As mentioned in a previous post, HICOM POTENZA had an entry in the Open Season 2WD category and I was given the opportunity to drive the AeroRace in MegaLAP Round 1.
I did my first explatory laps on the 4th of February, and that was simply a taste for things to come. This was my first proper drive in the Aerorace, in competitive surroundings, so the driving will have to be much more intense.
Driving the Westfield takes a bit of learning. Unlike modern saloon car, or saloon race car, the AeroRace has more similarities to a kart than a car. The more direct steering, short suspension travel and exposure to the elements being the main things.
Finding the limits on a new race car is always a case of experimentation. The racing lines are similar to any Rear Wheel Drive car, but with the lighter weight, braking points are much later. And the corner speeds are pretty high as well as indicated by the GPS-Speedometer. Straighline speeds however is a different story, as aerodynamics come into play.
Weighing 600kg and with 170BHP (claimed) should mean MSS Super 16 beating times. Acceleration in 2nd and 3rd gear is ballistic, only in 4th the acceleration tails off. This was due to gearing and old school aerodynamics, or lack of. And at only 170+km/h on the long straights it’s somewhat dissappointing and SIC’s 2 long straights dictate that top speed is crucial to low lap times.
A non functioning RPM Display & Shift Light made gear shifts a “hit and miss” chore. And the ratios aren’t entirely perfect for SIC. Corners that can be taken in 4th gear in most cars, needs 3rd in the Aerorace, to keep the engine on the boil. And in some cases, some corners are neither 3rd , which can be too low, and 4th which was too high.
FA Racing,the premier Chassis Set Up experts, was also roped in to set up the car’s suspension. However due to limitation on parts, The Man, Faidzil Alang, could only tweak the geometry.
My laps in Practice, clocking 2 40′s, was when we discovered the gear ratios was not perfect, but that was only part of the problem. The digital dash wasn’t functioning, and with it the camera & datalogger. So it was based on good ol’ driver feedback to fine tune what we could for the Time Runs. Faidzil noted the SG compound R888s weren’t getting up to temps as fast as it should. So more laps in the time runs was needed. Also suspension upgrade will be needed to work the tires harder.
As luck would have it, the heavens opened right at the start of my Time Session 1, . And I was driving on Toyo R888s that was 50% worn. Oversteer meets Understeer, leading to many moments in my 5 laps. 3’ 08 being my Wet best. And no I didn’t get really wet, only my helmet and shoulders had to bear the brunt of the rain.
Thankfully the rain had stopped and the circuit was relatively dry, with some damp patches. I was told to do 4 Flying Laps in succession. Duly did so, a best of 2′ 37 on my first flyer. And a Top Speed of 174 km/h was attained just prior to Turn 15. Continued for a further 4 flying laps, unable to improve my time. Came in with 10 mins to go ( or so I thought) and Faidzil re set tire pressure to gain some grips. On my Out Lap, the session was over before I could complete a flying lap.
So we finished 3rd in Open Season 2WD. 1st was The Sparks Slivia S15 driven by Akina and 2nd was Desmond of N1 Racing in his Civic Type R.