CFGP 2011 Pre-season testing @ZIC
As the winter draws to a close, we’re getting into the 2011 racing season. With an exciting line up of Formula, Touring car, Drifting and Karting, it promises to be a cracking season for drivers, teams and spectators.
I’m in a formula seat this time to conduct a pre-season testing, with the China Formula Grand Prix series, Formula Geely. The condition was good; cool temperature, sunny and dry. Luckily I had the whole track to myself as well.
The first session was the “warm-up” session for me, just to get into rhythm and gel with the car. Ok the engine was running fine (later I found out that it was a new engine, but at the high speed corners like T10 and T14, there were some excessive over steer. It was less apparent in the hairpins like T7 and T11 as less accumulated force acted on the suspension. After coming back in, we discussed over this issue, and adjusted the rear to a softer damping setting. Session 1, 1:51.30.
The 2nd session, I had a bit more confidence in the car and was pushing up the brake points, the slow corners I was doing ok, but with no one to follow and/or race with (and no pit board) I can only gauge the different laps by my instinct, I know I was doing consistent times, but I’m also sure there is a lot more to do, 1:50.18. Returning to the pits, I was talking to Pedro about it and we watch the onboard cam, and found out the T4 and T14 can be improved.
Off I go again for session 3, I was pushing a bit further by the lap, and as I approached the corner with later braking and more speed, the rear danced while I braked, over steered on the exit and it was getting worst and worst. Whilst I was in the car, I has a moment to gather my thoughts; 1)if I go into the pits, there would be no time to get out again, and from my experience it’s not an issue that can be fixed in 2 minutes, 2) if I keep on driving like this I’ll eventually dig myself a pit in the gravel, 3) the best option to get an improvement to my lap time, was to slow down for a lap to cool down the mechanicals and tires, and just charge it for the last few laps.
I slowed to 1/2 the peace, let the car and tire rest, then started picking up the pace again at T11, charge towards T14, dab of brakes at 50m, down shift once, entice the apex, then the car flow onto the kerb, up shift, as we get into the starting grid area, up shift Top gear. Doing about 200km/h, 100m, full braking, down shift 1, 2, 3 the engine sings praise for nursing the revs in the power band, flick of the wrist into T1, late but tidy, project through the line to T2 and T3. Tighten as we approach T4, full braking at 100m, this time the rear dance like a prancing horse, hold it together now, heel-toe in full act, but with finesse to control the arse, turn-in smooth but sure footed, exit runs wide onto the kerb, up shift. All the way full throttle approach the T7 Grand Stands, the marking board on the inner corner, watch the braking, down shift 1,2 and 3. Hit the apex, hold the line tight, progressive throttle out the corner, then switc
hing line ready for T9. Marshal’s hut, 100m, hard on the brakes, forget the fear of running straight in to the gravel, slap the dust on the T9 apex, keep it tidy on the exit as we floor it to T10, touch the apex, the rear swings out, keep your foot in,
eat some grass, shift up. T11 tigher as it widens to T12 to get the all important onze of speed out. Full throttle all the way to T14, 50 dab of brakes, down shift, work your throttle 30%, 60%, 10
0%, let the tire tumble the dust on the exit, back on the pit straight to finish the lap… 1:49.85.
My target for next session 1:48.00 or maybe even 1:47… See you at the track!
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