Saturday, November 29, 2008

Kyalami - 08/11/2008 - Round 10

It’s incredible to think the final round of the Pro Tour has arrived already, and the nine rounds that have passed have each been great experiences in their own way. The 10th round at Kyalami was to be no different.

The 1st race was quite boring as far as Formula Vee standards go! I was on my own most of the time, trying to keep touch with the leading bunch. Unfortunately it seemed that some damage to my front tyre (sustained at the crash at the previous round) had really started to affect the handling of the car. The understeer got increasingly worse, but I managed to come over the line for 4th place.

We managed to get a replacement tyre for the 2nd race, which turned out to be completely wet! After running the sighting lap before the race start, it seemed the track was pretty wet; wet enough I thought for a gamble to try start in 2nd gear. The 2nd gear ratio is very short in a Vee, and I think it would have worked out had I practiced such a thing before! It turned out to be a complete disaster, with me stalling the engine about five metres into the race. Luckily I was rolling enough to ease the clutch out, but by that time I was basically in last position. But from there I had one of my best races!

Everyone seemed really cautious on the slippery track, and I was passing cars very quickly. I took no risks on the brakes, as it was very easy to lock the wheels and fly straight off the track, but I was pushing hard in the corners trying to find the grippiest part of the track. It was scary at times, but it worked out great. I worked my way back up to 3rd, with the leaders way too far in front to catch. I merely maintained position for the last 3 or 4 laps in very tricky conditions, but it seemed I was lapping slightly quicker than the leaders at that point! It would have been interesting had I not stalled at the start, but the race would not have been that fun coming back through the field!

All in all, the year has been a great success, finishing 6th in the championship, and consistently challenging for podiums in the final few races. I have learned an incredible amount this year, maybe even more than last year when I first started out. To try and challenge in the top 5, let alone podiums, is extremely difficult. I am thankful for being in such a great team to provide me with that opportunity though, with a wealth of experience and knowledge to help both me and my teammate to push further up the grid.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Zwartkops - 11/10/2008 - Round 9

The penultimate round of the Pro Tour was held at Zwartkops, coming from a very eventful and successful Phakisa race. I was hoping for a similar performance, and it certainly looked very close at the top of the field during the practice sessions. I was trying yet again to find a way around the understeer, and could just about come up with a decent setup, although I lost a lot of time in the slow corners.

After qualifying 5th, only 0.1sec behind P2, it was definitely going to be a tight race. The 1st heat was very eventful, and I found myself in 3rd position most of the race behind my teammate, and fending off the challenges from behind from other drivers. The entire race was packed with incidents, and there were yellow flags on just about every lap. On about lap 8 of 12, the safety car was deployed, but the boards were not made immediately visible to the drivers. Most of the front running pack did not see anything, and I was one of them. My teammate must have seen the SC board late, and braked really hard. Unfortunately I was directly behind him at this point, with no chance of avoiding an accident. This unlucky moment ended up with both development drivers out the race, after running in potential podium positions all race!

Both cars were repaired for the 2nd heat, and we had to start from the back of the grid. It was fun getting through the pack as fast as possible, but I was caught up with a very aggressive midfield battle which took too long to clear. I ended up coming out in 6th position, with 5th place too far up the road to catch in the remaining laps.

I’m definitely happy with the improvement of performance over the last few races, although this particular race ended up with a very unfortunate incident. The last round should be quite a nice challenge at Kyalami, with the top 5 drivers being extremely competitive! I’m looking forward to it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Phakisa - 13/09/2008 - Round 8

The 8th round of the Pro Tour was held at the beautiful Phakisa Freeway circuit in Welkom. I really enjoyed the track when I visited last year, and I was hoping for a good result. The handling of my car from the last round had been quite unpredictable and effectively slow, and the only changes made to the car for this round was that I finally had new tyres. These seemed to make a world of difference, as the handling became predictable. Although still suffering from a bit of understeer, this was a lot better than previous occasions.

