Saturday, August 20, 2011

McArlus Cars - 29.

Well I’ve done it again.
That is enjoyed the extremely satisfying feeling of successfully designing, building and then driving a car that has almost entirely been built in my garage, with the assistance of some specialized outside help.
This time the car is far better presented and prepared so it will be interesting to see how it fares in the years to come.
Well despite the hideous weather forecast, Ron and I still set off for Calder, last Wednesday 17th September.
I was keen to give the car a run before running it at Winton in a few weeks time, as a 3 hour trip there, followed by a minor issue, that can’t be rectified and then a 3 hour trip home is even more unpleasant.
Arriving at Calder we checked with the man at the gate and with light drizzle falling decided to drive up to the next roadhouse for a coffee, and a reassessment of the situation.
After a coffee things hadn’t improved so we basically decided to give it away and go home, I had no desire to damage my new car on the notoriously slippery when wet Calder main straight (drag strip), so we headed for home.
About 5km later the weather cleared so we did a U turn and returned to Calder.
The weather was at best looking very average but we unloaded under cover and then set out onto the track.
Despite the conditions I wasn’t too nervous, and it was extremely satisfying to have completed a second car and driven it for the first time. Designer, owner driver, it makes me feel like Jack Brabham and Bruce Mclaren all over again. I just need the championships to follow!
The car performed extremely well and I was very glad to once again get behind the wheel, it’s been nearly 2 years since the last time.
I did about 10-15 laps, and gained confidence, in both myself and the car, on each one.
The extra room in the cockpit is great and the new windscreen helps with wind, and also hides me a bit better in the car. Even in the damp and windy conditions, there was nothing that stood out as a real problem, and I think that the 10-12 hours I have spent doing a very careful wheel alignment has proved worthwhile.
On returning to the pits we had a check over the car to make sure there were no issues.
The LH front grease cap had disappeared (?), and a small amount of coolant had escaped from around the radiator cap due to the filler cap having been slightly bent (since fixed) but everything else seemed ok.
With the weather turning more to light rain, rather than just misty rain, I headed out for a few more laps, after all it had cost me $220 for the privilege!
Exiting my pit the chain came off.
This is the first time I have ever had chain trouble, so it was a surprise, especially since the chain was brand new. Close inspection showed that the joining link had come apart and the chain then came off.
We were going to replace the link with my spare, but by this time the weather really started to deteriorate so we packed up and headed home.
Overall for a first test session things went well.
The new trailer set up worked well, as long as I remembered to lower the number plate, and the car performed really well.
Despite the fact that we were forced to exit the track into the pit lane, and then rejoin, so as to miss most of the slippery dragstrip, the car was seeing a comfortable 175km/h on the straight, so more would be available in better conditions
The chain issue could have been caused by the fact that the chain can hit the exhaust on the overrun (a design fault by me), so I intend to fix that ASAP. I have also investigated better chain link that is riveted, rather than the push bike type I currently use, although in fairness they have never let me down I  the past.
All I all a satisfying, if expensive few laps, though I know I have, and am sure that others reading this have spent a lot more per lap!
Attached a few photos that Ron took on the day. Unfortunately the action shots are a bit far away, so I have only included the one best one.
A couple of lessons were learned, which are relatively easy to fix, so I will and the car will run at Winton in September.
Can’t wait


Tony Shaw said...

Simon, Make sure you let us know when you're going to Winton. I'd love to be there to see you in action and take a few action shots.

Anonymous said...

I'm planning to be at Winton on Friday 9 september for the open practise day, then Saturday 10 for a AASA sprint meeting.
All being well I think that there is also a MSCA sprint at Calder on November 5th(?) that I am planning on going to.
See you there!