2015 Motorsport at the Palace

Motorsport at the Palace is one of the best events of the year.  Set in the gardens that once occupied a race track, the venue is picturesque, whilst the atmosphere is laid back and friendly.  The Mygale was sadly over capacity for the event, which is limited to 1600cc (1142cc for forced induction).  Luckily, the organisers were happy to ask the MSA for leniency so I could run in the invitation class.  I was fastest for much of the weekend, but was pipped to the fastest time of the weekend by David Seaton, who managed to go 0.07 faster than my best of 34.02.  Here's how that 34.02 went...

The data is split into three graphs; engine speed (red)/wheel speed (green)/gear (blue), throttle position (blue)/steering position (green)/brake pedal pressure (purple) and lat(green)/long(blue) G.  Off the line, revs held pretty high and also pretty constant.  Longitudinal G was a paltry 0.7 or so thanks to the low grip surface of the pathway.  Half throttle became full throttle and a subsequent increase in engine speed is accompanied with a reduction in acceleration.  The rear wheels gained traction at about 47mph, moments after second gear was selected.

Motorsport at the Palace Data Start>Chicane

Heading into the corner, brake pedal pressure varies, suggesting I'm stabbing at the brakes after turn in.  Whether this is altering the attitude or direction of the car, I'm not sure!  Lateral G peaks at around 1.2G.  Immediately after releasing the brakes, I'm back on the throttle, which is too early, as can be seen by the rise in revs, the maintaining of the steering angle and the subsequent rapid removal of steering angle accompanied by a release of the throttle.  Second time lucky on the throttle, a small amount of wheelspin continues until third gear is selected.

The right hander that follows is fast and narrow.  It's pretty daunting, which is why I lifted slightly on the way in, taking the apex at about 60mph and about 1.5G.  The lift is matched by a slight wobble in the engine speed, suggesting the rear end was a little mobile on the way in.

Into Big Tree Hairpin, I took two stabs of the brakes, dropping into 2nd gear at the same time.  The car decelerated at about 1.1g, suggesting I was tentative on the brakes, although the change in surface in the braking zone muddies the water.  The steering trace shows a small jink left to use all the track before turning into the corner.

Mid-corner was around 1.4G and an early application of throttle (spotting a trend?) wasn't met by opposite lock, although some wheelspin occurred.  I went in too slowly.  The second application of throttle caused a little wheelspin and some opposite lock before I selected 3rd then 4th down the straight.

Motorsport at the Palace Data Chicane to Finish

Moving onto the second image at the marker, I'm already on the brakes, having reached 73mph on the straight.  Down two gears into 2nd and brake pedal pressure is again variable with deceleration at just 0.75G.  There is a rise here and poor surface, but I'm clearly not braking late enough.  Note that the G traces both have an average filter applied and this is why longitudinal G does not vary with brake pedal pressure.

The first apex is off-camber with a poor surface, leading to just 1G lateral.  Again a stab of the throttle leads to a little wheelspin, but in this case just fires me to the second apex, where the throttle is pinned, leading to lots of wheelspin and opposite lock until I grab 3rd gear.  I reach 68mph before braking into the fearsome North Tower Bend.  Again, there's scope to brake harder.  After the first apex, throttle is picked up and lateral G remains at 1.1-1.2G all the way to the finish on the slippery surface with speed varying to match corner radius.

Two stabs of the throttle are taken just before the finish, which result in a big slide, as shown by the steering trace.  Ironically, I pressed the brakes harder after the finish than I did on the way into North Tower Bend!

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