The races went really well, and I found myself fighting hard for 3rd position with Trevor Bland. I had never been on the podium before, so I was really determined to keep this position on track. The tyres seemed to lose grip drastically through the race however, and it was quite a struggle to keep the laptimes quick and consistent enough to keep the position. Eventually I managed to hold it to the finish line, and I was really happy at my best finish ever.

The 2nd race proved to the best experience in Formula Vees that I’ve had! A few quick changes to the car (and last minute repairs, after being pushed off the track in the 1st race and sustaining damage), I found myself right in the battle for the lead. This was an interesting situation, and it proved to be quite an aggressive fight with the local boy and championship leader Dennis Johns, and teammate Courtney Steenveld. Early on, the pace was pretty good and I felt I could lead the race without too much hassle, which was quite confusing and surprising as to why the leaders were that much slower, as I didn’t feel I gained significant pace to warrant that position. Keeping the lead would have involved quite a bit of defending in places I was weaker, and I didn’t want to get too involved in that way. I chose to hang back in 3rd place until the final lap, and just see how things go if I attacked. Dennis Johns in P2 chose to fight back while sacrificing laptime, so Courtney managed to gain a comfortable gap. The rest of the lap didn’t work out to keep P2 at all, and I could only manage to finish just behind Dennis for 3rd again.

I am just really happy for my teammate that he achieved his 1st win in Formula Vee, and I can appreciate my position in what has turned out to have been a very successful Lotto development team. With two rounds remaining, I am already thankful for every lap done being a part of the team, and being a part of the Formula Vee fraternity. I look forward to pushing further on my driving and personal developments!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008

Kyalami - 02/08/2008 - Round 7

Coming from an exciting and very fast weekend at East London, the next round of the Pro Tour was just 3 weeks later at the other speedy circuit of Kyalami. My car seems to be in a somewhat developmental stage, with certain parts and modifications being attempted to try and get it to handle like the newer spec cars. This unfortunately did not gel perfectly at one race (or ideally between races), and I found myself battling with sorting out the handling yet again.

My current set of tyres seem to be well past their grippy range, but nevertheless the handling was atrocious. I was losing so much time surviving the oversteer in the fast corners, and getting frustrated with the understeer in the slow ones. Eventually I just settled on a setup where I’d lose the minimum amount of time everywhere, and I definitely was on the back foot. The first race was an extremely defensive one, where I battled the entire race just trying to keep Johan Gouws behind me for 8th position, and really suffered with understeer towards the end of the race.

The 2nd race was a bit more interesting, and it seemed like I was improving the handling a little with tyre pressures and trying something different on the warmup lap. It seemed to work for the race, as the grip seemed constant throughout. I strategically tailed Symm Grobler for a number of laps to slowly edge away from Gouws, who would only be a threat if Grobler and I started dueling. It was also the only chance I thought of keeping in touch with the guys ahead, which didn’t quite happen as Grobler just was not quick enough. I overtook him very late in the race for 7th position, as it was only really needed then. Again disappointingly out of the top5, which I really should have affirmed myself in by now, even though the final result was indeed 5th position after 2 drivers were disqualified for technical infringements.

After the race I had found out that my right front pushrod to the shock had completely snapped off, but it seemed like the car was handling better than it did all weekend! To say I was puzzled is an understatement! Hopefully for the next race at Phakisa I will be able to figure out this conundrum, together with the fact that I’ll be on a very overdue set of new rubber! Really looking forward to yet another mental challenge…

Monday, July 14, 2008

East London - 12/06/2008 - Round 6

The 6th round of the Pro Tour was held at the extremely fast East London GP circuit, and it is great fun in a Vee! I had reasonable success last year, and was looking forward to this race after some modifications were done to improve my handling. After a couple of practice sessions however, I was struggling with the balance in the infield section, and eventually had to settle for a car that gave some nasty snap oversteer out of corners. We were trying several settings with the engine and carburetors to get it to perform like the front runners, but I still struggled a little bit.

