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FF UPDATE (NOW WITH SOME PICS)
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For those interested, I thought I'd post a quick note on progress towards my first FF race - now confirmed as 7th April.

There has been much beavering in the garage. And when I say garage, I really mean workshop - it puts my crappy disorganised lock-up to absolute shame, and it's been an utter revalation how much night-and-day difference it makes on even simple jobs to have space, heating, proper tools, and near-military organisation of where things really are.

Back at the beginning of October, there wasn't much of a car as such. The engine was away being rebuilt, the body was off, the wheels, dampers and brakes were in various boxes and we started with a mostly naked chassis (especially daunting, as the chassis is tiny and really doesn't look like it adds up to much).

The first big job was getting the engine and gearbox in. It's an even bigger deal than it sounds, because it's stressed, and essentially joins the two halves of the car together.

That was about three weeks of faffing in the preparation - although the engine had been rebuilt, it was naked and hadn't been on this car before, so various mods were necessary for both the engine itself and locating all the ancilliaries. Anyway, by late November, we had a vaguely car-shaped thing that would actually make brum-brum noises.

Tim really is a first class mechanic. I have never in my life done such a major job and had the thing fire up first time. And he was completely non-plussed as if anything less would have been abject failure! Electrics had largely fallen to me (why do I always end up with electrics??), which was interesting, as a) I’ve never worked on Ford stuff before and b) this particular engine as seen multiple rounds of modification, so doesn’t follow any kind of standard wiring diagram (bits of 70’s Cortina, bits of 80’s Fiesta, plus a few bespoke aftermarket bits). Yet another area when the learning curve was steep.

Other trials and tribulations along the way have included the alignment of gearbox-to-chassis mounts (for which we've no make up a jig and stud solution to allow future 15-minute engine changes), and a slightly mis-shapen exhaust which seemed intent on gassing the driver (very difficult to reshape, when you have 4 branches tightly packed).

In between times, as well as working on the car, one of the big jobs has been fixing a bloody leak in the garage roof - another job that I've been in charge of (the glamorous life of a racing driver, eh?). That's taken several whole days of messing about with felt and bitumin, plus various other pots and potions. Most of which have largely failed. I hope my driving skills are better than my roofing skills.

Anyway, after the Chrismas break, during which Tim had been busy doing various bits like getting the suspension/hub/brakes all reassembled, we had a long list of fiddly stuff to get ticked off, like brake bleeding, basic geo (full geo still to be done, but we needed a basic set-up for steering alignment and bump steer adjustments etc), and fire exstiguisher plumbing.

So, this weekend, with most of the car now largely sorted, I've been focusing on comfort stuff. Which is important, because the car is tiny, and I'm not. To save me driving around looking like Noddy with my entire body poking out of the car, we've removed the seat altogther, and reshaped the balast tray to give me a bit more depth. And moved the steering wheel to give a bit more length (which has also involved re-orgainsing the dash so I don't accidently flick the ignition off whilst frantically mashing and sawing). So with a bare metal cockpit, I've been building up a series of bolsters out of expanding foam and making up pads by carving upholstry foam and encasing it in gaffer tape. Not quite the manly spanner twirling activities I'm previously imagined, but deeply satisfying nonetheless to end up with a snug, supportive and not-completely uncomfortable cockpit. Just a slight shame that nobody else can experience how "just right" it is!

So, bar doing the geo, wiring up a few nuts, and getting the remaining body pieces back on, we're now nearly ready to go. First testing in 16th Feb and I'm only going to get a maximum of 4x15 minute sessions of actual track time before I'm lining up for first practice/qualifying. And that's relying on Knockhill's infamously unpredictable weather to allow the two test days to actually run.

Its all getting quite close now, and the mixture of excitement and trepidation (not helped by watching the vids of last season's races and how much argy-bargy goes on) is definitely building. Roll on the 16th...

Apologies for the lack of pictures (hasn't been at the front of my mind), but here's a pic of the car from last season to remind what I'm talking about:

Updated February 2, 2013 at 6:41 PM

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Chief Wheel and Cake Monkey - Strong Broo Racing

Sounds great Neil - I had already booked 07-Apr into my diary - we should see if we can get Mudge along too as I'm sure you'll need a cup of tea at some point before the race?

