Brampton's Wayne Lee eyeing hot rod world final glory
Last updated at 14:18, Friday, 06 July 2012
Everyone may be focusing on the Olympics at the moment but Brampton hot rod driver Wayne Lee is going for gold this weekend after qualifying for the National Hot Rod World Final in Ipswich.
And gearbox builder Lee is hoping his technical expertise will help him get that extra lift he needs to challenge the best in the world.
Thirty-five racers from across Europe and South Africa will take to the quarter mile circuit at Ipswich to battle it out over 75 laps on Sunday.
They’ve all qualified from various regional championships and Lee is one of four drivers who have made it through from the Scottish series.
All 35 take to the track tomorrow for timed heats which dictate the grid position for Sunday’s final. Such is the competitiveness of the racing at this level, and with the cars so evenly matched, that less than a second is expected to split the fastest from the slowest.
“This is the big one, the world final – you can’t get any bigger than this,” said Lee. “It’s a great achievement to get this far and I really have nothing to lose so I will be trying as hard as I can. We average around 70mph on a lap and get up to 90mph on the straights. You can’t afford to go off throttle at all as everyone is bumper to bumper and the racing is just incredible.
“Some of the Northern Irish drivers will be hard to beat but you also need luck. If someone spins just in front of you then that can ruin your chances as there’s literally nowhere to go.
“There are other drivers there who are faster than me but if it rains that could help me quite a bit.”
The Brampton driver is backed by The Claims Place and will drive a finely-tuned Peugeot 206cc.
Well on the outside it looks like that. But in reality it’s an extremely modified spaceframe chassis with lightweight Kevlar body panels and specialist parts everywhere.
The entire car weighs just 700kg and is equipped with a race-tuned Vauxhall 2.0 litre 16v engine putting out around 240 horse power. However, Lee hopes his gearbox building experience will give him an edge this weekend.
“I build specialist motorsport gearboxes by trade and I can do my own gear ratio calculations to hopefully give me the best gearing possible and a slight advantage.
“Gearing is very important as we need acceleration from a standing start but also some pull coming out of the corners. I’ve got a dog box with first gear and two second gears. I use first off the line and then have the option on which second gear to use depending on the racing circumstances – one for a clear track ahead and one if I’m in traffic.
“You are always looking for something new in the set-up or racecraft that will give you a little edge over the other guys. My car should be pretty good as it belonged to the 2010 world champion, but we’ve been working hard over the last few weeks to get it upgraded to the latest specification.
“The track at Ipswich is one of the fastest in Europe so it really will be a big battle. Everyone is excited at the start but the race usually settles down after the first 10 or 15 laps. I just need to stay focused and be there at the end when it matters.”
Timed heats to decide the grid position for the final will be tomorrow morning with the world final itself kicking off at midday on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Aspatria’s Mike Faulkner and Wigton’s Peter Foy moved into a clear second position in the Scottish Rally Championship after finishing fourth overall on last weekend’s 80th anniversary of the RSAC Scottish Rally in Dumfries.
The fifth round of the Scottish series was played out across the Ae, Twiglees and Castle O’er forests but heavy rain made driving difficult and the forest roads extremely slippery.
Faulkner was lucky to get away with a high-speed moment on the last stage which saw his BSW Timber Mitsubishi Evo 6 dance along the ditch before rejoining the road.
“I couldn’t have driven any harder,” said a relieved Faulkner at the finish.
“The car was working well, Peter and I were working well, but we just couldn’t get the times – especially in the morning when it was really slippery. It was a better last stage, when it had dried up a little, but we had a huge moment over a jump. We’d actually ‘dangered’ it on the notes, because it was quite deceptive. There was a big crest before a corner and the car took off loads more than we expected.
“We had a big heavy landing and it kicked the car up again, so we arrived at the corner without any braking. We threw the car in and had a trip down a ditch for 100 yards at 100mph, popped out the other end and were very lucky to get away with it.”
Sunday sees the Greystoke Stages near Penrith, one of the highlights of the local rallying calendar, and it’s become even more exciting with the news that M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson is making a surprise outing as course car in his Escort Mk2. As part of National Motorsport Week, M-Sport is offering rally marshals a once in a lifetime opportunity to navigate a stage alongside the former British Rally Champion.
Wilson’s Escort was built in 2008 for the historic Roger Albert Clark Rally – an event which Wilson and co-driver John Millington won with 14 stage victories. M-Sport will select two lucky marshals to get the co-driving experience and they will be joined by the highest bidder of a public auction which has helped to raise funds for the Motorsport Foundation.
The Greystoke Stages has been fully subscribed and organisers are trying to find some more spaces for extra runners.
The event will be led away by number one seed Michael Glendinning and kicks off at 9am. Information for spectators is available at www.greystokestages.co.uk.
First published at 14:08, Friday, 06 July 2012
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
|NEWS & STAR ON:|
- Go-ahead for superfast broadband roll-out across Cumbria (27 comments)
- Angry Cumbrian MP and council leader write to David Cameron about Sellafield deal (7 comments)
- Struggling M&S failing to impress Carlisle shoppers (2 comments)
- Bookies don't fancy Carlisle Utd for next season's League One title (5 comments)
- Cumbrian big cat had been spotted before - claim (2 comments)
- Religious leaders claim Carlisle club's name offensive (72 comments)
- Damning report reveals distressing scenes at Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary (72 comments)
- Crime panel raps 'inconsistent' Cumbria police commissioner (39 comments)
- Cumbrian beauty spot failing to pay its way (34 comments)
- Carlisle United must respond if this Celtic Nation grows (23 comments)