The 2011 NSW GP State Titles were recently held over the Easter long weekend at the John Grant International Raceway located at Moorebank in Sydney Australia.
It is the second biggest GP on road event in Australia next to a national title, with many interstate drivers making the trip for the weekend.
This year was an especially exiting time for me as I would be racing the RX8 for the first time. I didn’t have any option parts or springs or even anti roll bars but I could still make the most of the very adjustable chassis.
At the start of practice I was really surprised with the RX8’s handling right out of the box. Compared to my previous 1/8 scale experiences the RX8 felt much more stable under brakes and had awesome on throttle steering onto the main straight with the standard setup. I did have a bit of off throttle understeer but took care of most of that with a lot more rear droop and a softer front spring would have been ideal.
The main thing I noticed when I drove the car was how much brakes you can use without the rear end wanting to snap. With my previous cars the brake was just a drag brake and that was it. With the RX8 you can brake a lot in a straight line and a fair way into the corner trailing off the brake, I’m sure this is because there is no tweak in the car and XRAY have worked really hard to get a perfect weight distribution.
After Practice the NT-1 was going really well too, but I was chasing a little more steering which I was gradually dialing into the car.
Qualifying went okay and I was happy that I was going much faster every round especially with the NT-1. I was making a lot of changes to both the clutch and chassis. I really wanted to be top 4 in at least one class to take some of the pressure off time wise. After the fifth round I was fourth in both classes, unfortunately in the final round I got bumped to fifth by about one second in 1/8 and by about 2 seconds in 1/10. I was pretty disappointed by this especially in 1/8 where I lost a lot of time on my fast run in the pit stop and with slow traffic that wouldn’t move, a combined 5 seconds. I knew I would win both semis so I tried to look at this as another chance to test the conditions, tyre wear and try something with the setups.
The semi finals went to plan and I won both easily. I made a change to the rear of the NT-1 which really improved the car in terms of consistency and on the RX8 I moved the rear anti-roll bar mounts in 2mm to try and free the car up mid corner a little which worked well. So I qualified 5th in both classes.
In the 1/10 final there was a big crash at the second corner that I was able to avoid and get into second place behind Peter but there was something wrong with his car and he had to pit to get it fixed so I was in the lead. I drove very conservatively at the start to make sure I didn’t traction roll on big tyres.
After I felt confident with the tyres I pushed through the middle of the race and put a lap on Second place, from then on I just decided to just cruze till the end managing the gap till the end of the race and I finished about three quarters of a lap in front.
1/10 Final Results:
1. Timothy Lee XRAY NT1'11
2. Peter Jovanovic
3. Jeff Hamon
4. Aaron Lee 5. David Chen XRAY NT1'11
6. Ricky Vocale
7. Darrin Campbell
8. Steven Jovanovic
9. Derrick Miller
10. Phillip Woodbury
In 1/8 scale I didn’t have any luck. After the semi final I needed to change the clutch but there was only a 10minute break between the 1/10 and 1/8 final. We managed to get the break extended to 20minutes but that was not enough. I only got out for the last minute of the warm up and the engine was not up to temperature and the new clutch was not really settled. At the start the car struggled off the line and was collected by another car at the first corner. After this the engine went really lean and at first I thought the pipe was damaged so I came in twice to get the engine tuned but it was making no difference. Then I asked if the pressure line was still on the exhaust and that turned out to be the problem, somehow in the crash the pressure line had come off the exhaust.
After that the glow plug let go from the engine being too lean and then I decided that I was so many laps down there would be no point in continuing and I would retire and save the engine after 20 laps.
1/8 Final Results:
1. Ric Bartolozzi
2. Stewart Grant
3. Ashley Seward
4. Steven Jovanovic 5. Corey Ventouris XRAY RX8
6. Peter Jovanovic
7. Blake Young
8. Tommy Lee 9. Timothy Lee XRAY RX8
I would like to thank the Moorebank club for all their hard work and dedication to this event over the years and as always HEI International for their generous support and for the XRAY cars, Novarossi engines, Protoform bodies and KO servos.