Qualifying went okay, as I was working with my teammate to get a good slipstream down the straight. However, we never took full advantage of this through the rest of the lap, and my laptime did not turn out that great. Starting from 8th, the first race was really a great battle. I was in a pack of 4, and it was tight racing. I was trying my hardest to stay fast through the infield somehow without spinning, and it was an interesting and strategic race. I missed the final lap board, and therefore was not aggressive enough to attack for 5th place, which left me in only 8th after all that work.

The 2nd race was less exciting, but I was more comfortable with the car. I was again involved in a 4-car fight, except I lost the slipstream crucially when the speed rocket of Johan Gouws’ car pulled Symm Grobler and Peter Hills away from me when I couldn’t take advantage in the infield again. It took a lot of laps and hard work to haul them back in without slipstream, and I finally got back in the mix on the final lap. Every corner was quite an aggressive fight, and I managed to at least recover one position to 8th.

My final results for the weekend were the worst of my 2008 season, and that is really disappointing, even though it is always great fun to be at that speed and in a massive on-track fight. I’m looking forward, though, to sorting out my car setup and having a strong engine for the other high speed track of Kyalami. Will need to make a plan about my ruined tyre thanks to a puncture, however.....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Zwartkops - 21/06/2008 - Round 5

First indications: rocking engine!! I certainly noticed a dramatic improvement instantly. The top 2 or 3 drivers still have better grunt, but this new engine overhaul at least allows me to stay in the slipstream...

Throughout the sessions I was struggling with some pretty chronic understeer, I lost an insane amount of time in the slow corners on the circuit, probably 95% of the laptime lost to the front guys. We set the car up for as much oversteer we possibly could, and still I got understeer. Dean reckons it could be my front shocks that are giving up, but he is going to work on some other things for the next race...for now I had to just live with it.

I qualified 5th, and really thought I could do a little better. I was battling with the overall grip from the tyres, they only really got enough heat after a few laps of running. I think just about everyone in the top10 were running new tyres as well....the race was going to be tough. Race 1 was highly boring. I changed some things with tyre pressure to try get more heat, but the balance was all off and that was quite surprising. Race 2 was much better after I rectified the pressures, and was running just behind the battle for 3rd/4th place.

With my handling problems, I don't think I could have stayed in 4th place for a long time. I just hung back, waiting for the last lap or so to take an opportunity to steal 4th or perhaps even 3rd....and I certainly had plenty of opportunities to take 4th during the race, but chose to wait and wait. The problem was, I couldn't see the lap countdown board, and I had no idea it was the last lap.....the guy in front made an error going into the 3rd last corner, I basically overtook him and then chose to wave him past....for a chance to catch the 3rd place driver quicker. To my horror, we crossed the finish line to a checkered flag. Highly embarrassing. I threw away 4th place like a n00b!!! Never thought I'd make such pathetic judgments....

I'm still missing that element of racing close to other drivers in simracing, and its showing on-track. I need to learn to try and drive over the guy in front of me if I want to be in a decent position to gain the most out of slipstream. I still leave an annoying gap which really shouldn't be there......

Anyway, the next race is at the cRaZy-fast East London circuit in 3weeks. Hopefully my understeer problems will be sorted out. Certainly my engine is not good enough to really challenge the top guys, but it's really decent enough to be a threat if I can make the time up in the infield and cling on for dear life in the slipstream down that massive straight.....I am really looking forward to this race and the following races as well. The massive engine disadvantage I've had all year has now been wiped clean...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Not Enough...

The next race at Zwartkops is coming up fast...the next 3 races are spaced 3weeks apart from each other. Crazy stuff. I also now have the least amount of money in the bank ever, and owe a lot of people money :P Hectic times. Just gotta survive this somehow....

I'm really not using simracing to its full capacity to help with my Formula Vee racing....maybe a couple years ago. I just race in a local league for fun, without much preparation. The races are not the same as the other leagues I've driven, I don't get pushed and put under pressure, there is nobody I have to chase and do 100laps to find an extra 0.05sec. There isn't that urgency or sustained period of time on the limit. My mental game has dropped significantly, and I really need to get back into things, back into the crazy leagues.

