Team MCR Mid-Season Review by Team MCR
As the team has now reached the mid-point for the season, it’s time to do a review of the races so far and to look forward to the remaining races in the season.
At this mid-season point, the team is currently in 7th position in the championship standings. The team would be delighted to see you at any of the remaining rounds of the 2015 season. If you are not able to attend any of the races remember that during race weekends you can follow live timings on the TSL website www.tsl-timing.com and regular updates are posted to the Swansea Motorsport Facebook page or the @UWTSD_TeamMCR Twitter page.
Team MCR Mid-Season Report: Motorsport Engineering, Let's go racing!
So far the team have visited Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Thruxton and Donington Park in 2015. Included in this review will be a report from each of the rounds. As with last season, there are two championships run by the Sports 2000 club. The first is the 8 round sprint championship, where the races last for 25minutes.
There is then the endurance championship which is made up of 4 rounds of 50 minute races. The team has decided to focus on the sprint championship this year, though still took part in the first endurance race at Brands Hatch in early May. The Sports 2000 races have been in support to a number of great championships
this year including Britcar 24hrs, Blancpain GT Championship, FIA Masters Historic Racing to name just a few.
Since the end of last season, the team has welcomed some new members, who have provided to be a great addition to the team. The team is now made up of 16 students from a range of courses and year groups. The team worked hard over the winter break to get the car ready for the first event of the new season in April.
Again the car would mainly be driven by Tim Tudor, and Roger Dowden agreed to be the second driver in the Endurance races.
Silverstone GP Circuit – Sprint Race – 24th & 25th April
The team arrived at the famous Silverstone circuit to glorious sunshine on the afternoon of Thursday 23rd April and were able to set up the pit area. The new team were then able to set up the car and conducted all of the necessary pre-qualifying checks. This season the car is running a new front splitter, which a group of students from the team had designed and built themselves.
The car went off to the qualifying assembly area, with all the students eager to see the car running. The car ran for 6 laps until a differential failure in the arena section of the Silverstone Circuit, though the reason for the car stopping wasn’t immediately known. This was the end of the qualifying session for the team and
resulted in a grid position of 12th for the race the following day.
When the car returned to the pits, the team split the car, working late into the night, to replace the clutch before the more significant differential failure was discovered. Unfortunately a new differential was not a spare that the team had and so this resulted in the end
of the team’s participation in that weekend’s racing. While this was obviously a disappointment for the team, it had been a good experience for the new team members to get involved and form good working relationships with the original members from last year.
Brands Hatch GP Circuit – Endurance Race – 9th May
On returning to Swansea after the Silverstone race there was only a two week gap till the next event. Therefore the team worked quickly to strip the car to remove the failed differential and return it to the manufacturer for repair.
Once the repaired part was returned to the team, it was then a race against time to get the car ready for the Endurance race at Brands Hatch. The team worked incredibly hard and arrived at Brands Hatch on Friday 8th May, eager to get ready for qualifying the following morning.
As the team prepared the car for qualifying, it was decided to put Tim in the car first, while the track was still dry as there was a threatening dark sky above. Unfortunately there was a downpour just before the session started. Tim was able to run the car in as high as 5th before handing the car over to Roger. It was Roger’s first time on the Brands Hatch GP circuit and his first drive of the car in 2015. During Roger’s stint, the track was continually drying and he was unable to improve on Tim’s time and the team qualified 21st for the race.
Following qualifying the team checked over the car and got it ready to go to the endurance assembly area quickly. The endurance race was starting with a rolling start and Roger was nominated to do this and he quickly settled into a rhythm on the track. Tim got suited and ready for the driver change, which was
scheduled for 22mins into the race. Unfortunately the time came and went with no sign of Roger, it transpired he had pulled over at Dingle Dell on the circuit. The car had stopped due to an electrical
ground issue and could not be restarted. The team was again disappointed but determined to get on top of the issues and finish the next sprint race at Thruxton in June.
Thruxton Circuit – Sprint race – 13th June
The electrical ground issue that had stopped the car during the last race was fixed once the car returned to the workshop in Swansea. In between the Brands Hatch event and the sprint race at Thruxton, most of the team had exams to take and so there was limited work conducted apart from the normal checks and procedures that the team always does after and before a race weekend.
The team arrived at Thruxton on Friday 12th June and set the pit area and car up ready for the following day before the predicted thunderstorms arrived. Race day arrived and while it was very cloudy and overcast, there was no repeat of the issues with rain that the team faced at Brands Hatch.
After going out for qualifying, Tim reported back that he was happy with the balance in the fast sections of the Thruxton track, which it is famous for. By the end of the session Tim had secured a starting position of 11th place for the race in the afternoon.
The race started at 3pm and Tim was soon involved in a close battle with Peter Williams, who was also driving a MCR race car. Tim and Peter battled for a number of laps, during which Tim found it difficult to defend his position. However eventually Tim was able to pull ahead of Peter and had created a gap of just under 2
seconds by the end of the race. Much to the team’s delight, the car managed the whole race without any issues and finished a credible 8th. After the difficult start to the season, the team were very happy with this solid finish.
Donington GP Circuit – Sprint Races x 2 – 5th July
After the first finish of the season, at the previous round at Thruxton, the team examined what developments they could apply to the car to help move it up the grid. The decision was taken to send the dampers back to the manufacturer to have them revalved, as other competitors had seen an improvement
by doing this.
The team left Swansea on Saturday 4th July and made the journey up to Donington, to arrive in glorious sunshine on one of the warmest weekends of the year so far. This event was a double header, meaning the team had to complete a qualifying session and two sprint races all on Sunday 5th July.
Qualifying was early on Sunday morning and Tim qualified the car in a solid 8th position, showing signs of improved pace. This was supported by a beaming driver, who claimed that the car was transformed! The team then did their pre-race checks and got the car ready for the first race.
The first race was slightly delayed and shortened due to some stallers on the grid, however this didn’t seem to affect Tim and he had an excellent race battling from 8th to 4th place. Unfortunately, a few laps before the end of the race, Nick Bates in a Lola B07/90
managed to slip past Tim as he was battling with Paul Streat, also in an MCR, and this relegated him to 5th. It was excellent racing that along with the great result, really buoyed the team.
The team prepared the car for the second race and went to assembly area ready to go racing again. The team had left the car in a dry setup and unfortunately as the team waited in the assembly area, the clouds gathered and there was heavy rain on the green flag lap.
This didn’t stop Tim making his ‘best start of his career’, going from 5th to 2nd by the first corner and troubling the leader into Redgate Corner. Due to the car being set up for dry conditions, it meant that the car was too stiff for the wet and damp circuit. Even
though Tim battled extremely hard during the race in the very slippery conditions, he ended up in 7th position by the end of the race.
However, the weekend was very positive and the team are eagerly looking forward to following it up at Oulton Park Circuit on the 22nd August.
Remaining races of the season
Oulton Park International Circuit – Sprint Race x 2 – 22nd August
Silverstone GP Circuit – Sprint Race – 13th September
Brands Hatch Indy Circuit – Sprint Race – 24th & 25th October
Photos from KJG photography and team members.