High and Dry

Welcome to my blog on turning a rusty old shed in to a thoroughbred Italian race car. In the last episode we were at Brands Hatch with Festival Italia where the Delta had a great fight with a Mini Miglia and some spinning Ferraris… In this episode we take on a bumper grid of cars in the Late Summer Classic Sports Car Club Modern Classics for cars built in the nineteen nighties.

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Race Preparation

After a much-deserved summer break, we set our sights on the next round at Donington Park the weekend of 9th and 10th of September. After the success of Croft we are all doing rain dances here as we fear the Delta won’t be quite as competitive in the dry against some stiff opposition. We will be using the Nankang AR-1 for dry (4 new & 4 part worn) plus the Nankang NS-2R for any rain.

Of the two race ending problems faced at Brands Hatch we have identified the root cause of both. The drive belt failure was caused by a miss-aligned alternator pulley which was causing pre-mature ware on the belt. The pulley has been machined and should now be in alignment. The second failure was caused by a shear through the drive shaft at the point of the circlip on the outside end on the rear right-hand side of the car. We don’t know if the failure was just because the shaft had been a road car for 27 years before being asked to race and gave up, or if the standard shafts will all need replacing. We will keep an eye out for that.

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Qualifying

Unlike previous rounds we decided not to test and this put us slightly on the back foot in qualifying. We had new set of pads to bed in on the front, tyres to scrub, new springs on the front as well as some adjustment in the rear tow. There is an adage in racing that you should only change one thing at a time and we were playing with fire. Luckily we didn’t have any issues with the new setup but with lots of slow cars on track it did mean we only got one semi-reasonable. Here is the hot lap from qualifying:

There was a slight miss-hap half way though when intending to signal Richard (I) accidently turned the car off! Luckily we got going again and lived for another lap. In the end the Delta qualified a lowly 10th just behind a gaggle of cars in and around the 1m 19s to 1m 21s so there was a chance of going forward from there.

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Race

This weekend was again one where much time was spent looking at the sky and the weather radar screens. It had rained during the previous race but was sadly drying out for our race so we opted for dry tyres, Nankang’s AR-1 road legal track tyre, expecting it to continue to dry but hoped it was still damp out on track. We pick the action up from the warm up lap where we do a rolling start.

After the first corner the delta had made up three places and continued to syth through the field on the greasy track. After the end of lap 1 the Lancia was up to P2 behind the Porsche RSR of CHAMBERLAIN / FARRELL and spent the following laps closing down the gap to just over a second. By lap 5 though it was pretty much dry and the quick cars started to catch up and overtake dropping us down to 4th before the pit stops.

The second part of the race was about holding station as much as possible against the quicker field coming through. Some silly mistakes by Richard (me) meant at one point we dropped back to 7th but some shunts, spins and unreliability meant we climbed back up to 4th where we stayed for the rest of the race.

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Summary

After two DNF at Brands Hatch we were relieved to have finished and finish well. 3rd in class against the faster M3s and TVRs was a great result and we had all worked hard to overcome the advantages RWD cars have over 4WD in the dry. Choosing the delta is always going to be a compromise and days like today are when you have to double your efforts to stay at the sharp end.

In the next episode we take part in Sunday’s event at Donington in the Future Classics series for cars made in the eighties.

Video: http://youtu.be/WRrkPtfd8cw

Extended Version: http://youtu.be/hRY1K1W63Gc

Timing Sheets: http://www.tsl-timing.com/file/?f=CSCC/2017/173664cmc.pdf

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