The main reason for this is of course my PC performance, which prevents me from even practicing with the big guns, but I'm slowly trying to get the thing up to a decent spec so that I can push 100% of the time, and increase the limits of an on-the-limit lap. My mental racing peak was 2years ago without a doubt, I definitely feel much weaker. Simracing is for 'free', and I know it can help more.

I really want to do well at Zwartkops. But this is what I hope for every race. What needs to change? My mental game needs to be supermassive going into this. Something huge that will warrant a change. My engine is being rebuilt, and cylinder head replaced, so I'll see how that performs. Either way, whatever state that car is in, I need to push that thing like never before. Not that I havn't been on the limit already, but it needs to be more. The transition might take a few races, but the limit I am at is hopeless. The next level awaits....I have set my goal by the end of the year!

Time and effort........

Monday, May 12, 2008

Killarney - 10/05/2008 - Round 4

Things were not looking great coming into this race. My car was not up to standard, and there just isn't enough money to work on these things.

Before things got underway, I had a long chat to my race mechanic about my lack of power. There's a lot that needs to be worked on to get my engine to similar standard as front-running guys :( It will cost a hell of a lot of money, so this is never going to happen anytime soon without sponsors.

The weather? Cape Town was damn cold and miserable - all weekend. I drove around the 1st session in cruise control, just learning the track and seeing where I should push and what I should avoid. It was really bumpy in places, and quite tricky around the back section. The back straight is pretty fast, we were getting up to 210kph there. When the 2nd session started, I had my plan set out on how to tackle the track...and then my 4th gear stripped. I don't have a spare gearbox, so it was quite a miracle that I found someone who lent me their's, and it was a mission and a half to fit it to my car. I missed the remaining sessions and just about made it for qualifying. The clutch wasn't set up right, and it was slipping so much! I came into the pits, Dean set it as best he could, and then I went out again...but I didn't get a lap in as the session was red flagged. I was starting from the back of the grid :(

The warmup session the next day was I only knew how to really drive the track in wet conditions with barely any dry running!!!! The 1st race started off really weirdly. I started 16th out of 15drivers. Yeah. Alan Eustice decided to pull into my pitbox at the last second, and I was stuck behind him. What's worse was when the lights went out, he didn't move. Horrid. My next laps went well, I was passing guys and moving up fast..and then my clutch was slipping a bit. I was trying to learn the track as well, and almost had a couple of offs. It was a mad struggle and was able to just finish 8th.

The 2nd race was the craziest shit I've ever been involved in!! The first few laps were so intense, I think it was 6cars battling it out with quite stupid aggression. This was all caused by Trevor Bland who had a problem with his rev limiter, and he defended his position quite dangerously against me and some other drivers. This allowed a group to bunch up, and all hell broke loose. I thought I was going to crash in every corner....I even had to force myself to push going into a 4car squeeze at the last corner under yellow flag conditions!! Everyone was gunning for the corner and nobody backed off for anything. It was ridiculous, we were lapping something like 4sec a lap slower than what we could do.

It started to rain halfway through the race :) Things calmed right down as soon as this happened. I think there was a 3car smash somewhere, and people sliding everywhere. I managed to pull away and start gaining lost ground in the rain...but there were too few laps :( It was pretty damn good fun driving in the rain though, it's a shame I lost so much time in the 1st half of the race! I ended up 5th...

And so ended a pretty difficult and disappointing weekend...I really wish I had more time on the track, my racing lines felt horrendous and it was a struggle to keep pace with a slipping clutch. The next couple races are pretty close to each other, heading to Zwartkops first. I now have a gearbox on my long list of things to fix, so it's not looking too great. I do have long-term direction though, and need to start getting my car up to speed slowly but surely...

