Meeting the competition for the first time!
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On the 6th March I will get a chance to meet some competitors in the PBMW series at their pre-season testing meet. On the agenda are beers (not before driving I'm sure!) and BBQ, so already I'm getting to like this series!
My National B Racing License is making progress, on the 1st February I'm heading down to Silverstone for a full day ARDS course. I had the option of booking on the 1st in a Renault Clio, or the 19th in a Lotus, so naturally I went for the earliest date! Stupid impatience... Oh, and transferring my GP to where I live as my current one is still 200 miles away in Cardiff! I'll need a medical along with a (hopefully) stamped ARDS pass to apply for my racing license.
And so it begins...
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Whether this will become a testament to my failed attempt at one of my greatest lifelong ambitions, or I'll be looking back at this article at where it all started a year from now with a smile. But you do have to start somewhere. One such start that has really inspired me is Charlie's blog on getting started in racing - I read through the articles like a brilliant novel, and commended the author who in several weeks I could well be meeting...
My aim is to take part in national motorsport track racing. A fair bit of research has led me to the series Toyo Tyres Racing Saloons and the sister series Production BMW Championship, which is at the budget end of racing. With a few hours spent on their forums, it became clear that they were a good bunch and very newcomer friendly. A fantastic amount of advice and help seemed always on offer, and I didn't see any point in looking anywhere else.
With a series identified, I'm planning to go to their first meet at Brands Hatch on the 28th March just to get a better feel for the environment. I was told through their forums I was welcome to come and find members for any advice, which seems fantastic.
So while I wait, I've started the process of obtaining an MSA (Motor Sports association) National B License, with some great guidance from their website. I need to book an ARDS test which is around £200, plus another £200 for some driving tuition in order to learn the course before the driving practical. I've taken my driving test twice and passed both times, I intend to make this 3 out of 3! The application pack came with a plethora of Motorsport 'porn' such as catalogues of equipment, clothing, performance parts etc. Also, the official 'blue book' for 2009 (I made the application last year) with lots of complicated regulations. Things started to seem excitingly more real.
Of course, a license and some contacts won't magic me a car and equipment overnight, in fact for the moment that's way out of my budget, (even though I accidentally on purpose bid £250 for a 1987 BMW on Ebay!), so my initial plan will be to rent a car. Competitors will come to circuits and track days with an extra car for a pre-arranged fee for someone like me to arrive and drive. I'm establishing some contacts through forums, when I go down to Brands I hope to nail down some dates and fees. It's not looking too bad really, it's not cheap, but certainly less expensive than getting a car. I figured on getting in some practice, maybe even a couple of races, before getting my own - which is a lot of work and expense!
I know I'm completely mad, as this is an insanely expensive hobby even at the budget end, and will consume a lot of time. But I like a challenge, and it's something I can really get stuck in to. It does help that this is probably the biggest thing I've wanted to do for years, and it's all possible - all it takes is effort and determination!
To be continued...
Swirl pot installation part 2 emergency cutoff handle
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Got some work done on the weekend, the electrical cutoff pull handle was pretty seized and old (5/6 years old!) so that was a straightforward job to replace.
Just need a nipple lock and it'll be sorted.
Next was a bit of fuel hose work, and I needed to move the pump to the wheel well. Otherwise the swirl pot wouldn't be able to feed the pump as it was much lower. I tidied and re-cut a bird-caged fuel hose with the help of some tape, which looks a lot better.
I need to glue the sleeves in place and do one final hose hole in the above, for the engine feed. So far lift pump feed is on the left and fuel line return is on the right.
Unfortunately the pump now has to move so I'll need to extend the wiring and re-tidy. But I also got the fittings so I've attached those ready. Looks like I'll need a thicker bit of hose for the pump to swirl pot! And the pump sits a bit too high so I'll get a thick plastic plate to raise the swirl pot.
Next step will be some more fuel hose, which I'll plumb in, fix the hoses to the body neatly, extend the pump loom out and connect it all up, tidy it all up, and it should be finished!
Swirl pot installation
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Here is a fused relay, this takes a signal from the in tank pump (converted to a low pressure lift pump) circuit, and activates power direct from the fusebox to the fuel pump.
At this point I'd used a certain gauge cable (seen above in blue), but got a bit scared reading posts suggesting stupidly high amp rated cables. So I switched to what I think is a sensible 27 amps rated cable for the high pressure Bosch 044 pump. Still need to bolt it properly, but I need another hand!
I'd bolted the pump somewhere sensible, and fixed the relay. I still have a bit more work done but nearly there.
Bit more cable tidying to do, and to connect the relay signal wire.