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therealpinto Reader
8/22/18 3:39 a.m.


Years ago none of the "fast"(est) teams would ever run clean races but they are upping the game. But I think that it is a part of the fun, the racing series is not just about getting to the finish line, you also need to get there fast(ish).

Yeah, the wet vs dry spring rate is something that struck me last night. I do know that at least one or two of the teams on really stiff springs complained about grip in the wet last time it rained heavily.

I think we actually made the decision not to touch springs yet. Mostly because of time restraints. But part of me almost hopes for a wet race, or two...

We also spoke about having a dry and a wet setup, on the P11 spring swaps should be rather quick. But you need to be pretty sure about the weather, basically on Thursday afternoon, in order to make the call. We'll see.

Status from last nights wrenching is that the gearbox is attached to the engine, with a new clutch. Some mort parts to refit and we also started working on the brake pads - the front Ferodo DS's we have are not a straight fit, too bad we only got 2 sets of the RC43's, we are out of them for the P10 now. The Ferodos have not lasted as good but the two races left should be fine.


therealpinto Reader
8/23/18 1:16 a.m.

Now we are mostly only lacking engine mounts, some gearbox oil and the brake pads, then we are more or less ready.

I have a prototype-ish solution for solid mounting the front subframe, let's see if it works.

The new clutch feels better just by pedal feel so here's hoping we have found something better.

And, the photos are up!


Look close in the left side of the picture, you can  just about see me in the GRM T-shirt!

And here I am, chased by an angry hoard of BMWs!


therealpinto Reader
8/30/18 3:44 a.m.

Not feeling too bad at the moment :-)

The issue we have had running these Ferodo pads is that the pad shape was almost correct, but the thickness was something like 2 mm too much. The pad material is basically thicker than the stock pads, and thick enough that they wouldn't fit in the caliper gap.

What we have done before is work the angle grinder to correct the shape and then a flat grinder (surface grinder perhaps) to take off enough pad material. Dirty and slow process.

Now we decided to attack the pads with more thought. We used a belt sander to carefully reprofile the pads so they fit (not exactly stock shape, but they fit). Then we calculated how much thickness would need to be removed, after measuring the caliper gap. Theory said 1 mm per pad would do.

We felt that it would be safe to take 1 mm off the backing plates, instead of removing pad material.

Ta da!

Worked great and should mean we have more pad material to use.

New pads also rear, and...

...well, both sliding calipers were less sliding, one more less (???) than the other. Now both slide, both have new pads (but I think we need to start looking at better pads for the rear too).

Yesterday I was a soccer dad and the rest of the team was going to fix the rest - get the new engine mount (filled with glue) installed and fill up gearbox oil.

As I was driving home from the soccer game (win, 5-0!) they called. The gearbox leaks, left drive shaft seal...

I went over to throw some encouraging words around and by magic, we could use the seal from the P11 gearbox (new car is being robbed!) and get it all fixed the same night. 

Short of fixing some intercom issues, washing and fueling we are, as far as we can tell, race ready.  Saturday is a good day, because it is Race Day!


therealpinto Reader
9/5/18 2:12 a.m.

I really have no media yet to represent the last race but still feel a need to try and perform some kind of write-up, for what it's worth.

We had a good feeling going into the race, with the stuff sorted as described earlier. The 5th place finish last time translated into a spot on grid place number 11, with some quick cars in front of us that we planned would help pull us through the field.

The start was decent and we could improve a couple of places during the first stint. That was despite a large number of yellow flags during that stint - flags that were put out in the middle of the field and thus made it possible for the lead car to open up a huge gap.

Our starting driver reported that the front end was much more planted with the "solid" subframe, and that the new clutch made a marked improved in getting power to the wheels. The old one has probably been slipping more than we thought.

We also managed to do a pretty good first drivers swap and I think we gained a spot or so in the pits. Some time in we were in third place, keeping a pretty good pace. My first stint was also pretty good, I managed some decent times and rather consistent ones also.

While we were hammering on, the race around us was quite disturbed by yellow and black flags, and soon the feeling of a "messy" race spread through the pits. Quite a few teams felt they were incorrectly black flagged (wrong cars given the penalties for hitting barrels/track markers). Since I am part of the race management I had to split my attention between the race organization, and my own team. More about that later.

