Letters

From our June 2020 Letters Section, From Simon Hadfield

MAGAZINE  >  BITS & PIECES > From our June 2020 Letters Section, From Simon Hadfield

Dear Carol,

Strange days these, I trust all is well with you. Just to pick up on an article in the May HMRN about lap times, your correspondent interestingly takes my time from the last time I raced a T70 at Goodwood to make his comparison. The point is that I was asked (effectively told) not to go faster than 1’20”.  I’m actually quite proud of my 1’19.955 done without a lap timer! Your correspondent should really have compared Nick Padmore’s very much faster time, also set in a T70 that so “rang the bells” at the MSA. 

More interesting still are the lap times set at the TT in 1959. Stirling was on pole at 1’32 and change in the Aston, Brooks second on 1’33 and a bit in the Testa Rossa and third was Graham Hill in the works Lotus 15 in the 1’34s. Last time I looked the fastest Lotus 15s are now doing 1’25s....... and are not being driven by Graham Hill!

From our June 2020 Letters Section, From Nick Atkins

MAGAZINE  >  BITS & PIECES > From our June 2020 Letters Section, From Nick Atkins

Dear Carol

Thank you for producing a very enjoyable magazine at a time when there is nothing substantial to report.

John Hopwood’s article in the May issue on technical developments in historic motorsport is very well balanced and in my opinion the directions that he proposes and the questions that he asks are all the right ones.

At club level, the CSCC for instance, operates loosely Appendix K events, as well as a number of other nostalgias such as Modsports and Supersaloons that are very enjoyable, but for National and International competitions a set of clear regulations is essential.

As I perceive it the current position of the FIA is back to basics, back to the homologation papers and any other hard information from period, and I’m personally happy with that since it means that it should not be necessary to invest in lighter and shorter lifed parts not used in period.

As we all know there are always opportunities to improve performance that are invisible to the kind of cursory inspection that time allows for scrutineering at competitions. Right now the easiest things to check are most rigorously inspected, the labels on seat belts and fire systems dates, seat homologation, gloves, boots, suits.

From Our July 2020 Letters Section, From Louis Quiniou

MAGAZINE  >  BITS & PIECES > From Our July 2020 Letters Section, From Louis Quiniou

Dear Carol, 

Thanks for the link of the May issue of HMRN, very funny article about the Reykjavik GP, a good read.

About Peter Collins’ article entitled The Time and Space Continuum, if of any interest to you, I started a lap time analysis back in the days I was working for Peter Auto that I continued up to 2016. I feel the article is of interest but misses quite a few things. Goodwood is probably the only place where one can compare lap times, given the circuit has not changed since its heyday, but of course it has been resurfaced. Anyway, the interesting fact is if you look at those values:

2006, Pre-66 Whitsun Trophy and best time by Frank Sytner in a Lola T70 Spyder is 1:22:513 and which was also the last year I believe that the T70s were allowed to run the front high downforce spoiler, which is now only possible if you run a McLaren M1 like Chris Godwin. Then comes the T70 times of 2012 (Pearson 1:19.703) and 2014 (Hart at 1:19.985), but what about 2016 and Padmore, who did a 1:17.079? All competent drivers, just like Hadfield. Both Pearson and Goodwin are even faster than the reference taken in HMRN but Padmore, another very competent driver, was really a break in terms of performance. Ever since 2016 it seems that the previous level of drivers chosen for the race has changed back to a more capable but enthusiast type, maybe a way for Goodwood to hide the fact that it was getting out of control. You may also remember the crash of Michiel Smits from the Netherlands and I guess things had to be calmed down.

From Our July 2020 Letters Section From Joel Wykeham

MAGAZINE  >  BITS & PIECES > From Our July 2020 Letters Section From Joel Wykeham

Faster Now Than Then?

Not Faster Than an Arrows

Dear Carol,

Peter Collins’ excellent piece in the April issue about the relative speed differential of some cars now and in period, reminded me of the well documented case of the Arrows A4 F1 car.

In 1982 this basically sound but heavier Grand Prix design would get smoked every time by the likes of Williams, McLaren and Brabham. Despite having the same DFV engine and some highly competent drivers, it was, for example, over three seconds a lap slower than the leading FW08 at Brand Hatch that year, a huge gap by F1 standards. Fast forward to Historic F1 in 2014-2017 and talented amateur driver Steve Hartley was using an A4 to beat many of the pros in their period-superior machines. How was this possible? Much credit must go to Nigel Rees at GSD race dynamics. A very clever man who recently revealed he was once part of the support crew of the ‘good old boys’ Terry Sanger Camaro team at the Spa 24 Hours way back in 1973. His company has since developed increasingly sophisticated engineering and computer analysis capabilities for all manner of race cars. By recording detailed measurements and data, plus the use of potentiometers and software programming largely unavailable back then, they are able to make up for many of the advantages in dynamic road-holding, handling and aero efficiency that the bigger budget teams had at the time - and for much lower cost. The need for the ‘black art engineering’ role of a test driver is also thereby reduced to a minimum by science.

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