FIA GT1 World Championship Round 10: Qualifying Report

After scoring a solid sixth place in round nine of the FIA GT1 World Championship last week at Interlagos in Brazil, the Sumo Power GT team have travelled 1600-miles south west to San Luis in Argentina, where the only UK-based entrant in this 10-round global series will face its toughest challenge of the year.

The final round takes place at one of the world’s most amazing tracks, the Circuit Potrero de los Funes, which follows the perimeter round around the edge of a volcanic lake, located about 10 kilometres from San Luis town centre. Commissioned by the local government, the circuit follows the topography of the surrounding hillsides, and is flanked by concrete walls for 99% of its 3.9 mile (6.3 kms) length and 22 corners.

With the circuit normally a public road, it was officially closed to traffic for the first time for two years yesterday (Friday), with the GT1 cars making their debut on this unique track today (Saturday). This morning’s Free Practice session saw the Sumo Power GT drivers – and its two Nissan GT-Rs – experience the circuit for the first time: Michael Krumm and Peter Dumbreck in car 23 and Jamie Campbell-Walter and Warren Hughes in car 22 – all four of them commenting how exciting the track was to drive, but potentially very dangerous.

Both cars ran well, with the drivers ensuring they got to know the idiosyncrasies of the track before pushing for a good lap time. Krumm and Dumbreck were pleased to be sixth-fastest on very worn tyres, whilst Campbell-Walter and Hughes were not quite so pleased with 12th, with their grip issues from Brazil seeming to reappear.

With day-time temperatures reaching 30 degrees centigrade, what happened next was a surprise to all when, just before the afternoon’s Pre-Qualifying session, the wind picked up and the heavens opened. For nearly an hour, the area within the bowl of the extinct volcano was subjected to rain and hail storms, leaving the track waterlogged, and consequently proceedings were temporarily brought to a halt.

Almost as quickly as it arrived, the storm passed and, as soon as the track was dry enough, the action recommenced with a shortened Pre-Qualifying session. Seeing little point in using the dry weather tyres that form part of the weekend’s restricted allocation, Krumm and Hughes only did a three laps each on wet-pattern rubber.

Taking place in the evening, qualifying – to determine the grid position for tomorrow morning’s Qualifying Race – followed its usual format, where the fastest 16 cars progress from Q3 to Q2, from which the fastest eight go on to Q3. Campbell-Walter was first to drive in car 22, but after only a few laps a gear selection issue prevented him from posting a time any quicker than 18th and therefore, Hughes did not get the opportunity to drive in Q2.

However, Dumbreck in car 23 was experiencing no such issues and was able to post the fifth fastest time. Krumm then took the wheel of the Nissan for Q2 and, even after spinning to avoid a stray dog, went on to set the fourth fastest time. Dumbreck then drove in Q3 and, whilst on a flying lap, had to slow when a car spun in front of him.

Poised to rectify the situation on the next lap, he then found his tyres had peaked and therefore the chances of setting a time higher than eighth were out of the question. As it turned out, with a penalty applied to a competitor ahead of them after the session, he and Krumm will start from P7 tomorrow.

Sumo Power GT are currently fourth in the Teams’ standings with 130 points, behind Young Driver AMR on 137 and second-placed Reiter Lamborghini, who have 142. Therefore, with 57 points still up for grabs from tomorrow’s two races, five teams are still in with a chance of claiming second place – including Sumo Power GT.

You can catch up with all the latest Sumo Power GT news and view live videos at www.sumopower.com

Santa Pod and Marangoni to partner again for the 2011 season

Santa Pod Raceway, the home of European drag racing, has announced that it is once again to partner with Marangoni, the respected Italian tyre manufacturer for the 2011 season.

The deal sees the tyre firm taking title sponsorship of two of Santa Pod’s key events; The Marangoni Fast Show on Sunday 27th March and Marangoni USC on the weekend of the 5th to the 7th of August, in addition to branding around the FIA sanctioned venue. The package also includes significant coverage of the two television shows that are created around each event and will be aired on Motors TV and Eurosport throughout the year.

