections, which results in the final installation looking like this:
Safety: Fire Extinguisher/1 Comment/in News
Safety: Fire Extinguisher
The objective of fitting a fire extinguisher system in a race car is to help extinguish a small fire / delay the development of a major fire prior to the additional track fire marshals arriving at the car.
The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) is generally accepted as being the world governing body for all motorsport (we exclude North America from that statement) and the FIA defines the specifications and lists the approved products relating to the safety aspects (helmets, race suits etc). The standard by which the fire extinguisher system must comply is 8865-2015.
For saloon racing cars this dictates that a system of a minimum 4L capacity, that discharged 50% into the cockpit and 50% into the engine bay. There must be two activation points, one on the outside of the car and one inside of the car that the driver can reach……
The bottles have a service life of 10 years and have to be re-certified every two year by an authorised service agency. The bottle then has a tamper proof label attached:
An integral part of the overall system is the specifically designed atomiser nozzle. The device divides the foam into minute particles, smothering the fire with a fine mist that forms an invisible seal over the target area, cooling and thus preventing re-ignition. The extinguishment is Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF).
There are two activation systems, these being:
ZRT Motorsport are using the mechanical activation system.
The fire extinguisher system comprises of a number of components which are listed below:
The basic layout of the installation is defined by the FIA and is presented below:
The bottle has been installed horizontally in the “passenger” footwell with the driver activation handle installed on the center console panel:
External Activation Handle
The local authorised Lifeline agent is Dubai based Motorsport Wheels (msw-me.com) who last year re-certified the team existing bottle. So if you are in need of a handheld bottle, a plumbed in system or recertification, contact Motorsport Wheels (www.MSW-ME.com).
Car Rebuild: Part 9/1 Comment/in News
Below is a further update on the project. At this stage it looks like Saluki are only 4-days away from finishing which on reflection is a pretty fast build. 1-month from a dusty shell to a fully fabricated race car shell considering the quality and engineering thought process that was required for some components of the build is really impressive.
Although we posted this image of the rear air jack before, below is a much clearer picture showing precisely the welding and engineering quality.
Below is the final door bracing welding
Below is where Saluki have joined the front section of the roll cage to the front strut turret.
There is a second diagonal support which we posted previously.
Below is a reinforced plate which the K-tuned billet alloy gear shifter is bolted to. Captive nuts have already been welded to the underside of the plate so that the shifter is just bolted down.
Below is the reinforced plate which the air-jack sleeve will be welded to. The second pic is the sleeve before it is fixed in place. We’ll post a pic of the final installation once completed.
Below is the pedal box mounting plate. This again will have nuts welded to the underside and be recessed into the existing floor plate then welded all around resulting in a strong platform.
Comparison of the two soon to be one race cars.
And last up a huge thank you to Robbie of Saluki pictured below who is the head fabricator and has really taken a lot of care and attention for our little project. Later we will do a bio for the whole Saluki team involved but for now. Thanks Robbie, everyone loves the work and appreciates the efforts.
Car Rebuild: Part 8/1 Comment/in News
Well it seems we have a problem. Despite our best endeavours the Corbeau Revenge seat doesn’t fit.
So we thought about the various options, took some measurements and in the end decided to opt for the Corbeau Pro Series seat.
As you can see from the description we are clearly not the first people to enounter this problem.
To be honest there are two advantages with this seat type that actually benefit us:
1. Its easier to get in and out of the car during driver changes.
2. The driver has better peripheral vision. (Which is useful with a grid of 100-cars).
So we’ve placed our order with the MotorsportWheels team and eagerly await delivery.
The old seat will either become an office chair or if I have my way, I will use it to replace one of the hard plastic seats on the pit perch ?
Next up. Rear air jack and pedal box
Last time we had located the rear jack right at the back of the car boot floor. The reason was because of the location of the fuel cell but because we are able to locate the fuel cell on the back seat this time we are able to locate the air jack more centrally.
This means its positioned closer to the main structure of the roll cage and therefore should not cause any flex in the shell when operated. Below is the rear mounting point.
In the Honda DC5 the firewall is angled where it meets the floor (where the conventional pedals are located) so to fit a race type pedal box. We’ve ordered the following AP Racing pedal box from our friends at MotorsportWheels.
In order to fit this pedal box the floor requires modification to be a flat floor. Saluki have ensured that the boxed out section is extremely strong so that there will be no flex in the floor which could impact the effectiveness of the brake pedal.
Fuel cell has been located as stated between the roll cage. This hopefully will enhance the cars balance and handling by centralising the weight and making it safer but locating the tank in what should be the safest part of the car.
We are very happy with the Engineering work carried out by Saluki Motorsport thus far and by working with some of the best people and businesses in Dubai we are confident the end product will be amazing.
Car Rebuild: Part 7/1 Comment/in News
As you become ‘used’ to something you tend not to realise or appreciate when things are wrong. Take the example of the ever widening waistline, few kgs here and there and all of a sudden without any warning you are 10kgs overweight. Well the same happened to our trusty Honda. 4-paint jobs and 3-vinyl wrap schemes later and lots of filler and all of a sudden we were almost 100kgs over our ‘sprint’ spec weight just 2-years earlier.
So the aim this time is to stay fit and light from the start.
For those that don’t know this is the old girl and whilst we moan about her putting on kgs, she did put us on the podium in 14 out of 16 races in 2013-14 so lets not be too hard.
Speaking of wrong (in the same context of the previous point) below are a few examples of our previous cage quality when compared to the new cage.
Previous centre section of the X brace:
Previous door bars:
As you can see the quality is vastly improved.
In the below image you can see where the floor was cut to drop the cage through to weld the top sections as mentioned previously:
Saluki reinforced the rear shock anchoring sections firstly to support the cage and secondly to give a robust foundation for the rear shocks to be fixed to.
We also went over the car with Saluki looking for areas were we could remove a little weight but not effect the structural integrity of the car. Below is one example of where we are able to remove a little bit of unnecessary metal.
We have a carbon fibre infil panel to cover the new “hole”.
At this stage there are only three main jobs left:
1. Air jacks
2. Pedal box
3. Fuel cell
Car Rebuild: Part 6/1 Comment/in News
Ok before we go on to the tank we’ll give an update as to where things are now.
Firstly the cage is pretty much complete with the exception of some final welds in certain places.
Seat rails in place:
Main cage X section completed.
One of the problems we had with the previous Custom cages design was the positioning of the 45-degree support bar at the door. Firstly this restricted the access and secondly it fouled our Corbeau seat to the point whereby we had to hack a section out of the centre tunnel, which in turn led us to moving the pedal box and eventually moving the steering column. (I did mention we were stubborn earlier in the thread!)
