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The big boys out at Snett. Britcar GT
The GTFs first outing of the year was this weekend at Snetterton. It’s been a long winter for the guys, the purple car of Steve Glynn is as was, but Tim’s yellow car has undergone a bit of a refit.
From the pics it’s evident that there’s now a revised front and rear aero package and the side skirts give a hint to the new flat floor. There’s new dive planes on the front as well as additional cooling scoops for the engine and driver. New centre locking hubs make tyre changes a breeze and if all that wasn’t enough…there’s a new engine and drive train!
Winter testing has been limited due to the amount of work completed but the several days they have done at Mallory and Silverstone have gone well, but truth be known they’d have liked more. So the guys had fingers crossed for their first race weekend of the year. The purple car ran well with Sam Head posting in the 1:11s, but the yellow car had an issue with the new diff and max’d at 1.14.
The new yellow car Gp1 car now has a 7L Chevy driving a new Diff through via new Elite gearbox. A new Diff pushes the massive rears via up-rated driveshafts so you’ll understand that there was a lot going on in testing! The gearbox showed some warning signs on the Friday and these weren’t cured in Morning practice, they decided to fit a new one for Qualy. No small task with the new flat floor, however its beautifully designed by an Ex-F1 engineer and was off in around 5 mins.
I grabbed a quick word with Tim (Hood builder and driver) who was more concerned by the new diff. It works in a different way – he said – it’s much smoother than the old one which is currently less predictable until we get to grips with it, but it’s circulating its oil very quickly and pushing it into the catch tank which will be difficult to fix today. Also – he continued – the power steering (another new development, electric PAS) is way too light for me and I’m over steering as well. Tim’s a long campaigner in TVRs, racing them from the front for over 8 years in many Series and this is his first one with power steering. I can confirm through experience that these are big boys cars and need some real strength to man-handle them around a track, so the transition to finger-tip control may take sometime or be abandoned altogether.
Meanwhile Steve Glynn and Sam Head had a good “Qualy” in the other Gp2 car. Sam went out first and posted a very strong 1:10 which ultimately put them 7th with their unchanged car. Steve then went out and also Qualy’d well so their position was set. The yellow car would take the back of the grid as it wasn’t ready for Qualy.
The rolling race start went to plan, Sam get away well. It became evident immediately that though it had the required race pace, the braking wasn’t as sharp as the following Porsche’ and and he had a tough 15 laps or so holding them off. The yellow car made short work of the Aston DB9R and had the legs on the rear of the pack, but the diff was causing problems. They dropped into the pits to have a look, but there was nothing they could do. They tried again, but the catch tank was filling quickly. Not want to drop oil on the track they retired about 8 laps in.
Sam was still fighting hard with the Porsche’s and basically had the measure of them when he had an issue with 5th gear. Snetts a big track and all 6 gears are needed and you can’t skip a gear with a sequential. He called in for advice and was told to push on. After another 5 or so laps it let go and he lost drive.
That was it for the GTFs. More lessons learned and more cash to spend. It a great shame but both cars are so close. The yellow Gp1 car is now going to be competeing with the £350K+ Moslers and Porkers. It’s a big ask, but it’s now possible with the big engine. Reliability will come and I wouldn’t expect to see it happen this year, but it’s coming. It wasn’t as if they were on their own in the garage. The leading Mosler retired about 20 mins from time after borrowing some kit from GTF (who’s guys helped in the pitstop). Topcats Racing had the two Marcos GT’s out, with the Challenger” Owen O’Neil in the seat. Owen stooped on circuit during Qualy, but completed enough laps. A trip fuse blew in the cabin and wouldn’t reset. This came back in the race and was found to be a faulty trip. It put him back a lap or two but they fought well and attrition put them back in 6th by the chequered flag. The No1 Gp2 Marcos dropped out about half an hour from the end in second place when its LS7 let go.
With only 3 weeks to Croft it wouldn’t suprise me if the guys decide to miss that one and take their time to sort the cars properly. I hope they make it, but again, that’s a big ask. 600bhp for 2.5 hours of racing takes some doing.