Snetterton Season Opener Preview

The team is still burning the midnight oil finishing off those last-minute jobs and making sure everything will be ok throughout the weekend.

A spring day in England can start off with snow, go through rain, wind and end up a lovely summers evening with clear blue skies. It is therefore hard to know what kind of conditions we can expect on the day, so we will be making judicious use of the weather radar apps on our phones when making the critical call as to what tyres to put on the car for each session. Nankang have confirmed their support for us throughout this year and again we will be running their semi-slick tyres during testing and the race. For dry and slippery conditions, we run the Nankang AR1 tyre which is on the MSA’s C list of competition tyres and provides excellent grip and stability from new and through hour long stints. For predicted wet and monsoon conditions we will be opting for Nankang’s MSA ‘B’ list competition tyre the Nankang NS-2R which is also legal for road use and the tyre which has seen us to two overall victories in the pouring rain.

Snetterton is situated in Norfolk, England and is the most easterly circuit in the UK we use for 2018. After its use as a USAF base, Snetterton was first used for motorcycle racing in 1953, organised by the Snetterton Combine, an association of clubs in Norfolk and Suffolk. The track was used by both Team Lotus (Formula One) and Norfolk Racing Co (Le Mans) to test their racing cars. Snetterton has 3 configurations which can be used for competition. Snetterton has undergone somewhat of a renaissance during the recent years following a multi-million pound redevelopment project at the start of 2011, which was met with rave reviews from both spectators and competitors alike. The 100 infield circuit is mostly used for sprinting with the 200 and 300 used for door to door competition. The Snetterton 300 circuit hosts the British Touring Car Championship, British Superbike Championship and British F3 and GT Championships. Snetterton is a typical post war airfield affair set in the mids of the Norfolk fens. The circuit is mostly flat with big skies above alerting you of what the weather will be 30 minutes hence.

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This year the club has opted for the shorter 200 circuit and will be a good benchmark for how the car will perform over the year. A lap of the 200 circuit starts with a gentle climb up the start finish straight, hugging the put wall for added slip streaming. Richies corner is an unsighted fast right hander where only the slightest of lifts and a dab of left foot braking helps the car turn in and carry as much momentum through the apex as possible. A good exit here can bring you along side a competitor ready for a big stop in to the right hand hairpin of Montreal (what was called Wilson) sliding down the inside and ahead of your foe. The exit of Montreal is all important as instead of heading infield on the 300 configuration, the car needs to immediately turns left and head down the Bentley straight for a big drag towards the circuit’s infield bridge. The Delta should have the advantage through this tight section with good on power traction through the exit phase. After what seems like an age it gets exciting into Brundle where the car needs to brake from fifth gear down to the second gear right hand corner of Nelson all whilst going through a left hand tightening bend. Smoothness is the key here whilst not dropping too much speed on the entry. Minding the curbs on the inside of Nelson the car rockets out of the corner and soon is tipped in to the Bomb Hole. Taken much like Richies only slightly slower, the car is put in to the corner using only the smallest of lifts with a touch of left foot braking the right hander catapults you in to the never-ending corner of Coram. This right handed constant radius curve tests the balance of your car and again being smooth on the throttle and carrying as much speed around the large apex can set you up for another overtaking opportunity in to Murrays. As Murrays’ is a left hander you can be more aggressive on turn taking a wide line to the apex and get on the power early for another long drag up the start finish straight’s slight hill.

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The 300 layout better suits the short wheel base of the Lancia as the 200 tends to be all about straight line speed which in turn suits cars with low drag and lots of power. There are 32 cars entered so far and cars to note in our class or fighting for overall victory includes a Seat Leon Cupra R, TVR Tuscan Challenge, 6 x BMW M3’s and a Z3M, a fellow ex rally car in the form of a Subaru Impreza WRX, Porsches 968 & a 993 911 and the drifters favourite Nissan 200SX. Having raced with most of these competitors over last year the race will prove challenging and we expect the TVR Tuscan Challenge car to drive off in the distance with it’s large V8 and space frame light weight chassis. The BMWs can never be ruled out as their long wheel base, excellent chassis balance sees them carry speed in to and through the apex better than nearly all the cars on the grid. A good result in the dry would see us finish in the top 6 and we are hoping to match or improve on our best dry result at Donnington of forth overall. Clearly in the wet with four-wheel drive, nothing short of a win will do!

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On Friday the car is booked in for a full day’s testing with 4 sessions split throughout the day. The hope is to get the driver and car dialled in to the circuit and get as close to an optimum setup as possible in the time allowed.

This time last year we were still battling with getting the car ready for the start of the season and unfortunately one we lost. To try and still get a race we opted to rent a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4 and ended up having a frustrating weekend full of mechanical issues and dramas. You can read all about it here: http://lanciadeltaracing.com/2017/04/20/plan-b-c-d/ and watch the video here:

We had some success at Snetterton in a Renault Clio 182 a few seasons ago and managed a second in class through the pouring rain, watch the video here: http://youtu.be/Y9KcRf1zcL8 and other races here: http://youtu.be/71075NEXpNA and here: http://youtu.be/0txHElMR66k

Stay up to date with live timing here: http://www.tsl-timing.com/event/181464 We will also be trying out broadcasting live during qualifying and the race. Stay up to date on Facebook and YouTube for the latest announcements.

 

 

rthurbin

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