Class F Qualifying 1st | Class F Race 1st
Overall Qualifying 14th | Overall Race 16th
As the Mazda MX-5 production spans from 1989 onwards, our MX-5 is also able to qualify for the CSCC Future Classics series in addition to the CSCC Modern Classics which we’ve been competing in for most of the year. The difference between the two series is simply the year – Future Classics caters for 70’s and 80’s whilst Modern Classics covers the 90’s.
Because of this we were able to add Oulton Park to our calendar this year as it was a round which didn’t ordinarily feature on the Modern Classics calendar. This would mean that we were up against a completely different grid of cars which we hadn’t encountered before. The cars were slightly older which would probably be in our favour compared to when we compete against cars from the 90’s in the Modern Classics series.
I went out first in qualifying out of me and Rhys and quickly a set a benchmark time which Rhys wasn’t able to quite match in the second half of the session. Neither of us had been to Oulton Park for a while so we both felt like we were learning the track again. We spent some time going through the data afterwards bearing in mind how identical our times were at Donington previously. We both identified areas for improvement in each other’s lap. For me it was the corners immediately before and after the Shell Oils hairpin.
Like the previous race, Rhys would do the opening stint which featured a standing start this time. He creamed the rear tyres off the line a bit but managed to make back the time into the first corner. We hadn’t launched the Mazda before in a race start so it was a bit of guess work. We felt that a standing start suits the Mazda if it hooks up right compared to the standing starts where other cars with a power advantage can pull a gap.
What becomes immediately clear in the video by the constant checks of the handbrake is that Rhys felt the car wasn’t running right. The lap times suggested this too as his quickest lap was over a second slower than what we’d done in qualifying. He bought the car in after spending a few laps behind a group of cars which he wasn’t able to clear. Our pit stop was quick however – very quick. At 40 seconds it was the second fastest in that race and gained us a huge amount of time over competitors who were typically in the 50 – 55 second region. Gaining time in the pit stop was fast becoming our advantage!
When I took the wheel it was clear the car wasn’t right though. It felt very slow and sounded pretty terrible like it had dropped a cylinder. I wanted to bring it home though and so we kept going on the basis that it seemed to be getting gradually worse and all the dials suggested it wasn’t anything too severe. In the final few laps we were over 8 seconds a lap slower than the qualifying time and so it was hugely frustrating. We still finished 16th and very nearly held onto 15th.
The problem turned out to be a duff set of fuel injectors which had slowly failed. These were brand new with the throttle body conversion, and after calling Blink Motorsport after the event they took things up with the supplier. They tested all four injectors on their test rig and found they all had spray pattern issues. They quickly issued me with a replacement set free of charge for which I was very grateful – thank you Richard and Fraser!
Next round is at Brands Hatch where hopefully the car will be back on top form