So that’s our first UK season done and dusted. We’ll do a proper review of the season after Spa, but it’s been quite an experience for us at least. Please let us know your views: what was good; what wasn’t; what we can improve and anything else you’d like to see. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The A1M turned out to be as awful as anyone could possibly have feared, although closing one of the UK’s main north south arterial routes on a Friday and a Sunday was an interesting approach to road management. But wasn’t Croft wonderful when we got there? Cold too – maybe there is something in the phrase “the Frozen North”? We haven’t been up there for a couple of years, and Tracey (the new circuit manager) has really sorted the place out since then. Smart, nice new lavatory & shower block (better than at home, one person quipped) with lashings of hot water. Talking to Tracey, there’s a lot planned at Croft over the next year or two, with a new building, improvements to the entrances: we look forward to seeing it all.
One of the key topics for the weekend turned out to be wheels. Or rather Wheel Failures. We had been planning a piece for this newsletter about lifing wheels; and how it is not a good idea to use the older wheels for racing. Typically, small nicks in the holes turn into stress fractures, which result in wholesale failure. You also find, if you turn a GoPro on the wheels, that the older wheels flex a lot more than new wheels, the welds and steel both fatigue over time, so the handling on older wheels isn’t as good, as well as the risk of failure going up dramatically.
What was new at Croft was the failure of some new wheels, and failing through the body of the metal, not at the holes. All wheels that failed need to be sent back to Citroen for investigation; please can the owners of those wheels get them back to us and we can forward them on to Citroen; we will report back when Citroen do. A common feature to all three wheels was significant dents to the rims, suggesting heavy kerb usage. We can’t emphasize enough that using kerbs in endurance racing is a pretty sure-fire way to end your race early. Not just from a wheel damage perspective, but the shock loads that it also imposes on the suspension, drive shafts etc can all lead to premature failure. It may feel racey; and it may even be faster for a few laps, but its not good practice in longer enduros.
What did you think? We were really pleased with the way that the four heats and final went. Driving standards were high overall, although track limit breaches were reported eighteen times by the marshals. The racing seemed to be good as well right up and down the field.
We will be running a couple of sprint events next year: probably one on the same weekend as an enduro (as per Croft); and one on a separate weekend, so that we can all see how it works and how popular it is.
You may not have noticed it, but for the first time this season, BARC supplied four track-based observers to report on track limits and driving standards. This will be standard practice next season, so that there is 100% consistency on reporting throughout the season and throughout each meeting. However hard we, as directors, try, we can’t be everywhere all the time, but we are determined to ensure that we maintain the highest level of driving standards possible in the series.
We are delighted to announce that the decision to disqualify Car 414, Team Green Racing and Car 384, Area Motorsport has been overturned on appeal; and replaced with a fine. This is consistent with the penalty applied at the touring cars meeting at Knockhill the previous weekend and, in the Club’s view, the correct penalty under MSA regulations for a safety infringement.
The final results are to be restated and published shortly.
Our season finale is in less than a week now. It is, we realise, too close to Croft, and we will ensure next year that we don’t have races in such close proximity. It only came about this year because we had a date at Donington that was cancelled shortly before we announced the calendar for the season; and that was all we could get at that point. We will endeavour not to do that again.
The final instructions and supplementary regulations for the wonderful season-closing race at Spa have been published and you can find them here; and we are hugely excited about it. For those of you who haven’t been before, wrap up warm, its always very cold at night there – we’ve had one year where it was minus ten degrees and we all carried on racing. It is a brilliant weekend and one we look forward to all year.
It’s going to be one of the biggest grids ever at Spa, so we should see some pretty exciting racing. Look forward to seeing you out there.
The C1 Racing Team
Rocky II and final 24hr turned out to be a decidedly interesting weekend, for some of the right reasons, and for some less so. Overall, the racing was some of the best that we have seen so far, and it was great to see some new teams out there. We were blessed with near perfect weather and the new track layout seemed to be preferred by almost everyone. We shall miss Rocky, it’s a great venue and the facilities were excellent for what C1 Racing needs.
This is one on which everyone is going to have an opinion; and on which our ability to comment until the appeal process is completed is severely restricted. Two cars were disqualified from the 24-hour race; and one car from the 3-hour race as a result of having been found with their fire extinguisher pins being in when checked in parc fermé.
Such a decision is inconsistent with the decision taken the previous weekend when one of the Touring Cars at Knockhill was found in the same state in a properly-policed parc fermé; but was only fined. Both competitors in the 24-hour are appealing this decision; and that appeal is fully-supported by the Club. We also understand that there is a further appeal pending. We are not able to comment further at this stage.
