14, Dec, 2019
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE – BRITAIN’S FASTEST CATERHAM SEVENS
Caterham Sevens developed and prepared by Boss Racing of Longfield, Kent, dominated two of the most popular series for which these cars are eligible during the 2019 British club racing season.
Out of 19 Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens and All-Comers’ races organised by the Classic Sports Car Club, Boss Racing’s clients won 12 of them.
They also achieved a total of 28 podium positions, 11 poles and 12 fastest laps. This was despite wet weather which affected several meetings during the season and, on one occasion, resulted in a race being abandoned.
Among the year’s highlights were winning first, second and third places on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit and first, second and third in both races run on the Indy circuit. The team also visited Spa, Belgium and Dijon, France, where the cars raced wheel-to-wheel at over 150 mph in pouring rain to win both races entered, together with two second place finishes.
“These results show that we build Britain’s fastest Caterham Sevens,” says Robert Singleton, director of Boss Racing. “They’re also a tribute to the professionalism and hard work of our team and the skill and determination of our drivers. 2019 was truly a year to remember.”
The cars may not look very different to the first Lotus Sevens but these high-tech Caterham race cars are a world away from Colin Chapman’s original design. Three of the C400s run by Boss Racing are powered by engines of 2,400-2,500cc based on the Ford Duratec unit and developed and built in-house by Dave Singleton, a man with over 40 years’ experience whose skills are widely recognised.
These units produce between 300 and 370 bhp, ten times more than the original Seven back in 1957. New for this year is a 2.5 litre supercharged Duratec engine for one our customer CSRs giving it a power-to-weight ratio of over 700bhp per ton, which is superior to a Bugatti Veyron. Despite running at 370hp and a monstrous 265 ft.lb of torque it has proven to be super reliable and extremely driveable due to the linear nature of the power delivery – it has 250ft.lb of torque from 4500 to 8000rpm!
One of the features that allows the drivers to deal with such power is a Sadev sequential gearbox operated with an automated paddle shift gear change. Along with flat upshifts and clutchless downshifts, a big advantage in a traction limited car on road tyres is being able to keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times!
In the quest for traction the CSR caterham has an advantage with its inboard front suspension allows easy adjustments of droop to control the way the car squats, something that is tricky with a series 3 car with outboard suspension and a fixed length damper. So this year we have been working with Quantum Racing to design a damper with separate spring and ride height adjustment. The first set were used in the second half of the season picking up a number of wins are now available to purchase. Being able to adjust the amount of droop or even run with zero droop opens up a lot of options by controlling the way the front lifts under power and cornering.
Another kind of lift is aerodynamic and the Seven shape is notorious for both lift and drag. While this makes for great racing, with the cars able to follow in close formation, we are always looking for ways to improve within a strict set of rules that bans aerodynamic devices and any changes to the silhouette of the vehicle. There is however scope to reduce the parasitic drag of existing items so lights for example have been redesigned to reduce drag and as speeds rise small gains give greater rewards; if a 200hp car has a top speed of 130mph it will require 300hp to hit 150mph.
Robert Singleton says: “Our development programme will continue through the winter so next season promises even better results. We’ll be even faster.”
For further information contact Robert Singleton
5, Nov, 2019
It’s amazing the part luck plays in motor racing. At Dijon we had a generous helping of good fortune but we must have used up our allocation for the end of season Donington Park meeting or the Halloween Horror, as I prefer to call it.
CLASSIC AND SPORTS CAR CLUB, DIJON, FRANCE 4-6 OCTOBER
Despite the wet conditions our drivers revelled in the flowing nature of the circuit where in 1979, Gilles Villeneuve and Rene Arnoux had their no-holds barred, wheel-banging duel for second place in the French Grand Prix that people still talk about 40 years later.
There was very little testing time available so all our drivers started their familiarisation by walking the circuit and came back with huge smiles on their faces. Although none of us had ever been there before we knew the circuit was fast and had geared the cars for 160mph top speeds – that surely was enough?