So this time no such mods required. Saluki were able to move the support back whilst still being fully compliant with the FIA (Appendix J) regulations. Should also mention that the CC previous cage was 45mm throughout whereas we are now using 38mm with the exception of the main roll bar and the bar above the screen.
Car Rebuild: Part 5/1 Comment/in News
So, something new to me (having never installed a cage before) is….. How do you weld the bits at the top of the roll cage which are tight to the underside of the roof? Many of you maybe saying… That’s easy dummy and so it is…. When you know how. I knew (well I did research for the update on our website on the roll cage) but others might not, so some may it interesting to learn how.
Actually there are two ways:
1.You cut the roof off, weld and refit the roof.
2.You fabricate up the cage in-situ by tack welding together, cut holes in the floor beside the vertical mounting points, remove the lateral supports and drop the cage 50-100mm through the floor, weld 360-degree’s around the tops of the cage connection points and then lift the cage back into place and make solid base mounting plates.
If you look at the mounting point in the below image, there is a pre-cut hole and the cage is tack welded in place. That will then be ground off to allow the cage to drop.
I’m not experienced in welding but when something looks right it probably is ?
The last thing to talk about today is the seat mounting points. We asked Saluki to make provision for driver and passenger seats because we may wish to take sponsors on taxi rides at the 24-Hrs event.
The seat bars are secured to the sills of the car and fitted as close to the floor as possible. We are using Corbeau Revenge seat supplied by Jon of MotorsportWheels, Dubai so the fixing points are set out to the Corbeau seat frames.
Next up is the 100L fuel cell and just how we are going to squeeze it between the ‘X’ bars of the cage.
Car Rebuild: Part 4/1 Comment/in News
Next up is to replace the OEM dash bar with an 38mm CDS section which will become an integral part of the roll cage. In the photo below you can see where the strut bracing sections are located and also its clear that Saluki have removed all unnecessary sections of steel from the floor and bulkhead reducing as much weight as possible.
The cage will be built to the highest safety standards in accordance with the FIA regulations. With the cage partly mocked up and tacked into place the guys also start measuring precisely for the gusset reinforcement sections at the doors.
There will be 4 of these per door and the finished product looks like this:
The cage is almost finished and we will post a few pics over the weekend showing the welding quality and explain how the guys weld the tops of the cage (The parts almost touching the roof) which incidentally were not properly welded in our previous car but still passed FIA scrutineering ?
With cars in Dubai 24hr reaching almost 300kph (not ours) we have to put safety as the no. 1 priority and now that we have the chance and expertise to do it we won’t take any shortcuts with the build. ?
Car Rebuild: Part 3/1 Comment/in News
In our old shell we started facing a problem of windscreens cracking on the lower left of the screen. For anyone who has watched our documentary on Emirates Airline you will remember all too well what a problem this caused in 2015. Again since then a further 2-screens cracked. In the end we were unable to define exactly the cause but we suspect it is due to a weakness in the front chassis.
To combat this in the future and to eliminate the need for a strut brace this time we have replicated the roll cage design of the BTCC Touring cars similar to that of Peter England’s ex-BTCC astra here in Dubai. So in the below image you can see that the turret is strengthened in 4-ways.
- Seam welding.
- Triangulated bracing to the roll cage lateral bar at the dash.
- Connection to the roll cage at the A-post. (Zoom in to see that one)
- Double plate strengthening of the strut mounting.
We have also allowed for the provision of castor adjustment in the strut plate.
Those with a keen eye will also notice that the holes in the bulkhead (previous pic) have all been closed up as they are not needed on the race car. Most probably they were for water hoses to the heater/a-c but because we already have a car to work from we know they are not required in the build. They are therefore closed for safety and rigidity.
Car Rebuild: Part 2/1 Comment/in News
After agreeing the works to be carried out by Saluki, the first step was to shot blast the whole shell so that we uncover any surprises so that any metal work that required to be replaced could be replaced and secondly start with the best possible shell for seem welding.
So after shot blasting the good news was that the shell rust free and solid.
Saluki then got to work with the shell seam welding:
Front chassis is a critical part of the race car so seam welding was given detailed attention.
Car Rebuild: Part 1/in News
After many years of racing ZRTmotorsport have decided that after 7 hard years of racing, it is time to look at either re-shelling and rebuilding the Honda DC5 in advance of the 2017 Dubai 24Hrs or to buy another car.
We had considered opting for a new cars such as the Seat Cup racer, BMW 235i or Clio Cup but after running the DC5 for 4-years we came to have more spares than the Honda works teams! The work which went into acquiring the knowledge and stash of parts would be a huge undertaking to start again with a platform we were unfamiliar with. In addition considering the fact the Integra is a great platform to start with and the fact we are very stubborn the decision was taken to stick with what we know.
First step…. Find a shell
Our competitors and friends Lap 57 were able to assist and supply us with this clean (albeit dusty) 2007 shell.
The next step was to strip the shell and take it to Saluki Motorsport to agree the first stage of the project:
We agreed the following works with the guys at Saluki.
- Full FIA specification roll cage
- BTCC Spec enhancements for the front chassis
- Installation of seat rails
- Installation of air jacks brackets
- Removal of unnecessary brackets
- Provision for fuel cell installation
- Seem weld chassis
ZRT Motorsport Internationally Famous/in News
I little late, but the team made the news in the Newry Reporter newspaper earlier in the year.
Safety: Frontal Head Restraints/1 Comment/in News
After the deaths of several high profile racers the world over had died neck injuries caused during a crash, the various world motorsport governing bodies gradually mandated the use of a Frontal Head Restraints (FHR) system. The most well known device are the HANS (Head and Neck Support).
The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) is generally accepted as being the world governing body for all motorsport (we exclude North America from that statement) and the FIA defines the specifications and lists the approved products relating to the safety aspects (helmets, race suits etc). The standard by which the main FHR component and the auxiliary components must comply is 8858-2010.
The purpose of the device is to keep the head from whipping forwards and backwards in a crash, without otherwise restricting movement of the neck. The device maintains the relative position of the head to the body, in addition to transferring energy to the much stronger chest, torso, shoulder, seatbelts, and seat as the head is decelerated.
The devices work by attaching the drivers helmet to the neck support that is held in place by the racing harness. Today there are several different types of neck support system available with the 2 most common being the HANS and Hybrid.
There are two main differences between the two types and these are described below:
The HANS system is connected to the drivers helmet using one tether on each side. This reduces the forward movement of the head but does not restrict the sideways or lateral movement of the head.
The hybrid system has two tethers on each side and thus restricts the head movement forwards and laterally.
The HANS device is held in place by the racing harness should belts over the shoulder support.
The hydrid device is held in place by straps around the drivers body and by the racing harness should belts.
All of the teams drivers use the HANS device. The lack of lateral support that is provided by the Hybrid system has been off-set through installing a seat with side wings which limit the lateral movement of the head.