Penalties turned out to be something of a feature of the weekend. Some took it in good humour, some less so. They are there for a reason, though. There is little point in having a set of regulations, if some people don’t abide by them; and some do. We have implemented fixed and written penalties, which escalate on repeat offenders, so that there is consistency between Clerks and circuits.
Four directors run the club; and at each event, we try to have at least two of us acting as DSOs around the circuit at all times, much of the time, we have three of us. As far as we are aware, no other club goes to such lengths to ensure a level playing field and fair racing. For much of the 24-hour race, we had three of us acting as DSOs: one in the pit lane monitoring pit lane speeds; and two out around the circuit monitoring driving standards. Even in the early hours, there was always one of us acting as DSO out around the circuit or in the pit lane.
At some of the corners we monitored, there was nothing to report: for example, monitoring Yentwood and Tarzan in the first two hours of the 24-hour race saw no accidents and no track limit transgressions; so we moved to a different place. Other corners, however, saw a significant number of material transgressions and so we focused on those points; we reported them to the Clerk of the Course, who in turn decided whether to apply a penalty or not.
For the last 8 hours of the 24-hour race, it was clear that competitors were increasingly breaking track limits at the chicane in front of the pits. Even though we only reported the most egregious and repeated breaches, the frequency of breaches grew as the race progressed; to such an extent that a number of the rubber protection mats beyond the two blue and white kerbs were thrown around by cars; and had to be recovered by marshals during safety car periods.
In total well over a dozen cars were reported for breaching track limits; including one that was reported three times over the course of the race; and three who were reported twice. We don’t want to have to do this; but it’s impossible to achieve a level playing field if some competitors don’t abide by the rules.
A similar number of cars were reported for speeding in the pit lane at speeds ranging from 34 kph to 52 kph. Rocky is unusual in that it has hot and cold pit lanes, which are a hangover from its Indy car roots. The hot pit lane doesn’t work very well for endurance racing, so we negotiated with Rocky, the MSA and BARC to be able to use the cold pit lane for our races.
The compromise was that we had to have, and to enforce, a 30 kph speed limit from the start of the pit lane (which was clearly marked with a white line and 30 signs at either end of it); to the end of the pit lane (which was clearly marked with a green light with an “end of 30” sign next to it). There were 8 repeater signs up the pit lane, which we installed and paid for. We covered this in both drivers’ briefings; and explained to any driver who was stopped for speeding in the pit lane (or team if we weren’t able to) what the limit was, why it was there and where it started and finished.
We will be back to the usual 60 kph speed limit in the pit lane at all the other circuits we race at from now on.
Drinking / Alcohol
The ugly head of drinking reared itself again at Rocky II. The Club has a very clear zero-tolerance policy for any driver or team member who touches the car in the pit lane. We were somewhat hobbled at Rocky II, since the Club breathalyser announced on arrival that it wanted to be calibrated and although we searched, we could not find any disposable breathalyser tubes locally. We have solved this by buying a second breathalyser and will have them calibrated alternately every three months, so that at no point could we be left in this position again.
We were alerted that members of a team were drinking during the race and so visited the garage. One driver had a bottle of beer in his hand, so we had a discussion with him and suggested that he handed his HuTag in. No one else in the garage was drinking at that point. We then reported the matter to the Clerk of the Course, who immediately sent the pit lane chief to that garage and removed the HuTag from that driver. Both we and the pit lane marshals visited that garage on a regular basis following this breach, but at no point after that was a driver or team member seen drinking; nor were we presented with any other evidence to that effect.
We have now published the Club Rules, which set out the Club policy on alcohol & drugs on the C1 Racing website. The penalty for any driver or team member’s drinking is that the team is excluded from the event; however, the Clerk was unable to impose that, as we did not have a functional breathalyser. Rest assured that with two operating breathalysers, we will never be in that position again; and we will be breathalysing drivers before they get in the car as well. It is also worth noting that a refusal to take a breathalyser test is treated as a failure.
Thank you all for your efforts on the weighing front. Although it takes time, the purpose of weighing and tagging all the cars is so that lighter drivers do not have an advantage. No system is perfect, since teams with some light and some heavy drivers will have a disadvantage over teams with drivers all about the same weight. It is, however, in our view, the fairest system.
From next season, we will be introducing different coloured tags at each race; and your car will not be able to pass scrutineering without the correct-coloured tag lock-wired to the car. We also intend to introduce Club ballast plates, which will have lock-wire holes pre-cut in them, which should make the process easier for those who want to use them.