Sounds good. I'll probably want all the consolation I can get after pootling round at the back for two races trying not to get lapped!

Updated January 29, 2013 at 10:06 AM

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Chief Wheel and Cake Monkey - Strong Broo Racing

Bloody cool birthday activity8)

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The Evo forum really is a shadow of its former self. I remember when the internet was for the elite and now they seem to let any spastic on.

IaFG Supercharged Muppet Division

Best of luck. Just out of interest, do you have a training regime in place to keep you in shape for the forthcoming season?

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Tree Trunks, I'm all jacked up because of you. Look at my jacked up face!

8)

Sounds like you're having fun.

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I can only please one person a day. Today is not your day and tomorrow don't look good either.

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+ Non-limited edition of the Exige 240R
- Uninspiring soundtrack

27Gilles said...

Best of luck. Just out of interest, do you have a training regime in place to keep you in shape for the forthcoming season?

Err...in a word, no.

Whilst I wouldn't describe myself as "fit", I'm not a wheezing 20 stone lard-ar$e either. I go climbing a couple of times a week, and can comfortable cope with hauling myself up and down walls for a couple of hours at a time, so I'm imagining that two 15 minute races per meeting should be handle-able.

On the driver training side, I'm doing a trackday in March with the guy who set last year's FF lap record to try and pick up a few pointers, so hopefully that will add to my general experience of pounding round KH for best part of 10 years worth of trackdays.

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Chief Wheel and Cake Monkey - Strong Broo Racing

I wish you were closer Neil I'd definitely come along to watch the first outing.

It'll be the most exciting thing you've ever done, hopefully not briefly!

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Tim

M135i 8 Speed Auto. Alpine White. Faster than Yu.

8)

That is awesome - have a good one!

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Bunta's Tofu

Subscribed 8)

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Ben
______________________________________
"you don't look like a fussy eater"

Would a video diary be too much to ask? :lol:

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+ Non-limited edition of the Exige 240R
- Uninspiring soundtrack

Awesome! 8)

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What's the difference between a BMW and a hedgehog?

Your car needs war paint!

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Bunta's Tofu

So what is the format for the season Neil? A quick look on the SMRC Website suggests 7 rounds at Knockhill, with some "away" events TBC?

duncs500 said...

Would a video diary be too much to ask? :lol:

83 years (approx) to create your Exige video, and you ask this??? :shock: :roll: :lol:

mik said...

duncs500 said...

Would a video diary be too much to ask? :lol:

83 years (approx) to create your Exige video, and you ask this??? :shock: :roll: :lol:

It was a (mostly) tongue in cheek comment mik, I will of course expect footage from you of him taking the chequered flag though!:P

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+ Non-limited edition of the Exige 240R
- Uninspiring soundtrack

This is thread is full of win. I hope you'll keep us up to date on your progress, Neil. 8)

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Something witty goes here.....

Jorg Gray Ltd Edition Watch Number : 313631

mik said...

So what is the format for the season Neil? A quick look on the SMRC Website suggests 7 rounds at Knockhill, with some "away" events TBC?

Hmm...just had a look at the SMRC site myself, and they seem to have added an extra date. Not sure what that's about, as last season there were six meetings, with 2 races in each (plus practice/qualifying).

I'm also planning to do 2 "away" races (probably Croft and Oulton), but these don't count towards the SMRC championship, so I might be reconsidering these depending on stress levels and finances. I need to do at least one race somewhere other than KH to be able to get rid of my novice cross (although revese KH would also count, and might end up being a cheaper and easier option).

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Chief Wheel and Cake Monkey - Strong Broo Racing

duncs500 said...

Would a video diary be too much to ask? :lol:

I have purchased a GoPro2, so race footage will be being recorded (and hopefully, tech skills and laziness notwithstanding, posted somewhere for your viewing pleasure/amusement)

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Chief Wheel and Cake Monkey - Strong Broo Racing

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