The CSCC (and a few others) selective calendar is as follows - Blue is a CSCC event we intend to do and bold means the day that we will be racing.
|2017 Race & other dates and results|
|#||Date||Venue / Event||
Club & Series
|Car||Result o/a||Class result||Weather/comment||Best lap & results|
|25 -26 Feb||NAC Stoneleigh, Warks||Race Retro Show||n/a||n/a|
|Snetterton 300||CSCC Test Day||Tuscan||n/a||n/a|
|1||1 2 April||Snetterton 300||
|Warm and dry||CK Results|
|2||22 23 April||Thruxton||
CSCC Classic K
|Warm and dry||SS Results|
|3||27 28 May||Silverstone International||
CSCC Classic K
|Warm and dry||
|4||22 - 25 June||Spa Francorchamps Summer Classic||
Spa 3 Hours?
|n/a||Hot and dry
Very wet & warm
|5||10 Sept||Brands Hatch GP||CSCC Classic K||Grantura||15th||2nd||Wet race / Garages||SS Results|
CSCC Swinging Sixties Class structure for 2017
Class D - All 6 cylinder cars up to 3000cc (Triumph GT6)
New helmet for 2017 with super-special paint job
A most excellent start to the 2017 meeting with two strong results in the Wolfitt Racing TVRs. There is a lot to be said for being there at the end and whilst we did benefit from a few failures elsewhere in the race we were happy with the way the cars behaved.
We undertook quite a lot of work on the Tuscan over the winter following the impact with the Mini in the last race of 2016 but also took the opportunity to do a strip-inspect rebuild on the final drive unit. All the bolts that attach the drive shafts to the diff flanges were working loose so it's something we'll need to keep a close eye on from now on.
The Grantura had a wipe down with an oily rag and a final drive ratio change (Angouleme had been the last time out) to the normal UK one.
Dave at speed in the mighty V8 Tuscan Photo: Howard Wolfe
The Classic K race was first race of the day and the cars were scrutineered in the garages (ace because the scrut' did the Tuscan while he was there which saved a chunk of time!) but I had to shell out £2.50 to have the new 13 ball helmet checked out by the MSA chaps. I've not had a custom painted helmet for ages so decided to get it done after meeting a very talented artist chappy at Race Retro earlier in the year.
Fabulous weather and the Grantura was great too, we qualified 14th which was pretty much as expected, but gridded 13th due to a retirement; Dave took the start and got us up to 10th (I think) before a safety car at 25 minutes; Dave jumped into the pits in the hope of us making up places but it wasn't to be. I went back out in 14th place after being held at the pit lane exit for a full lap. I then drove as quickly as I dared to reel in a number of cars and with just three laps to go the 10th placed MGB was way ahead and just in view. By the final lap I had caught him and sneaked by at the first hairpin when he ran too wide, to bring us another top ten finish and 2nd in class. Dave was delighted and it was two seconds a lap quicker than we had ever driven the car round the Snetterton 300 circuit.
Dave in the Grantura early in the Classic K race
The Swinging Sixties racewas only an hour and a bit later but Jared and Roger had got the Tuscan ready with time to spare. Another rolling start from 4th on the grid (behind Ginetta G4, Lotus Elan and Triumph TR5) and I was just in the lead by the first corner, only to be third again by the hairpin. That flippin' Ginetta on pole is awesome and way quicker than the Lotus Elans. After a lap or so Ray Barrow got by in his Camaro but I'd manage to catch and pass Mark Campbell's TR5 so back to 4th again. Unfortunately for Ray however something let go in the Camaro and he retired in a big cloud of smoke after only about 10 minutes of the race. I could not keep up with the leading pair and was pulling away slowly from the TR5 but aware that the pit stops can upset the order very easily.
The two leaders came in to pit and I had just one lap in the lead before handing over Dave. It wasn't our slickest ever stop but Dave was just in 3rd as he rejoined but could not keep up with Campbell's pace in the pale blue TR5. The race was really strung out and other than some lapping of slower cars Dave had a pretty dull race but we finished in 4th overall and, because of Ray's car failing, 1st in class G. During his stint, Dave heard a horrendous noise from the bottom of the car and though something had fallen off; it had. The starter motor had separated and the drive gear had dropped out leaving the actual motor sitting on the exhaust system suspended on the wiring!
A nice haul of trophies for round 1 of the CSCC's 2017 calendar.
On our return to the Wolfitt Lair we discovered that the starter motor had detached from the Tuscan during Dave's stint but it'll be sorted well before Thruxton!