In tests HANS was shown to reduce typical head motion in an accident by 44 percent, the force applied to the neck by 86 percent and the acceleration applied to the head by 68 percent – bringing the figures for even large impacts under the ‘injury threshold’.
The effectiveness of the HANS device was proven by a good friend of the team when he crashed into the side of another car at 130mph after his brakes failed. The driver simply undid his belts and got out the car un-aided. Other than a slight stiffness in his neck the driver suffered no injuries.
Safety: Helmets/1 Comment/in News
Anytime the car is out on track (track day or race day), the drivers are mandated to wear a race helmet. Helmets can be categorized into 1 of the following 3 categories:
The first helmets were open faced and often referred to as pudding basins (on the ground that they looked like one) and a gradual improvement in safety moved to full face helmets. Typically full face helmets are used in open topped race cars (single seaters, sports cars), with open / partial open face used in closed cockpit cars (rallying, saloon cars).
A helmet comprises of an outer shell which has two layers, typically fibre-reinforced resin over carbon fibre. Under that comes a layer of aramid (usually Kevlar®, the same material used in many bullet-proof vests). Then there is a softer, deformable layer made from polyethylene (a plastic based on polystyrene), covered with the same flame-proof material used in the driver’s overalls.
The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) is generally accepted as being the world governing body for all motorsport (we exclude North America from that statement) and the FIA defines the specifications and lists the approved products relating to the safety aspects (helmets, race suits etc). The standard by which the main FHR component and the auxiliary components must comply is 8858-2010. All current race helmets must have the facility to install Frontal Head Restraint posts.
In order to be approved for racing, a helmet is subjected to a number of tests, these are summarised below:
- Impact test: Helmet dropped from set heights onto a metal form.
- Roll off test: Helmet is tested to check helmet does not roll off drivers head.
- Dynamic retention test: Tests the helmet strap.
- Shell penetration test: Metal form is dropped onto the shell.
- Faceshield penetration test: Checks penetration resistance of the visor.
- Flame resistance test: Helmet is subjected to 790 degrees centigrade
- Chin bar test: Used to check the chin bar deflection.
Only when a helmet passes all of the minimum limits is the helmet certified for racing use.
There is a general move towards all drivers using full face helmets as they provide greater frontal protection (nose and mouth) and allow a visor to be fitted (protects the eyes and tinted visors help in bright sunlight). All of the teams drivers are currently using full face helmets.
Wheels + Engine: Ian Will Be There/in News
In his 11 years in the UAE Ian has been heavily involved in motorsport both on and off track. So here is a “quick” resume of Ian’s racing career (Warning: You will need a large cup of coffee or tea).
2008: Desert Lions Rally Team & Team Fast Forward
Ian was the team manager and responsible for ensuring the driver & co-driver were at the briefings and the start on time for the teams entry in the UAE Desert Challenge.
Team Fast Forward
Co-founder of the team, team manager and navigator. Team entered the Umm Al Quwain desert rally and won the rookie class.
2009-10: Team Fast Forward, SVDP Racing, Dual Racing & Newtrix Racing
Team Fast Forward
UAE Desert Challenge. Team manager and navigator The car had been extensively modified since its last appearance with uprated suspension, new bigger engine and 300L fuel tank.
Sadly the event didn’t end well as the car caught fire on stage 2 and burnt out.
Chief Mechanic running a Honda Civic EP3 in the UAE Touring Car Championship. Responsible for event schedule compliance, setting and managing tyre pressures, fuel levels and fuel burn calculations and pit wall data communication.
The team decided to enter the Britcar 24hr race held at Silverstone. Ian helped assist in finding a suitable race car (BMW120d), completed the entry form, ordered the tyres and fuel, liaised with organisers, planned event and race strategy and ensured the team complied with the event rules and regulations. The team successfully completed the event.
2010 saw Ian compete in in his 1st 24hr car race at the Dubai 24hr event. Tasks included lap timing, preparing for pit stops, carrying out pit stops and fuel burn calculations. The team finished 2nd in its class.
Ian was asked by Newtrix Racing to be the teams navigator in their entry in the Hail Baja (3 days desert rally held in Saudi Arabia). The event is 1,600km from Dubai and it is a 2 day drive to get there (and 2 days back). The car blew a top radiator hose and the idler pulley disintegrated on day 2. Repairs were made with the team finishing the event the following day.
2010-11 SVDP Racing, Vendetta Racing and WRC Developments
Ian continued in running the Honda EP3 race car and carried out the same functions as the previous year.
A race day wher there was no touring car racing but bike racing led to Ian commencing his working relationship with Vendetta Racing (Mahmoud Tannir & Alan Boyer) that is still going strong today (through both Vendetta Racing and Tannir Moto Racing. Ian’s influence was soon evident as he engineering Mahmouds first ever race victory at the last race day of the season. A sign of things to come.
Ian joined the WRC Developments team from the UK to help run their Honda Integra DC5 (little did Ian know then that he would be running the same model of car again). Despite having to change the engine in the race (something Ian will get used to…), the team got the car to the chequered flag.
2011-12: SVDP Racing &, Vendetta Racing
Crew Chief for Mahmoud Tannir who won 12 races out of 14 and finished 2nd in the balance 2 races. This resulted in Mahmoud winning the UAE Sportsbike Championship.
Ian continued in running the Honda EP3 race car and carried out the same functions as the previous year. The main difference being that car was now white in colour.
After working with WRC Developments in the 2011 Dubai 24hr Race, Ian returned as Team Manager for SVDP Racing in their entry in the 2012 Dubai 24hr event. Responsible for team entry, ordering tyres, liaison with event organisers, planning and team organisation, lap timing and race strategy. Sadly, engine issues prevented the team from starting the race.
2012-13: Vendetta Racing, SVDP Racing, Erikas Savikas Racing & GNSS Racing
Crew Chief for Mahmoud Tannir who won successfully defended his UAE Sportsbike Championship.
The team also competed in 1 round of the Qatar Supersport Championship where they won 1 race and finished 2nd in another.
Erikas Savickas Racing
Ian acted as crew chief for Erikas Savickas at the last 2 rounds of the Qatar Superbike Championship. Despite suffering from front suspension issues, Erikas reduced his lap times over the 2 events and set a personal fastest lap in the last race.
Team Manager for SVDP Racing in their entry in the 2013 Dubai 24hr event. Responsible for team entry, ordering tyres, liaison with event organisers, planning and team organisation, lap timing and race strategy. The team won its category at the event with a certain Mr. Jonthan Mullan as one of the drivers.
SVDP Racing entered the Barcelona 24hr race later on in the year. Ian continued with his usual roll for the team and despite having to change the engine during the race, the team took the chequered flag.
