Donington Park Formula Vee race report

Jonathan Elsey photography 1

With Racing Team Vee taking the tough decision to totally strip and clean the engine, we risked running out of time to have the Primrose Hospice sponsored Sheane ready in time for the penultimate round of the Formula Vee championship.

With a new found fire for a final assault on the championship, the care was ready and James Cater raring to go, with new pistons and barrels in the engine just in time.

After a few steady lap in qualifying, several flags around the circuit meant James never got a chance for a flying lap, leaving him a disappointing 21st on the grid, but knowing he had a lot more pace.

This was proven in the race as he charged up to 13th place, aided by a slight change in set-up that had balanced the car beautifully. After dicing with several cars before pulling clear, James was chasing down Bill ‘Wom’ Garner for 2nd in class, but couldn’t quite draw him in before the chequered flag.

This left James in 14th place overall and picking up a trophy for 3rd in Class B, with Wom ahead and Andrew Cooper taking the win.

Graham Gant won overall, chased hard all the way by Daniel Hands and Craig Pollard.

chicane 2

With full confidence he could go at least a second a lap faster in the final race, where he’d be starting 17th and first in class, a push rod tube sprung a massive oil leak in the holding area.

Despite being easy to fix, the timing meant there was no chance to make the start of the race, and James had to drop out, losing more championship points.

The second race was cut short with a red flag after only a few laps, leaving Daniel Hands as the winner from Craig Pollard and Paul Taylor. Class B was taken again by Cooper, with Wom and Vaughn Jones taking the final podium places.

From a 2018 season showing very promising driving, and the car being on the pace, the unlucky engine problems have devastated the run at the championship. This means the choice of running at Snetterton in October for a chance to take second in the Class B Championship, or ending the season now to fully prepare the car over Winter ready for 2019.

See the onboard video of Race 1 here:
https://youtu.be/RwJvsiajIHs

Advertisements

Silverstone Race Report

SJN Photo 1

Since James had his very first race at Silverstone in 2015, one of his favourite tracks has been very unkind to him. This weekend was to be no exception.

Steadily building pace in qualifying, the Primrose Hospice sponsored RTV Sheane Formula Vee felt very well balanced with James running in the top 14 for most of the session. Sadly, at the end of the Hangar Straight near the end of the session, the engine suddenly lost power and James switched it off to coast in to the pits.

His final qualifying position was a respectable 18th in the 37 car grid, but with no compression at all in one cylinder, mechanic Glenn Hay was unable to replace the piston and barrel in time before the start of the first race.

Craig Pollard took the win from Graham Gant and Ian Jordan. Andrew Cooper took Class B honours from Jamie Harrison and Richard Waddingham.

Although James would be able to start the second race the following day, the highly tuned 1300cc VW Beetle engine was still untested so it would be a gamble to see if things held.

A fantastic start put James in 10th place into the first corner, and right behind B Class championship leader Andrew Cooper.

With the car clearly down a little on power, James was still able to claw the time back in the corners to hang onto the back of Cooper, but on the second lap oil smoke started spewing from the car along with a major drop in power.

James started short-shifting to try and limp the car home with the sick engine, and although he was still catching cars in the corners he became a sitting duck on every straight, with car after car simply driving past him.

With the smoke (from a crumbling piston) increasing in the final laps, James managed to hang onto 18th place and 4th in class before shutting the engine off on the warm down lap.

Craig Pollard took another victory from Daniel Hands and Pete Belsey, with Cooper beaten to the Class B win by Jamie Harrison on the final lap, and Waddingham took another excellent 3rd place.

With only a few weeks to go until Donington Park on 2nd September, it will be a race against the clock to strip and rebuild the engine, but with James driving better than ever RTV will give it everything to challenge for the title in the last four races of the season.

IMG_20180818_125923

Castle Combe race report

41194308312_ecdd40d2eb

Easter Monday saw James Cater in his Primrose Hospice sponsored RTV Sheane heading to Castle Combe for his first visit in the Heritage Parts Centre UK Formula Vee Championship.

Several changes had been made to the 1300cc VW Beetle engined car since last season, but a few modifications and upgrades were unable to be completed in time for the opening round.

The morning qualifying session was in heavy rain and cold temperatures as 30 cars took to the picturesque Cotswolds circuit behind a safety car.

After a sighting lap to identify the parts of the track covered in standing water, James upped his pace, passing several other cars as he looked to set a good lap time.

James has made a concentrated effort to enjoy racing in the rain, and was feeling comfortable and confident, going around the outside of a competitor through the final turn, still building up his speed.

Unfortunately, his engine then seized solid in top gear when a valve head embedded itself in the top of a piston.

41299871251_450e510aba

26427909407_13f71434a2

Without the time or parts to repair the major damage to the engine, those were the only two laps James would be able to complete.

It was a major blow to the Class B championship points, but the positive to take away was that James’ first ever laps would have qualified him in 16th place on the grid before he’d had a chance to push.

Glenn Hay will now investigate the engine damage and RTV will hope to have the car ready to take the grid at Brands Hatch on the 21st and 22nd April.

James will be completing a tandem parachute jump to raise funds for Primrose Hospice on 5th May. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far, and if you are able to give even a small amount you can do so online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jamescater18 or catch James in person.

9

​​Silverstone International – 20/08/16

Silverstone International – 20/08/16

silv20int20001_zpsmveagwop

Making up 8 places before the first corner at the start of the first race sadly came to nothing, as engine failure at the end of the first lap forced retirement.

Starting out the day with the aim of testing a newly rebuilt gearbox, James Cater had the added problem of a very cold and wet track – having only driven at Silverstone International last year in dry conditions.

A miscalculation with the suspension settings (we were totally focused on the gearbox and actually went out with the dry setup we’d used at Anglesey!) added to the problems, but despite a few spins James still qualified 23rd of the 38 cars entered.

With the track almost dry for the first race, conditions were better suited on what is a brilliant circuit, exactly one year from when James had his first ever race there.

A demon start took the RTV Sheane closer to the B class podium finish we were aiming for, before a 120+mph spin at Abbey at the start of the second lap meant dropping back down the order.

Red flags a few corners later due to another accident caused a restart, but with the engine sounding off, James took the restart from the pit lane after checking in with Glenn Hay. Sadly, the problems got worse back on track, and he had to pull back in to the pits and retire from the race.

An inspection found two engine studs had snapped, one proving too tough to remove the remains of the broken thread from the engine case at the track.

wp_20160820_14_13_07_pro_zpsw7touopn

wp_20160820_14_12_50_pro_zpskruivfaf

Despite a valiant effort from Glenn to repair the engine, we unfortunately ran out of time before the start of the second race, and the weekend was over for us.

We’re disappointed with the result, especially as James had new sponsor decals on the car for British action camera company JooVuu, and also the newly formed RTV.

We will be hoping to make amends and get a solid result at Snetterton on September 24th for the final race of the year.

As always, you’ll be able to read the more in-depth race report from James’ perspective on www.jamescaterracing.com shortly.

Here is the onboard footage from qualifying: