Spotlight on F1000 - Formula Tasman

At the last round we had two Speads RM11s which were only a little off the pace of the Formula 3 cars in our Formula Tasman "Lightning" Class for under 2L wings and slicks single-seaters.

So we thought it would be a good time to review the F1000s.

These attractive cars have composite chassis and high powered motor cycle engines.

A rear diffuser gives maximum ground effect down-force.

In Australia they are available from AP Racing who are the importer for Stohr and West Race Cars who import the Firmans.

AP Racing have a car in Australia for sale.

Adam Proctor
Mobile: 0417 240 908
Email: info@apracing.net.au
Web: http://www.apracing.net.au/car-sales/about-the-stohr-f1000

And West have a car available in Australia for lease.

Aaron Steer
Mobile: 0414 281 846
Email: asteer@westracecars.com.au
Web: http://www.westracecars.com.au/news/90-firman

Spotlight on Roadsters - RocketSports

A beautiful looking car, near 200 horsepower and sticky tires – what can be better?  Plus the thrill of a single seat racing car – no roof – it’s you against the world.  You can be racing in the iRace RocketSports category.

The Chilli Rowdster is not a Historic Car, it is a new car utilising a donor ’H’ series Holden to supply the motor, running gear and front & rear ends. The body is a widened 1962 ‘replica’ Indianapolis Watson Roadster.

The jig built ‘Formula Q’ chassis is a simple combination of a series of hoops connected by two main rails extending from the original front sub frame.  The standard HQ-HZ suspension components bolt straight on and is capable of taking any type of body shape and motor.  The basic Rowdster can be built for the sole purpose of track use or built up for road use as well by using mainly standard donor car parts.

The ‘Formula Q’ Chassis:  The basic chassis is jig built, has reassuringly large box section side members, roll-bar spec tubular cross member hoops and cleverly incorporates the HQ front sub frame and double wishbones for good geometry and the rear retains the live rear axle with four link trailing arms.  Despite the modest mechanical specification, at around 800kg it weighs a lot less than a HQ so the performance is rapid with good brakes, safe handling and of course reliability.

The ‘Chilli Rowdster’ Body:  The fibreglass body shell is based on the traditional late 50’s – early 60’s Watson Indy Roadster.  It is just over 200mm wider than the original Watson Roadsters to allow a cosy second seat.

The Race Car:  The car is the standard ‘Formula Q’ chassis, ‘Chilli Rowdster’ body but with a few ‘go fast’  and safety bits added.

The motor is either a 202 or 3.3 block with race spec internals running at around 12:1 compression and triple carbs which requies avgas or 98 Octane or higher for reliability reasons.  The gearbox is either the M21 4 speed or the Celica/Supra 5 speed running back to a LSD Banjo or Salisbury rear end. The rear brakes are upgraded to late model Commodore,  with adjustable bias valve placed in the cockpit.  The wheels are either 17 or 18 inch running 8 inch on the front and 11 inch on the rear wrapped in a full slick tyres.

The motor is a standard 202 bottom, with a HQ race cam and the head has had a little work. The gas system runs the Gas Research Carby on the bigger two barrel manifold.  The gearbox is a 3 speed M20 and runs back to a standard Banjo rear end.  The wheels are commonly available 14 or 15 inch and in keeping with the sporting intention, the vehicle is fitted out with a CAMS spec Roll Bar, harness and extinguisher.  There is currently an upgrade in progress to a late model Ecotec V6 motor from a VZ Commodore which includes the 6 speed manual transmission.

If you would like to try there are cars available for lease at http://rmmotorsport.com.au/

Racing suit technology

Let’s face it: motor racing remains one of the most dangerous sports even if the participants are mainly amateurs living their passion on the side.

But racing suits didn’t start with motor racing. At first, racing drivers were driving wearing their everyday life clothes (which were non-fireproofed, with limited abrasion and which could be potentially caught into parts of the car and yet hard to drag a driver out of the car in case of a crash).

The first ergonomic suits started to appear in the 1950's. Following numerous fatalities in fires, the first fireproofed models would appear in the 1960's. It would take another decade to see the first made-to-measure racing suits and another one to see breathable garments. All-in-all several decades were necessary to get innovated racing suits answering both safety and comfort needs.