At the inaugural 1hr endurance race at the Dubai Autodrome, Ian planned the strategy, monitored the lap times, called the pit stop all which led to Jonathan winning his class. The start of a long and fruitful relationship.
2013-14: Zettanet Racing, Tannir Moto Racing & Vendettta Racing
Sporting Director for Zettanet Racing. Responsible for tyre and fuel management and race strategy during the teams entry in the UAE Touring Car Championship. The team finished the season as the Class A2 champion.
Tannir Moto Racing
Crew Chief for Tannir Moto Racing. Responsible for suspension and tyre pressure settings, fuel management and pit wall data management in the teams entry in the UAE Superbike Championship where they finished 2nd. The team became the official Honda UAE racing team during the season.
Team member for Vendetta Racings entry in the bike section of the UAE Desert Challenge. Ian was responsible for following the riders to the stage start and from the stage finish back to rally headquarters. Both riders completed all 5 days and finished the event.
2014-15: Zettanet Racing & Tannir Moto Racing
Sporting Director for ZRT Motosport. Responsible for team entry in the Dubai 24hr race, ordering tyres, liaison with event organisers, planning and team organisation, lap timing and race strategy.
Tannir Motor Racing
Crew Chief for Tannir Moto Racing. Responsible for suspension and tyre pressure settings, fuel management and pit wall data management. Mahmoud finished 2nd in the UAE and Qatar Sportsbike championships.
2015-16: ZRT Motorsport & Tannir Moto Racing
Sporting Director for ZRT Motosport. Responsible for team entry in the Dubai 24hr race, ordering tyres, liaison with event organisers, planning and team organisation, lap timing and race strategy.
Tannir Moto Racing
Crew Chief for Tannir Moto Racing. Responsible for suspension and tyre pressure settings, fuel management and pit wall data management in the teams entry in the UAE Superbike & Qatar Supersport Championships.
2016-17 ZRT Motorsport, Tannir Moto Racing and ?
Ian will taking on the roll as Crew Chief for the Bahrain Superbike Championship where he will be responsible for 15 race spec Ducait Pannigali 899’s. He will continue his racing commitments with ZRT Motorsport and Tannir Moto Racing.
Oh and once in while Ian acts a riders stunt double….
All of the teams thank Ian’s ever supportive family for allowing him to contribute to the local racing community as much as he has.
Photo credits as per details on each picture.
Safety: Roll Cage/1 Comment/in News
You may have noticed that all saloon racing cars have lots of round metal tubing inside the car. The common conception is that a roll cage is there to protect the driver (and co-driver in rallying). Well this is only partly true. A roll cage also has the benefit of stiffing the cars chassis which reduces body twist and roll.
The decreased level of twist and roll results in improved handling and the cars suspension, caster, camber and toe settings can be made more precise which in turns makes the cars easier to drive, more consistent and reduces tyre and component wear.
This update will explain how roll cages are classified, the materials used and how they installed.
There are two types of roll cage, these being bolt-in and weld-in. The difference is in the way the roll cage is fitted to the car. The cage design and fabrication is fundamentally the same. The bolt-in cage as the name implies is bolted into the car (thus making it more easy to remove), the weld-in cage is welded into the car.
A weld-in cage is lighter than a bolt-in cage and makes the car shell more structurally rigid. In addition the world governing body (FIA) and country specific governing bodies (eg: MSA in the UK) mandate race cars have to have weld-in roll cages.
Roll cages are often referred as “point” cages, the points refer to the number of points the cage is fixed to the car. A 4 point cage is fixed to the car at 4 points, a 6 point at 6 points etc.
Roll cages are built out of either high tensile carbon manganese steel (T45) steel or Cold Draw Seamless Carbon Steel (CDS). T45 has a higher tensile and minimum yield strength. Roll cages constructed using T45 will be lighter than the same cage design using CDS. However, T45 is more expensive.
A post gusset
Improves strength as the cage A pillar can be welded to the screen pillar
Improves rigidity and side impact strength.
Door X bars
side impact protection; improves door aperture stiffness.
Improves lateral stiffness of strut tops and bulkhead.
Hoop to A pillar tube
Designed to improve support for A pillars at roof level.
X section now required by the latest regulations to improve roll over protection.
Lower rear stay
Triangulates loads from the rear struts so improving rigidity.
Mid rear stay
Adds further stiffness to rear section; improves side impact strength.
Stronger than the simple single diagonal tube. Gives additional strength to rear damper mounts.
Roof cross or roof ‘V’
Increases roll cage rigidity and safety in the event of a roll over; essential in later model rally cars.
Screen pillar support
Important for latest generation saloons with a steeply raked windscreen to provide additional support to the top of the A pillar/roof section. Now required by the latest FIA regulations.
Seat harness tubes
Needed for wrap-over seat belts. Safety improved with shorter belt length and better belt angle.
Single roof diagonal
Lighter than a full roof cross but provides less protection – acceptable for race cars.
Triangulation tubes to front struts
Allows the front suspension loads to be fed into the whole cage structure; provides protection for occupant’s feet. It also improves side impact protection and increases the load capacity of the ‘A’ pillars/lateral hoops.
Improves side impact protection and supports the main hoop in the event of a roll over.
Race Car Roll Cage
The race car has a roll cage manufactured by Custom Cages (UK) and has been constructed from Cold Draw Seamless Carbon Steel (CDS). The diameter of the bars varies between 40mm and 45mm, with the wall thickness being between 2mm and 2.5mm, with a minimum tensile strength of 360 N/mm2.
Custom Cages have provided a roll cage certificate and plaque (welded onto the roll cage). The team have to provide this information when the car is undergoing event technical inspection.
Off the Beaten Track/in News
Although ZRT Motorsports focusses on track racing, a number of it teams members assist other local teams in desert rallying (cars and bikes) and bike racing. So, as the team is currently in its off season, we thought we would look at what some of the team members do when ZRT Motorsport are not racing.
Richard Bailey & Jason Lyness
Richard and Jason have been helping Newtrix Racing (http://newtrixracing.blogspot.ae/) compete in the local desert rallying championships and UAE Desert Challenge (our local version of the Dakar Rally) for a couple of years.
You may think that there is no relation between rallying and endurance circuit racing. In actual fact there is a lot of cross over. The desert challenge is based at the grounds of the Qasr Al Sarab resort (270km from Dubai / 160 km from Abu Dhabi) and so planning to ensure you have the necessary tools and spares is vital (no local Motor Factors they can pop into).
Each stage has a service point, so Richard and Jason have to be mobile, know where the tools and spares are on the truck and be able to repair / replace or fabricate a bush repair as required.
Richard prepares a check list of service actions before the event, with additional tasks added as they are noted along with any repairs / part replacement works are identified.
The team has to agree on who is best suited to carry out certain tasks, agree on who will carry out each task (no point in 2 people doing the same task) and then update the check list when tasks have been completed.