The weather was truly terrible as the cars assembled for qualifying for the first of the two open series races. Yet it seemed not to worry Tim Davis and Colin Watson whose times were comfortably faster than anybody else’s. In fact, Tim (Caterham C400 2400) was the only driver to lap below 1min 40 sec. Jonathan Pittard (supercharged Caterham CSR 2,500) lined up fourth with Richard Carter (Caterham R300 2000) seventh. Magnificent Sevens Series co-ordinator Peter French (Caterham Superlight 1800) 37th.
Much like qualifying the day before, the circuit was wet as the cars gathered in the assembly area. However, it had stopped raining and the track was slowly, slowly drying. There was no choice but to start the cars on wet tyres but would they last to the pit window? While a couple of the team kept watch in the assembly area the rest of us were pressurising, and stacking much of the 70 plus spare wheels and tyres we had taken with us ready for the pitstops.
In the race Colin took the lead from the start challenged by Jonny and Tim. These three made a terrific spectacle racing wheel to wheel at 150mph plus. This, it has to be remembered, was on a streaming wet track and in cars known to have the aerodynamics of a mechanic’s toolbox.
As the track continued to dry their pace increased and the team readied themselves for tyre changes on all four cars, no mean feat without centre-lock nuts and a sixty second window. But the heavens opened just before the pit window did and the pressure was taken off the pit crew and the pitstops all went smoothly.
The pressure now though was on the drivers. As the conditions worsened and with a constant stream of backmarkers to negotiate Tim, Colin and Jonny were walking the tightrope of having to push yet not make a mistake. It couldn’t last. Braking at the end of the start finish straight Tim made an uncharacteristic mistake spinning into the gravel. Colin and Jonny continued to battle but in the end Colin won by 15 secs. Richard was fourth in his class G car, missing out on a podium by just six seconds but he won his class while Peter French improved to 34th. Colin posted the fastest lap and, of course, won the Mag 7s section of the race.
The finishing order determined starting positions for the second race, which meant that Tim was at the back of the grid. From pole Colin didn’t make the best of starts and with Christian Pittard – now racing for Team Leos – having a jump start and Jonny managing somehow to put 370hp down smoothly he found himself third by the second corner. Colin was revelling in the conditions and calmly took the lead by the end of the lap and with a clear track looked to extend his lead. His escape didn’t last long though as the safety car was out within two laps. Not only that, Tim had fought his way up to fifth and with the safety car bunching the field it was all to play for.
The pitstops went by in a blur of spray but disaster struck again for Tim with a broken throttle linkage and while he managed to get back to the pits for repairs his race was effectively over. At the front however the race was far from over. A half spin by Colin allowed Jonny to squeeze through and there followed a fantastic few laps click on the picture below for the footage.
Once again Colin came out in the lead and with three minutes to go the race seemed in the bag. But no, once again the pendulum would swing as he lapped a BMW which clipped his back wheel, buckling the rim and taking the tyre off. Limping in to the pits we were by now beginning to pack away all spare wheels and equipment. A wheel was grabbed that was vaguely the right size and shape and gunned on but as Colin tore up the pit lane it seemed any chance of victory had gone. With Jonny now long gone in the lead he joined the circuit only to see red flags at the first marshals post.
With only one minute to go the race was ended but as the cars toured back to the pit lane and the drivers waited to go on to the podium the officials tried to work out who had won. The rules say that due to the red flag the results are taken from the end of the previous lap but no one knew if Colin was leading at that time or if he had left the pit lane before the red flags. After a further ten minutes of deliberation the win went to Colin, a cruel result for Jonny who was leading when the race was stopped. Richard was again fourth, winning his class with another great drive and closing on a podium position as the weather deteriorated.
So a great weekend in terms of results. The drivers left planning a return in the dry to what is a marvellous circuit and we left wondering if that top speed of 160mph would indeed have been enough? Jonny Pittards supercharged CSR hit 154mph in the wet and it was testament to the skill and bravery of the Boss drivers that all the cars were packed away in one piece.
