For the Endurance Racing Experience to really work – fans have to share the endurance challenge in some way in order to legitimately bask in the triumph of their achievement alongside that of their driving heroes.
At Le Mans – the fans challenge is staying awake for as much of the 24 hour race as possible. There’s also the equally difficult challenge of remaining just sober enough to work out which car whanged past at well over 100 decibels. NB: Working out relative positions of cars in a 24 hour race is a pointless task and should not be attempted for fear of confusion.
At Silverstone in April – the challenge is entirely thermal.
A 6AM start saw me blasting out of London in the old 911 along the M40 before hitting quiet country roads North of Oxford. Well they would have been quiet but for the fractious popping and banging of my engine!
Undeterred by fog, the aftermath of a nasty crash on the M40 and an inordinate number of flattened foxes and the odd two-dimensional deer littering the carriageway – I pressed on.
Moving on from reflections of 2015 – it’s time to look forward and consider how to indulge my motoring interests in 2016. What events should I attend and what improvements can I make to my ’71 2.2 L 911E? Decisions, decisions!
With a bit of careful planning – it would be easily possible to spend most of my weekends attending one form of motoring activity or another but this would certainly be a fast-track to divorce. Instead I need to carefully select those events that:-
a) Stand-out in terms of their quality, variety and spectacle,
b) Present an opportunity to meet up with old mates,
c) Provide new motoring experiences.
On the car front – my aim is to continue gradual improvement of my 911 with some mechanical and cosmetic upgrades as time, money and availability of parts & services allow.
So here are my thoughts on car events I could attend and car improvements I could make during 2016.
The winter months present something of a challenge to British motoring enthusiasts as it’s a motoring Dead Zone as far as races and classic car jaunts are concerned due to the poor weather and lack of daylight.
With precious motors consigned to winter hibernation – it leaves car enthusiasts dangerously prone to the onset of ICDS – Interesting Car Deficiency Syndrome!
To counter the debilitating effects of this affliction it’s important to reflect on the past year’s motoring highlights and to start planning for petrolicious pleasures in the year to come.
It also allows time to muse over the improvements you’ve managed to make to your classic car over the past year and fantasise over other reassuringly expensive ways of further improving its performance or looks.
NB: The featured image shows my Dad (on the left) and his colleague in the late 1940s just after they’d dug their way through a truck-high snow drift on their daily round to collect milk churns from remote farms around Appleby, Cumbria.
My trip to Hedingham 2015 started well as I drove passed Stansted Airport to find myself accidentally sandwiched between two 2.4 911s. We managed to pick up another 2.2E along the way to match mine and to bring our noisy convoy of early 911s up to 4, much to the delight (or possible consternation) of other road users!
This year’s Hedingham Porsche gathering delivered an enormous and varied turn-out of classic Porsches which confirmed the burgeoning popularity of the event, further enhanced this year by the inclusion of a Classic Porsche Auction run by Coys of Kensington.
The Porsche Museum, Porsche Cars GB and some very trusting private owners enhanced the already great turn-out with some extra-special cars including beautiful and rare 356 Carreras, 550 Spyders, a 904 and an iconic Gulf liveried John Wyer 917 (as used by Steve McQueen in his film Le Mans).
This could be the range of emotions that you’d expect to go through as an integral part of classic car ownership but in the context of this post they refer to remaining problems that had to be sorted out on my engine following its complete rebuild.
With the benefit of hindsight – driving the car to Le Mans in June 2014 before the engine was fully sorted and properly set-up wasn’t one of my better ideas!
Steve did his best to sort things out but both he and I were unaware of some underlying issues which impacted performance and smooth running during the trip.
Thanks to Steve’s perseverance in analysing the multiple, linked issues and sorting them out I now have a car which is running so much better than on the Le Mans trip that I barely recognise it. I just can’t stop grinning whilst driving it!
After the dyno running-in and set-up of the engine, Steve and I both thought all we would have to do is insert the engine back in the car, connect everything up and away we go.
It didn’t quite work out that way, there were a few snags, but Steve and Dave thankfully sorted out the last few issues and I headed up to Wembley on a cold and wet Friday afternoon to pick up the car.
I called Steve at Jaz on Tue 11th Feb to see how he was getting on after he’d picked-up the engine from Neil Bainbridge’s dyno the Saturday before. The good news was that the engine was “almost” in the car. The “almost” was due to bit of a problem with modifications to the oil cooling system – he suggested I visit the following day to see what was what.
My mate Stan and I headed up to Jaz on the 12th to find engine man Dave at work underneath the car which was up on one of the Jaz ramps. The engine was fully fitted and attached to the gearbox which had remained in the car whilst the engine rebuild was in progress.
I called Jaz on Mon 3rd Feb and got the great news that, at long last, my engine was being run-in on the dyno at BS Motorsport.
Earlier, Steve had temporarily given up on his fight to bore out the mis-matched 2.0L inlet manifold to 2.2S spec. However, through a fortunate and timely parts swap, he got hold of a proper matching 2.2S manifold to stick on the engine which enabled dyno testing to go ahead.
Steve had delivered the finally complete engine to Neil Bainbridge (who heads-up BS Motorsport) a couple of weeks previously, but we had to wait patiently for Neil to return from his annual pilgrimage to Daytona and then for him to then catch up on a backlog of other engine jobs.
With running-in under way – I arranged to meet Steve at the dyno the following evening (Tue 4th Feb) to discuss the running-in results with him and Neil and to observe adjustments and further power runs to optimise engine set-up and performance.
An email from Steve at Jaz explained the latest delay in getting my engine onto the dyno test cell for running in and fine adjustment.
When fitting the inlet manifolds, air boxes and air tubes onto the throttle bodies Steve noticed a difference in the diameter of the bores of one inlet manifold when compared to the other. Would you believe it? Two different inlet manifolds!!!