Richard and Jason get to see how other teams work and the engineering ideas / solutions they have evolved.
So as you can see, there is lot of similarity between endurance racing and desert rallying and they can bring new ideas / solutions to the team which will help in the preparation and running of the teams car.
The 2016 UAE Desert Challenge has recently finished, and so here are a few pictures of Richard and Jason in action:
The Rally Car: Nissan Patrol
The mobile workshop with Richards tools
Rally HQ / Service Centre
Day 1 service: Richard welding a crack on the rear axle
Day 2 Richard replacing a drive shaft
Richard doing his Darth Vader impression
Richard fixing a fire truck at a rally service
One of Jason (and Richard) helping Sabertooth Motorsports
Newtrix Racing finished the event in 23rd place. So well done Richard and Jason.
As a little side note, Ian competed as the navigator with the team in the 2011 Hail Baja (Saudi Arabia).
The Pit Perch of Planning/in News
Many references have been made of the pit perch (normally by Ian) and the part it plays in the endurance races. Well wonder no more, as this update explains all.
Endurance racing is all about spending the least amount of time in the pits as compared to your class competitor. The majority of the cars in the class the team races have the standard 5 wheel nut hubs and wheels and take on board similar fuel levels at pit stops. So, in order to gain an advantage, closely monitoring the performance of the car, the drivers and the race is vital.
In order to monitor all that is happening, the team has purchased a pit perch that 3 built in monitors, work bench and 3 seats. 3 monitors should be sufficient right? Not according to Ian who adds 1 more monitor, 2 laptops and lap recording charts. Whoever coined the phrase “you can never have enough information” quite clearly had Ian in mind.
Ian sets up the pit perch in the following way:
- Screen 1: Timing page with sector and lap times the car is currently on;
- Screen 2: Timing page showing lap times, stint times, pit stop times the car is currently on;
- Screen 3: TV pictures;
- Screen 4: GPS tracker showing car, the cars the team is sharing the garage with and the closest class competitors;
- Laptop 1: Controlling the GPS screen;
- Laptop 2: Recording sector times, lap times, stint times and fuel burn calculations; and
- Lap charts to manually record every sector time, every lap times, % lap green.
All of the above enables Ian to maximise the stint times (reduces the number of pit stops), ensure the car can stop in front of the teams pit box, refuelling station has fuel pump available and the next driver and team is ready for the pits stop.
In addition to the above, Ian has the race commentary playing (radio Le Mans) in his left ear and one of teams car/mechanics comms sets. As a back-up, the teams pit board (with illumination for night use) is kept on the pit wall.
In previous years, Ian has manned the pit perch on his own (“best place for him” c/o Richard B”), but this year Richard T joined him. A flexible LED light was added to all of the roof struts to provide light at night and to keep Ian & Richard T awake.
Plans are being made to improve the pit perch creature comforts as Ian and Richard T both claim the seats are so uncomfortable that they spend most of the race standing up. As there is a danger that Ian may spend time in the pits, Richard B is planning to fit old comfortable racing seats in place of the existing hard plastic ones to mitigate against this risk…….
In addition, the coaxial cable and connectors will be replaced to improve the signal quality along with some form of extra panelling / heater as it gets bitterly cold on the pit wall at night (“man up” c/o Luke).
Lets not get too comfy hey mechanics…..
Safety: Drivers Seat/1 Comment/in News
The world governing body for motorsport FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DE L’AUTOMOBILE (FIA) have defined the regulations and standards for racing seat that must be used when competing. The standards are defined under: Standard 8855-1999, FIA STANDARD FOR COMPETITION SEATS
The harness must also have 1 label sown on the side of the seat at the torso level, stating the primarily standard the harness complies with and the expiry date (harness has a maximum 5 year life before it has to be replaced).
The standards define the loads and directions the seat is to be tested at:
- Rearward impact: 20g;
- Side impact: 15g;
There are 2 types of racing harness, these being:
- With head supports; and
- Without head supports.
The head supports work in conjunction with the FHR (Frontal Head Restraint) / HANS (Head And Neck Support) device to prevent head and neck injury in the event of an accident. The seat has reinforced slots for the shoulder, lap and crotch belts.
The seats are mounted to the car via specific seat mounts. As the teams drivers vary in height, the base of the mounts are fitted to a race specification sliding rail (exactly the same principle as in a normal road car). The holes in the side of the mounts allow the seat to mounted at required height and angle.. This is detailed in the following diagram.
The teams original seat would have expired prior to the 2015 Dubai 24hr event. So the team paid a visit Motorsport Wheels (http://www.msw-me.com/ authorised provider of Corbeau seats) owned and run by the vastly knowledgeable and ever helpful Jon Simmonds. He soon sorted out the team with a Corbeau Revenge. And here is a picture of the seat installed in the car.
The team thanks Jon and Motorsport Wheels for their service and hope they never have to test the quality of the seat.
Safety: 6 Point Harness/1 Comment/in News
The world governing body for motorsport FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DE L’AUTOMOBILE (FIA) have defined the regulations and standards for seat belts / harness that must be used when competing. The standards are defined under: Standard 8853/98, FIA SAFETY HARNESSES STANDARD
The harness must also have 2 separate labels sown on stating the standard the harness complies with and the manufacturing date (harness has a maximum 5 year life before it has to be replaced).
The standards define the permissible belt widths and load capacity, these are detailed below:
- Shoulder straps: Minimum 70mm wide & minimum breaking load 2,450 daN (122,500kg);
- Lap straps: Minimum 44mm wide & minimum breaking load 2,450 daN (122,500kg);
- Crotch straps: Minimum 44mm wide & minimum breaking load 1,130 daN (56,500 kg).
There are 3 types of racing harness, these being:
- 4 point;
- 5 point; and
- 6 point.
A point means an individual belt. All 3 types have 4 common anchorage points (2 shoulder and 2 lap belts), where a 5 point has 1 additional anchorage point (1 belt between the drivers legs) and 6 point having 2 additional anchorage points (2 belts between the drivers legs). This can be better seen in the diagram below:
The 3 sets of belts each do a specific job, these are described below:
- Shoulder belts: These go prevent the driver moving forward in the event of a crash and hold the HANS device in place.
- Lap belts:
- Crotch belts: These prevent the driver sliding down (submarining) and out under the shoulder belts.
In order for the harness to do its job properly, it is essential that the harness is installed as per the regulations / manufacturers requirements. This is detailed in the following diagram.