CLASSIC AND SPORTS CAR RACING CLUB’S NIGHT RACE MEETING, DONINGTON PARK 26-27 OCTOBER.
Anyone who has competed or spectated at motorsport will know that it is a cruel mistress but we arrived at Donington full of confidence. And of course umbrellas, yet again it was raining.
There was limited testing for our drivers but Richard Carter still suffered what we in the trade call terminal engine failure. The less knowledgeable call it a blow-up. This was also the weekend when we suffered no less than four alternator failures, cause unknown.
The weather was bright and dry for qualifying for the Mag Sevens race. Tim Davis posted third fastest time but his success penalty dropped him to 13th on the grid, while Colin Watson was trying different suspension settings and had his fastest lap time disallowed for infringing track limits. Jonathan Pittard’s supercharged CSR, always quick in the wet, had completed relatively few dry laps and ended up fifth.
Class rivals Hugh Coulter and Peter Hargroves were 13th and 21st respectively. Hugh was first in class while Peter was having his first outing since Thruxton. The Redman father and son team (Caterham 420R 2000) started a class-leading 35th.
After the rolling start Colin got blocked in at Redgate as Tim hauled himself from 13th to third on the opening lap. He was soon in the lead with Colin now in fourth and battling for third. Jonny though, was having a torrid time when his engine went into “limp mode” on the opening lap. He made six pit stops to clear it but eventually finished unclassified.
As Autosport reported, “Tim Davis slipstreamed his way to the front until his pitstop where he couldn’t get his Caterham C400 to restart.” In fact, his battery died as he was entering the pits for his mandatory stop on lap 7. We changed it and the alternator and got him out again, albeit eight laps down. Believe it or not his engine expired on the last lap. He, too, was unclassified.
Colin, battling with the lead pack had run wide at Coppice in the opening laps leaving himself beached in the gravel and out of the race.
Hugh and Peter had been fighting for class honours as usual but they had a coming together and Hugh failed to stop during the pit stop window. That meant a two-lap penalty which dropped him to 25th at the finish. The Redman team was classified 23rd despite a grassy excursion.
We had little time to prepare for the night race. But we managed to dig Colin’s car out of the gravel and get our spare number 93 ready for Tim to race. We were ready, with permission to go to the grid, with just five minutes in hand. Tim was in civvies all set to head for home, but he managed to get suited up and on to the grid.in time.
Instead of being on the pole position he had earned with his own car he was relegated to the back of the gird with Colin second. The Redman team, about to race after dark for the first time, was 23rd.
At the start, Tim made one his lightning getaways and was soon up to second. Colin though was punted in the back by another competitor while leading going through the Craner Curves and once again ended in the gravel. This time he managed to get back on the track but stopped soon afterwards with his lights dimming due to another flat battery.
We went through the now familiar routine of changing both battery and alternator but Colin was now 13 laps down. He battled on gamely but was unclassified at the finish. Meanwhile, Tim managed to salvage a decent result by finishing second to a very quick BMW M3. He set the fastest lap of the race in a time that would have been quick during daylight never mind after dark. The Redman team finished 15th having greatly enjoyed their first taste of night racing.
By Boss Racing’s standards the Donnington Park Halloween Horror was a disaster, at the end we simply stared at each other in disbelief but perhaps it’ll stop us getting complacent and determined to do even better in 2020.
Anyway, as I said before, that’s motor racing.
13, Sep, 2019
It was the closest finish ever seen in a Classic and Sports Car Club race: the first three cars crossing the line separated by just two tenths of a second after 40 minutes of racing, pit stops and a safety car interlude.
The Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens race run on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit on 1 September was dominated by cars prepared and entered by Boss Racing. The previous weekend these same cars and drivers had done the same in both the CSCC Open Series races run on the Indy circuit.
