First rally of the season!!!! Excited to be getting back into the car after 4 1/2 months off. Missed the smell of race gas, the adrenaline rush, the camaraderie of our crew & fellow competitors.....oh and my race seat! I LOVE my race seat......
So it's the Shannonville Stages Rally today. Close to Belleville, Ontario, SSR is the 2nd round in the Ontario Performance Rally Championship. The only OPRC event on the 2 Brits calendar this year unfortunately but I think the others will make up for that!
SSR is a tarmac event held at Shannonville Motorsport Park. Although just to keep it interesting they throw in a short gravel & dirt section to check you are still paying attention. As we tend to predominantly race on gravel the car had to go through a couple of alterations in order to handle the tarmac better.
So to start off with let's talk brakes.
When we rally on gravel we run Subaru Group N four pot calipers (on the front) with Ferodo DS3000 pads. Tire manufacturers only produce 15" tires for gravel and therefore in order for the wheels to clear the calipers we are limited to the size of brakes we can use.
For tarmac we are able to obtain 17" (& greater) tires, therefore larger rims & bigger brakes. We choose to run 17" tires as opposed to 18" as it gives a little more movement in the sidewall & a slightly more progressive breakaway, suiting Nick's driving style a little better.
This enables us to fit Brembo calipers and larger Ferodo DS3000 pads, giving us a larger braking area and therefore more stopping power! We also fitted slotted rotors to improve breaking.
Next up: Suspension
Using the same DMS suspension that we use for gravel we just lowered it and altered the settings. We left the gravel springs on which you wouldn't normally do for track racing but mindful of the jumps & rougher surfaces of our other 2 tarmac events this year we need more ride flexibility.
As well as altering the settings the whole suspension was removed, cleaned & serviced.
Rebuilt the steering rack
With a number of years under its belt the steering rack started to have a little bit of play in it. Not a huge issue on gravel but on tarmac where you need a little more precision we decided to have it rebuilt.
The rest of the checks & improvements were either fixing issues we had from Tall Pines or our regular routine bolt check.
One issue we found at Pines was that the car was jumping out of 3rd gear. We found the gear linkage was too close to the bodywork and not letting it engage fully. Modifications were made to the linkage & hopefully that has sorted out that problem.
During the bolt check we also found we had sheared a cross member bolt, so that was replaced along with fluids and a wiper blade that may or may not have been taken at some point over the winter for my car......
Once this was all complete, all that was left was an alignment and a good cleaning! With taking the steering rack out and adjusting it the alignment is necessary to ensure the wheels are sitting how they should and that the steering wheel is centred.
Now we are ready to go rallying!!!
The aim of the event for us today, along with having a ton of fun as usual, is to get a feel for the set up of the car & test our new tires!
Along with our regular Michelin Pilot Cup tires we have brought with us a set of DMack DMT-RC T7, basically a medium compound tarmac tire.
As well as the dry tarmac tire we also picked up a set of wets, the DMack DMT-RC W2. Which we hopefully won't have to try today but will more than likely need for Scotland in October!!
Once we have gotten a feel for the DMacks we will switch back to the Michelins to finish the day, as don't want to waste them before we get to put them to the test out on a closed road rally stage!!
Good news - temp is above freezing, very few clouds in the sky, and Nick made it up from Ohio as he's currently tucked in behind us on the highway!
Let's go racing!!!!