The roll cage has 1 or 2 bars installed specifically for the shoulder belts to be looped around. The lap and crotch belts are clipped into specific harness bolts that are installed in the cars floor pan with load spreader plates (as shown below):
The teams original harness would have expired prior to the 2015 Dubai 24hr event. So the team paid a visit Motorsport Wheels (authorised provider of Luke Harnesses) owned and run by the vastly knowledgeable and ever helpful Jon Simmonds. He soon sorted out the team with a new 6 six point Luke harness in red. Why red and not say black or blue? Two reasons that may not be apparent if you only race in day time sprint races, these being:
- At night it is easier to find red belts than black;
- The teams drivers had predominatly dark race suits so again easier to find red belts.
And here is a picture of the harness installed in the car (the orange cord is elastic cord to help keep the belts away from the seat during driver changes).
The team thanks Jon and Motorsport Wheels for their service and hope they never have to test the quality of the harness.
Safety & Corporate branding: Drivers Helmet/in News
During discussions with BAM International in 2014, they not only offered to become a team sponsor, they also requested Jonathan to race in the Dubai 24hr event in a helmet painted in their corporate colours. After the event, Jonathan would hand the helmet over to BAM International who would display the helmet in their regional head office in Dubai.
The first stage was for Jonathan to buy a plain white helmet Aria helmet (just like the one below):
Andy Blackmore (the same person who designed the livery of the car) was tasked with designing the helmet. Andy tabled a few options but in the end his proposed design looked like this:
And after painting looked like this:
The team have received many comments on how clean and instantly recognisable design is.
BAM International were so happy with the design and the coverage the helmet received not only locally but also in Barcelona (Photographed on the official 24Hrs series website, picture below) that they requested Jonathan to keep racing with the helmet for the balance of the 2015 season and the 2016 Dubai 24hr race.
It has been agreed that at the completion of the 2015-16 season, the helmet will be handed over to BAM International who will put it on display in the head office reception.
The team thanks BAM International for their support and hope the helmet continues to receive positive comments when on display.
ZRT Motorsport: Team History/in News
ZRT Motorsport: Team History
The team thought it would be interesting to chart the history of how the Honda DC5 has evolved over the last 4 years. The evolution has not only bee external aesthetics but rather more emphasis has been placed on the mechanical & electrical components in terms of Enduro race specifications.
Pre ZRT Motorsport:
- The car was 1st registered in 2002 as a RHD Integra Type R.
- It previously raced in the Asian Touring Care Series in Malaysia.
- Car was imported in 2009 as race car and was raced by Aslam Moola as a privateer and finally under the ERT (Emirates Racing Team) in 2011-12.
- 2012-13 Honda DC5 UAE Touring Car Championship
- Wide body kit
- Mugen N1 racing dampers
- Tarox 6 pot calipers
- Kaaz LSD
2013-14 Honda DC5 UAE Touring Car Championship
During the off season the following work was carried out:
- Full strip down to bare metal
- Additional seem welding
- Front splitter fitted
- Independent Throttle Bodies (ITB’s) fitted
- AST 3-way suspension
2014-15 Dubai 24hr & NGK 300 Km
Prior to 24hr race the following was work was carried out:
- Fit 120L fuel cell
- Fit air jacks
- New seat and harness
- Special Projects aero kit fitted
- Gear X endurance gearbox fitted
- In house custom head lights fabricated and installed
- Conventional intake manifold
2015-16 Dubai 24hr, 3hr & 2hr Enduro’s
- Gear X endurance gearbox
- Pedal box fitted
- Stiffened suspension turrets
- Complete suspension overhaul
- AIM engine management sensors for data logging
- Modified front suspension brace
- Race radios
- ITB’s re-fitted
2016-17 Dubai 24 hr
It is likely the following work will be completed before the next and possibly final attempt at the Dubai 24Hrs with this car:
- Gear X endurance gearbox longer 5th & 6th gears
- New Engine
- Some weight saving plans
- Plastic windscreen
- New dashboard (As the modifications over the years have left it looking a bit tatty)
- New Seat (As the Corbeau will expire this year)
- A minor revamp in terms of colours and sponsor logos
- Front suspension strut top mount overhaul
- Rear suspension camber adjusters will be replaced
- New exhaust (Since we noted the problems some teams were having in the Silverstone 24Hrs)
2hr Enduro: Preview/in News
Following on the teams recent entry in the national race day, the team has entered the 2hr mini enduro that is being held at the Dubai Autodrome on April 1st, no seriously it is and we have! For the event the car has been given a complete service, nut and bolt check over with the fuel […]
The eagle eyed amongst you would have spotted that the headlights on the car are not OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). The question we hear you are asking is “why change the headlights?”. Well there are a few reasons, these being:
- Original headlights produce an asymmetrical pattern (more light on the right side than the left);
- Original headlights are under powered;
- Original headlights point forward and not in an arc from straight forward to the corner apex.
Standard road car headlight pattern
Race car headlight pattern
The rules state you can have a total 6 forward facing lights, which have to operate symmetrically. A lot of teams fit extra high powered lights (previously HID’s, now LED’s). However, the team felt it would be advantageous if they could replace the existing lights with LED lights.
The reason why the team decided not to fit additional lights in the bumper is that a) they are prone to damage in a bump, b) it is harder to mount them rigidly, c) additional wiring is required, d) they lights are extra weight and are not needed during the mini enduro races and e) it would mean cutting holes in the BTCC bumpers.
LED lights have several advantages over HID lights in that a) they produce substantially less heat, b) they are much simpler to install (no ballast), c) they draw much less current (the 4 LED lights draw less than 1 HID bulb) and d) no requriement for an upgraded alternator.
So, to improve the light output and direction of the lights, Phil offered to replace the original lights with off-road LED clusters. Surely it as simple as removing the old bulbs and lens and fitting the LED lights right? Err no as the LED lights need to be mounted rigidly to prevent shake but be adjustable both horizontally and vertically.
The process Phil followed is summarised below:
- Take old original light clusters;
- Gently warm in the oven to soften the glue sealing the glass to the backing;
- Remove glass, bulb and reflectors;
- Measure space available and select biggest LEDs that will fit;
- Mock-up new mounting brackets;
- Fabricate mounting brackets;
- Trial fit mounting brackets. Fit LED lights and cover;
- Modify brackets, paint brackets black;
- Fit brackets, fit LED lights and install in car;
- Set light angles
The new LED headlights produce approximetley 8,000 lumen as compared to the original OWM headlights of 5,000 lumen. When the teams adds the 10,000 lumen light bar on the bonnet, the lighting capacity is close to a total of 18,000 lumen.
The added advantages of putting the LED lights behind the existing headlight cover is that they are better protected from rubber / stone damage and no additional drag is create (the light bar is removed once the sun rises).
The drivers have reported that not only do the new lights (along with the light bar fitted to the bonnet) provide substantially more illumination but more importantly they can see into and through the corners much better. There will be no reference to the fact the difference between the old lights and the new lights is like night and day…….
So from the drivers, cheers Phil.
