Green Light #5

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The fifth edition of JMR's Green Light covers the V8SuperTourer series held at the Manfeild in the last weekend of April.

Transcript of Green Light #5


    4 May 2012 - Issue No,5

  • We have now had the third round of the exciting V8SuperTourers series. Just last weekend was our first round at the popu-lar Manfeild circuit in Feilding just outside Palmerston North. Manfeild is the first circuit I ever drove on, aged 13, in my fearsome (not) Fiat 127. I think my best lap time in my first race day was 1m 48 seconds. Last weekend my best time in my new V8SuperTourer was 1m 8 seconds. We entered Manfeild with the series lead and probably our best preparation yet. Our race-shop in Taupo is continuing to develop into an excellent facility. The Taupo-based team put in many hours between Ruapuna and leaving for Manfeild to have both cars ready for Fridays first practice. At the last minute we were held up by gearbox parts coming in from the UK, meaning the team had a late night at the track on Thursday to complete my #47 car. On Thursday the whole team had arrived including Steve Richards from Australia - it was Steves first look at the circuit that his father, Jim, has won many races on. The V8SuperTourers development continues and on Friday we were giving a new engine map by way of an updated computer programme. This engine map was developed to try and smooth out the ac-celeration from 5%-25% of throttle. With over 730 NM of torque, the V8SuperTourers 7-litre engine just likes to spin the rear tyres at low revs, so the new engine map smoothed out this part of the throttle. It was good timing because just 10 laps into the Friday 90 minute practice, the rain came down causing us all to go onto wet tyres. We hadnt used the wet-spec Hankook tyres before so we were trying to learn as much as we could while the track was fully wet. We also needed to consider that every car only had eight wet tyres to get through the whole weekend! I did just one lap on my new wet tyres and was amazed at how much grip they had. My time on that lap was 1m 12.9s, faster than our old NZV8 had ever been in the middle of summer on slick tyres... Steve also enjoyed driving the track in both the dry and wet and was comfortable and on the pace. On Saturday the weather was overcast and showering all day. Qualifying started wet but we all knew it would dry out. The trick was to try and put a lap in early (a banker lap) and then wait for the track to dry and put in another lap. I came in and went onto slick tyres; I went out and it was very slippery; I changed my mind and came back in for wets again. Steve had changed to slicks and like all other drivers on slicks tried for 20 minutes to get temperature into the tyre on a slowly drying track. Id say if the session had run for one minute long Steve would have been on pole position.

    4 May 2012 - Issue No,5

    Welcome to our fifth edition of Green Light.

  • 4 May 2012 - Issue No,5

    About our Manfeild weekend cont... Luckily for me, we put in a time good enough for sixth on the grid while pole position went to Jonny Reid who just did one lap on his wets right at the end. Steve was closing in on my times very quickly and ended eighth. The first race of 20 laps started dry but with some puddles on the track. We all started on slick tyres and spent the first two laps of the warm-up trying hard to get the tyres to stick to the track! I slipped back to seventh at the start but felt the car was really well balanced and started to charge forward. There is a new rule that doesnt permit blocking except for on the first lap or on the last two laps. This rule was definitely brought in after I won the race at Ruapuna, using the earlier rule to my full advantage. So what this means is that each car has to drive on its qualifying lines - these lines are the fastest way around the circuit and usually on the outside of the corners on the entry. This leaves the inside of the corner totally open to a driver wanting to pass. That was ME! I managed to move my way up to third position by lap four and then set out to chase down Greg Murphy. The car was fantastic and I pushed hard to catch and then pass Murph on turn seven, ducking down the inside under brakes. By that time Jonny Reid had a three second lead. The car was brilliant so I pushed for the remaining laps and reduced his lead to just one second at the finish. We earned 20 bonus points for fastest lap and the first V8SuperTourer lap record, 1m.08.747, at Manfeild. Steve worked his way forward but then slipped up on the ripple strips exiting turn seven; the train of cars he had just passed then passed him and he finished eighth! The team had minor work to do for Sundays races, and we were very well prepared. I felt very confident in the car (maybe too confident) - I was adamant that I would pass Reid in the first truly dry race of the weekend and take back the championship lead. On the opening lap Murph passed me but I quickly got him back at turn five. I then set off after Reid and within two laps was right on his bumper coming down the front straight. I tried to out-brake him down the inside but I went in too deep and overshot the corner, slipping down to fourth. I was driving impatiently (not like me) and, in trying to pass other cars, damaged my steering. The only person I was happy to see pass me was Steve in the #556 CRC car. He had great pace and took off after Murphy in third. I struggled with an unbalanced car that wanted to lock the inside front tyres.

