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Debut NSW Sports Sedans outing for Evo 9

This was my first state championship and up against some of the most fearsome machines in Australian motorsport it was a little daunting. I can’t recall of another evo competing in sports sedans in NSW or any other state sports sedans comp recently so it was a little special to represent the evo fraternity and AWD enthusiasts at large.

The weekend started well, i spent only 3 x 20min sessions on track on Friday just making sure the car was ok and ready for competition, It went ok doing regular 1.41’s and 1.42s in moderate traffic.

I retired the car early on the Friday practice at about 3pm and took it easy, prepping the car for qualifying and racing the next day. On Saturday I arrived at the track at 7.30am, all i had to do was adjust the tyre pressures as i had prepared the car the night before. All was good as we headed out on track, giving the car a few quick squirts and braking hard to warm up the brakes and tyres. We spaced out and i hit the straight, running the car up to full speed and then braking into T1 ready to go for a qualifying lap…. only there was to be no hot lap, i went thru t1 at decent speed then accelerated and braked for T2 and something went wrong. The car felt like it had no acceleration, not stalling, instead like there was a barrier between the accelerator pedal and the engine. I couldn’t get the car to accelerate at any fast pace and there were all sorts of whirring sounds happening when i put my foot down. It felt similar to a blown clutch but different in that the car still accelerated OK until boosting when it would not accelerate. This all pointed to the turbo.

Sports Sedans

Dave Loftus and Phil Armour helped me pull a few bits off the car and we had a look at the tubro, i didn’t even know these blokes until this meet yet they were right in there trying to help me, Dave had his own race to run but still had time to help me out as every racer knows there’s still a chance at the next race if the issue is diagnosed early. After getting to the turbo we found the turbo compressor shaft was bent, making the wheel very inefficient to the point where it wasn’t spinning at all. Calls were made and Darren from Dashsport sorted things out ending with the car at Insight Motorsport with the mechanic rocking back into work on his free arvo just to help me out. Coupled with that Scott, the tuner, came in and re-tuned the car to ensure i didn’t end up blowing my engine running the new turbo. This is all on a Saturday aternhoon at no notice, an awesome effort by Insight Motorsports and Dashsport, it is times like these when you find out which workshops are the keepers.

Turns out we found the source of my power loss! The car made 270kw atw without any fine tuning (20 min tune to get me back on my way to see the scrutineers to ensure i could compete the next day), I had been languishing on only 245 strained killowasps for months due to a turbo that wanted to give up the ghost. What’s more i had recently done a PB at Wakefield with this shitty turbo only 3 weeks prior, can’t wait to get back there and slaughter the timsheets now!

Sports Sedans

Scott ran her up on the dyno and the car sounded fast, very fast. The car was dynoed at 270kw atw on full slicks! Scott had to wait a decent time in between runs to ensure he didn’t cook the tyres. I knew the next day in my debut Sports Sedan race i’d be putting 270kw to the ground so i was pleased after the day’s early disappointment.

Sunday involved 2 races. I started rear of grid for race 2 on Sunday (i had missed race 1 on Saturday). I was very lucky to even be allowed to run as the CAMS rules mandate a minimum of 3 laps to be completed in Qualifying but i had only managed to do one lap before pulling off fearing dropping oil on the track. I appealed to the Clerk of Course and he let me run the next day providing i had the issue fixed and the car re-scrutineered.

9am on saturday and the Sports Sedans Rade 2 gridded up with me at the very rear. I was quite nervous but confident i could accelerate past one and maybe two rows off the line with my AWD advantage. Off the line i did OK, secretly happy i didn’t have to worry about stalling and being hit from behind! I went past the orange Alpha of Andrew Leithead and the yellow Gemini of David Cameron and slotted into place behind the Blue Commodore of steven Lacey. I took it fairly easy in the race, there were a few chances i could have overtaken cars on the inside, especially on the first lap but i decided to play it safe and keep the car straight. It was definitely a learning experience competing against these space framed monsters although i did find myself just circulating after a while, still a good experience.

Sports Sedans

Race 3 was a bit more exciting as i had moved up a row due to my finishing place in the previous race and the fact a couple of cars had jumped the start in the previous race relegating them to the rear of grid. Again i started near the back and gripped up early with the AWD advantage, this time getting into T1 ahead of a fair few cars. Nothing like the sound of screaming chev engines and v8 supercars off the grid to get the adrenalin pumping! Problem was, with my horsepower deficit i found myself being passed by most cars by T2 and 2nd last by T3, i still ask myself how did that happen?!

Determined to make amends i set out with the Yellow Corvette of Russell Bayley as my primary aim for the race. I ended up passing the orange Alfa on T2 of the second lap and bunkered down to catch the corvette. I caught up to Russell on the 3rd lap and staying close waiting for a mistake. My opportunity came when i went wide on the T6 right hander and turned in sharp, using the AWD grip to give me a boost before corporate hill, it was enough to get past Russell.

Now i just had to get a decent gap before the straight to ensure his horsepower advantage didn’t see me back behind him by T1! I used the Evo advantage and powered thru the T9 hairpin using all the road on exit. I smashed thru the gears and recklessly ploughed into T10 flat at over 180km/hr, faster than i usually take T1! By the time i had navigated T11 and 12 to hit the straight the corvette was a good 60m behind me so i was safe.

The rest of the race was fairly uneventful and i ended up finishing 10th out of 14, not bad for a mildly modified evo against the titans of Australian motorsport.

Results are here:

Race 2: Started Rear of Grid (14th) and finished 11th. Took it quite easy in this race after the dramas of the day before!

Race 3: I got a great start but rounded up by T2 by the majority of the field, finding myself dead last by T3! Managed to recover and take 3 cars to finish 10th.

Thanks to JPM Photographics:

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