National Race Day: 18th & 19th February 2016/in News
As part of the ongoing development and testing of the car, the team entered the National Race being held on 18th & 19th February. The aim of entering the event was to test low fuel level running.
Generally at the 2016 Dubai 24hr event the car was not run with less than 20-30 litres of fuel on board. However, the more fuel you carry in the fuel cell, the more the car weighs…… On average 1L of fuel weighs 0.8kg, thus if the car is carrying 20L unnecessary fuel this equates to 16kg of excess weight.
As the car weighs a good 50kg more than other cars in the A2 class, the team needs to run with the lowest possible fuel volume to last 2 hours of running. Using the fuel burn calculations derived from the Dubai 24hr race, 20L of fuel would be sufficient for each 20 minute race.
Given the car is probably ~100kg heavier than other cars in the same class and with the engine and gearing in endurance specification, Jonathan was always going to struggle for pace in qualifying. Pushing hard Jonathan qualified the car close to the Renault Clio’s.
Jonathan got a clean start, passed a BMW 130i in T2, narrowly avoided another BMW on T4 which had spun 180-degrees on track and passed a Clio at T5 on lap 1. The rest of the race was spent battling (at close quarters) with the quicker Clio cars and at the chequered flag Jonathan finished in 4th place.
It was agreed to try a slightly lower fuel volume for race 2 to further test the fuel pick-up capability. Jonathan soon encountered fuel starvation issues in right hand corners. Doing the best he could, Jonathan managed the car through the right handers and brought the car home safely.
A post race inspection of the fuel cell revealed that the left side internal fuel sump baffle trap door was sticking open and thus allowing fuel to drain out of the fuel cell sump in right handers. Although the issue was frustrating at the time, the team found and resolved the issue and regular checks will be carried out to prevent the situation occurring again.
It is not all doom and gloom though as the fuel cell is now working as per its design which means the team can run the car with lower fuel volumes and hence less weight. And that ladies and gentlemen is why testing is useful but racing is the real test. The race itself showed clearly that the Honda was faster through the corners than the nimble little Clios but the straight line speed was lacking due to the enduro spec set-up (Particularly weigh disadvantage).
The next event is the 2hr endurance event at the Dubai Autodrome which is being held on April 1st during which we will be running ITB’s (Independent throttle bodies) to try and increase our torque levels marginally. If it is the GP circuit then we will be able to compare directly to the D24 (2016) lap times. More valuable data before going into hibernation for the hot summer months.
2016 D24hr Race Day Diary: Friday & Saturday 15th&16th/in News
Race day….. first morning warm-up. It was agreed to give Tim a little more seat time and a practice fuel stop (this would help reduce Tim’s nerves during his first race refuelling).
No dramas were reported and in preparation for the race, the car was given another mechanical check over. All that was left to do before the race was show various guests around the car and garage and for team pictures.
1pm and Richard sends Graham out of the pit and onto the track to form up on the grid. Ian had already headed out onto the grid to show Graham his grid spot, who arrived holding the seat adjuster bar in his hand. Ah, Richard…..
With that little issue fixed, the team could relax and soak in the atmosphere. There was a certain Black Falcons SLS GT3 car 2 rows behind Graham, so Ian had a chat with their driver (Adam Christodoulou) and said that our car would not change its lines so he could overtake on the outside if he wanted. Adam said thank you as he would be on a charge. These littles bits of communication are vital and save a very expensive crash.
13:48 The team left Graham to his own to gather his thoughts.
13:49 Graham starts the engine.
13:50 Warm-up lap 1 commences. Graham tries to warm his tyres and brakes the best he can.
13:55 Warm-up lap 2 with the cars lining up 2 by 2
14:00 Its green, green, green, the race is on.
14:15 Graham is hit by a Porsche. The car sustained no visible damage, however the 1st pit stop revealed that the Porsche had actually destroyed the wheel.
15:45 Graham is called into the pits for a change of driver, change of tyres and a refuel.
For the next 18 hours the team settled into a routine of each driver driving nearly 2 hour stints followed by a change of drivers, tyres and fuel. The team experienced a couple of minor issues such as a stuck throttle, a power steering hose blowing and a voltage spike causing the car to drop into limp mode. At each occasion, the team calmly identified the cause, fixed the problem and had the car back out on the track.
Of all of the drivers, Umair suffered the most bad luck as every one of his stints had periods of code 60 (60kph limit) running. So much so the team planned their drinks and eating breaks when Umair was in the car.
Day break saw the car starting to rise up the leader board as other cars started to hit serious issues and spend long periods in their respective garages. With 4½ hrs to go, Tim started his 3rd and final stint, when just after leaving the refuelling area when he reported that the car was spluttering. To be safe he pulled the car over and waited to be towed back to the garage.
The team quickly checked all of the leads and plugs and then started to check the spark plugs, to find one of the plugs was mostly missing. Richard then used his bore scope camera to confirm piston / valve interface and thus the engine was terminally damaged. With that, the race for ZRT MotorSport was over.
The team was naturally disappointed with the outcome but over the next few hours and especially at the end of the race, the team realised that the situation could have been much worse. There was only a couple of small bits bodywork damage, 1 destroyed wheel and another broken windscreen. This can be compared to the high number of cars that were written off during the race and an equally high number of cars that finished the race with substantial bodywork damage.
Despite this, the team has taken away a huge number of positives in that the car is very easy on its tyres, the breaks are powerful and consistent, the handling is well balanced and consistent, the car has good fuel consumption and the team gelled and worked very efficiently.
A sign of a good team is that it never lies down for long. In the case of ZRT MotorSport they have entered the 2hr mini endurance race that will be held at the Dubai Autodrome on April 1st 2016.
Pass by and say Hi. Motorsport fans are always welcome.
2016 D24hr Race Day Diary: Thursday 14th/in News
A big day for the team and the event. The day comprised of 2 practice sessions (30mins and 2½ hrs), qualifying (30mins) and night practice (2 hrs). The rules stated that each driver had to complete a minimum of 2 timed laps in practice and / or qualifying and a further minimum 2-timed laps in the night practice.
The teams set-up for the event consisted of Richard “toolman” Bailey and his team of trusty mechanics (Heiki, Sander (Sander would be looking at the data recorded) and Jun Mago (Jun changed wheels). Jason Lyness was trusted in monitoring tyre pressures, temperatures and usage. He used the sessions to refine the cold tyre pressures as this was key to tyre longevity. Jason was ably assisted by Phil “the prince” Craven (Phil was interviewed by Nigerian tv during the event).
Fuel consumption monitoring duties was carried out by Luke Stratford and Huw Williams (Huw is our youngest team member). The idea being for the car to only have the volume of fuel it needed for each driver stint to minimise weight.
