Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Fun in the Sun.

Round-the-Clock for 24 hours under the sun and stars of Dubai on the 11th & 12th January 2013.

An exciting race in January and one that has some unfinished business from 2010 where we suffered some mechanical gremlins leading to a great deal of time in the pit box. This time I want to get to the finish and with a competitive car in the Porsche Cup class.

I have an invitation to drive a Porsche Cup car, the same model that I drove to 2nd place at the 12 hours of Hungary and this is a call to arms; I need a budget to make this race a reality so if there is anyone out there who would like to share the moment with me then contact me.

I am looking forward to it, come along with some support.

Thursday, 18 October 2012


A short tale from Paul Ricard; July 2011.

Fischer Racing, Marcus Palttala and a Ford GT, a great team with those guys having great patience with me.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Budapest 12 Hours

On the 22nd May I participated in the 12 hour endurance race at the F1 circuit in Budapest. 1 car, 2 drivers and 12 hours.

We drove in alternate stints of 90 minutes each, we ran on a very tight budget and I thank the SpeedLover team of Belgium for giving us a great car to work with. This budget meant however that we did not have any luxuries like new tyres!! We did have two new sets, one for qualifying and one at the end of the race because none of the others were in a good shape to continue with.

I started the race from the second position, moved into the lead after 3 hours of racing and we were forced to make a change of brake pads with 5 hours remaining; this lost us some laps to the leaders and we continued with good pace and increased the gap to the third placed car.

We finished after 12 hours in the 2nd position and took our place on the podium.

Friday, 19 March 2010

News Flash --- GT3

On the 24th March I will have my fist taste of a Porsche GT3 at Silverstone on the GP circuit.

Updates of the test and the coming season to follow; hopefully this will lead to an opportunity to race in the FIA GT3 European Championship...... buI am still seaking the budget!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

DUBAI 24 Hours

I thought it would be interesting for you to have a report after the race in Dubai;

The trip was very rewarding if not a little intense and extremely tiring. We spent some time with the settings of the car and acclimatising all drivers to the circuit and the car; unfortunately there is never enough time for us all in the car.

The team was made up with 3 professional drivers (James Kaye – team owner / driver, Mark Lemmer, Luke Hines) and myself and Raed Hussain as keen and capable amateurs in the context of the other drivers of the team. We qualified the car with a time inside the top 35, out of 80 cars, but due to technical problems not all the drivers were able to be in the qualifying session so we were obliged to start at the back. This however did not compromise our early performance and we made up 27 places in the first 2 laps alone.

The crowds were strong for the race and the temperature not too high (24 – 26 degrees) but the humidity was high which makes the driving very difficult. After the strong start having made up all those places we began to encounter some technical problems with the car which meant we spent too much time in the pits. When my turn came to drive it was already well into the night and I was learning to drive the circuit in the dark. This may not sound so hard but when you see the visibility we have and consider we are sat low in the car it makes it difficult to see any references points. The video is from another car but it is a very good illustration as to how hard it really is to see in the night while racing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVKTqbMcMH4 it calls for intense concentration.

As the race went on our technical troubles increased and we finished a long way down the order; there were some highlights for me, night time racing, the fastest lap time all weekend for our car and a top speed of 245kmh on a straight of only 800m!!! I have also received a mention on the www.4tuning.ro website which was quite unexpected and they have published on this site some pictures from the event. Many more pictures can be seen at the www.24hseries.com web site as well as the official results and other information.

Attached are a few pictures of the race and the atmosphere and the BBQ that the team organised for the weekend – we had 2 chefs looking after us so we were never short of good food to keep up our energy levels.

I am sorry that I have not more to report about the racing but quite simply we did not do enough!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Budapest 12 Hours

Sorry for the late update but we spent some days having a holiday after the race; a well earned holiday which allowed me to recover after a day’s racing -- I dropped a complete size in jeans in one day (I had already dropped a size in training for the race) it was that hard. After the first stint I was completely exhausted and didn’t think that I could continue for another lap let alone two more stints.

Friday morning we arrived to the circuit and I saw the car for the first time; my first reaction was “oh *!"£ what have I done”. This is a proper race car with serious power…. I had to go for a walk through the paddock to calm down, the excitement was getting to me. It was only after the race that I mentioned to James Kaye and the car owner that this was the first time I had driven anything with more than 200bhp; we were running at 440bhp and approx 9,000 rpm.

The car is a Mitsubishi FQ 400 prepared for the track, driven by James Kaye, myself and Mika Nishikawa from Japan. For Hungary a great big thank you to JK, James P, Charlie, Ian, David, Andy, Cory, Ben, Sam........(if I missed your name sorry!) and with Toyo tyres providing some entertainment on each corner of the car we had a great race.

