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In the hot seat!

Happy New Year everybody! After a Xmas spent crawling around the underbelly of the van (and some great parties too – I do have social life) January is here and things are moving forwards. I just got in from my training day at MGR where I’ve been busily making notes and sitting in a warm bath-like tub as the hot foam sets round me, really toasty in there and didn’t want to get out :)

Hot tub – like the car is wrapped round you.

The pedals felt pretty perfect so we left those where they were, and although initially I felt like I was sitting too low in the car with my head low enough for regulation clearance below the roll hoop, once the foam started to set and I felt supported it all began to feel good (and very cosy, it does get really hot as the chemical goes off). Talking through the car with Jason who has ran this car for the last few seasons, it felt reassuring to have the benefit of someone who literally knows every nut & bolt in the car and a huge amount of experience with Formula Renaults.

One thing that came up while we were discussing the pedals, sequential box and heel & toeing is the fact that while you don’t need the clutch at all once you’re moving, on the way down the box you have to blip. Nothing too perplexing as I’m used to heel & toeing in the Westfield, which was hard work going from 3rd to 2nd unless you matched the revs perfectly. Jason explained that the drivers just use their left for all braking, which when I think about it makes sense as other wise it’s sat redundant, but left foot braking is something I’ve never got round to learning so it’s a little unnerving in a car that will already seem like sensory overload. Having said that it always feels normal in a go kart, and I’d rather drive the car properly so I think I’ll try this from the off when I go testing. How hard can it be…?

I must have made around 4 pages of notes, things to check and how often, do’s & don’ts, all really interesting and relatively straightforward things. In essence the FR’s are pretty simple cars to run, reliable and don’t require an army of mechanics for the type of racing I’ll be doing (as I thought). We ran through the spares package too and tools I’m likely to need, I have what I’d call an adequate tool kit I’ve been building over time but there are a few extra things I need – I have a largish torque wrench for wheels but need a smaller one now too.

If I’m brutally honest, I’m slightly nervous about how I’m going to compress everything into an afternoon and morning assuming I arrive at a race on a Friday afternoon as there were a good few hours worth of jobs which along with arriving and finding where you’re meant to be, driving the course on a 50cc moped (i.e. not very quickly…), scrutineering, finding dinner, talking to people… hmm I’m sure it will be ok. It’s currently a jumble of notes in my mind, but once I’ve turned it into a proper set of crib sheets and actually spent some time working n the car itself it will all become second nature. Thankfully I arrive mid Friday morning at my first event, so this should give me a fighting chance of getting up and running without too much panicking! 

I zip tied the 4Kam HD unit to the roll hoop and set it up, other than a bit of tape once the seat is back in it’s ready to go – I can’t wait to see footage from when we go testing. Which should be very soon, I gather MGR are heading to somewhere warm at the end of January so fingers crossed I can come.

The van is slowly taking shape too, I fitted all the tie down points and chocs so the car can actually be collected and transported once the testing is finished. I also fitted one of the skylights which gives a lovely view of the sky from the ample bed, I can’t wait to gaze up at the French night stars next summer. The floor supports should be done this week so I’ll have the the floor in and fitted over the next fortnight, I think everything should start to take shape quite quickly once that’s in.

I’m off to Autosport at the NEC on Thursday, sadly I need a new HANS as the old one was only 20 degree and way to upright, but it’s always a good day out with friends and a chance to look at all the single seaters and dream… hold on that was last year ;D

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