The drivers sector and lap times were recorded by Ian from the pit wall. Ian also was in communication with the drivers by the car-to-pits radio and with Richard for pit stop planning / co-ordination. Ian would be assisted by Richard Timmins during the race.
Hospitality was under the care of Theo “shroom” Souris (most meals ended up having mushrooms in them).
The final piece in the jigsaw was Jeff “uncle” Owen (Jeff is the senior member of the team), who offers his vast racing knowledge to the team.
With 100 cars entered clear track space was always going to be a premium. So a decision was made to give the drivers longer driving sessions. Graham drove the 1st practice session and a quick post sessions debrief revealed the car handled and stopped well, but the brake pedal was going a little soft or “spongy” in racing driver speak.
Richard and the mechanics performed the planned maintenance tasks and investigated the cause of the “spongy” break pedal (weeping caliper and brake line union).
Practice 2 saw Tim (twice), Umair and Jonathan complete their mandatory laps, all without issue.
A new rule for 2016 was that the driver who set the fastest lap in qualifying would start the race. Graham volunteered to qualify the car and thus start the race. In order to try and give Graham some clear track, the team sent Graham out 5-minutes after the session started so that when he was ready to start his flying laps, other cars would be in the pits having their tyre pressures checked (ZRT didn’t need to do this as Jason had the tyre pressures well and truly sorted). With Ian monitoring the other cars on track via the GPS system, Ian was able to give Graham the good news that he would be getting 2 clear laps. On Grahams last flying lap he was over 0.5s up on his previous sector time when had to abort the lap as he couldn’t engage 5th gear. (A cause for worry!)
Jeff’s immediate comment was to look at the solenoid valve and to nobodies surprise, he was right (this is the very reason why the team have Jeff as part of the team). The problem was soon fixed and the car prepared for night practice.
Night practice was completed without any major dramas except for the “spongy” brakes and 5th gear engagement issues appearing again. The drivers were however able to complete their mandatory laps with Tim commentating “this is nuts, cars are passing me left, right and centre”. With the track sessions being completed the drivers were sent home to get as much rest as possible.
The mechanics on the other hand had no such luck carried out a complete spanner check on the car, changed the brake master cylinder (thank you Dragon Racing), fixed the 5th gear problem (loose wire on the solenoid) and agreed on the fuel and tyre strategy for the race.
2016 D24hr Race Day Diary: Wednesday 13th/in News
There were two main objectives for the day, objective 1 being to have all of the drivers sign on and their race equipment approved (which would then complete all of the administrative tasks and the team receiving their final event clearance pass for the car) and for Tim to learn / Graham to re-familiarise himself the circuit though driving around the circuit during the taxi laps. The team thought it would be a good idea if all of the mechanics also rode along so Ian’s trusty 7 seat Pajero was called into action. The designated speed limit was 60 kph (some drivers interpreted as that as long as there was a 60 in the speed they were ok!). So guess what greeted the team during these laps? Yes rain!
The rain reinforced the teams decision not to test on the day as the track varied between wet / damp / dry all day long and thus not a great deal would be learnt / data gathered. Sadly, some teams sustained damage and thus were in for a long night.
Of course there was still time for Ian to be interviewed by Radio LeMans.
So in the immortal words of the LA Guns, the team “Had Nothing Better To Do” and so they left late afternoon.
2016 D24hr Race Diary: Tuesday 12th/in News
Richard, Luke and Ian agreed to meet at DAS at 8.00am to load the spares and equipment onto a truck, then head to Richards house and pick up the tools (the team again wishes to thank Richard for the loan of part of his extensive tool collection and finally head to the circuit to set-up the garage.
Whilst Richard and Luke were loading Richards tools, Ian proceeded to the circuit to sign the team into the event and collect the various team and vehicle passes. At the same time, Sander was bringing the car up to the circuit.
By now access to the back of the garage was blocked by other teams so Ian, Jason and Sander had to persuade the security guard to let them push the car through the refuelling station (which was closed) and up the pit lane into the garage.
Everybody then mucked in to help unload the truck with the spares and tools and to help Richard organise and set-up the garage.
The first task was to set-up Ian’s mobile home for the weekend, aka the pit perch (Richard says it keeps him out of the garage).
A final once over the car revealed the team were missing a couple of stickers which were collected from the event administration. With that done, the team (with Luke driving) pushed the car up the pit lane for scrutineering where the car was weighed, lights tested, driver ID checked and that the seat belts, seat and fuel tank were all in date. The car sailed through scrutineering without any issues (not surprising given the diligent work done by the team).
With all completed, the team left the circuit to get a good nights sleep as there would be a significant lack of that Thursday and Friday night.
2016 D24hr Race Diary: Monday 11th/in News
Whilst Richard, Phil and Sander finished preparation on the car, Ian & Graham loaded up the teams Astro van with the catering and hospitality tents and headed up to the circuit. The garage allocated was next to a set of stairs and so the team were aiming to claim the space to spares under the stairs (thus giving more space in the garage) and park the Team Astro van at the back of the stairs.
We were one of the first teams to arrive and so quickly erected the catering and hospitality tents and parked the Astro van in the desired space. We agreed with the other teams sharing the garage that we would take the space nearest the pit lane. This location has the great advantage that the car would never be blocked when trying to get into or out of the garage.
The last task completed was to move all of the spares and equipment to the back of the cleaning bay at DAS ready for 8.00am loading time tomorrow.
It is a well proven fact that clear communication is vital at home and at work. The same holds true for motorsport. When the team were competing in the UAE Touring Car Championship, the team used the tried and trusted “pit board” form of communication.
This allowed Ian to “inform” Jonathan key information such as:
Practice & Qualifying:
- Timer left in the session
- Position and gap the car infront
- Laps / time left in the race
- Gap to the car infront and / or behind
When it comes to endurance racing (particularly in 12hr / 24hr races), more information needs to be relied between the pit wall and the driver, and vice-versa. This additional information includes:
Driver to pit wall:
- Reporting problems with the car
- Reporting the cause of the yellow flag / code 60
- Likely duration of the yellow flags / code 60
Pit wall to driver:
- Debris / oil on track at certain corners
- Lap time consistency
- Time left in stint
- When to pit
- Chat to the driver during code 60’s
- End of yellow flag / code 60
- Dinner / breakfast / lunch is ready
Being able to provide / relay this information the team has invested heavily in car-to-pits radio equipment manufactured by MRTC (UK). Although cheaper kits were available, MRTC have an unrivalled reputation of quality, reliability and clear communications. The system enables Ian and the drivers to communicate clearly almost over the full length on the 5.5km Dubai Autodrome grand prix circuit.
The system has the added advantage of having a second channel that enables Ian and Richard to talk (useful when a cup of tea and food is needed on the pit wall: Ian) without disturbing the driver.
The team is more than happy with the MRTC equipment and looking to increase the teams communication equipment.