Motor racing shouldn't be a threat to drivers but only a passion and as much as safety, comfort is essential. Thus, as active and passive safety exists for a car, it does so for the driver's equipment and especially for racing suits.

Passive safety:

Passive safety defines all the racing suit technical characteristics which will allow to ensure the driver's safety once a fire breaks out. Basically two notions are concerned: fireproofing and climbing out of the car.
Motor racing standards (FIA, SFI, etc…) enable to control these notions well. In a nutshell standards define the fire and heat resistance time limit within which a driver must climb out or be dragged out of the car.
The fiber used in the fabric of most fireproofed racing suits is aramid originally developed by DuPont de Nemours for occupations such as firemen or astronauts where fire risks were involved. This fiber is a real barrier against fire in various and more or less thin configurations depending on sewing processes.
Indeed, racing suits are not mere pieces of clothing. The air being the best insulator against fire, breathable or stretchable fabrics (allowing letting more air between protective layers and the driver)
are far more performing. Therefore two-layer suits made of specially studied fabric are better than three-layer suits made of "basic" fabric. The whole Stand 21 range of racing suits is FIA 8856-2000 and SFI 3.2A Level 5 homologated with only two layers instead of the three used by most of competitors.
Moreover, today's racing suits are one-piece suits and not two-pieces (as in the past) to prevent the flames to find holes and get to the body.
Standards also regulate customized elements. For instance, the FIA standard allows direct embroidery on the outside layer of the suit only because threads used for embroideries are
non-fireproofed and must never be in contact with the driver's skin; it would cause severe burns in case of a fire. This means sponsors embroideries can only be done while manufacturing the suit or by using badges with an ISO 15025A background and sewn with ISO 15025A thread.
However passive safety relies also on the ergonomic aspect of the suit regarding the driver’s dragging out of the car in case of a crash. The suit configuration must prevent any pieces of the suit to be caught on any cockpits elements. Shoulder straps are also necessary and compulsory (within the FIA 8856-2000 standard) for medical staff to pull a driver out of the car. With the HANS appearing, some shoulder straps had to evolve to be able to grab the driver even with this new system on.

Active safety:

As for cars, when we think safety, we think passive safety. We are wrong. The most important notion is actually active safety.
Indeed, if passive safety protects the driver in crashes, active safety prevents those same crashes from happening. That way we win on both sides: less physical damage and less mechanical damage.
It can be done through optimum comfort in the driver’s equipment.

A good racing suit will allow:

- A freedom of movement at key points and optimized by a made-to-measure cut and most of all a stretchable fabric. "Early on, our main care was to adapt the racing suit to the driver" Yves Morizot, Stand 21 chairman and creator, said. "That’s why, in the early 1980's, we entirely focused on developing a completely stretchable and breathable fabric we are still the only one to offer."
- A battle against heat stress which can lead to collapse while racing. The Heat Stress Program started by Stand 21 in 2004 (alongside with a scientific and medical team from around the world involved in various motor racing series), showed that inside a racing car, temperature could easily reach 70°C and humidity 60% whereas air flows were limited due to aerodynamics.

Furthermore, a driver can spend as many as 400 calories per hour which equals an hour of punching bag. If this same driver is wearing a racing suit not letting air or perspiration go through, it creates
heat storage within the suit and an accumulation of sweat on the skin surface. If the skin can no longer breathe, the body core temperature will rise.

Hyperthermia mixed with adrenaline (due to racing) increases driving errors dramatically and even leads to a crash. Meanwhile, heartbeats are intensifying. It is therefore easier to see that the financial difference between a regular suit and a perfectly adapted breathable racing suit is widely refunded due to optimum driving comfort and less damage whether physical and material.

But today besides safety and performance, promotion plays a big role. Indeed a driver whishes to have a good look and because teams must promote themselves and their sponsors, two customization options exist. "At Stand 21, the credo is to dress the racing driver made-to-measure and from head to toe to one’s colors. Stand 21 was the first manufacturer to offer made-to-measure racing suits with full customization." Chad Outz at Stand 21 Georgia said.