Snetterton 300 circuit from the air - big crowd so probably Touring Cars or Superbikes
Nothing for years then two meetings inside one year at Thruxton! Well done the CSCC for being able to fill two full days at the Wiltshire track that is the fastest (average lap speed) track in the UK and the only one that has never changed its configuration. It's basically a sequence of fast corners so is a real tyre killer and is really hard work to drive fast.
Both cars again and a good complement of crew; Howard and Natasha (with bf Ben) joining us for the second time this year as well as Stack, Jared and Lisa. Noreen did a superb Sunday lunch on Saturday evening in the garden room (i.e. the easy-up) and we were joined by Ian Everett and his support manager, Vince. A jolly good evening and all terribly civilised.
2017 Thruxton dining arrangements
Classic K practice was ace. We have made a few relatively minor tweaks to the Grantura and wow, what a difference! we were a couple of seconds a lap quicker than last year and although still slower than the similar Ward/Bull Grantura were very happy with our lap times and grid position. I did actually run out of fuel on my final qualifying lap (zero fuel pressure) but by backing off had just enough to get back to the paddock.
The race wasn't so good however; the cylinder head gasket let go towards the end of Dave's 30 minute stint and we were out. An annoying DNF which really won't help our chances for the year end class result.
By contrast the Swinging Sixties practice was truly awful. The Tuscan was handling like a slippery pig on a skate, sliding all over the place and having no traction out of corners. It was horrible. At one stage we were down in 16th place but dragged ourselves up to 13th by the end. We were gridded in 12th place after one faster car dropped out. This round was a combined Group 1 and Group 2 so we were well down into the faster Group 2 cars with cars which should have been much slower, ahead on the grid.
Investigations back in the paddock had revealed a couple of problems which the team quickly sorted out but with no opportunity to test if that would help.
Come the race it was immediately clear that the problem was resolved! The car was instantly awesome again and I was able to overtake about 8 cars by the first corner. See the video on YouTube for the in car view.
The race was very exciting for the next 20 minutes and I managed to get into the lead by the pit stops despite a very close shave when lapping John Davies' Triumph Vitesse (click here for video of that) after just a few laps. I had a superb race for the lead with the Neil Merry Chevrolet Corvette which has phenomenal pick up from the corners and I only got past him at the end of my stint. I handed over a properly quick TVR to Dave and hoped that Ray Barrow (the real threat) could be kept at bay.
Most of the way through Dave's stint and just two laps from the flag and after he and Ray had swapped lead position a few times (and Ray had managed to give Dave a bit of a sideways nerf) the red flags came out. Ray won on count-back and we were in second place. Really brilliant given where we started and we are sure an outright win will come soon especially as I was able to claim fastest lap of the race for first time in about ten years!
Swinging Sixties race start...https://youtu.be/lUIcms9TVQo
Full Swinging sixties race...https://youtu.be/8KxOTiw1zOk
The not-so-mighty Tuscan in qualifying at Thruxton when the handling was evil! Photo: Howard Wolfe
Our first ever time on this, the southern end of the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit; as well as the really great new pits complex it has a load of track we don't normally get to use with CSCC events. The only surprise was the appalling bumps as the circuit transitions across from The Loop to the start of the Hangar Straight.
Both TVRs again and with yet another head gasket in the Grantura and they were both excellent in the practice sessions. The changes we made to the Grantura a few months back have really helped the cars driveability and made it much more comfortable to drive quickly.
Jared doing pre-practice tyre pressure changes when it became clear that there would be no rain
Swinging Sixties was good but not quite as fast in practice as expected with a 4th place on the grid. It's thumpingly fast down the straight bits but we really do need to get it better through the corners; trouble is we're running out of things to try! I took the race start and had another awesome one; I managed to get into the lead by the exit of turn 1 and started pulling out a gap before the safety car came out and backed us all up again after the Plant Morgan Plus 8 pushed Ray Barrow's Camaro into the gravel at the start of the pit straight. Quite a few people took tactically well-timed pit stops at the end of the safety car period which really didn't help us much although I managed to stay out front for a while longer and came in to pit at about 23 minutes. Dave's stint was not quite so straightforward and he dropped back a place before having a big off at Farm Curve which put him on the grass. He rejoined the track at Village but ran over the big kerbs on the inside of the corner at about 60mph which launched the car into the air and rather rearranged the steering and front suspension on landing. He carried on but was a bit off the pace and finally finished in a creditable 2nd in class and 5th place overall with rather wayward handling.
The Tuscan took a bit of a battering on its airborne excursion and it was quite a bit of work to get the exhaust straightened and un-flattened, the front suspension mounts straightened (again) and the anti-roll bar mounts corrected. All looking OK for Spa however. Even the engine had shifted on its mounts....
