Monday, 22 March 2010

The other consequence of tobacco advertising…

Let me be clear: I am not and, aside from a few experimental puffs as a teenager, I never have been a smoker. In fact I intensely dislike the habit, in particular what it does for the smell of one’s clothes when in close proximity to a smoker. And then there are the health implications! Despite this, Tobacco advertising is good for a few things. Who could forget some of the brilliant Hamlet TV adverts of the 1980s? Well, me actually although a quick search on YouTube brings it all flooding back.

Tobacco advertising has been good for something else though, and it can be summed up in three little letters: JPS. The John Player Special livery was on the first ever race car I can remember seeing. I had a model of what was almost certainly a Lotus F1 car when I was quite small. I can still remember it to this day. I don’t think I have it any more, but I might raid my parent’s attic in search all the same. Anyway, it has always struck a chord and when it came to selecting a colour scheme for my new race car there was only really one option.

Below are a couple of pictures borrowed from the excellent website. I’ve picked these in particular as they show gold wheel rims and black centres:

I’ve been fortunate enough to come by (via Steve) as set of Superlite’s Ultralite 3-Piece wheels that are in need of a refurb. As such the idea is to replicate the wheel design seen above.
I also had in mind that I wanted to have the chassis powdercoated in gold too. This I felt was a bit of a risk as the car might end up looking like a complete ‘tart’s handbag.’ However, my mind was finally made up when I saw the vehicle below on the MEV stand at Autosport International in January.
Now, admitedly, this is still a bit 'in ya face' but there will be a lot less tube visible once the racer is clothed.  Essentially the roll cage will be the only expanse of gold chassis visible.

The wise Tim Hoverd is a keen advocate of lighter finishes on chassis as it allows easier crack detection, so as well as looking great I’m hoping that it will be relatively practical too. That said the wishbones will be black as anything else on a ‘7ish’ just looks wrong to me.

Steve has been busy again. Yes he did do some work on the car, for example finishing off the radiator mounts as seen below.
Much more importantly though, he’s been busy after his lovely wife Milenah gave birth to their first son, Josef. Many congratulations to all concerned!

In other news, there is some steel tube sat in my garage that is hopefully going to come together to form my roll cage. More detail on this at a later time.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Paradigm Shift…

After much debate, Steve and I have decided to call the new car the Mercury Motorsport Paradigm. defines the word paradigm as: “a set of forms all of which contain a particular element, esp. the set of all inflected forms based on a single stem or theme.” This rather sounds like the ‘sevenesque genre’ of cars to me and hence it stuck. The same source also gives the following as synonyms: “mold, standard; ideal, paragon, touchstone.” Well, we hope so.

I said that I’d give a few more details about the car. There is absolutely no doubt that the car is a risk, or at the very least an experiment. Steve and I (particularly Steve) are pouring everything we know about these cars in to this new build in the hope that we make something which is greater than the sum of its parts. My input comes mainly in the form of knowing what I like, and more importantly knowing what feels comfortable for me on track e.g. pedal arrangement etc. Despite all this, we’re still researching as we go along on some stuff. The majority of the mechanical spec became apparent in my last post. The final departure from convention is that we are going to use (Sierra) drums at the back. We could have easily used Sierra disc brakes but they weigh a shed-load. The alternative would have been aluminium callipers and light weight discs. The cost would have been considerable though and there seems to be some concern over mechanical advantage for the handbrake no matter what brand of calliper one uses. And so, having overcome a totally illogical hatred of drum brakes - largely through great experiences with both Striker and Locost - we decided to give drums a try. We then had to decide whether to use 8”, 9” or 10” drums. Taking some advice from RGB racers, we concluded that 8” drums were a bit marginal on some cars so we went to the next size up. It should be interesting if nothing else.
My original plan for bodywork was to use aluminium alongside a Locost nosecone, scuttle, bonnet and wings. The idea was that it is cheap and easily replaced. Unfortunately, because Steve had made the chassis an inch taller than the standard Locost to help accommodate a tallish bike engine, the nosecone looked ridiculous. Fortunately Steve had a couple of Westfield nosecones that he was prepared to sell to me. These look great, and are very (VERY) light since they are pimpy (PIMPY) carbon fibre. They aren’t perfect but since I’ll need to paint the aluminium side panels, bonnet etc this is no great problem.
Here’s a few more pictures – very little has full welds as yet – the idea has always been to tack it together in case we incurred unexpected interference. That said, apart from the roll cage and some of the smaller parts like harness mounts and earth points, it’s almost ready to weld-up.

Custom-cut brackets:
Radiator and Oil Cooler mounted:
Pedals mounted:
So, there we have it... most of the big decsisons are now made.  This includes the choice of colour.  Given my penchant for retro race liveries, what do you reckon I've gone for?  It won't be Gulf-colours again though.  Those colours are cursed!