My second stint is the one where we fill up on gas, and I exited the pits behind two of the cars that have been a bit slower in earlier races. One car is sold to a new team, to further complicate things. I felt a bit stuck behind them for a couple of laps, but didn't have the momentum (or guts perhaps) to try a clean pass.

Soon we were caught from behind by two BMWs chasing me, and I was sandwiched between them. After a while I decided to let the BMWs by, hoping that the two cars in front would let me by as well. That did not really work as I planned, the quicker cars were let by but I didn't get the opening I was hoping for. It took another lap or so before I could pass and then my frustration had grown.

In the fastest chicane, right after I passed, I completely lost the car. I sideswiped a barrel (we have something like 120 km/h in that section) and went sideways onto the grass. At that time I mostly tried to straighten the car out and get back on track. But now I think about how lucky I am that the wheels didn't dig in further to flip the car sideways at close to 100 km/h.

The log files show I didn't even stop on the grass (lowest speed was 8 km/h), maybe not the smartest move. Back on the pavement, once up to speed, I had a bad vibration so decided to pit early (I had one or two laps to the scheduled driver change). It turned out that it was just dirt in the wheels though.

The next guy out tried a couple of laps until the rear driver side door, the one that took the impact, opened. Black flagged, and a new pit stop to strap it to the car (someone threw a bungy cord onto it when I pitted but it was too flexible).

I had probably lost some places before the off, but now we were down to 8th place. And in the top, the two Opel teams that have been 1-2 the latest races were once again outstanding. We were too far down to have any real chance of moving up, even though we were on the same lap as the BMW in 6th spot.

We still raced on, since you never know what happens with other cars. But they all kept it together.

The two top teams had a great battle for first spot, the Kadett of Skelleftereklam leading the Astra of 4Sign. On the second to last lap, the Kadett slightly overshot the "elbow" corner and skidded through that one. The Astra put his nose in and performed an almost balet-like act of turning the Kadett 180 degrees before it spun out to the right.

Of course this rendered a black flag (but "only" a 30 second stop&go) meaning the Kadett could take the win once again.

After the race I was hugely disappointed in my own performance, being slow is acceptable, but being slow and going off track is not great. To add to the disappointment, we had a number of teams that - sometimes with justification - were rather upset by "incorrect" black flags. As the main organizer of the race, that sort of leads back to me (even during the race). Being in two seats - racer AND organizer - is not something that I planned, it sort of just happened when the "godfather" of the series unexpectedly passed away last year.

Now, with a couple of days of contemplation, it feels a little bit better. We have some ideas on how to work with the black flag situations. To support me, we have the "drivers guild", 4 other drivers that make up the management team. Our plan is to make it clear that once the race starts, we are just drivers - not organizers on duty. That role has to be taken on by someone else. That way we can focus on the race and we will not be tempted to make any decisions that can be questioned as being biased.

As for the poor Primera, we painted a new set of left hand side doors last night. Looking at the cup standings we are in an imaginary second place still - but only imaginary. Only 4 of the 5 races count, and even though Skelleftereklam is right behind us now, they at present only have 6 points to deduct - our worst score is the 13 points of this race. 

The cup win will be a battle of the Opels - 4Sign have an impressive row of one win and three second places, while Skelleftereklam have two wins, and a second place (and then the bad spot). If Skelleftereklam wins the last race, they win the series. If they are second and 4Sign does not win, Skelleftereklam will also win (thanks to more first places). 

However, if Skelleftereklam does not finish top 15 or so, we have a theoretical shot at the second place. 

Well, in reality there is no reason for us to have much of a strategy to start with, other than trying to be in the top. In the final race the start order is not reversed, but rather according to the total standings. That means we start second, with the quick Opels beside and behind us. The upside is there is less risk of being stuck behind slower cars as we move up the field. If we only can stay with them...



AngryCorvair MegaDork
9/5/18 9:46 a.m.

Gustaf, Thank you for writing this thread!  I just read the whole thread from the very first post.  Fantastic job your team has done to develop your car.  Someone once told me, "in endurance racing, unless you are driving the final stint, you are not a race car driver, you are a race car delivery man."  Or, like you said, you can not win on the first lap.