Dave's off-track excursion...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwOek9zc100
Entire in-car Swinging Sixties race...https://youtu.be/eaq3mATFQMc
The Grantura was ace in practice but overheated and blew its head gasket again in the first half race. I took over at 30 minutes and pretty much stroked it home very carefully to get a class with but about 12th overall. It was bitter sweet to get two more pots for the shelving but with two damaged cars.
Post event, the Tuscan was on the ramp for 3 weeks being straightened and the engine was out of the Grantura following the discovery of cracks in the block around the head stud holes. It's just a bastard this engine.
Another nice pair of Miss Personality trophies for the cabinet
What could have been so great was truly dreadful. In race 1, whilst we finished 4th on the track we were subsequently disqualified and demoted to the back of the grid for race 2, in which I had a minor spin that resulted in the car being badly damaged by another car that thumped into it whilst equally out of control.
The trip over to Spa was a total nightmare; we left earlier than expected on Wednesday afternoon and immediately got stuck in a two hour delay on the M25 which lost us all our earliness; that was irrelevant however because there were massive delays at the Folkestone Eurotunnel terminal so we didn't even get to France until around 1:30 in the morning. Jared stayed up front with me (Stack and Dave slept) while we drove through to Spa arriving around 6:30am. By 8:30 we were all set up, signed on and were 2nd car through scrutineering! This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the queue built up to over three hours long by early afternoon after a number of scrutineers failed to show up...very frustrating for all concerned.
Jared, Richard, Dave, Stack and me just after race 1, Spa 2017
Friday practice went well and we qualified 5th on the grid from about 65 cars for race 1 (race 2 grid is determined from race 1 finishing positions). We had some pretty quick cars in front of us including the John Spiers' FIA spec TVR Griffith, the Plant & Plant Morgan, Ray Barrow's Camaro and Mark Campbell's Triumph TR5. I had a pretty poor start and lost a place by turn one although I regained it on the exit from Rivage under power up the Kemmel straight. It was about this point that I noticed the voltage was very low and soon after that the engine would not rev cleanly above about 6000rpm. I assumed the alternator had failed so was limited to those rpm for the duration and duly turned off everything not needed.
The car ran fine (if a bit slower than normally) and I handed over to Dave at 22 minutes and stressed to him not to use anything electrical!!! We were helped by a few laps of safety car and the disappearance of the Speirs TVR Griffith which elevated us to 4th overall; there was then a one lap sprint to the end once the safety car came in. Much later on (actually Sunday morning) we discovered that we had been disqualified from the results because of a relatively minor safety car infringement. Annoying but we got over it!
Sunday was heavy rain and we set the car up for monsoon conditions. I started in about 40th place on the grid; it was chaos and nobody really knew where to grid up given that about 15 cars had been excluded for other safety car infringements. In my view it was all caused by the safety car going too fast and people failing to keep up with the pack.
Anyway, in the race I had a good start and the car was really well sorted for the rain. I was up to about 10th place by lap four but then lost it on the stream of water running across the top of Radillon and spun down the grass. I could have easily rejoined but was hit by a spinning MG Midget which caused severe damage to the front right of the car. Game over.
The damage to the car is remarkably similar to last year's crash; it needs a new radiator, bonnet and steering rack and has got severely deranged wishbones and vertical link. Also the rear bodywork and lights were quite badly damaged as it was shoved into the retaining wall. It's going to take a long time to repair this time however because I have less spare time at the moment and we want to make some other improvements while it's apart. I think we'll be lucky to see it out again this season.
In-car video of the race 2 crash... https://youtu.be/fFMVBLodpHY
Some kind sole's video of the event....look at 6 minutes for my crash!...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjU0vhBIoYo
Good and bad; the Grantura was back on track after its engine failure earlier in the year and it was going very well; we managed to qualify well up the field in the dry. Alas the rain came for the race and whilst Dave drove well I was pretty hopeless in the damp conditions and only really got going when it started heavily raining; by then it was too late and we ended up way back in the overall field and second in class. We really needed a class win to come anywhere in the overall standings but at least the car was good and we brought it home unmarked.
That's it for 2017; not very good really with the Tuscan crash at Spa and the broken engine in the Grantura which cost us dear. As at October the Tuscan was still being repaired and we were doing all we could to get it (and the Grantura) fully ready and prepped for the first rounds of the 2018 CSCC series.
The mighty Tuscan V8 nearly back together again after the Spa 2017 crash (GT6 in background) Photo: J Wolfe