We had eventful weekend supporting James with his CR-Z at the first CARTEK Road Sports Race event Donnington Park. Unfortunately complications saw further delays to the build but nothing early starts, late nights and an experienced mechanic couldn’t sort. James again summarises his experiences below.
CRZ Race Car Build Part 4 (Donnington Park [Test Day - Take 2 and Race 1]):
After the heartbreak of the previous week, we pursued with trying to isolate the electrical fault and eventually pinpointed it to a missing switch that had been erroneously removed from the car when the wiring loom was removed for spraying the cage. The engine now ran like a dream! We’re back in business!!!
With our first race less than a week away we booked a track day for testing on the Friday before race day hoping that we could gain some valuable data to help us with our race set up. However before we could even think of racing, we had to ensure that the car was MSA compliant in every way and so we had to push on through with the installation of all of the mandatory safety devices.
We started by adding extra mounting points for the harness as we settled with a 6-point Magnum Ultralite courtesy of our friends at TRS. We continued with a long list of other devices which included: Hood Pins, Tow Straps (TRS), Rear LED rain light and Battery isolator (Cartek). We foolishly thought this to not be too much work to have to complete in just under a week, but we were soon to learn differently. As you all know the CR-Z is a Hybrid, which makes the simple installation of a battery isolator increasingly more difficult. This along with the fact that we only had wiring diagrams from a USDM version which is subtly different, made it evermore trying. Since the engine works like a generator, you could disconnect the 12V battery and remove it from the car and the engine would continue to run happily! After much testing and tracing, we finally worked out how the system works and that there’s only one real way of installing it to work as required by the MSA. Thanks to Iain at work for helping us with this, your assistance was most appreciated.
With the isolator wired up and working it was time to continue on with the fire extinguisher system before re-mounting the doors, front bumper, scuttle panel and under trays before checking the car over ready for the test day. Unfortunately I was delayed at work the day before the race and had to collect a trailer for transporting the car the following day which meant that I didn’t start the outstanding jobs until late into the evening. Luckily another CR-Z UK Forum friend, Dan Sopher, was available to lend a hand and get the doors on etc as Bobby was booked up a lot that week with other commitments. All was looking promising when at around 1am we encountered another electrical fault with the replaced loom. It was like déjà vu! I sent a message across to Anthony at BURN!/Spoon EU filling him in on the situation with despair, but he calmly urged me to get some rest and told me that they’d be over in the morning and would somehow get the car ready for the test day, it might just be a little later starting than initially intended.
So I arrived for signing on bright and early and awaited my team mates to join me at the track. I was still in a daze and couldn’t quite believe it was happening. A big effort from the Burn! Mechanics, Dan and Anthony, saw the car together for testing on the Friday, although the remaining work was considerably more than they were expecting. Seriously HUGE thanks to you guys!
Although it had been a frustrating couple of weeks the Spoon inspired CR-Z finally hit the track at Donnington. Entered in the 750 Motor Club CARTEK Roadsports endurance series, we looked forward to testing on the Friday and racing on the Saturday. The short Friday practice was promising showing great reliability and handling. The remainder of the test day we used to calculate fuel burn rates, bed in the new brakes and scrub the tires in ready for the race. The car worked perfectly which was amazing given that it was her first outing! Big shout out to Bobby for all his sleepless nights and hard work on the car!
Some additional works on Friday night and Saturday morning were required to get the car through scrutineering but again we pushed on through and got her ready. A wet qualifying threw up further complications due to a lack of ventilation. Some quick thinking and clever ducting saw the car back on the track with time to compete the qualifying.
Unfortunately despite being race ready we didn't get a chance to participate in the actual race due to a prior online error and subsequent oversubscription of the race. We were put in on the reserve list but this meant that a red flag and a drop outs would have been required to enable us to race. To our disappointment this did not transpire and the safety car was very busy due to a scrappy start and then for much of the race which was held under the yellow flag.
We hope for better luck on the next outing and look forward to some racing.
Huge thanks to our Sponsors:
Spoon Sports EU
Dixcel - Advanced Brake Technology (United Kingdom)