Classic and Sports Car Club, Brands Hatch Indy circuit, 25 and 26 August
We were supporting cars competing in two of the series being run over the blisteringly hot Bank Holiday weekend for in addition to the Sevens were also looking after Keith Vaughn Williams’ TVR Chimaera.
This car, which has now acquired the nickname of Christine from the movie of that name about a car with a mind of its own, was entered in the Cartek Modern Classics race which opened the week-end’s programme.
Keith qualified sixth on the grid but in the race he moved steadily up the field as some of the quicker runners dropped out. His pit stop went well and he was helped by a safety car interlude. At the finish he was second, 22 sec behind the winner.
Drivers of Boss Racing-supported cars took a clean sweep of the grid for the first of the two Verum Builders Open Series races. Tim Davis (C400 2400) was quickest, followed by Christian Pittard (Seven 2500), Colin Watson (C400 2400 “Spa Special”), Hugh Coulter (C400 2000) and Richard Carter, who had replaced the 2.5L engine in his R300 with a 2.0L unit. Peter Hargroves (Superlight R 2000) was tenth and the father and son team of Will and Charlie Redman started 15th in their 420R 1998.
Tim took the lead at the start and held it for the first eight laps with Christian and Colin in close attendance. But Tim suffered a soft brake pedal and dropped back to third at the finish with Christian in his bright orange car 2 sec ahead of Colin at the flag.
Richard was fourth and first in class, but Hugh inadvertently turned his ignition off while changing gear and coasted into the pits with a dead engine. We managed to get him on his way quite quickly and he finished eighth, just one place ahead of Hugh. The Redmans finished 12th. Colin recorded the fastest lap with Richard quickest in his class.
Colin started the second race from pole position with Tim alongside him. Richard was third, while Charlie Redman started seventh. Christian elected not to start this race and Peter was also a non-starter.
Tim led from start to finish with Colin close behind, although he dropped back with gearbox box issues to finish just over seven secs behind. Richard was fourth and Charlie Redman eighth. Tim put up fastest lap with Richard again quickest in his class.
MSVR Club Championships, Brands Hatch 31 August/1 September
With the series celebrating its first decade, the lure of driving on the grand prix circuit attracted a big field for the Magnificent Sevens race on 1 September with a total of 51 entries.
In qualifying Tim Davis was fastest of them all with a time three-tenths of a second quicker than the next runner with Christian Pittard fourth and brother Jonathan in his matt black supercharged CSR 2500 fifth. Colin Watson in the number 92 C400 2400 was credited with sixth place after being penalised for exceeding track limits. Hugh Coulter was tenth and first in class, while series co-ordinator Peter French (Superlight 1800) was 47th.
The stage was now set for what Autosport described as “frantic action” and that’s what we got. Christian leap-frogged Tim from the second row of the grid but Tim soon passed him to build a comfortable lead, while Jonathan and Colin tussled for fourth. A safety car interlude encouraged Jonathan to be the first of the Boss runners to make his pit stop with Christian following him.
Tim fell to fifth after his stop but soon powered back to second place. This became first when the leader made an unscheduled second stop and he again opened a gap to Christian and Colin. They reeled him in, however, so that the order was closing up again towards the end of the race. Colin dropped back after a quick trip into the gravel at Clearways and Christian snatched the lead from Tim on the last lap.
As Britain’s three fastest Caterham Sevens rocketed out of the last corner on the last lap a determined Tim squeezed past Christian in what Autosport described as an “audacious move.” Tim said later: “I wanted that one.” he said later. Christian had the consolation of recording the fastest lap. Hugh Coulter was also quickest in his class.
In addition, Tim Ralph (25th), Alex Harbour (27th), Ben Rowsell (33rd) and Chris Biglin (DNF) were all using engines built by Boss Racing.
The result of this Mag Sevens race meant that three different Caterham variants in various stages of development recorded almost identical lap times in their domination of the what is now recognised as the fastest of all the many series for Caterham-type cars.
