Motorsport – Rounds 5 & 6 - 2004 British GT Championship
Stopping the Slide
The sun shone on the transporter and awning of Eclipse, but for
over half of the hour long Saturday morning warm up it did not
brighten the faces of the team personnel. After a test two weeks
previously they had hoped for some speed, but Steve Hyde was marooned
in 8th place, over 3 seconds off the pace at that time. He was
called for a better set of tyres, but this had no discernable effect. Piers
Johnson missed out on the test session so he was now installed
in the e car and within a lap and a half knew there was something
car was stiffened considerably to cure chronic oversteer and
it seemed to work, the lap times tumbling.
The session ended with
4th fastest time of 1.09.376. Still a little off the ultimate
pace, but going in the right direction.
A "soft" damper
was suspected of being part of the handling problems, which
meant a lot of time under the back of the car for
it's long suffering mechanics.
weather caused a modification to the bodywork, a vent being opened
in the passenger door window
to allow a little more
air through the cockpit. PI were also in attendance, a dash
needed resetting every time the engine was started, and some
data being retrieved from the system caused furrowed eyebrows
for some time.
manic qualifying sessions brought more bad news, Steve Hyde struggling
with no grip again and only managing
on the grid, with a 1.11.377. "
We need a bit of magic dust. It's OK down the straights, no grip
at all in the corners. I hope the team can sort it out" he
offered as he shed his overalls.
Piers Johnson fared little better, 9th with a 1.10.273,
and was just as unhappy with the car, calling it "nervous".
long debrief followed, and the back of the car was in
pieces once again. It wasn't only the PI chap who was scratching
his head. The data logger mystery was solved however,
the black box which controls the system was another victim
of the Mondello crash. Suddenly the garage was in chaos,
all hands thrown at the car in a mad dash as the race organisers
forward 10 minutes. The team worked like madmen to try
and make the new deadline and just as they clipped the
they are told the time has moved back again... They used
the time wisely, checking the car again before a rather
up the engine and rolled out of the awning.
A surprise greeted Steve when he lined on his grid position.
A great hole met his gaze as he looked through a space
cars should be. The Ultima and RSR TVR not making the
grid. Not that best use was made of the tarmac, Steve
the Ricky Cole driven Xero Corvette as he made an "average
beginning of lap 2 saw the blue and orange car monstering the
yellow one. As they approached
as if the TVR
was going to try a run around the outside, but at
the last moment it went right and barrelled past the Corvette.
I stuck right up behind his left hand side giving the impression
I was going to go pass him round the outside but
at the last minute jinked down the inside and out braked him
and JUST got away with
it. What it meant was I was really slow on the
exit of Richies. Into Sears he banged me in the back. I nearly
stuffed it but it
was a real buzz to get the place back".
Xero machine did not take this lying down, and
the two cars started an intense and very enjoyable
ruined when the
American car lost a wheel. 6th place was secure.
Once the tyres came up, it was fine. A bit slow at the start but
I'm just happy to finish after the start we've
had this season".
pitstops out of the way, Piers Johnson rejoined in 4th, but he
was finding the car less balanced
in the Ferrari. The Italian thoroughbred betttered
151mph on the front straight in pursuit of
the now struggling
climbing as high as 1.16 as the frantic battle
for the lead led to Piers being put a lap down
Steering sensitive" was how he described the car. but he was
satisfied with 5th, "a good baseline to work from for tomorrow".
Sunday brought clouds, and more damper changes.
A new PI system was fitted as the car was
race. Piers Johnson got the car off to
a good start but got behind David Jones in the
and did not
in the car to
seriously challenge although it looked
as if he could have gone faster. Mark Sumpter
in a real
passing both cars in
very short order. 6th became 5th when Nigel
the RSR TVR from 3rd place.
was much more upbeat at the end. "It was OK, a lot better
than yesterday. It was difficult to try to overtake or defend
easily as the car is difficult to drive.
5th is good, two solid results".
took over the car, and slowly fell back from the raging Porsche
in that 5th
place. Such was
the pace of this race the lead TVR
was the last unlapped car.
It was great to get two solid results out of the weekend. It has
given the lads a lift because they've
put so much effort in with nothing to show for it. Two points
finishes should give us a bit
of confidence going to Castle Combe" said
Hyde with the grin of a man whose
next assignment is Le Mans in the
last word must go to Chris Pollard
as he handed out beers to the hard
5th place is good, With the run we've had recently it is like a
virtual podium it is then – Lets hope for a
real one (or two) at Castle Combe
in two weeks time