Wilfred Steenveld ~ 1960 - 2008

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cape Town Preview


This is the most unprepared I've ever been for a race. Things just went really quiet for whatever reason. From the last race, my engine was quite low on power, was overheating, the throttle cable was stuck open, gearbox had a big leak, my rake angle is wrong.....and well, nothing has been fixed to my knowledge. I hope Dean has done something, but all I know is that I do have 4 wheels.

I'll have to learn the track layout, get to grips with my messed up car and get it to a reasonable drive in 3x15min sessions. Oh boy. At least I'll have mountains to look at.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Kyalami - 12/04/2008 - Round 3

Round 3 of the Pro Tour saw yet another visit to Kyalami. I enjoy this circuit, but I'm just too slow for whatever reason hehe. Reasons I have come to see after this weekend....

New tyres were great! Thanks to Symplexity again, the car really felt like a new beast. I could brake so much later (and steadier) than before, and just chuck the car into the corners. I struggled quite a bit with understeer in the slow stuff though, it was costing me a lot of time. Eventually I settled on a decent setup, but still was losing so much time in the slow corners. I felt it was okay since with that balance I was pretty strong in the fast stuff. It looked like a top5 was a realistic goal (especially since the champ leader Alan Holm wasn't around) but it proved to be a mad struggle.

Qualifying went okay. We only got a lap or so of dry running before it started raining :) Oh my word...RAIN IS AWESOME!!! The car has no grip at freakn cooool!! :D It's just so easy to lose the car on the try and apply a little more than a feather's pressure on the brake pedal, and its a lockup and aquaplaning for a few seconds!! Crazy...oh the car doesnt turn either, and if you change down to 2nd gear you will probably spin the car. I wish qualifying had been wet from the start; my laptimes in the rain seemed decent enough to be challenge the front pack. I was sitting 5th in those dry laps.

The 1st race went okay, considering the amount of time I was losing down the straights. I was getting so frustrated everytime I came out the last corner...I would be right on someone's tail, and after the pit straight I wouldn't even be close enough for a hint of slipstream. It was awful. I drove through that depressing feeling, lined Trevor Bland up for an overtake on the last lap (since I knew my engine wasn't up for defending) and managed to nail him on the last corner of the last lap. But then he just drove clean past me over the finish line. I was so angry. This engine is costing me laptime and positions, even after I do the hard work.

The 2nd race started off well. Despite the lack of power, I was battling in the pack for 3rd position. I knew it would take some real devious and cunning arts to manage to beat that pack when their engines were so much more powerful...and Kyalami is just made up of superfast stuff. And then God decided to be funny about the situation and my accelerator stuck open. Great. This was only scary at first, since I found out it was stuck when I got to Sunset corner (turn4) which is taken almost flat out on the limit. This "almost flat out" corner means that you can't take it flat, which is what my car decided it was going to try to do hahaha...after I got through that alive, it was just annoying.

Controlling the car was hard, I didn't have the confidence to fight wheel-to-wheel with guys, was very dangerous. Braking and accelerating at the same time isn't very fast, and the mad revs everytime I pushed the clutch in to change gear was worrying for my engine...I should have really been able to adapt much quicker to the situation and probably maintained 5th position. The car was just unpredictable though, towards the end of the race the throttle seemed to behave itself at times, and other times not. Battling hard and heading out the last corner, I managed to miss 3rd gear somehow...and lost 6th position over the finish line. I was ready to drive off a cliff, I was so angry yet again, but my own pathetic newbie mistake!!! That is definitely not happening again.

So it was a very disappointing and frustrating weekend for me. The lack of power is really hurting my chances at good results now, and I'm sad to report back a 6th and 7th. Working on the engine is going to take quite some finance, so the need for sponsors has never felt so great. Here's hoping for a miracle...

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Things are looking okay, heading into Round 3 of 2008. I definitely still need a major sponsor, but hopefully now my new tyres give me a good chunk of pace back. To be honest, it surely cant perform miracles, but I need to really push now to get into the top5. Getting there is going to be really difficult, there are a lot of fast drivers. I'm currently sitting 7th in the championship close behind 2drivers, so I'd better get a move on!