I recognized the name Skelleftea when I searched your GPS coordinates, and I realized that I have been very close to your location before.   When I was a development engineer for TRW, I had the good fortune to spend about a month at our test facility in Arvidsjaur.  This was back in 1996.  My colleague and I arrived from the US about 3 days before our test vehicles, so we took a nice drive north to the Arctic Circle, then west to the coast of Norway.  What a beautiful part of the planet you get to call home!   I hope to get back there again someday.

Mezzanine Dork
9/5/18 10:05 a.m.

Just chiming in to say that I really enjoy your race write-ups. You do a great job capturing the action, and I feel more closely aware of your race season than most any race near me!

therealpinto Reader
9/6/18 12:51 a.m.

Thanks all!

AngryCorvair; I sometimes look back and get a little bit surprised of what we have done - the racing has really been done on a budget (not "challenge money" but not too far from) and still we have been able to deliver some decent results and the car has finished most races. Feels good!

I regularly pass Arvidsjaur in the winter time since we have a camper a bit further north, in Arjeplog (the other big winter test site). Actually we are staying right by the Mercedes/AMG site and just across the lake from BMW - so we get to see some cool stuff every now and then. 

If you ever get back to my area of the globe, let me know :-)

Mezzanine; Thanks! Looking back through my Capri build threads on Swedish forums (15 years of history) I see that writing down what happens, soon after it happened, is a great diary to go back to. One day you wonder "what happened back then" - and the thread makes it possible to be an archeologist in your own history :-)


Mezzanine Dork
9/6/18 11:32 a.m.
therealpinto said:

Mezzanine; Thanks! Looking back through my Capri build threads on Swedish forums (15 years of history) I see that writing down what happens, soon after it happened, is a great diary to go back to. One day you wonder "what happened back then" - and the thread makes it possible to be an archeologist in your own history :-)


Exactly why I keep build threads of my own. I love to look back and see what I've done, and it's great for helping me find motivation again. Probably less wise, but I also use my threads as a record of what parts I used and settings and things like that. Thank you for sharing with us!

therealpinto Reader
9/6/18 3:13 p.m.

I did a quick edit of the video from race number 3, until the camera froze.


There's some racing in there :-)


therealpinto Reader
9/18/18 2:30 a.m.

I wanted to get a video from race number 4 up also, to keep things chronological. But GoPro Studio is acting up and need to find a replacement I can handle.

You can see the photos from Carina and Leif though:


Here I am, chased by the Citroën...

...and here it had passed me!

This is a new team for the season, and they have gone for maximizing the aero that the rules allow. Some really impressive lap times and when they get everything sorted they will be a solid top team.

A snapshot of the last lap fight!

But the real focus of this post should be the report from the final race of the season. Weather predictions said a wet race, a curse for some teams, for others it was a long lasting wish coming true (perhaps). For us? Something in between - we have a feeling the car might have an advantage in the wet (rather softly sprung, long wheel base so not very spin-happy) but I am still not 100% confident in wet fwd racing.

We woke up to a thick fog and an hour or so before the start, the rain commenced. But the fog moved away, visibility was OK but not great and off we went! We managed to hang with the leading Astra for a decent part of the first stint but then dropped back a little. The slippery track conditions meant most teams played it quite safe and there were few incidents during the first time of the race. Some spins and offs but no real hard contact.

My first time out felt pretty OK considering the track conditions, I took it pretty easy but still managed a decent pace. Maybe I stayed behind a slower car (the yellow Golf) a little bit too long but better safe than sorry.

In the stint after, Niklas missed the pit in sign but I managed to alert him on the radio - and just after confirming he would pit, he yelled that he was hit from behind. As we swapped in the next driver we were prepared with tape and band aids but the car seemed no wore for wear.

Unfortunately the car that hit us, took a far harder punishment.

With a broken oil cooler they were out for the day. Not their fault really, Niklas had to brake hard for a spinning car and they had nowhere to go!

