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Just Doors UK sponsoring MacG Racing
PTR Exhausts
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AWS Racewear sponsoring MacG Racing
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BRITCAR 24 HOUR - SILVERSTONE GP ARENA 1/10/11

The Team arrived on the Wednesday night and set up camp, sharing a garage with Optimum Racing who were running a Ginetta G50. The unusually hot weather was the talk of the pitlane as the teams set up camp in the garages – temperatures were forecast to reach over 25 degrees later on in the weekend!

MacG Racing Ultima GTR at Silverstone 24hr



The Thursday was the official practice day - MacG Racing's three drivers had previously driven the car numerous times and were familiar with the circuit so the decision was taken to opt out - given that there was almost 4 hours of qualifying. The car was cleaned up and taken the car over to Parc Ferme for scrutineering and noise testing. The car passed scrutineering without any issues, however the noise test was another matter. The car was over the 102dB noise limit by 4dB - so there was work to be done. The team set to work, and a couple of options were tried during the Thursday afternoon - restuffing the backbox, playing with exhaust tips to point them in different directions, but the Team could not get under the 102 limit. The decision was taken to retro fit one of the extra silencer back boxes that Ultima offered, so a quick call was made to Hinckley and a member of the crew set off in pursuit of the extra backbox. This arrived late Thursday night so it was fitted, the mapping tweaked, and passed the noise test - problem solved.

MacG Racing Silverstone 24hr Britcar Ultima GTR



Qualifying Friday morning – The drivers were up bright and early and Adam Wilcox hit the track first, having left it around 20 minutes to get some space on the crowded track. The plan was to each do a few laps, and the quickest driver would go out on new tyres to put in a quick time. Two laps in, and there are flames at the back of the car as it comes down the pit straight. A quick radio call later, Wilcox comes rolling down the pitlane with the extra back box glowing orange and the clam in flames. Quick work from the Team fire marshal with a couple of fire extinguishers soon put out the blaze - but the damage was quite clear – the clam had caught fire from the heat generated by the addition of the extra backbox.

MacG Racing Silverstone 24hr Britcar Ultima GTR



The Team changed the car back to its original configuration; clam off, a quick clean to get rid of the highly corrosive extinguisher powder, and the original tail pipes back on. Unfortunately all 3 drivers had to run in qualifying, and there was just12 minutes left by the time Smyth hit the track - and MacGregor still had to do his run! Smyth managed 1 lap and MacGregor jumped in, which gave him around 6 minutes for a qualifying session. One fast out-lap and one lap with huge amounts of traffic - MacGregor managed to cross the line just before the chequered flag for one quick, clean lap. Unfortunately there was traffic round the back of the circuit round the new pit complex, which lost him around 1.5 seconds, losing the Team a front row spot, and the Yellow MacG Racing Ultima ended up 8th on the grid – not the disaster it looked like it was going to be minutes earlier.

MacG Racing Silverstone 24hr Britcar Ultima GTR



Some scrutiny of the damage revealed that the cats had melted and blown out, pushing the car well over the noise limit. It was noon, the Team needed a plan B for the noise issue, and the original system had burnt out all the cats and the wadding. Along comes Pete Ellis from PTR exhausts, and Pete and the MacG Racing Crew formulate a plan. The crew start cleaning up the car, and Pete heads back to his workshop which is just down the road and starts making up a new system for the car. The Team clean up the car, load it onto the trailer an get it over to his workshop by 2pm. Pete starts his magic, and by three of the MacG Racing crew, the car rolls back to Silverstone at 8:30pm (30 minutes into the night practice session) with some huge silencers on the car. Noise test underway, and, the car fails – just, at 103dB – significantly better than the 120dB the car had been a few hours earlier. The scrutineers, allowed each driver do 1 flying lap during the session, and the Team had till morning to get the car below the noise limit. Smyth headed out, followed by Wilcox, then MacGregor, with MacGregor clocking the 4th quickest time in the session despite it being the first time he had been round Silverstone at night!

MacG Racing Silverstone 24hr Britcar Ultima GTR


 
Raceday - Helped by Pete from PTR again, the Team did some work to the exhaust system and FINALLY passed the noise test. There was a 30 minute practice session in the morning, and each driver got some laps in with the new system fitted in its quieter configuration. The crew set to work preparing the car for the race, and two hours later, Jonny MacGregor was sat in the car and driving up to the assembly area for the start of the race.
 
The strategy was to go out and hit 2 minute 15 second lap times, regardless of what the other cars were doing. The car and drivers had the pace to continue like this all day and night, so it would not stress the car. After an hour on the grid in the now 29 degree heat, MacGregor set-off on the rolling lap. From the start the Ultima dived up the inside of the Topcats Mosler and made up 3 places into the first corner. MacGregor quickly settled down into the pace we agreed to run at, which meant letting a couple of cars through and this pace continued for the first 45 minutes of the race, which also entailed a safety car to rescue the stricken Optimum Ginetta which had suffered contact at Maggots on lap 1.


MacG Racing Silverstone 24hr Britcar Ultima GTR

 


The plan was going well, but around an hour in, the car started misfiring. The car was remapped and MacGregor was sent back out, but it was showing signs of fuel starvation. Despite changing pumps, various remaps and even fitting a fuel cooler to the system, the misfire was progressively getting worse. The car was remapped again, and Wilcox was sent out. 10 laps into his stint, he reported that the car was misfiring really aggressively, then the Team received news that the car was stricken at the entrance to the pits. The car was brought back to the pits, and an inspection found that the left hand rear drive flange had sheared off, causing the disc to mangle up in the calliper and destroy the hub – all because of the violent misfire. Thankfully the Ultima Factory support came into its own, and the crew quickly re-assembled the car with new parts.

MacG Racing Silverstone 24hr Britcar Ultima GTR



After the repairs, Smyth went out again, and did around 10 laps at good speed, significantly quicker than the opposition. However the car started misfiring again, and he was at about 5000RPM in 3rd, when it misfired violently and the car lost 3rd gear. Smyth limped back into the pits, and the decision was made to retire the car to avoid any further damage to the gearbox. The Team had made it to the second day.


MacG Racing Silverstone 24hr Britcar Ultima GTR



MacG Racing would like to say a huge thank-you to the crew who worked tirelessly throughout, and Pete Ellis from PTR exhausts who offered excellent assistance and service throughout the weekend. Also thanks to the Ultima Factory once again for the parts they provided, and you fans who supported us throughout the event, as well as our sponsors Just Doors UK, Reverie and AWS Racewear, and the charity MacG Racing supports, LOROS.

 

Just Doors UK sponsoring MacG Racing
PTR Exhausts
Braid Wheels
AWS Racewear sponsoring MacG Racing
Quantum Racing Suspension sponsors MacG Racing
Albins Performance Transmissions sponsors MacG Racing
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