  • 4 May 2012 - Issue No,5

    About our Manfeild weekend cont...With eight laps to go we saw the biggest crash yet in a V8SuperTourer - it happened right behind me. Colin Corkery exited turn seven with young Andre Heimgartner behind him and there was contact just as the two cars were going through the kink in the front straight. Corkerys car was flung into the tyre/concrete wall. It was great to know that he was physically fine after such a massive accident. The car sustained a lot of damage, but most of it was cosmetic and the chassis and driver safety cell did its job to protect him. We had a restart and I was promoted back to fifth. Steve restarted in third but was passed just at the start. He remained fourth, agonisingly close to his and the #556 CRC cars first po-dium. I struggled my way around to finish seventh and was very disappointed in my performance. During the break between races we had another well-attended driver autograph signing session with the Manfeild fans. It is great to see how in such a short time the following that V8Su-perTourers have amassed. Even on a cold and overcast Manawatu day, the crowd piled in, filling most of the spectator areas. Just before we were to leave pit lane for race three, the rain came down. We changed onto new wets; I gridded up in third behind Reid and Murphy and Steve was starting fifth, his high-est start in a feature race. Although the track was wet, with a 30 lap race we knew that unless the rain came down heavily that the track would dry and we would have to drive very care-fully on the wet tyres, so they didnt fall to pieces! I was fourth at the start and then slowly picked off the cars in front to be second by lap seven, with Murphy pulling away. I was driving with my tyres in mind and was happy to see Murphy punishing his tyres out front. Steve was very close to passing me early on but his tyres then faded and he would finish sixth. I was catching Murphy too slowly, at about 0.3s per lap - thats what I though the tyres could handle. In the last two laps I closed the gap by three seconds per lap and we had the crowd on their feet as I was on his bumper as he crossed the line. I was happy with the second place and our third straight podium in the feature races. Overall I was disappointed with my performance but this is the reminder I needed to concentrate on the championship and not the individual wins! We go to Hampton Downs now knowing that we will be on the pace. I know we can win the Sprint Championship as we are only 88 points behind Jonny Reid. Its all up to us to deliver and we are now in the position to do that. I also think at Hampton Downs that Steve will be fighting for his first pole position and race wins, as this will be the first track he has been to twice! Hampton Downs is on June 1, 2 and 3 (Queens Birthday weekend) so we have a good period of time to have the two cars ready and work on the small details. I look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible as we aim to take out the Sprint Championship and collect more V8SuperTourer trophies.

  • 4 May 2012 - Issue No,5

    Key highlights from Manfeild

    First-ever V8SuperTourer event at Manfeild John set the first lap record for a V8SuperTourer at Manfeild with a time of 1:08.747 in the first race Steve was very close to a podium finish, coming home fourth in race two John scored his third straight feature race podium finish at Manfeild in race three as Steve was en-

    couraged by the #556 CRC Ford setting the third quickest time of the race Our website delivered 17,167 pages to our fans, soaking up 7.26GB of data traffic

  • 4 May 2012 - Issue No,5

    Daily report: Manfeild, Saturday 28 April

    Johnny Mac described Saturdays early afternoon qualifying session as tricky. We had 30 minutes which started with a wet track while the sun broke through the intermittent showers wed been having all morning. We went out on wets, back in for slicks. There were quick times on wets as the slicks took time to come up to temperature. It was a bit of a funny session and I ended up on the third row beside Kayne Scott while Jonny Reid had pole.

    Race one started in sunshine while the track was still wet and greasy. Everyone was on slicks and John hit solid line of flowing water on the track at turn one which dropped him back to seventh. John says: Then it was head down and charging as I worked back through the field to hunt down Murph who was second. Out in front, Jonny Reid had a big lead of more than th