We kept on running around 4th or 5th, with the closest competitors for the third place overall at a comfortable distance behind. In front of us, the two Opels, the Citroën of Forsmans Motorsport and Mayflowers BMW E36 (on their "secret weapon", Vredestein "rain tyres") were battling away.

With something like 1,5 hours left to go the rain cleared and the track started drying up pretty fast, in places. The shady areas were still wet but the drier it got, the more the Opels would pull away.

I entered my last stint with just under 30 minutes left, meaning we would need another stop for the 10 lap driver change. We still had 5th and it looked pretty good. As I exited the pits the brake pedal felt a bit low and when I entered "the elbow", after letting Skelleftereklams Kadett by, the pedal went to the floor!

Missing the Opel I went onto the grass, pumping the pedal and got some braking back. With so little time left, the instructions over the radio were clear - try to limp around the track, keep going. After finding out that pumping 4-5 times would give some braking I did just that, went around using the parking brake as much as possible. I lapped around 1.52-1.55 seconds, that was actually on par with the wet pace and not much more that 10 seconds over the "median" pace.

The last change was more of a formality but somehow we managed to keep 6th spot past the checkered flag.

But just as the race before, the focus on the last lap was on the two Opels. 4 Sign was now leading Skelleftereklam, with only meters separating the cars. The winner of the race would also claim the overall trophy!

In the 180 degree hairpin, at the point furthest away on the track, we spectators saw a move. Skelleftereklam closed in, and seemed to be on the way to pass in the chicane after the hairpin. And then, just as last time, the cars touched. This time the roles were swapped - the Kadett pushing the Astra of 4Sign into a spin.

Like magic, the Astra avoided the barriers and kept going, taking the checkered flag a couple of car lengths behind the Kadett. But how would the incident be ruled?

We had a very experienced marshal at the spot, and his decision was immediate. The passing Kadett was to blame, and get the penalty. 4Sign took the win, of the race, and of the season as a whole. Skelleftereklam were third in this race, but second overall, 1 point behind 4Sign. We got the third place overall, finally, something that feels like a sucess behind the outstanding Opels.

After the race, Skelleftereklam chose to share their view of the incident:


That doesn't make it easier...when is a pass a pass? 4Sign momentarily also showed their video but it was later removed for some reason. All I can say is that we can't have video judging overruling what happens, it would be impossible. All in all, there are mostly not so many hard feelings and the decisions taken are mostly respected.

Our highlights from this race are here:


Looks strange with GoPro Studio acting up though.

So how do I sum up our season? Overall a great success, especially considering that the car was almost untouched from last year. We only fixed the broken bits, apart from solid mounting the subframe for race number 4. And not that much has even broken! The brake problem now is a mystery though.

Looking back, we bought this car from its first owner, a lady that was just over 50 years old when whe bought it in 1991. Since 2015 we have raced it during four seasons, that is 20 races and something like 6400 kilometres. The engine has never missed a beat, and while the body is a bit marked it all just works so well.

But we need to get going on the P11. I have so many ideas to make it quicker, easier to work on and better looking.

Strange this racing thing. Saturday evening I was almost fed up, glad the season ended. Sunday I was trying to relax from racing. And now, I'm on it again!


mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
9/18/18 5:46 a.m.

Thanks for taking us along for the season. It's been a great read. 

therealpinto Reader
9/19/18 2:01 a.m.

Thanks for coming along!

I'll throw out a related(ish) question - do we have anyone here that is into RFID* readers and simple programming?

The race series needs a pit timer solution for next year - we want a fixed time for driver changes but also a solution that is reasonably self sustainable and does not need a marshal per team changing drivers.

I was thinking that a long distance (1-5 meters) RFID reader could sense the car going into the pit lane (at low speed, we're talking 20 km/h at that point), and then start a timer for that car. After say 2 minutes the timer is green and the car is allowed to leave the pits with a new, hungry driver.

If it displays this in sort of a table on a laptop/screen that would be OK, then 1 person can monitor the changes.

* alternatively it could be a solution to read the lap timing transponders (AMB) already on the cars but that technology seems more expensive. The person handling the main timing for the race does not have enough decoders to handle this, apparently an investment of around 2500-3000 USD.

There are other options for more manual pit timers as well but the RFID thing felt pretty sweet, in my little mind.


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