I found out that one of my rims is a bit bent, and that I'll need an engine rebuild pretty soon. Lots of money to fork out, and not much left :P

Looking forward to Kyalami though. Not thinking about it every second, I have so much other stuffs to do, but next week I'm sure I'll settle down and focus on doing a good job.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Breath of Fresh Air

Thanks to Pieter K and Symplexity for helping me out with a much needed new set of tyres for the next round at Kyalami, and additional help for the rest of the season. Their actions will really help motivate me to push on further, and the struggle to keep a dream going has been eased up a bit :) The search still continues for further aid!

Thanks a million guys. Symplexity ftw.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Article on FSR website

Article on FSR
describing my real racing combined with simracing.

Aldo Scribante - 08/03/2008 - Round 2

And so it was that the 2nd round of the Pro Tour was to be a tale of tyres for me.

It was pretty damn hot in Port Elizabeth. The Friday practice sessions really took it out of me, and my poor race fitness was showing as by the time we came to quali, I hardly had any energy left. The car handled poorly from the start. The track surface was incredibly abrasive, and I had a really difficult time keeping the slides to a minimum. There was no way to eliminate it or avoid it without being slow. I had to slide around every single corner basically to not be last. At least the brakes seemed to be behaving, so the broken chassis member was indeed the culprit!

I experimented with car setup quite a bit to try get rid of the horrible corner entry understeer, and horrific corner exit oversteer. This was inbetween running around the town for parts and working really hard on my car...the clutch packed up twice and the starter motor once. Anyway, I eventually gave up on car setup near the end after visibly noticing the degredation of my rear tyres. I had found the best balance of the worst handling, there was no miracle fix. I was eventually fighting with drivers whom I never really see on track...luckily race day was a bit cooler than the practice day.

I started from 9th, and the grip was crap. I battled the 1st race, and bumped 2 guys into a spin :/ I really felt bad. The 1st one was on Ben Pienaar, he just braked really early into the chicane, and there was no way I could stop in time. I had a great battle with Gareth Jackson, and after maintaining my slides around the outside of him for 2 corners (and thus the inside line for the next corner) he just turned in on me and I had nowhere to go...I clipped his back wheel and he spun as well. They're good friends of mine, but they didn't seem very happy after the race. Ended up 9th.

The 2nd race was awesome. I was really having fun sliding the car everywhere, I was drifiting into corners, sliding around them, and then having power slides out of them. It was really an incredible experience, but I really did tame the beast. I had awesome fights with Courtney Steenveld and Ben, and some guys with new tyres started feeling the heat as their rear tyres also lost grip towards the end of the race. Some battles were like ballet, everyone just sliding in unison, it was so cool hehehe. I managed to control the car when others could not, and I ended up in 7th place after the race. That was really the best I could do, it was serious damage limitation.

I can throw my tyres away now. My rears have no tread left, and my fronts look shocking. Kyalami is next, and hopefully I can land a couple of sponsors so I can really push towards the front end. It was interesting watching some drivers practicing on old tyres, and then gaining 1.5-2sec by just putting on new rubber....

Bring on Kyalami!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Preparation for Round 2, Port Elizabeth

Well the next race is upon me, and I have not really prepared that much mentally for it. I have been extremely busy in life, and it looks like the next few months will be quite intense. Racing will have to take a back seat? Hope not.

I phoned Dean, and chatted to him about my car. Seeing as I have no sponsors on board yet, even after some intensive searching, I will not have new tyres on my car. I am using the set that I purchased at the beginning of last season....the regulations have changed to a softer compound twice since then, so let's just say it's a disadvantage.