Thus, the racing driver, amateur or pro, has all the cards to create the perfect "wardrobe" (large choice of fabric colors, elaborated designs, tremendous embroideries, piping, quilting stitches, etc…)

In Vintage racing where a graphic chart (matching the driver’s  equipment to the colors and era of the car) is so important, it is essential to find the proper racing suit with both optimum safety and comfort. Yesterday’s look and tomorrow's technology are powerful allies.

Tony Dunn
Stand 21 Australia
Mobile: 0404 007 768
Fax: 02 9868 5899
Skype: tony.dunn.stand21
Web: http://www.stand21.com.au/
Email: tony@stand21.com.au

Formula 0™ - zero emissions racing cars

Motor racing has two primary purposes, the first is to show who is the quicker driver and the second is to drive the development of new technology which will eventually benefit the cars we drive on the road.

iRace announces that it has become a supporter of Formula 0 ™ which is the hub for zero emission racing cars.

Electric Formula Cars will be displaying one of their vehicles at the iRace round at Sydney Motorsport Park, so come along and say hello to them.

A tribute to Sir Jack Brabham

It was with sadness that we learned of the passing of Sir Jack Brabham and we extend our sincerest sympathies to his family.

So often the terms "star" or "legend" are bandied around loosely, but in Jack's case they were truely earned. He was the Formula 1 World Champion in 1959, 1960 and 1966. In partnership with his friend and fellow Aussie hero Ron Tauranac, he also won the Constructors Championship in a car bearing his own name. A feat that has never been repeated.

Jack is also responsible for lifting Australian motorsport at all levels, both by his direct actions and by being a living example of what can be achieved with grit and determination.

May you rest in peace Jack, you will be sorely missed and forever revered.

Why you need a HANS device

The HANS device (Head And Neck Support device) was designed by Dr. Robert Hubbard, a professor of biomechanical engineering at Michigan State University in the early eighties. He was motivated by the death of his motor racing friend Jim Downing. Like many other unfortunate drivers, Jim had died from head injuries after a collision.

The difficulty is caused when a driver’s body is restrained by belts, but the violent stop causes the head to keep moving and extending the neck. This can cause a Basilar skull fracture resulting in serious injury or immediate death. This is what killed Ayrton Senna in the 1994 San Marino Formula One Grand Prix.

A HANS device is attached to the body and has straps going to the helmet that help maintain the relative position of the head.

Motor racing is dangerous and as drivers we accept that, but it is better to do everything to mitigate those risks that are easily addressed and then feel confident to go hard on the track. We owe it not just to ourselves, but to our families and the marshalls that take care of us.

Two of the leading motorsport suppliers have been generous enough to provide significant discounts to iRace competitors to make the transition easier.

Stand 21

Stand 21 can supply iRace competitors with HANS & Helmet packages using Stand 21 Club Series HANS device and posts, along with R-Jays Snell SA2010 spec helmets, for a special price as noted below. Prices are inclusive of freight.

Full Face Daytona helmet, HANS, attachment posts & freight package:$850.

Rally Open Face helmet, HANS, attachment posts & freight package: $775.

Otherwise we can supply the Club Series HANS only for $599 plus postage, if a competitor already has an Snell SA spec helmet.

Tony Dunn
Stand 21 Australia
Mobile: 0404 007 768
Fax: 02 9868 5899
Skype: tony.dunn.stand21
Web: http://www.stand21.com.au/
Email: tony@stand21.com.au

Handicap Racing

At iRace we work hard to promote hard, fair racing. We want the drivers in our series to develop, and to gain the maximum benefit from racing with us. We've evolved a variety of different race formats, including rolling starts, reverse grid races, and perhaps the most beneficial of all, the handicap race format.

The handicap race format allows cars and drivers of all different speeds to race together, and for everyone to have a chance of winning. The basic concept is that the slowest cars start first, with faster cars released in groups at calculated time intervals. In Acuform Muscle Division and K-Mac Touring Car Challenge, we spend a lot of time trying to perfect the groupings, and the time delay. We work out the delay based on the average laptime for each group (taking the fastest time for each member of the group and then averaging from there), and such that the groups should all come together at around 80 percent race distance. This leaves the remaining 20 percent of the race for overtaking. For example in a 10 lap race, we'll try to get everyone to merge on lap 8, with laps 9 and 10 where all the action happens, and the final race result is decided. Occasionally things work out perfectly, and we'll have the whole field covered by 10 or 20 seconds as they greet the chequered flag.