To put this achievement into perspective, Tim Davis’ pole-winning time would have placed him tenth on the grid for the GT Cup Championship, the week-end’s feature race.
And that’s a great tribute not only to our determined and skilful drivers but also to the whole Boss team who have worked hard to give their customers a unique opportunity.
12, Sep, 2019
Classic Sports Car Club, Anglesey, 22/23 July
You had to be called Watson to win a Magnificent Sevens race at Anglesey. Our own Colin Watson was victorious in one of the two Gold Arts sponsored events at the Classic and Sports Car Club’s July meeting. David Watson (no relation), scored in his rapid motor-cycle-engined Spire the following day. Overall, though, it was another successful weekend for Boss Racing customers with a win, a third, several class victories, a pole and some stirring drives.
We arrived on the Thursday evening after an 8.5hr journey. The following day’s test sessions were run in wet and dry conditions. The main drama concerned Graham Charman, back in the Caterham fold after a spell with a Ginetta. He broke a gear selector spring and had to send to Essex for a replacement. By contrast, Jonny Pittard’s supercharged 2500 Caterham CSR was running really well and able to show its true potential at last. In the wet Tim Davis and Nick Powell and son, newcomers to our team, were the only Boss runners to venture on to the track.
Qualifying also produced its dramas. The weather continued changeable and rain started falling when the cars were in the assembly area. We had to change Jonny’s tyres several times but it was well worth the effort as he secured pole. Tim was second quickest, but then his car was side-lined when a stone entered the engine and snapped a valve. As it happened, we had a Supersport 1600 with us which we planned to run at a Silverstone track day after the weekend. Tim was able to use at Anglesey with the CSCC’s permission. Colin in our number 92 C400 2400 struggled with tyre choices but still set fifth fastest time, while Graham lined up eighth in his Superlight 1900. Hugh Coulter (C400 2000) was tenth and the Powells were 14th with their Supersport 1600. Peter French (Superlight 1800) was 37th, while Tim started from the pit lane.
Jonny took the lead when the lights went out but a small mistake dropped him behind the duelling duo of Colin and Gary Bate. After 19 laps and a mandatory pitstop, Colin took the flag to win by just under a second. Hugh lost a place due to a 60-sec penalty for pit lane speeding but still finished eighth and second in class. Tim, who’d stormed from a pit-lane start to 20th overall just failed to pip the Powells for fourth in class. Peter was 31st and second in class but Graham was a non-starter due to a second gear selector spring breakage.
The race had been run on Anglesey’s International circuit but the second, the following day, used the shorter Coastal Circuit which limited the number of competitors allowed to take part. Consequently, Tim and Graham were listed as reserves.
Colin took a winner’s penalty and lined up sixth but otherwise the field started according to the previous finishing order. The start was chaotic. David Watson stalled his engine and was rear-ended by another car. The red flag was shown, the race was cut to 20 min and the pit stop “window” kept open for the whole race.
Most runners took the opportunity of a virtual safety car interlude to make their pitstops but not Colin and Jonny. They missed our increasingly frantic signals from the pit-wall. We even resorted to shouting at them! The result was that they were leap-frogged by the rest of the field. Yet by the flag, Colin had recovered to ninth and Jonny tenth. Colin set the fastest lap of the race. Hugh was our highest-placed finisher with a terrific fifth overall in his class H car. There was another impressive come-back drive from Tim who was able to start, but from the pit-lane, finished 15th, a place behind the Powells. Peter French was 32nd after incurring a two-lap penalty for a pit-stop infringement.
The overall winner on track was Gary Bate but he too was penalised for pit-lane speeding so it was David Watson who was awarded the victory from a pit-lane start.
Keith Vaughn Williams was also in action over the week-end. In his 5-litre TVR Chimera he lined up 17th for the first of two (deep breath) Cartek Motorsport Modern Classics and Advantage Motorsport Future Classics Series races. It was Keith’s first outing on the International Circuit and he did well to finish 16th after incurring a 60-sec penalty for pit-lane speeding. For the second race, on the more familiar Coastal Circuit, his lap times improved consistently and he took an excellent eighth place and third in class.
