On Monday I managed to get over to Martin at Studio 1 Grafix who I’d been in touch with about vinyl. He had a roll of green vinyl that looked a pretty close match so I got a nice length of that along with some advice on applying it. I then nagged David to produce the logos to get them cut out of vinyl and emailed them over to Martin. Monday evening saw the catch tank completed, then I altered the gearshift cable moving the attachment point at the paddle end in towards the pivot, meaning I had a greater throw at the paddle end but more leverage. There had also been a couple of locknuts missing off the rear suspension pullrods and I’d ordered some more from McGill Motorsports who supply loads of rod ends and half nuts etc. Fitting these actually turned out to be a bit of a PITA as with the spring fitted it was difficult getting the pullrod bolts back in.
I then made a start on the steering wheel button wiring. The DigiDash Pro comes with 4 little buttons to go on the wheel that control the functions of the dash and datalogger, for example setting the GPS lap split points etc. I’d got a length of curly cable to allow the wheel to be removed and once I had drilled the holes in the wheel I set about soldering the wires onto them. This was OK except I’d been a bit ham-fisted with the soldering iron and had got the terminals on one of them a bit too hot and the button was no longer working. I was all set to go to Maplin for a replacement during the day but in the end got one for the princely sum of 50p from the electronics stall in the market a couple of hundred yards from the surgery.
I fitted the camera next. The Neuros has served me fairly well but it’s not without its problems. The main ones are the requirement to power it up using the little infra-red remote, the lack of ability to see what it’s doing but most of all the fact that if it gets powered off while recording (for instance when you exit the car in a hurry and shut off the kill switch or simply forget and switch off) then you lose the recording. This was most frustrating. So I’ve invested in a new system from DogCamSport. With the bullet cam fitted to the roll bar it was easy enough installing the main box. The great advantage of this is that it runs on a rechargeable lithium battery so no power off problems. It comes with a cigar lighter power lead but i attacked that so it’s wired direct from the fuse box. It also has a nice simple 2 button remote that was easy to mount in the cockpit.
When making the seat I’d been a bit enthusiastic and rushed prior to the last test at Llandow and made a larger mix of the PU foam on one occasion. A larger mix reacts more quickly and I’d ended up dripping some of it on the bodywork. It had sanded off OK with wet and dry but had stained the paint and I’d had to take it back down more or less to primer. So I masked the car up and touched that up with the small spray gun. While that was going off I nipped down to collect the vinyl graphics from Martin at Studio1. He’d done an excellent job of these and gave me a very good deal. I also called in the builder’s merchant and bought a roll of lead flashing to use as ballast.
In the evening I revisited the ride height & corner weights. The rear had changed when I had to put the locknuts on the pullrods and the front had settled a bit and needed raising. Once I had it set at just over 80mm with my bags of sand in there I stuck her back on the corner weight scales. The car was now coming in at 471.5kg, but that was with 19 litres of fuel in the tank. With me and my helmet, HANS etc. in there it was 562.5, just 2.5kg over the minimum weight limit. Trouble is I don’t want to have to finish very race with 16 litres of fuel in the tank! So I reached for the roll of lead flashing. I decided to cut this into pieces that would fit on the floor at the front of the car – there’s a nice little space under the steering rack between 2 chassis rails that tapers as the rails come back meaning that with the lead cut out carefully it was a snug fit in there and couldn’t move anywhere. The 3 metre roll gave me 12 little sheets cut to shape with just a centimetre waste and this stack of 12 sheets just fitted neatly in the space I had intended for it coming to a couple of mm below the top of the chassis rails. I was pretty pleased with this and one I’d drilled through the stack of lead I used a piece of steel bar and a pair of roofing bolts to hold it down.
The car was now tipping the scales at 573kg meaning that I now need just 6 litres of fuel in the tank to make the weight limit which is just about perfect. Without me doing anything the corner weighting was pretty good too the scales showing the diagonal at 49.4%. A minor tweak of one pullrod saw it nearer to 50% and I then locked off all the locknuts. I think it’s quite amazing that the car needs 10kg of lead ballast even with my 90kg in it, with someone like Derek in it it would need loads more.
It was nearly time to finish for the day – the early morning starts and late night finishes were starting to take their toll – and I decided to indulge myself by fitting one of my nice bright green graphics and a race number. I went over the top surface of the bonnet/front cover with the polish first then after a load of measuring and masking tape I got the first BDN logo stuck on followed by my race number. And here’s the result. Rather spiffing I thought
I had a helpful chat with Brian after coming in on Tuesday, among other things we discussed towing eyes. Ian had come up with a couple of suggestions for these but I had decided using some 3mm steel cable was probably going to be the easiest to manage without having to cut bodywork away. After our chat I had a fairly clear idea of how I wanted to achieve it and on Wednesday morning I got the front towing loop fitted without any great drama – a 3mm steel bracket bolted onto the front sub-chassis with the cable running from this along the top of the splitter and exiting between the splitter and the bodywork without having to touch the GRP at all. Very pleased. the rear was a bit more tricky but I made a similar bracket to the front but at the top mount of the sub-chassis so the cable would run back through a hole in the aluminium U channel at the rear. I got it all set up but had only bought 2m of cable and didn’t quite have enough.
I then indulged myself a bit more and fitted the BDN S3 graphic to the nearside sidepod. I got a bit more cable from B&Q on the way home from work and soon had the rear towing loop done. Then I got the race numbers and the rest of the graphics on which was very satisfying and really transformed the car.
I then called on David for his opinion on what else I should add. His view all along has been that I should leave the car white and after walking round the car with him for a few minutes and both of us thinking out loud about where we could put some more green vinyl I did start to come round to the idea of leaving it pretty much as it is. The green graphics really do set it off transforming it from the base white and I’m really not sure it needs much more.
Thursday morning felt far less pressurised with only a couple of little jobs to do. I cut some wire mesh and got that fitted to the sidepod ducts to prevent rocks and bits of rubber etc. from either dinging the oil cooler on the nearside or getting into the engine bay on the offside. I held these in place with my tried and trusted method of poking cable ties through from the inside then pulling on them and sticking them to the bodywork with masking tape to hold the mesh in place. I then bonded them in place with some PU sealant. The last job of the day was to fit a little LED to act as an indication when the battery master switch is on, I also tidied up a bit of the wiring with some cable ties.
And that’s it, the car’s ready. Llandow Friday, Bromsgrove for mapping Saturday then up to Mallory for the first race on Sunday.