Commenting for Santa Pod, Caroline Day, Marketing Manager said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Marangoni back for another year with us. It’s always very gratifying when we can see that previous sponsorship placement has worked and the client has clearly derived value from it. Next year, both shows look set to draw even bigger crowds, thanks to greater pre-publicity and an even better line up, plus our TV format is also drawing bigger viewing figures each year, meaning that Marangoni’s presence at ‘The Pod will be very hard to miss.’

For Marangoni, UK Brand Manager Greg Graham said, ‘Santa Pod is a fantastic fit for the Marangoni brand. Not only in terms of the sheer number of enthusiasts that pass through its gates each year, but also because both the show-goers and Santa pod staff are passionate about the tuning and motorsports scene. When we first took brand space and title sponsorship here two years ago, it helped us to quickly achieve a higher level of brand recognition in several key markets, and undoubtedly assisted us when we forged our exclusive supply arrangement with Kwik Fit. Our goal for 2011 is to further enhance the visibility of the Marangoni brand in the UK consumer marketplace, in turn assisting our partners at Kwik Fit to maximise the brand’s potential.  We can see already that our shows promise even more core content for true petrolheads this year, so I hope that you’ll all join us on Europe’s most famous drag strip!’

For more details please click to www.santapod.com or call the team on 01234 782828.

Synionic Unveil New Motorsport Lubricant Line-Up

Synionic, the UK based lubricants manufacturer has unveiled its 2011 range of Surface Modifying Motorsport lubricants. The new oils have been developed from their previous ultra-high performance range, but have now been blended with even greater environmental credentials, to make them less harmful upon disposal.

The new range is the most advanced form of lubricant on the market and comes in all grades and weights. Naturally, Synionic can also offer custom blends and bespoke formulations to suit individual teams or engineer’s requirements and this can be done on a very sensible minimum order quantity. The firm can also offer a full post-race lab analysis to help identify any possible enhancements or improvements to be made. This has proven invaluable in the past by allowing teams to drop the ‘weight’ of the oil, therefore reducing drag, without increasing wear. In the case of one client, ADR Engineering, technicians saw significant power gains purely from the gearbox oil alone. This was achieved by reducing in stages from 75w90 right down to 10w40 and analyzing the product after each test run to assess wear – or more importantly, the lack of!

Synionic can be subjected to these extreme tests because it differs significantly in its formulation from normal lubricants. Put simply, normal oil is designed to prevent juxtaposed metal parts from touching each other. Under microscopic examination, tiny peaks which are formed as the result of metal finishing (known as ‘asperities’) can be seen, which rely on the film strength of the oil used to keep them apart. ’Film strength’ basically refers to the pressure that can be exerted on a lubricant before it is forced out of where it is required. As heat and/or pressure increases, the tiny peaks cut through the oil film, resulting in scoring, heat and additional friction. Synionic differs in the fact that it actually treats and modifies the surface of the metal components that it comes into contact with, rather than modifying the oil carrier itself.

As the name suggests, Synionic actually bonds at an ionic level to the surface of the moving parts, and in doing so begins a molecular and chemical process that uses the heat from the engine or gearbox to impregnate the metal with the lubricant. This, allied with Synionic’s measurably higher film strength (typically 220,000 PSI vs. 5,000 PSI for a quality synthetic) means that as heat and pressure increase, asperities are actually smoothed and folded under internal yield to create a surface with a lower friction coefficient. Usually, lubricants tend to migrate away from any source of heat, making it the enemy of engines. Here, heat acts as the catalyst that begins the chemical process to protect them.

Synionic already has a few high-profile race wins under its belt in the form of both Roger Clark Motorsport and Scoobyclinic whom have both used it to take them to victory in the UK Time Attack series. Next season, Subaru UK will also be running an entire complement of Synionic engine and gearbox lubricants in its own officially backed Time Attack machine.

RRP for the 5 litre pack is £49.99 or £685.00 for a 200 litre drum. Synionic Motorsport Lubricants are also suitable for all high performance, historic or classic road cars and bikes.

For more information on this, or any Synionic product, please call them Synionic UK on 01628 828473 or click on www.synionic.com

Eibach Launches New Nissan Juke Chassis Upgrades.

Respected German spring manufacturer Eibach has released a range of upgrades to enhance Nissan’s latest crossover model, The Juke.

The funky new niche model from the Japanese manufacturer already has leftfield good looks and superb driving dynamics to its credit, but with the fitment of the new Eibach upgrades, it can start to punch far above its weight in the turns.

The Eibach Pro-Kit is a set of OEM quality springs that are a direct replacement for the factory parts. Lowering the car by approximately 30mm, the car instantly benefits from a much more aggressive stance. But it’s not all about aesthetics, of course – this new lower centre of gravity and progressive spring rate means that handling and turn-in are significantly improved, with driver inputs being more directly communicated through to the chassis.

The progressive winding also means that ride quality is left almost untouched. The car rides on a softer section of the spring for everyday cruising, but loads up onto the stiffer section under spirited cornering. The best of both worlds!

The final finishing touch comes in the form of the Pro-Spacer. These precision engineered aerospace alloy spacers allow for precise track increases in a multitude of sizes. Perfect on standard rims to get the wheels sitting perfectly in the arch for optimum handling and an essential on many aftermarket wheels to get the perfect offset.

Prices start at £139.13 + VAT for the spring kit and £81.74 + VAT for a pair of the 10mm Pro-Spacer. All Eibach spring kits come full TUV accreditation and a comprehensive 5 year warranty

For more details on the Eibach range, please visit www.eibach.co.uk or call the team on 01455 285851.

Eibach Launches New Kia Sportage Chassis Upgrades

Respected German spring manufacturer Eibach has released a range of upgrades to enhance Kia’s latest SUV model, The Sportage.

Although the Kia is an SUV in the classic mould, Eibach’s new kit will appeal to drivers that spend most of their time on the tarmac, rather than off road.. That’ll be most owners, then!

The first enhancements are the Eibach Pro-Kit springs. An OEM-quality upgrade that are a direct replacement for the factory parts. Lowering the car by approximately 30mm, the Sportage instantly benefits from a much more aggressive stance. But it’s not all about aesthetics, of course – this new lower centre of gravity and progressive spring rate means that handling and turn-in are significantly improved, with driver inputs being more directly communicated through to the chassis.

Although the lofty ride height is banished forever, the clever progressive winding technology used in the Pro-Kit means the Kia maintains full levels of ride comfort, despite being remarkably more able in the turns. These are basically two springs in one, with a softer, more compliant section for everyday cruising and then a stiffer more precise section that is called into play under more spirited driving.

The final finishing touch comes in the form of the Pro-Spacer. These precision engineered aerospace alloy spacers allow for precise track increases in a multitude of sizes. Perfect on standard rims to get the wheels sitting perfectly in the arch, for optimum handling and an essential on many aftermarket wheels to get the perfect offset.

Prices start at £230.43 for the spring kit and £81.74 for a pair of the 10mm Pro-Spacer. All Eibach spring kits come with full TUV accreditation and a comprehensive 5 year warranty.

For more details on the Eibach range, please visit www.eibach.co.uk or call the team on 01455 285851.

Benefits at a glance

Pro Kit

Improved handling and turn-in

Lower centre of gravity (Up to 30mm)

Progressive spring rate balances comfort and precision

Unrivalled ride quality

Part of the Eibach Pro-System Range

Pro-Spacer

Hi-tensile aluminium alloy construction

Significant weight advantage over steel spacers

Reduction in unsprung weight

Exact fit for perfect wheel balance

High grade corrosion tolerance (salt-spray tested to DIN 50021)

All components fatigue tested