Friday afternoon we had practice, qualifying and then night time practice which we completed in 20 minute stints. This was hot and hard work but each time I got from the car I had a big grin on my face. The car did not handle well and James Kaye spent his time in and out of the pits making adjustments. What we did not identify or cure until the last 2 hours of the race on Saturday was a problem with the brakes, there was too much to the rear. The electronics for the car (for some reason) were set to rally spec which has as bias on the rear for the power, diff and brakes (as I understood but am not sure) this was changed and we qualified (JK) with a time of 2 min and 6 seconds (I think but cannot remember). My fastest time was 2.09 / 2.10. We were also using development tyres from Toyo so there was never a shortage of rubber, we only sent the car out twice on used rubber and went through 10 – 12 sets over the event. The tyres were very inconsistent from corner to corner and there was massive brake knock, the cylinders retracting into the callipers so a little pressure to pump out the pads was required between every corner, mostly this was done with the left foot but with the clutch having to be used for each gear change the feet never got a rest and timing was important so as not to compromise braking or gear change. My heel and toe still needs lots of practice!

The tyres were inspected by the Japanese technician after every outing and seemed inconsistent for each outing - this was probably exagerated by my inexperience and the problem with teh rear biased brakes.

Saturday morning race day was preceded by being in the garage until 2am the night before trying to get a seat and a belt position that worked for all. The third driver (Mika Nishikawa) from Japan was a very small lady so she had an insert to the seat. This meant that the seat was forward and made gear change very hard into second and 4th and also that Mika sat forward of the lateral support from the seat; she could not perform and was consequently 10 seconds or so behind even my times.

JK started the race and moved up 5 places in the opening laps and lapping faster than qualifying (a change of ride height and brake bias overnight) in 2m.05 secs, his fatsest lap in the race dipping into the 2m.04's. 1hr 45 mins later and I was in the car for my first stint. I was very tense, very erratic, made lots of mistakes and had a spin, but still lots of fun. The long left hander before the chicane was always interesting, the brake pad knock compromised this braking and on change down to third on (more than) one occasion I lost the back the back of the car and managed to power slide and drift round the entire curve – this is fun! My stint lasted 1hr 40mins and when I was not making mistakes I was able to lap at 2m 12 but I lost quite a lot going off the track and a had little spin. After an hour or so I was physically finished and beginning to think about telling the pit wall that I need to come in very soon, then I got the call that I had 15 laps left; this spurred me on, I focussed on being consistent and not making mistakes. I came in, got out of the car, had some fog in my peripheral vision and it took 20 minutes to be able to have a conversation with anyone. It was a lot harder that I had imagined it would be and I am very glad that I spent 3 months in the gym before hand; I did not want my lack of physical condition to be a factor in the performance.

Mika made the 3rd stint and then JK back in the car. We had at this point a problem with the fuel, it was leaking from the car and the turbo needed a new bolt to fix it back to the car. Not to mention the improvised heat shield and handy hole in the bulkhead allowing the hot air from around the turbo to enter the car.

For my second stint we used a harder compound tyre, it was very difficult to get to the correct operating temperature and the car became even more nervous, the same story for JK. Every few laps I was making mistakes but getting more consistent. It was also easier in the car, I was a little more relaxed, not fighting the lateral forces so I was in a little better condition when I got out of the car.

The next period was spent with some time in the pits, we had a turbo bolt come loose, some temperature issues and a change of rear brake pads. JK drove the car and made a best lap of 2:04 on soft tyres again as the end of the day was approaching. With 2 hours left it was decided that I should do the last stint of 1 hr 20, now we were racing in the dark. This is an experience, not only can you not see the apexes but when the other cars are behind you cannot see in front because the lights reflect in the mirror. Early in the stint I was pushing to get better times, I was regularly 2:10 – 2:12 against JK in the stint before at 2:07-2:08, and I was pretty consistent. When pushing at the final corner I had the sensation of understeer under power, nothing unusual but without any visual references the only time you realise how much understeer there is is when you run out of track and bounce over the kerb and the astroturf behind. I pulled myself back after this and focussed on clean consistent laps between 2:11 – 2:13 to bring the car home at the end of a long race, which finished under speed restriction (instead of safety car) due to a heavy rain burst with 20 minutes to go.

There were many other incidents during my day; I came behind a much slower car at one point which completely broke my rhythm and it took me a lap and a half to pass it, I completely forgot how to drive a this point!. We also had a lap timer in the car which was intermittent in the final stint, I was talking on the radio, looking at the clock and when I focused back to the track I was 50m passed my braking point for the first corner - luckily the run-offs a F1 asphalt and all I could do was miss the corner and stop the car before it ended up in Budapest.

All in all a really good event, I want to and will do more of the same.

The next race for the car is Britcar on Nov 7th and then Dubai on the 10th January -- I am hoping to find some budget for Dubai and fill the invitation I have from the team to come back;I will be with them for the 7th November in Brands Hatch in the UK.

I WANT MORE!!!!!!!!