Craig Taylor give us an insight into his weekend at the Three Sisters Race Circuit for Round 2 of the 2018 HEL Performance Driftcup.
With the car running absolutely superbly at round 1 no changes were needed to the car in preparation for round 2 of drift cup, after a service, wheel alignment and bolt check we set off Friday morning heading for three sisters!
With the car ready to rock we headed out on track taking it nice and easy having never driven this circuit before, most of the morning was spent getting use to the track layout and trying to dial in the qualifying line, the track made for a top of second gear entry with an upshift to third 3/4 of the way round the track. Now we had gotten use to the layout we decided to dial in a little bit more grip into the car, thanks to the Westlake Tyres this wasn’t a problem at all.
After a few back to back runs I felt a hesitation/misfire half way round the track causing me to straighten, I suspected it was a boost/fuel cut and headed back to the pits to investigate it further, after pulling a data log from the ECU no fault codes had flashed up and couldn’t seem to find the problem we headed back out on track, to which the hesitation/cut was still there.
Stewart of TFS Racing decided to disconnect the boost and run wastegate pressure in case there was a problem with the wastegate spiking and causing the cut, heading back out on track to see if we had solved the issue I put in a few laps without any hesitation/cut. We had finally found the problem and was able to make a temporary fix track side to get us through the weekend.
As we entered the afternoon, after one of my runs the gear stick felt floppy and loose, floating around the gearbox as if it wasn’t connected, I headed straight back to the pits and removed the gear selector to find as expected the gear selector bush had cracked and fallen off the selector causing excessive play within the shifter making it difficult to select gear. After trying to source another selector we had no luck as the shifter bush was a different size and didn’t fit our gearbox, we decided we had to run it as it was meaning gear selection was now very difficult and we’re unable to upshift around the track so I had to leave it in second for the rest of the weekend, which didn’t suit the gearing of the car and ended up running the limiter for the last 1/4 of the track.
After overcoming these slight issues Sunday was now upon us – weather was dry again and the sun was shining making for a beautiful day – the morning practice went very quickly and before we knew it we were lining up for qualifying.
My first qualifying run was up, it was a very scrappy run I messed up my initiation which made me miss clip 2 and I dropped a wheel on clip 5 giving me a score of 49.3 I knew that wouldn’t be enough to get me into the top 32 and re-watched some video footage so I could correct my mistakes.
Second qualifying run was now up, I went for a smoother initiation which helped me get out onto clip 2, although I was still a little bit shallow on that clip and also slightly shallow again on clip 5 as I was running out of RPM/speed on that run, managed to put in a run of 63 putting me into 15th position!! Very happy with that result.
Jumping straight into the top 32 battles I was up against Luke Conte in his 1JZ S14. Being the higher qualifier I was to lead first. I dropped a wheel on clip 2 with the rest of the run being OK.
Now for my chase run, I straightened up between clip 3 and 4. Being that both my runs were very scrappy I thought I had thrown the battle away, lining up for the results to my surprise the battle went one more time!
For my top 16 battle I was against Jamie Stevens in his 600bhp S14 and the heavens had opened, it started to rain quite a bit and with a fresh set of tyres on I decided to drop the tyre pressures to try and compensate for the suspected lack of grip now out on track. Having never driven this track in the wet I had no wet setup dialled and made the adjustments based on previous set up used at other venues.
My battle was finally upon us, being new tyres I needed to try and get some heat into them, initiated a burnout when I heard a loud bang, no drive, suspected a snapped driveshaft I asked to call a 5 minute rule and awaited recovery to tow me back to the pits where Stewart was awaiting and ready to swap a shaft out. But to my surprise by the time I had gotten back to my pit the nearside rear wheel was now basically hanging off, great not just a driveshaft then.
Once we got it in the air with the wheel and brake caliper off we found I had snapped the driveshaft at the spline of the outer CV inside the hub, causing the wheel bearing to explode and the hub too fall apart, that was the end of our weekend.
Stewart managed to reassemble the hub with a spare driveshaft enough to load the car onto the trailer when we realised I also snapped the offside drive shaft as well. Unfortunately I had overestimated the lack of grip on track after the rain causing the breakage. Absolutely gutted I was unable to complete my battle and potentially progress into the top 8. We finished the weekend in 13th position which we are happy with considering the circumstances.
A huge thank you goes out too Garage-D, Fusion Motorsport, AutoExtreme, TFS Racing, Yam, Will, Anthony and my Family this weekend wouldn’t have been possible without you all.