Time Attack Virgin - worry no more! Featured

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1. 13. 2013   |  

LeeRMR of MiniTorque.com set out in January to build a quick R53 MINI. The plan was to get a car ready and built for some Time Attack rounds in 2012 and then go onto do trackdays, hill climbs and other challenges in 2013.

Here is a writeup after his first day a very wet Brands hatch!

"I thought I'd write my own review of the car since Brands at the weekend. I've had a couple of days away from the car to analyse the logs, chat with my mapper and discuss the next steps. I have to say - all of this development on my own is literally knackering me! 

The weekend was tough - we were going into saturday with a car on the back of the trailer that had done 11 miles since being mapped and never driven hard around a track. The JRZ suspension was setup as per the factory settings to get them settled, the alignment a rough guess for the circuit and a load of stress getting it finished before then! 

This was my first ever Time Attack event - I knew exactly how it run as I'd been and supported other friends in the past who'd done either one hit wonders (OHW) or a full season. What I didn't appreciate, from a drivers perspective, was how much pressure there is on to deliver 'the lap'.

The day started in a mad rush. I slept in. Yup - I couldn't sleep with pure excitement and adrenaline from the tests done that day and I was sure I had set my alarm. Alas, no. 

Bang at the door - "Lee - you've slept in. Downstairs and leaving in 5...". Crap. Checked my phone. 8.15AM! Shit! I knew we were about 15 minutes away from Brands Hatch circuit but we had to fill the jerry cans for my car as I'd nearly run out in testing and no fuel onsite meant I had to get it sorted that morning. Learn from my mistakes - take plenty of fuel to one of these events. It goes down quick!

We filled up with fuel and were racing back to the circuit. The rain had started again as per the forecast. Driving any car in the wet is hard. Driving 300whp+ at the front wheels is even harder. Even more so when youve done now 20 laps in the wet ever and my confidence was knocked after having a small spin...!


I got to the circuit and the mood had changed. The day before, our garage (the one that flooded!) with MiniTorque Racing and O'Dwyer Racing was full of smiles and banter. But now, cars were jacked up, helmets were on and the focus was quite clear! Off to the drivers briefing and then literally out on track first for the Club Challenge practice. 

My first session in the wet I was doing times of about 1:20 - so about 15 seconds away from Jove and Rich. You can tell at this point how disheartened I was! This wasn't going to be easy 

I had noticed a flat spot in power coming out of paddock up to druids where the car just held an RPM and didn't seem to accelerate. I had, fortunately, done some laptop logging and had a look at it on Saturday night. I could see the issue and was delighted when Will rang up to say he would be here before the warm up session.

He added some more fuel into some areas on the map (the VIPEC is superb at logging and being able to trace the log and reference what fuel cell was being used at the time) so we knew we were adding fuel into the right place.

I messed about with the dampening settings to loosen up the rear and had Mad4Mini raise the car 5mm as it was bottoming out down paddock - shaving the edge of the tyres! Warmup 1 was a success - the car pulled harder and I had more confidence in the corners. I was finding myself allowing the car to slide.

I came in and changed the front end settings some more, Will analysed the logs and noted that the coolant temps were pinned perfect but that the IAT's were creeping into the 70's. This concerned us both. With no injection available, all I could do is not bounce off the limiter and try and find time in the corners. 

Throughout the day - frustratingly whenever we got on track the rain started. One session would be different in grip to another which made the whole thing that little bit harder! I was still getting quicker and posted a 1:00 dead - I was determined to get under a minute having seen the others posting 56/57 seconds. 

Minutes before the final - we were spotting the weather and I opted to run the dries (as did Jove). 

The lads got all the tyres on within a few minutes, I adjusted the pressures and was warned to take it easy. They were brand new rubber and not scrubbed in.
I made some last minute adjustments to the front end and set out on track. The first few corners were hair raising - no grip at all! But druids seemed to work well and I found the next sector becoming faster with me taking it flat in 3rd as opposed to 2nd. I was about 11mph up already on one part of the track and finding my line through Graham Hill / Clearways which had been literally killing me all weekend. My speedtrap speeds didnt increase much down the straight and looking back, I know I could be later on the brakes and quicker on the power - all part of learning I guess?

Within 3 laps it started to rain - I ducked into the pits knowing it was over. I wasnt going to get the dries on and I sure as hell wasn't going to set a quicker lap.

When I saw the results I was gutted. 1/10 behind O'Dwyer and about 1.5 secs behind Jove. I enjoyed chasing Jove around, watching him drift it for fun on 3 wheels 

The car is showing potential - now I just need to concentrate on getting the IAT's down either via FMIC and/or methanol. Likewise, the suspension needs documenting and fine tuning and I need to do some serious driving now on track to get quicker."

Since this outing, Lee has gone back to the drawing board having discovered a faulty Rotrex compressor wheel was causing massive temperatures and seized the drive belt. 

His car is now running an interesting 402whp and is entering numerous rounds of Time Attack in 2013!


Read 2310 times Last modified on Friday, 01 February 2013 23:22
Published in MINI Circuit Racing