The great British weather, we love it, don't we?
With 30C+ temperatures forecast this weekend at Castle Combe, it's a good time to talk about measures you might consider now, so as to keep you and your car comfortable at the track.
Water, yes, it's the obvious one, but drink lots of it, more than you think you need, particularly just before you race. Not syrupy drinks, not tea or coffee, just straight water, or a drink that's isotonic (same concentration as blood). The same is true of your pit crew, who need to be dressed appropriately (no flip flops!) and well covered in sunscreen. Consider a hydration system in the car (drink bottle/bladder with flexible hose and nozzle), but make sure it is well secured. Don't be tempted to pour water on you until after the race, for your fireproof suit to protect you, it needs to be dry.
A simple window scoop, to direct air into your car, is important, particularly if your only ventilation are those little sliding perspex apertures. Letting air escape out of the car is just as important for flow. Before attacking the car with a hole saw, think of the opposite extremes of weather we 'enjoy' from time to time. Some series don't allow cosmetic or aero modifications, such as roof scoops, louvers etc.
If you've not cleaned your radiator and oil cooler for a while, now is a good time, it's surprising how much grit, dried leaves and rubber get trapped in the fins. When was the last time you changed your coolant? Waterless coolant is an option, but for most, a flush and fill with distilled water and additive like 'Water Wetter' or 'Stay Frosty' is worthwhile. Fresh brake fluid should be considered if you've not changed it this season, your calipers will be as hot as ever come the weekend.
Spare a thought for the Marshals, rescue crew and officials who are roasting for you all weekend. Give them a wave on your cool down lap. Your donations have been put to good use, in addition to the contribution to expenses we hand Marshals in the morning, the club has also put your donations towards water bottles for each volunteer during the day.
Short-shifting by 500 rpm or more can help your car manage temperatures. If your car is forced-induction, it may be worth turning down the boost a little, boost pressure equals heat.
All series racing this weekend have pit-stops. Whatever the type your series employs, this is a good time to be passed a drink by pit crew. If you don't have anyone with you, please speak to Hugo after the drivers briefing, or your series representative, we will do our best to be there to help you during your stop.
Make your pit crew feel like part of an F1 outfit as they blast air at hot bits whilst stationary! Prices of small battery leaf-blowers have come down considerably, to less than £50 for one of China's finest (ok, cheapest) models, or from £60 for a more quality brand on Amazon Prime. Many are available on next day delivery from the usual online sources, or perhaps pick one up at your local garden centre. It could help your car whilst it's stationary, but if you do buy one, please brief your crew on what to do, where to stand, keep them alert over the din of the blower and facing traffic.
As per our usual pit-stop rules, any time there is no driver in the car the engine must be switched off. Once a driver is seated the engine can be switched on immediately (before belts are re-fastened), this could help with engine heat-soak. Try to avoid putting your foot on the brake pedal, again to avoid heat soak. On leaving the pits, perhaps consider braking a little earlier that first time at Avon Rise and Quarry, in case of fade.
When you leave the track at the end of the race, keep moving until you get to your paddock space, don't stop (unless directed to), otherwise you'll have a queue of overheating cars and drivers behind you.
Store your petrol in the shade and be very careful when opening the container.
Metal Jerry cans are particularly prone to spraying fuel in all directions, when opening the lid after it has been in the sun. If you do get sprayed with fuel on your skin, wash it off immediately with water. Unless you are in back-to-back races, after qualifying, try to let the car cool for at least an hour before re-fuelling. Please have an extinguisher to hand.
You may bring paddling pools, all good, as long as we have paddock space, but spare a thought for your neighbours when you empty it! Those of you staying overnight in the paddock may be under canvas or have windows open on campervans, therefore the running of a generator through the night is not going to be tolerated, as per our final instructions.
If you are in the Motorsports School Turbo Tin Tops assembly area, now is a good time to get friendly with Lisa Selby/Toby Harris (Fiesta), Stuart Eardley (RX-8) and Jack Hordley (RX-8), whose cars may have working air conditioning! The CSCC Safety Car has been freshly re-gassed too.
'Cafe Bar H', the Castle Combe paddock restaurant, is open and has a bar and tasty BBQ on Saturday evening.
Let's take precautions this weekend, but enjoy the sunshine whilst it lasts.
Some of the advice above may/may not be appropriate for your car, but hope that at least one of the suggestions may help.