SVDP Racing: Dunlop 24hr Dubai 2012
There is a phrase that goes something like “Racing can be a cruel mistress”, well we can confirm the phrase. Here is the day by day blow of what transpired before the event.
Friday 6th January.
The drivers and support team meet at the Dubai Autodrome for a test session. The car refuses to start insufficient fuel pressure on the engine rail is diagnosed. The team relocates to Spencer’s house after the track session to continue to find the reason.
Saturday 7th January
Spencer and Sam remove the high pressure fuel pump / solenoid valve. Somehow, Jonathan and Chris locate second-hand fuel pumps / solenoid valves in the UK and South Africa. One fuel pump arrives in Abu Dhabi at 8pm which Jonathan collects and leaves at Spencer’s house in Dubai.
Sunday 8th January
Spencer takes fuel pump / solenoid valve to Bosch for refurbishment and test and then promptly leaves for Germany for business. Chris arrives late at night (minus 1 suitcase) carrying a selection of spares including a second-hand high pressure fuel pump.
Monday 9th January
Chris collects refurbished fuel pump, refit it and takes the car to BMW for identify the error code that is appearing on the dash. 5 hours later and with no joy, a plan to put the original engine map back into the car is made. Chris installs the new turbo. The team retires for the day at 11pm.
Tuesday 10th January
The refurbished fuel pump is replaced with the one Jonathan sourced but still the car won’t run. The pump unit that Chris brought is then fitted. The car starts and runs for 30 minutes, but won’t start again. The team fit the event stickers, backlit door panels and black out the rear lights inside the car. The team retires for the day at 11pm
Ian (Team Manager) collects the event stickers and explains the situation to the organizers. Richard drops off his 3 tool chests, 2 work benches, axle stands, jack and boxes of nuts, washes etc. It now looks like we have more tools than the 2 car Porsche team we are sharing the garage with.
Wednesday 11th January
A decision is made for Spencer (who is still in Germany) to buy a brand new high pressure fuel pump. So the existing fuel pump is removed again in preparation for fitting the new pump. A kinked fuel pipe is detected a new piece is built up. The spare wheels are loaded onto the trailer, spares packed into boxes and the tools and equipment organized.
Chris collects Spencer from the airport at midnight and then they fit the new fuel pump. The car still won’t start.
The team should have had the car technically inspected today, but as the car is running it was agreed that we would get the car inspected tomorrow.
Thursday 12th January
The team arrived at the track at 8am and while the car is being unloaded, the other team who are also running a 120d are sought to see if they can plug their diagnostic computer into the car to see why it won’t run. There didn’t appear to be any reason why the car wouldn’t run. The car could be started by spraying brake cleaner on the air filter, which is not ideal…… A decision was made to let Chris out onto the track to see if we could at least qualify the car. Sadly Chris only got as far as turn one before the car cut out.
The team tried again and this time Chris managed to actually set a lap time, although this was 40 seconds slower than the time we were hoping for.
We then found out that one of the mechanics from the Porsche team we were sharing a garage with was a diesel expert. He suggested that we rotate the injectors 180 degrees to check the spray pattern. It was obvious that the problem was the injectors as no fuel was spraying out of them. Great, they had only been refurbished and flow tested about 100 mile ago by Bosch.
Now as we couldn’t get replacement fuel injectors in Dubai, the team commenced trying to source them from Europe and find somebody who was willing to get on a plane and fly to Dubai overnight. There must have been about six different people trying to find out if they could get a set of injectors and somebody who could come to Dubai. Luckily, a friend of a team member in the other 120d team wanted to come to watch the race. So he was dispatched to the team’s workshop, collected the 11 second-hand injectors and then got to an airport and booked himself a flight. The amazing thing was that he was happy to do this.
The team took the opportunity to change the front hubs, track rod ends and carry out an alignment check on the car. The Porsche team was great as they agreed to let Ian use their pit perch for the event and even passed round the beers……
Friday 14th January
Sam and Richard decided that it was going to be easier to build a new wiring loom for the headlights than it was trying to find out why the lights would work. So by the time the rest of the team arrived at 8am they had built, fitted and tested the new headlight loom.
9:37 Phil 1 arrived with the fuel injector courier man. The injectors where fitted pointing away from the engine and with the help of the diesel specialist from the Porsche team 4 good injectors where selected. These injectors were installed along with the rest of bits that were removed to get to the injectors. Would the car start……. Yes she would. Now there was no time left to try the car on the track so the team took the decision to test the car out the back of the circuit. Naughty of us but we wanted to only start the race when we knew the car would run and not cut out. Whilst this was going on a fuel filter unit was installed.
At this point the Dunlop ladies were walking through the pits area and when you have Tim Ansell on the case, this happens:-
Despite changing one of the injectors as it was identified as being faulty, the car still wouldn’t run without cutting out as the revs passed 3,000 rpm. So with great sadness, at 13:53, the team took the decision to withdraw from the race on safety grounds. The last thing the team wanted was for the car to cut out when there was a much faster car approaching and cause an accident.
There was an unearthly silence in the garage as the realization that despite all the efforts of the team, the hopes and dreams were not going to materialize. So whilst all the other cars started the race, the team started to pack away.
Later that day…….
Some of the team having gone home returned to the circuit where unsurprisingly discussions commenced on what should be done next to identify the cause of the problem and which event should the team compete in. You just knew we wouldn’t stay down for long.
The drivers and team manager wish to thank Richard, Sam, Phil 1, Matt and Phil 2 for all of their efforts as without them the team would have gotten that close to starting the event. Guys your efforts were truly appreciated.
The whole team would like to thank FibraFoil for wrapping the car somehow among the chaos, Table 9 at the Hilton Creek for catering at the event for the team, the food was excellent, Valvoline for providing the lubricants, Black Pepper for the team clothing (we mostly certainly looked the part) and Alex Renner Motors for the communication system.
Rest assured this is not the last you will see of the team and the car……