How can drivers maximise their chance of winning? Consistency. If you are able to put in the same laptimes lap after lap, you'll give yourself the best chance of being at the front at the finish. Spin, make a mistake, or lose time on the odd lap trying to hard, and you'll struggle to either: a) hold onto the lead you have (if you started at the head of the field), or b) make up ground on the slower cars ahead. Consistency is the key.

Some other top tips include: try not to lose time being overtaken, the best option is to brake a little early and let a faster car by - this will lose you the least amount of time (unless it's the last lap and you have a chance of keeping the lead!), if you are chasing, be patient - it's tempting to go hell for leather trying to catch the cars you can see so far ahead, but try to pace yourself, drive your markers, and put in smooth consistent laps (pushing too hard risks making mistakes and losing time). If you are out front early, just put your head down and go, go, go.

When you get it right, and handicap race can be the most fun you'll ever have in a racecar. It offers racecraft, strategy, overtaking, being overtaken, and best of all, a thrilling finish.

We were able to put together the following video, showing the perspective of cars at either end of the field as they make their way through a handicap race. Enjoy!

The Art of Overtaking

Overtaking is a tricky business. It’s part of motorsport, and one of the most exciting aspects. With the diverse range of cars in the Independent Race Series we see even more overtaking than most other circuit racing.

Done poorly, overtaking can cause unnecessary delays for both cars, and in the worst case damage and DNFs (think Vettel and Webber at Turkey last year). Done properly, and with respect, overtaking can be safe, efficient and exciting (think Webber and Hamilton carving through the field at China this year).

The aim of any overtaking manoeuvre is for the overtaking car to safely pass the car in front, and for both cars to continue on. Our previous feature article looked at how to avoid contact in general, click here for a refresher. Building on that information, let's have a look at some of the complications of overtaking.

For the overtaker:

  • The car to be overtaken is in your sights for a long (relatively) period of time - your attention is out the front of your car, so you see the car ahead for a significant period of time. This can lead to a failure to appreciate that the car you are approaching does not have the same awareness of your presence as you do of his.
  • You may be behind the car for long enough to see a sense of his rhythm. If the car ahead deviates from the normal rhythm you have observed, you may misinterpret this as him either giving way to you, or a small lose that you can take advantage of. This can cause problems if it was simply a small error or missed gear, wires can get crossed, and contact can occur.
  • Frustration may set in, and you may start to get impatient.


For the overtaken:

  • Your attention is naturally on the road ahead. Nobody drives fast by looking in the rear view mirror. A faster car may suddenly appear in your mirror (if you check it), or alongside you. In your eyes he came from nowhere, but in his eyes he was watching you for some time.


How to be passed

There is a right way and a wrong way to be passed, or perhaps better phrased as a fast way and a slow way. The wrong way is to position yourself such that the only way for the faster car to get through results in contact, or at the very least in both of you going off line and losing time. The right way involves either being passed on a straight, or on the approach to a corner. If the overtaking car is faster in a straight line, the pass on the straight is simple. To allow a faster car through on the approach to a corner, simply brake a little earlier, or for a little longer, while holding the normal line. This will allow the overtaking car through on the inside, and the instant he is past, you can release the braking pressure and take up the normal line an inch from his tail (watchout for cars following closely behind the overtaking car!) - you lose VERY little time by using this method, and reduce the likelihood of contact.

Last Word

The last word on this topic comes from the fantastic book "Think Fast" by Neil Roberts:

  1. It is your responsibility to see and avoid everything, everywhere, all the time.
  2. The car in front of you owns the entire width of the track, even if you are alongside, and even if you are about to lap that car. The car in front of you has the right to use any and all of the track, the curbs, and the grass, so any contact is your fault. The instant that the nose of your car edges ahead of the nose of the other car by one micron, the roles reverse. Now you own the entire width of the track, and you can drive anywhere you want.
  3. The way that you deal with nearby cars reveals how much you can be trusted.

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