Friday 20 April 2012

Video - ITCC 2012 Round 2

ITCC 2012 Round 2, Mondello Park National Circuit. This race was red flagged due to a bad crash.

ITCC 2012 Round 1 and 2 Race Report

Event: ITCC 2012 Rounds 1 and 2
Date:  April 14th - 15th
Venue: Mondello Park National circuit
Results: 5th and 1st

After the last race of 2011 in October, the car was put away and funds accumulated for 2012. 
The rebuild car was done slowly, and quite late, hence there was quite a lot of pressure at the last minute to get the car ready. This included some unanticipated chassis repairs, and also having to borrow suspension from my sponsor ( Thanks Martin ). I will cover the rebuild in a separate article, but basically the car looked like on April 13th:

To this on April 15th: 

Saturday April 14th: 

Finished working on the car at 3am. Resumed at 10am, brakes bled. Time to put it on trailer, no start due to electrical problems.. drove it onto the trailer using the starter motor. Battery flattened, car still not on trailer, hooked up mains powered booster pack - finally got the car on the trailer!

I arrived at mondello near 2pm, and after having some time to think on the way up, set about sorting the electrical problem. Got that sorted and Alex and myself got the car finished for qualifying, though with the wheels only roughly pointing in the same direction. It was important to get out there though and give the car a shakedown. Came in after a few laps to check over the car, only to find that we had forgotten to put race numbers on the car, my times wouldn't stand, and I wouldn't be allowed back out again. We could have had the stickers on in 30 seconds, and gotten back out again, with the approval of a scrutineer, but it didn't make a whole lot of difference in the end. I was later told that I was not being put to the back of the grid as a penalty, but because they could not assign me times without a race number. This was despite me showing on the timing screens. Maybe all of this made sense to someone..
In any event I did not want to ruin my new tyres, and my time was only good enough for the back of the grid. The car felt quite good apart from second gear not being happy at all.. difficult to engage, gearlever shaking violently when engaged. A pity as I normally use second gear to start, so that would be tough from the back of the grid.

Sunday April 15th:

Race 1
Starting grid position: 8th

I made a fairly awful start, wheelspin in 1st, followed by bogging down in third.  Lost spots to at least 2 touring class cars on turn 1. It was obvious that the car was still not on the pace,and I would not be able to get near the front, so I picked my way through the touring class cars.  I was keeping pace with Brian Sexton after that for a while, and then slowly caught Brian Fitz, Fitz did a great job of getting through traffic, I wasn't quite as lucky. He had a small amount of breathing space after that, however I couldn't close the gap again due to the tyres completely going off. A few laps later I started losing power on the straights, and hoped this was just some mild fuel starvation. Managed to just about get past Eric Carrol who was also struggling and to finish was a relief.

Finishing position: 5th

After this I was wondering why we bothered with the 72 hour marathon at all. Thankfully there was at least 3 hours until race 2, so we set to work on getting the car improved for race 2. It became obvious that the suspension geometry was far from correct, but thanks to b-racing for a loan of his setup gear, we got the car pretty much spot on. 

Race 2

ITCC reverses the top 8 finishers of each class for race 2, so having finished 5th of 6 finishers, I  would start from second. although this was not clear to the officials, thanks Katie and Linda for helping me sort that.
I put a bit more thought into my start this time, but still lost a few spots into turn 1 and 2. Now I was running in 4th, behind Brian Sexton, Eric Carroll and Brian Fitzpatrick who was leading.

 I managed to stay ahead of Gareth Hayden while I got used to the car which was now handling much better. Myself and Brian Sexton caught Eric Carroll quickly,  I was under major pressure from Hayden so I decided to try a move around the outside of the Esses on the Sexton Pulsar and the Carroll Integra, and into second place.
After that I had some clear air and put the head down, clocking a 61.002 in the process. After a few laps I managed to track down Fitz. I closed up at turn 3, and then he outbraked himself into turn 4, I drove past into the lead but I didn't have the lead for long, I could see coming towards Dunlop that something was wrong, there were no flags but there were spectators running towards the start/finish. Came around and I could see red flags and ambulances streaming onto the track. A major crash involving Anthony Murtagh in his Corrado and Aimee Kershaw in her Civic had stopped the race.

Thankfully word came back quickly that Anthony and Aimee were ok, and we went back to the paddock. It seemed that only around half of the race had been run, and this was not enough for a result. The race would be restarted for 6 minutes, with the starting positions from the last full lap. This meant I would have to do it all again, from 2nd on the grid.

Race 2 Restart:

Starting grid position: 2
I was extremely nervous for this, after already getting to the lead of the last run, I wasn't sure if I would have the same luck this time. I decided to increase my chances by using second gear, while also more risky. It would result a decent launch of the car down the road, or launch the gearbox on the track and retire the car into rallycross 1. I didn't get an amazing start, but the box held up. Fitzy got away extremely well, I held second into turn 1. I hassled him for a few laps but he was not giving an inch at any point. I decided I had to do something a bit different, and went around the outside at turn 1. At this point he lost gear selection, and I was able to make a getaway. A few laps later, the race was red flagged due to a  retired car being in an unsafe position, but I knew this time the result would stand.

Finishing position: 1st

In summary, the car performed brilliantly, once we had set it up correctly. I was a little rusty as well, but the cobwebs have been blown off now. There is some work to do before the next race, but its a major relief to have kept the reliability of the car while improving its pace.

Major thanks to:
Alex Fawcett for all of your effort, there were a few late nights to get the car ready, and I know it wasn't the weekend that you had planned either..

Sponsor Martin Duffy ( ) - who extremely generously loaned me the suspension from his track car for this weekend.
Now looking forward to Rounds 3 and 4 at Bishopscourt circuit.

Monday 21 November 2011

Video - Mondello 9th October 2011 - Race 3

This is a video of Race 3 from my car, at the non championship races on 9th October 2011. These races do not count for championship points, and with reduced numbers for each class, the grid was a mix of ITCC, Porsches, Strykers and Global lights. Conditions were almost fully dry, so all cars started on full slicks. On the warmup lap some light rain began to fall, this continued for most of the race. This made it difficult to warmup tyres and achieve some grip. The BMW is quite predictable to handle in these conditions, and I managed to pass the Porsches and finished some 20 seconds ahead of the pack.

Sunday 20 November 2011


I compete in the Irish Touring Car Championship ( ). This championship is based at Mondello Park, Ireland and caters for production based saloon cars.

In 2010, I campaigned a self built Rover 25 Gti, and impressed despite having the lowest powered car on the grid. I won driver of the year, as chosen by the ITCC sponsors.
In 2011 I competed in ITCC Super Touring in a self built BMW M3, finishing runner up in the championship with one race win and one pole position. I won driver of the year, as chosen by the ITCC drivers.
In 2012 I plan to again compete in the ITCC Super Touring championship, with the BMW M3 refreshed and upgraded.

Race reports for 2011 will be added over the coming days and weeks, and will be added after each race in 2012.