April – May

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Driving Lister Corvette BHL110 at Goodwood

Driving Lister Corvette BHL110 at Goodwood

Car and driver development work this year is going well, albeit in a slightly different way. I have reduced my client base and am focusing mainly on one driver who rapidly passed through his trackday phase to get into racing. I am co-driving his three historic racing cars, whilst also acting as a technical consultant.

We are using Race-Keeper data-logging for driver training purposes. Once a driver reaches a certain level, data-logging becomes essential. By comparing traces, we can see exactly what is going on. Data-logging removes any speculation as the data does not lie. This technology has resulted in massive improvement in my client’s race driving.

Driver training comes in many forms, from corporate jollies, through birthday present and Christmas present “Experience Days” where customers have little or no track driving knowledge, up to the case mentioned earlier where real race instruction applies. I once had an enquiry from the owner of a Lamborghini Countach who wanted to spend a day with me. I asked if he had any track experience. “Er.., no” came the reply. I explained that he could begin on one of Jonathan Palmer’s MSV ‘Novices Days’. He replied that he would be more suited to an advanced day as his car was capable of 180mph and that he wanted to “drift the car at 180mph”. I tried to explain that he and his Countach would be eaten for breakfast by a well-driven 1600cc trackday hatchback. He went quiet; no doubt thinking I had gone mad. I also explained that a car gets nowhere near its top speed on a race circuit. He insisted that on a race circuit it was normal to drift a car at 180mph. When I explained that this was not possible, I could sense that the enquirer doubted my words. Needless to say I declined the work.

For over ten years, I have been writing a column in a Dubai weekly magazine. There is always something to write about. I have also started writing a book, but such is my schedule, that I advise you not to hold your breathe for its completion. All I can say is that the book covers the period 1911-1948 and it is not about cars.

As for my personal life, we are rather busy racing BHL110 – the “Dean Van Lines” Lister Chevrolet. In old-school privateer tradition, our team consists of just two people: my wife Jane and I. Developing a car at this level takes time, and the standard is high, especially at the front. At the lower-end of the motorsport food-chain, chaps muck in with technical information on set-up, ideal spring rates etc etc.

Jane driving the Lister to holding area

Jane driving the Lister to holding area

Cars like the Lister are run by professional race teams who guard their words. And it is no good asking a car’s owner for information because he is usually less than technical, and simply pays the bills. Despite spring rates that were too soft, 110 ran well at the fabulous Goodwood 72nd. It will also contest the prestigious Stirling Moss Trophy, and possibly the Goodwood Revival. The Stirling Moss Trophy races are unique in that they require Lister Chevrolets to run with an air restrictor between the inlet manifold and the Holley carburettor. This reduces horsepower considerably; the idea being to limit the power of the V8s. The air restrictor was stipulated because one particular Lister Chevrolet (now gone away) ran off into a commanding lead. The remaining Lister Chevrolets must now carry this technical burden.

2014 will be 110’s first year of competition outside America, and its first year back in its distinctive 1958 American livery.

More news as it comes…