Dean found my chassis was a bit broken on the right of the members was sheared straight off. I have no idea how that happened, I hadn't crashed or anything....who knows if my violent brake shuddering was the result of that, or if it caused it! We'll see at PE. There were no issues with my front suspension, so it could be my front shocks as well. So basically I'm heading to PE with a car thats gonna shake the living crap outa me under braking yet again. I really hope I don't lose too much time for this again, I already lose too much with the tyres.

Hey! I finally got a new rear shock, yay! That's one cool upgrade at least hehe.

PE will be a new circuit for me. It looks pretty decent, and I've heard good things from other drivers. Looks like it may not need 2nd gear, wouldn't that be awesome hahaha....I sooo hate that gear. I'm pretty keen on the weekend, and see what I can do under the very difficult circumstances. I feel that I'm slowly getting mentally prepared, I should get it peaked by Friday! I really have to concentrate on learning the track and being on the limit within 3 x 15min practice sessions, amidst sorting out the brake issues and setting up my rear shock. It's going to be difficult but I really want to continue my top5 finishes.

I shall keep pushing on in life, searching for sponsors (which is taking its toll), and concentrating on rocking the race weekend. Sigh, life is awesome ;)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Essence

I keep losing it, it seems. Until I realise I am off the path.

Getting caught up in life is so easy. Getting caught up in the difficulties of racing....there is no money. Thinking of the sacrifices made, priorities and what could be saved if you choose to not risk everything just for something like a set of new tyres, or a chance at improving the condition of the car. What's it all for anyway? Is it causing that much extra pressure, to deliver the expectations of family and friends in life whilst still trying to play a game?

It's my game. It's my sport. It's my escape. It's my dream and it's what makes me.

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible."

Get on with it, Zaahir.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Kyalami - 26/01/2008 - Round 1


I was amped, but it was quite disappointing. I was struggling with the brakes all weekend, it seemed something had gone amiss in my front suspension after eliminating several possibilities and wasted practice sessions.

These cars are violent under braking, usually if you brake too hard, the wheels start vibrating and shake the entire front end of the car like you have to ease on the brakes a bit at first. Mine started to vibrate like it wanted to kill me, no matter how I braked. Seriously, on some corners it would be so bad that my hands would be thrown off the steering wheel and my knees were bruised from being bashed around the was basically undriveable. I was 2 seconds a lap slower than I had been the last time I visited Kyalami. How lame. At least the gearbox was fine...

Played around so much with the setup to try get rid of the vibrating wheels that I hardly had time to work on my racing lines and such. I qualified a hopeless 8th, with a laptime slower than when I first visited the circuit. We changed some things for the race, and I had to somehow nurse the brakes and race against other drivers...was so cool!! I had epic battles, crazy fast and violent too. I didn't really care how slow I was going in the end...I should have had 7th in the 1st race, but I was penalised and pushed back to 9th - there was a safety car period during the race, and James Leach had overtaken me as the yellow flags were out. He waved me passed, and I took back my position...which I was not supposed to do. So I got a penalty, yay. The 2nd race was legendary, I fought my ass off till the very last corner of the race, it was really tricky to drive like that but it came off okay. I ended up looks like some of the slower guys gained a miraculous 2 seconds a lap with the new tyre compound...I really need money badly!

I definitely gained time by trying a few different lines, and a better strategy while dueling with other drivers. Even though I was 2 seconds a lap slower than I achieved last year. Next race is in Port Elizabeth, I hope I find sponsors in time so I can make that race and try apply things I am still learning from simracing. I also really need a video camera on my car to capture the insane battles I am having basically every race!! hehehe :)

Edit: Looks like I got 5th in the 2nd race....someone jump-started!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kyalami Preparation

What have I been doing wrong in 2007? Basically everything, it's been a shocker and I'm ashamed to admit it.

With these low powered cars, concentrating on exit speed is KEY. KEY KEYKEYKEYKEYKEYKEYKEYKEYKEYKEKYKEYKEY

I followed an ex-champion around the track in the final session of the year, and I wanted to vomit. I haven't been using all of the track. Sounds daft, but there's always more, even use the damn grass sometimes if need be. The killer instinct is not there....and trust me I'm pissed off.

