DMF: Spencer Vanderpal Racing report
9 November 2011
Press Release: SVDP Racing
Race day 3 is the 1st Motorsport Festival of the season where we have all of the regular classes plus the 1st round of the Porsche Middle East cup. The event was being held over the dates 4th & 5th November. As a result the various practice, qualifying and race sessions where split over the 2 days, thus giving the team chance to be more relaxed and actually given the opportunity to watch some of the other races as normally we are flat out preparing the car between the qualifying and the 2 races.
Due to Spencer [Vanderpal] finishing 2nd in race 2 at the last race day (Aslam Moola being the winner) we were given a nice Eid gift in the form of 15kg of success ballast (Note: Please could we have this wrapped in nice shiny paper next time please Mr. Autodrome). To fit the afore mentioned ballast we had to relocate the main fire extinguisher forwards which was not drama when you have a nice and powerful drill (you can never have enough power!). 10 minutes later and the jobs a good-un.
We have also fitted a nice adjustable rear wing / spoiler. The idea was to try and make the rear of the car more stable. Now if we could fit some form of motor to the adjustable part we could have our very own DRS (drag reduction system) where we could flatten the profile down the straights for increased speed but switch to maximum downforce for the corners thus making us quicker round the corners. (Note: dear readers please do not mention this to the Autodromes chief scrutineer Mr. Terry Plant nice jovial man that he is but as he might not approve of our engineering excellence).
So with that it was time for qualifying. 20 minutes in which you try and set your fastest time which gives you your grid position for race 1. Spencer spends a few laps warming the tyres and the car and then sets about setting a quick lap time. He chips away (note: remove hammer and chisel from the car it is weight we don’t need) and as the chequered flag is shown Spencer was 4th quickest. The usual suspects where at the front, Alsam Moola, Umair Khan, Rupesh Chanaka, Spencer and Jonathan Mullan (who was hoping for more podiums after his 3rd place double at round one).
Red lights on, red lights off and its go go – red flag. Spencer had a birds eye view of a number of cars ducking and diving, dodging and weaving (are we sure we are not a boxing match?) which ended up with Rupesh hitting the pit lane wall with his coming to rest in the middle of the track. As soon as it was clear that Rupesh couldn’t more the care the race was stopped well before the driver got back to the incident. A short delay was incurred whilst the car was removed (the car was last seen to be on it way back to Lap57 in Sharjah to see if they could repair the car for tomorrows race).
Spencer didn’t get such a good start in race 2 and was in 6th place after lap one. Not one to back down from a challenge, Spencer started his “recovery” drive. Slowly but surely he started to pass one car after another (hello thank you for coming, bye-bye) and soon he was in 3rd place. Could he catch and pass the reigning champion Umair Khan, ooooohhhhhh yes can. Up to his back bumper, a quick wave and we are past quicker than a Scotsman / Yorkshire being offer a free drink. Alas poor Spencer could not catch Alsam, although we know him well and so it was a second place finish. Podium time. Spencer’s mother is visiting and so she was duly “requested” by Spencer to join him on the podium. Did we the team look happy, oh yes.
On that note there ends day one, we are off to check out the Suzukli Cup stand as for those of you who were there would now why, but lets not tell our wives hey!
The touring cars were only due on track at 2:50 so we had plenty of time to do a few bits and pieces to the car. Spencer reported that the brakes went a little spongy towards the end of the race yesterday so we fitted some softer compound pads and bled the brakes. We also had the time to fit the racing mirrors as we still had a few (~5) kg’s to loose. Fitting these lightweight mirrors saved us 3kg.
Soon enough it was time to race. The car (never the river is it!) was a little slow off the line leaving Spencer in 6th place in class at the end of lap 1. The next 2 laps saw Spencer pass 2 cars leaving him in 4th place and closing on the 3rd place car.
Sadly on lap 4 when approaching the hairpin on the back straight (flat out in top gear) Spencer went to brake to find the brake pedal going straight to the floor. Houston we have a BIG problem, we have no brakes and we are doing 130 mph. Sadly despite using the gearbox to try and slow down Spencer collided with Abbas Al Alawi. The Code 60 flag (all driver drive at 60 kph) was immediately shown followed by a red flag as the cars needed to be removed from the circuit along with the drivers being required to be taken to the medical centre. Spencer was just a little sore with Abbas being taken to hospital as a precaution as he had a slight pain in his next. We all hope Abbas is ok.
Spencer was a little sore but otherwise none to worse for wear. Sadly the same could not be said for the car. A little while later Spencer’s mum was overheard saying to Spencer wife “look Angie, typical boy in breaking his toy. Tell him he gets no dinner until he fixes the toy he broke”. Looks like an enforced diet is heading Spencer’s way.
We are currently investigating if we can perform Dubai’s equivalent version of the 6 million dollar man and repair / re-shell the car.
We will close by thanking the efforts of the medical teams at the circuit to looking after Spencer and Abbas and for the rescue teams for recovering the vehicles without damaging them further.