|Here's the car the day
race. These are the same pits that the Formula One cars use. The looks
quite standard from the outside, but it has good suspension and
excellent brakes. There's not much left in the interior apart from a
driver's seat and dashboard. The plastic windows don't open and you can
see the large air duct to vent air onto the driver to help keep us cool
in the hot Malaysian weather.
|The race also didn't go
well, with the car spending probably two hours or so in total in the
pits getting worked on to fix problems. Electrical, fuel, mechanical
..... you name it! But we persisted and made it to the
at 10pm local.
On the left is how the cars spent far too much time during the race. :(
|The preparation was much
better, due to the lessons learned from the previous year, and so the
car was much more reliable both in the lead-up to the race and during
the race. As you can see, the car was also painted yellow and I think
it looked pretty darn good indeed. One of our major sponsors was the
Malaysian-based company, Lenso Wheels and the car looked great with
them on. They had the benefit of being very light as well.
|Again the very good race
engine blew up the day before race day, during qualifying. This was
another big set-back and again another standard 20 valve blacktop 4AGE
was fitted at the last minute. The photo on the left is the pits at
around 9pm on Friday, only thirteen hours before the race was due to
The very depressed gentleman in the back of the photo is Ming, our Chief Mechanic. He the rest of the crew did an absolutely outstanding job swapping everything over in the time we had. The broken race engine is the one sitting on the ground, and it had #2 con-rod let go and parts escaped out each side of the block, one of which punctured the radiator.
A big thanks to our sponsors -
|Part of the preparation for 2005 had the car going to and from the workshop to the track, and the easiest way to do that was to put trade plates on it and simply drive it on the road. That involved me, as I didn't have a Malaysian driver's licence the local police could take off me. So, erm, no, it wasn't exactly legal ....|
was all huge
fun, up until it started raining!
So there I was, in heavy traffic in the middle of the city, racing slick tyres with very little grip in the wet, no heater or blower to clean the inside of the windscreen - I ended up taking my t-shirt off to wipe it, and crawling along in 2ng gear to avoid aquaplaning. It really was one of the very worst & most stressful drives I've ever done.
can see what
poor visibility I had!
But despite this and other problems sent to try us, we made it to the grid and this time with a good engine.
Three Amigos! -
Me, Kenny Lee, and Lim Chee Boon with our car just before the race.
The car gave us very little trouble and was very fast up until about three hours in, when something went astray in the rear suspension and the handling degraded badly, with dramatic oversteer on nearly every corner. That lost us nearly ten seconds a lap, but as time went by the handling slowly improved until we were lapping nearly as fast as before.
next hurdle was
when the fan belt let go, and when it did it damaged the brakes. Kenny
dragged the car around the last bit of the lap into the pits, where it
took the best part of 45 minutes to fix it. We re-entered the race near
last place in class.
We all drove as hard as we could for the remaining hours, and managed to get the car up to 7th in class. Before our misfortunes, we were giving 2nd place a bit of a fright ....
Kenny brought the car home at the end of the race, and in the photo on the right some of our pit crew is there to congratulate him.
|The team gained an important new sponsor, Maximus Racing from Singapore. They're a big TODA dealer in the region. They helped us a great deal to prepare the car's engine and suspension. The car also got painted up in Maximus colours, and it looked great. Kenny build yet another strong engine, and again with a little more power. We found that we could now pretty much hold our own with the VTEC Civics in a straight line. The car was also lighter than last year, so we were rather confident of good speed through out the race.|
Chris's father, also came over to help out and he did a sterling job.
On the left is the drivers and Frank about an hour before the race
start. He really helped us improve the preparation of the car, but that
effect will be even greater felt in 2007. On the right is the car on
the grid, just before the start, with Kenny about to get in and make
the first drive. It's the hardest as the traffic is unbelieveable.
Right from the start, Kenny charged through the traffic from our qualifying position of 6th in class and put in some very quick times. After 75 minutes it was Chris's turn and he did exactly the same thing, but now we were in FIRST PLACE! Then it was my turn, and it rained ... So on with the wets and away I went.
surprisingly fast in the wet, and we were still going well up until
when Kenny got back in after me and one of the wheel studs snapped. We
didn't have any spare race hubs set up so we had to fit standard
upright & hubs, with standard brakes. Even in the wet, the car
very poor at stopping, and we'd also lost a lot of time changing the
uprights so we were a fair way back. Then a couple of hours later, I
ran out of brakes and had to come back into the pits, but fortunately
the crew had fixed the race hubs so they swapped then over again, and
we had good brakes. On the right is the still-smoking upright that came
off the car.
Another wheel stud broke a couple of hours later, but that one was changed fairly quickly.
the last four
hours of the race, we were last and had little to lose, so we charged
as hard as we could. I wish we could have kept that pace throughout the
race, as we lapped our entire class seven times!
We still ended up 14th in class but we now know that we really can beat the best in our class. Our preparation for the 2007 event has really taken a new direction, as we have learned a great deal and have made a lot of improvements and although the car will be faster again, it'll be behind the scenes where the greatest progress has been made.
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