2015 Summary

Photograph courtesy of Steve Borowik

2015 was always going to be a different and exciting year for Glynnsport. With Topcats, our new race support Team and their installation of the new Chevy LS7 engine in the race Sagaris, there would be quite a bit of adjusting to do to bring everything together effectively.

Indeed, after a good first test session to run the in the new engine and work with the Topcats Team for the first time with our car, all went well although it was clear that there would be some further development work still to come.

The first 2 races at Silverstone on the National circuit showed up some unexpected gremlins which had a rather large impact – literally! After achieving a pretty good qualifying position, the first race was extremely wet and this would be our first outing in this new configuration in these conditions. On the third lap of the race, Steve started to push on after his cautious start. On hitting the brakes on the approach to the Maggotts/Becketts loop to the Club straight the rear end locked completely spinning the car at huge speed towards the perimeter wall. It felt like a hand brake has been applied with an inevitable result in such conditions as the car headed at speed straight to the wall. The only option left to try to avoid a big impact was to apply maximum left hand lock , hit the throttle hard and hope this would change the trajectory beyond the wall and into the gravel. This quick thinking worked and the car came to rest inches away from the wall at the far side of the gravel trap. A fortunate result and a lesson as we discovered that the brake bias was turned far too much to the rear wheels. Frustratingly in race 2 we were not so fortunate. As we approached the rolling start on brand new slick tyres on a still damp and greasy track, Steve gently applied some throttle as the start lights went out. The car immediately lost all traction stepping wildly out to the right and straight into the pit wall. Steve managed to straighten the car enough such that it was pretty flat to the wall when the driver side impact happened. Still, race over before it began and more work to be done.

It wasn’t until after the next 2 races, with the car handling appallingly that we were able to diagnose the issue. When the LS7 engine arrived it came with a brand spanking new throttle body which the Team assumed would be the latest and greatest to install. What we hadn’t realised was that this so called “progressive” throttle was anything but progressive and simply couldn’t work with the power and torque of our car. It made the car undriveable at race pace the way it delivered the power to the rear wheels, sliding through corners whilst theoretically only using a small amount of throttle and leaving vast black lines of rubber for 30 metres after exiting the corners.

Having resolved this issue by re-installing our original throttle body, we arrived at Donington for races 5 and 6 in yet more torrential rain. Still, with the brake bias sorted and the throttle problems resolved, what could go wrong? Well, visibility is pretty important at the best times but in these horrendous conditions, somewhat vital. However, with the much hotter LS7 engine, it quickly became apparent that we could not stop the windscreen from steaming up so badly that Steve could barely see out. It would not be possible to fix this at the circuit but despite this and the huge challenge ahead, Steve was determined to finish the races and try to get as many points as possible to keep us in with a chance of the Championship. Afterwards Steve commented that it was probably the toughest drive of his race career so far but worth it as he brought the car home and scored some valuable points in the process.

The next 2 races at Snetterton 300 showed the Team had moved firmly in the right direction. Yet another wet race day but this time Topcats had sorted out the fogging windscreen problem and the car was “on song”. Even though we were at a disadvantage in these conditions battling against cars with traction control and ABS, Steve put in an impressive performance in races where several cars unfortunately crashed out in the wet conditions and he finished 4th overall in race 1 and achieved our first podium finish this season in race 2. These excellent results set us up with a shot at both the Class and Overall Titles if we could have a successful outing at the last 2 rounds of the Championship at Silverstone International followed by Thruxton.

At Silverstone the car was faultless running perfectly all day . Once again Steve drove superbly taking pole position in qualifying and winning both races overall. Even so, it wasn’t without its dramas. In race 2, Steve had to react extremely quickly to avoid an Ariel Atom which lost control at Abbey and spun directly into Steve’s path who was approaching the corner at around 140 mph. Steve quickly took to the run off area and keeping control of the car on the slippery tarmac managed to rejoin the cicuit on the exit of Farm Curve on the way up to Village, without losing too many places. He soon made up the places lost and went on to win the race. 

So at the final round at Thruxton it was all to play for. We arrived as leaders of the Championship but would still need 2 decent results to secure our position as Class and Overall Champions. Again, qualifying went very well with Steve putting the car on the front row of the grid. An excellent race start ensured Steve kept his position until lap 5 when the car started to handle really strangely. Turning into right handers was getting harder and harder, a bit of a problem as Thruxton is all right handers baring 2 corners! It soon became evident what was wrong when 2 laps later as Steve was doing 155 mph up Woodham Hill to the Club chicane, he hit the brakes and the front offside tyre exploded throwing the car towards the grass with very little run-off area before the Armco. Steve fought the car to keep her under control managing to just stay off the grass and limped back into the pits. Luckily the shredded rubber didn’t cause too much body work damage and the Team were able to get Steve back out quite quickly. Steve made up some lost places places and ended up 5th in race 1. The final race of the Season would be good fun, starting a little way back on the grid but with very little pressure as the Championship was now as good as sealed. However, in true racing spirit Steve was still out to get a good result and finish the year on a high. What a great he made, making up some places before arriving at Campbell corner on lap one. Steve then bided his time behind the Porsche of Peter Challis to preserve his very worn out tyres for as long as possible. With about 10 minutes to go before the pit window opened he pushed on to create a gap with the Porsche and close down the leading car. A great pit stop by the Team meant that if Steve could put in some fast laps straight away he could pass the lead car during its pit stop. This strategy worked perfectly and Steve brought the Glynnsport Sagaris home for his 3rd overall victory in the last 4 races to fully secure a deserved Class and Overall Championship win for the Team.

Well done to Steve for a great Season and a huge thanks to Topcats for all their hard work and fantastic race support throughout the year. What a fantastic finale to 2015... 

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18th Mar 2016

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