We return to our home circuit for our next CSCC outing on 25/26 August.
7, Aug, 2019
Classic Sports Car Club, Spa 29/30 June
Guess which was our most popular piece of equipment in Belgium. Here’s a clue: the temperature was 42-degrees in the shade. Actually, there were two pieces of kit which seemed to be in almost continued use that weekend – our collapsible pool and the hose other teams borrowed from us to fill the ones they had rushed out to buy!
Baking in Belgium and sweltering at Spa certainly represented a pleasant contrast to the CSCC’s previous meetings at soggy Silverstone and oozing Oulton. They were dominated by rain. Having a pool in the paddock alongside our double awning meant the drivers could cool off between races on the demanding Spa circuit.
We arrived on the Wednesday evening before the meeting with three Caterham Sevens for Tim Davis, Colin Watson and Richard Carter, plus the TVR Tuscan of Keith Vaughn Williams. An uneventful Thursday test enabled Keith to dial himself back in to racing after two years away from the circuits and to be initiated into the secrets of Spa.
In conjunction with the YTCC (Youngtimer Touring Car Challenge), the CSCC had organised a series of what were essentially all-comers’ races which included a class for Caterham Sevens. Unlike the club’s domestic Magnificent Sevens series, the three contests were of 30 minutes’ duration and didn’t involve pit stops.
In qualifying Tim took third place on the grid with his C400. This meant he would effectively start as the second fastest Caterham behind our nemesis, Stephen Nuttall, who took pole. Colin (C400) lined up sixth overall and third fastest Caterham, while Richard recorded ninth fastest time overall.
Sadly, he wasn’t able to take his place on the grid. A broken timing chain meant that, in the absence of a replacement, his week-end’s racing was finished before it had begun. Another Boss Racing customer, Peter French, was 43rd with his Superlight.
It was an eclectic mix of cars but qualifying suggested that two runners in particular, a Zakspeed Turbo Capri and a Cobra replica, would need to be watched, in addition, of course, to the rapid Nuttall. And it was these three cars which duly secured the first three places in the opening race. Tim and Colin finished second and third in the Caterham section.
For the second race, the cars lined up on the grid in their previous finishing order but a series of accidents brought out yellow flags and the safety car. Failure to pick up the leaders meant that when the safety car pulled in the race leaders had to battle their way through the back-markers. Tim became involved in an exciting race with the Zakspeed but lost second place overall by less than 1.5 sec. He still finished second in the Caterham section with Colin second and fifth overall.
Confusion before the start of the third race saw the Zakspeed head for the pits with some of the other runners – including pole-sitter Stephen Nuttall – following him Pied Piper style. Tim managed to avoid doing so but hesitation dropped him several places down the order at the start. He made them up, though, and led the race until passed by the Cobra, which was the eventual winner. Colin was second and fourth overall.
In race two Peter French had an accident at Blanchimont, which meant we had work to do to fix it for race three. It was worth it, though, because Peter finished 31st and won his class. He’d been classified 44th in race one so he was well pleased.
Keith qualified 52nd for the first of the CSCC’s two Inter-Series cup events. Despite it being his first race at Spa he was remarkably relaxed before the start, so relaxed, in fact, that he failed to take his place in his Tuscan in time to make the grid. As a result, he had to start from the pit lane. Undaunted, though, progressively improved lap times set him up for a 41st finishing position.
For the second 40-min race, Keith was determined not to be late for the start. But while other drivers made their mandatory pit stops during a safety car interlude, Keith missed this opportunity. On top of that, when he did stop he was slow away, which undoubtedly cost him time. His finish in 34th position represented a good effort, especially as he snatched third place in class on the last lap.
And his reward? A dip in the pool, what else?
Our next outing will be at Anglesey for the CSCC meeting on 20/21 July
9, Jun, 2019
Much of the day’s racing had been affected by showers but this was something different. It was supposed to be the last race of the day and the cars were on the grid but it was, quite literally, a wash-out.