I've loaded up the Beetle mod in rFactor for's okay. Bounces a lot, but the gearing is almost perfect when set to the shortest diff ratio. I've learned a lot by driving this thing for a few laps...and possibly where to change down to 2nd gear where I'm using 3rd on the real track. Also I've been using my right foot to brake, in some places where I don't change down a gear and use the clutch I'm going to use my left foot to brake....which is difficult in a real car, the sensitivity of the left foot is usually non-existent, after mashing it all the time on the clutch pedal. But the extra tenth gained will be crucial.

I reviewed my laps on MoTeC, and the 1st thing I noticed was that my pedal hasn't been pushing 100% throttle for the past week or so since I last checked it. Nice. The main things I could see was definitely brake earlier and set yourself for the corner apex, and get on the throttle ASAP, slide if need be, it's better than overdoing the entry. Again, a simple concept. But its really accentuated at a lower speed, and you can see it like night and day in MoTeC. The concept is easy to abuse when you're on track, you don't notice it at all. I really need to have my receptors out and about good and proper this weekend to pick up any screwups I'm's just so easy to do, I have to consciously remind myself every corner I think. EVERY corner because I am SO ANGRY. I know it sounds simple, but if you're a simracer, actively try and do this from now on and you'll find more time guaranteeeeed.

I'll see how it goes, have to make the best of a not-so-good situation. I'll aim for top6 and top5 as a miracle. I don't like being 2sec off the pace as I was last year at Kyalami, I have to change something drastically, and always try even though I may end up slower.

Bye and see you on the other side.

My strict ritual before every race - Listening to music alone

We all have our own way to focus before every race. If you see me with earphones on sometime before a race, please leave me the f#%k alone.

I have different songs for different moods....I play the 1st few songs usually, though.

Queen - We Will Rock You
Dr Stephen Baysted - GTR_Monza_Grazie (from GTR2)
Booker T & the MG's - Green Onions

Muse - Piano Thing
Rob D - Clubbed to Death

...and currently on the top of my list as a change for 2008, thrashy death metal. I'm in quite a mood to kill, destroy, eat alive, and such:

Opeth - Advent
Opeth - In Mist She Was Standing
Non-Human Level - Instincts <---- OOHHH yes, bring me success oh beautiful beast of a song.

Season 2008

Hello there.

I haven't realised the amount of people that read this blog, and I haven't really had the time to update it. Apologies. I'll try keep this going every race, and as brief as I can! (hehe)

I finished my 1st season in racing on quite a high....getting competitive, knocking on top5 for quite a while...just wished I had sponsors to get things constantly repaired :P I finished the 2007 Formula Vee Championship in 7th place out of 26 point scorers....yay. They awarded me with Rookie of the Year which was real nice....

This year I'm in desperate need of sponsors. Lotto have stopped the sponsoring of development drivers in Formula Vee, so I'm on a serious search. One would have thought that being non-white, and achieving Rookie of the Year in a first ever season of racing would get some interest....I've had NONE after some very intensive proposal planning and preparation. Which kind'a sucks, as I'd need serious backing to make every one of the 10 proposed races on the calendar. Pray for me....or even better, if you know someone REMOTELY interested, let me know and I'll be on them like a hound....well, as much as my time allows me. No such thing as giving up a dream.

Leaving for Kyalami tomorrow morning....I am extremely focused. I was embarrassed in the last Kyalami race in 2007, when it had occurred to me how pathetic my racing lines were. What exactly was I doing all year? USELESS AND PATHETIC. There is no excuse for being a dumbass, especially since I thought I learned the trade in simracing.

Not quite.

I'm on a real drive to push harder, even though I really did push my arse off last year....I am keen to pick up on things, but also ready for any disappointment that would possibly (and probably?) result from the weekend. No money, old tyres, dodge seatbelts and a damn gearbox which I hope has miraculously fixed itself. I'll see. Time to polish my helmet...