There have been some comments on the forums about the Club’s running its own cars. We do this for a number of reasons. Firstly, we need to test any components that we are going to introduce in full race conditions so as to ensure that they perform properly; secondly, we need to have seats available for the press (at Rocky II we had Stefan Mackley from Autosport in our car); thirdly, we are much more able to scrutineer from a technical perspective by running our own cars and understanding the cars better; and finally, it gives us a much better perspective on driving standards than we would get from solely standing by the side of the circuit.
It is commonplace for Series organisers to run cars in their own series, and we intend to continue so to do; and for the directors to continue to drive on occasion. We set this series up so that we are able to race in the way in which we wanted to; in a not-for-profit company, from which we are unable to pay ourselves. However, if you have serious concerns about the Club cars, please write to our chairman, Meyrick on email@example.com setting out in detail what your concerns are.
On a lighter note, we are all looking forward to Croft. Not only do we have a full grid for the enduro on Sunday, we are also trying out the sprint format on the Saturday; and we can’t wait to see how it goes.
There will be a further newsletter with the administrative points for Croft nearer the event.
Thank you to all of you who completed the Club survey, we really do appreciate it; and it means that we can organize what you want, rather than making it all up. So far, we have had 267 replies, which is approximately 25% of those to whom it was sent out. Here are the key points which came out of it:
Over 130 of you would like to do sprints, marginally more on a different, rather than the same, weekend. A clear majority wanted heats and finals of a 20-minute duration, so that’s what we’ll trial next season.
The five most popular circuits for sprints are Donington, Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Silverstone, Oulton; and the least popular five are: Knockhill, Pembrey, Anglesey, Thruxton and Croft.
Watch this space!
The most popular programme is for 4 enduros, so we will continue with that.
The five most popular circuits for enduros are: Donington (by a clear margin), Silverstone, Snetterton, Oulton and Brands. Least popular are Knockhill, Pembrey, Mallory, Anglesey and Thruxton. Cadwell is no longer really feasible given the poor facilities and pit area there.
We had to love the 23 people who would enter as may 24-hour races as we put on, but over 110 would enter one 24hr; and over 50 would enter two 24 hours. There was a mild preference for exclusive testing; about half wanted the costs included, half were happy to pay more for it. There was no stand out month in which you wanted 24hrs to be held; although a small majority would prefer it on a bank holiday weekend to not.
The most popular three circuits were Silverstone, Snetterton and Anglesey, with Knockhill and Mondello at the bottom. In practice, we are going to have to be driven by the facilities that are available at each circuit to some extent.
Thank you again for filling it in; it really will make a difference to what we put on next season.
The C1 Racing Team
Announcing some sprint races for C1s at Croft
There is some really exciting news about our Croft race meeting in September. We’ve been offered some more track time and thought we’d try some sprint races. Our main 5hr endurance race will be on Sunday, with qualifying on Saturday. We’ve been offered 5 x 20 minute races on Saturday afternoon for £300. The format will be 4 races and a final. This will give those in 2 driver teams a chance to race in 2 sprints each, those in 4 driver teams a race each and those teams with 3 drivers will have to draw lots, but at least everyone gets a sprint race. One driver could do all 4 sprints and the final themselves. The final will be driven by the fastest driver in each team.
These races are optional and will not affect grid positions in the 5hr race. There is still some planning to do, but this is fantastic value racing.
The entry form is now live and you will find it here. Places will be issued on a first come first served basis as there will only be 40 cars allowed to start (instead of 54 for the 5hr race) due to each race duration being less that 2 hrs.
Snetterton update – Membership cards
If you’ve recently (in the last 3 weeks) joined the club or renewed your membership and will be racing at Snetterton, you will be able to collect your membership card from garage 1 on Friday from 6pm and on Saturday morning at BARC signing on. You won’t be able to sign-on if you don’t have your club membership card or race licence.
Snetterton update – HuTags
If you haven’t raced this year, you’ll need to collect and pay for (£10) your HuTag. These will be available from garage 1 from 6pm on Friday evening.
Snetterton update – Club office
You’ll be able to find the club directors in garage 1 from about 5pm on Friday afternoon until 7pm on Saturday.
Snetterton update – Tuff Jug vent plugs
We will be scrutineering Tuff Jugs this weekend, so you’ll need to bring 2 Tuff Jugs with each car to the scrutineering bay on Saturday morning. If you have black vents in your Jug, they must be replaced by white blanking plugs. These will be available free of charge from the club. If you have white blanking plugs that have been modified so they let air into the Jug, they must be replaced by new unmodified blanking plugs that will be charged at £5 each. All Tuff Jugs will have scrutineer seals applied and these are the only Jugs that may be used for refuelling.
We’re looking forward to seeing you all again at Snetterton this coming weekend. If you’re new to the club, come and say hello in garage 1.
The C1 Racing Team