2 days, 2 cars, 2 breakages 0 race starts. Enthusiastically I packed up the Nissan 350z on to the trailer without the expert guidance of my motorsport mentor Andre. And again solo I headed to the track to compete in my first competitive circuit event. The Round 1 of 3 in the Highlands Sprint Series.
Day one consisted of 5 practice sessions. All was going well until deep into the last session I noticed the brake pedal completely go away, and soon after, smoke started appearing from the front right wheel. I exited the track as soon as I could and parked up in the pits. Brake fluid was still leaking from the caliper and a small but smokey fire was burning fuelled by a rubber dust boot. A quick blast of the fire extinguisher got the fire under control, however my day was done and the prospects weren't looking good for tomorrows race. I packed the 350z up and headed back to HPA Labs.
On further inspection later in the week Andre found I had run out of brake pads and just kept going. The brake piston essentially welding itself to the remains of the pad. For those of you who don't know, I'm just getting into motorsport. I've always been around it, but never in the drivers seat. Lets chalk that up to a lesson: Check your brake pads before hitting the track.
Undeterred I picked up the Toyota 86 and headed back to the track the very next morning and changed my entry to the dual car sprints class to suit the 86s street car spec.
During the second lap of the first qualifying session while entering the hairpin the right front wheel locked up, smashing against the guard and just like that, my day was over. It turned out the roll centre adjuster on the front right of the 86 failed under braking. It was pretty lucky that I was only on my second lap, as if I was at race pace this wouldn't have ended well.
Safe to say this has been the least cost effective way to remove the old wrap.
Andre has worked hard to get both cars back to race ready condition - For the 350z a new set of brake pads, rotors, and a reconditioned caliper. For the Toyota 86 a new Nitto NT01, new front guard and the complete removal of the custom roll centre adjusters.
The next race in the series is in a couple of weeks. Fingers crossed for better luck then.
The Toyota 86 in the pits with damaged guard.
Highlands rescue crew.