All the team were looking forward to this year’s only visit to the island of Anglesey in North Wales. Since its redevelopment it’s been one of our favourite circuits, with fast sweeping corners and long straight it rewards drivers who can consistently put in technically sound lap after lap. Church corner that leads onto the long coastal straight needs to be taken just right if you are to achieve maximum speed along the straight leads to Rocket, a 110 degree left hander followed almost immediately by a hairpin. This complex being one of the most popular over-taking spots.
Following the team’s class win at Oulton Park we’d had the time to engineer more speed into the car and address the over-heating issue that had dogged us for some time. The drivers had all reported a noticeable drop in power once the engine reach a certain temperature. Working with our technical partners at Tactical Coatings, components were identified that would benefit from treatment with their ceramic high temperature coatings. These clever coatings from the American Cerakote company, depending on which one is used, can either help with the dissipation of heat or contain it. The radiator and intercooler were treated as were the exhaust manifold, exhaust down pipe and turbo. We also treated the air inlet pipe to help keep the air as cool as possible on its way to the turbo. There are plans to treat the AEM bonnet induction unit before our next race at Brands Hatch. We also had a new header tank fabricated as the OEM one was not up to the job and with some fettling the radiator was raised to achieve approximately 25% greater exposure to clean air.
After first practice and qualifying it was astonishing to see what a reduction in temperatures the coatings had achieved, we found every treated component was significantly cooler than had ever been seen before.
The weather Saturday morning was far from pleasant. Strong winds gusting up to 40 mph and squally rain made life in the pit tent rather trying and there was a feeling of ‘why are we here?’
By the time for the combined practice and qualifying the weather was much better, the rain had stopped and the wind had dropped. Track conditions on the International circuit were better but not perfect. We were running used Nankang’s tyres and set the pressures accordingly after the customary track walk.
The programme at Anglesey was packed and the team at the CSCC had kept timings very tight and we only 20 minutes for practice and qualifying so it was essential the car and first driver (Daniel) were at the front of the queue waiting to get on the track. Because he has raced here before Daniel was given only three laps before handing over to Sean who completed six laps. Well I did say time was tight! Daniel’s best was a 1.58.091 whilst Sean clocked a 1.57.415 that landed the class D pole position and put us fourth on the Turbo Tin Tops grid.
Being a mixed event meant we were racing against some much more powerful cars and a 32 car grid made for interesting racing. Sean made his usual excellent start, essential in a 30 minute race. An incident on lap 5 caused a full course code 60 (no overtaking, 60kph max speed) so we pitted Sean from 3rdoverall for driver change-over hoping to benefit from the caution period. It was a reasonable driver change, we took 51.4 seconds from pit entry to pit exit. Daniel re-joined the race 5thoverall but still with the class lead. By lap 8 he had moved up to 2ndand on lap 9 he took the overall lead which he held until the finish. Our first outright win! The win also gave us pole position for Sunday’s race on the shorter Coastal circuit.
Sunday’s weather was all together much more to our liking. The morning being bright and warm and Snowdonia was clearly visible across the Menai Straights on mainland Wales. Practice went without incident and the car performed well. Sean set the overall Turbo Tin Tops fastest time with a 1.21.041. We were going to have our work cut out to win this race as we had to contend with a 20 seconds success penalty because of Saturday’s win.
Sitting on grid slot 8 surrounded by BMW M3’s, a Lotus V6 and an Europa we needed Sean to do another of his outstanding starts so as not to be swamped at the first corner. He did just that and for the first few laps only some of the more powerful cars managed to pass him and he held the lead of the Turbo Tin Tops until lap 9 when we decided to pit, take the success penalty and change drivers. It was a bad call as the pits were very busy and we lost time. The 78 second stop was too long and Daniel re-joined the race third in class and 21stoverall. He got his head down and focused on trying to overtake as many as possible and catch the two front runners. He closed the gap but there wasn’t enough time left and we finished second in class and third overall.