That meant our drivers competed in just one race at the Classic Sports Car Club’s Cheshire Challenge Meeting. Oulton Park’s a long way to go for just one race, especially if you’ve got to make the journey from Kent twice. But on the credit side, we did get a second place and had the pleasure of seeing one of our drivers play himself back in after a year’s lay-off with a class win.
Colin Watson and Gary May drove up to Cheshire with our number 92 and 93 cars to take advantage of the Friday test session. They were able watch Hugh Coulter gain track time after his year away before heading for home: the Magnificent Sevens and open series races were not to be run until Bank Holiday Monday.
When the team re-assembled at Oulton for qualifying the track was damp and the weather changeable to say the least. However, Tim Davis (Caterham C400 2400) celebrated his 50th birthday by taking second spot on the grid behind local resident and Oulton Park Specialist Danny Winstanley. They were the only two drivers to record sub-2 minute laps.
Colin Watson (C400 2400) put up the fourth fastest time, while Hugh (C400 2000), no doubt benefitting from his test session, was sixth and leading his class. Peter Hargroves (Superlight R 2000) was 19th and third in his class and Peter French (Superlight 1800) was 32nd and first in class.
For the race Tim elected to start on dry tyres with Colin and Hugh on wets. But as the cars were heading for the assembly area it started to rain. As there was no time to change Tim’s tyres we told him to take it easy and pit early.
He was the first to stop and we put two wets on the car’s left-hand wheels since that’s the side which does much of the work at Oulton. Colin and Hugh came in later by which time the rain had stopped and conditions were looking more stable. We put dries on their left-hand wheels.
Meanwhile, Tim was struggling. He was finding it increasingly difficult to control his car on a drying track with worn wets. So he did well to finish second to Silverstone victor, Stephen Nuttall. The mercurial Winstanley had dominated the early laps but fell back to retire on lap 15, minus his exhaust!. Colin was also out of luck. In a repeat of the trouble he encountered at Silverstone, Colin suffered crankshaft sensor failure, retiring on lap 10 of 22.
Hugh Coulter, though, finished the race a very happy man. Not only did he come home fifth but he won his class with a great move on the last lap, crossing the line 0.1 secs ahead, and was credited with fastest lap.
Peter Hargroves had been forced to start the race with a broken seal on his clutch master cylinder. That left him with an inoperative clutch just as he was about to head for the assembly area. Fortunately our rapid repairs held out and he finished 13th and third in class. Peter French came home 24th.
And so to the last race on the programme. Qualifying for the Verum Builders Open Series event took place on a damp track and once again Winstanley ended up quickest with Tim behind him. Hugh was fourth and second in class, while Colin was placed fifth, his best time having been disallowed because officials said he’d infringed track limits.
By the time the cars were forming up on the grid the heavens had opened and torrential rain was hammering down, soaking the drivers. It was probably a relief to them when officials displayed a “race aborted” sign.
That was it. We splashed back to the paddock and packed our sodden gear for the long drive back to Kent.
AMERICANFEST VII, BRANDS HATCH 1&2 JUNE
Our next outing was at Brands Hatch and, as events turned put, it was fortunate that we were close to home. We were supporting Tim Davis, now TVR mounted, who was running in the three Bernie’s V8s races at the American Festival.
He had entered a newly-acquired Tuscan with Rover V8 power but during qualifying suffering from a misfire and intermittent lack of power. As a result he qualified fourth on the grid.
At the start Tim jumped into third place and stayed there for three-quarters of the race but then the power loss returned and he dropped back to finish fourth. He started the next race from the second row of the grid and this time the car was running better but a spin at Clearways pushed him down the order. He was starting to catch up but ominous noises caused him to pull off the track on the last lap.
It turned out that the silencer had almost parted from the exhaust. The noise had been caused by the silencer dragging on the track surface and, obviously, failing to do its job properly. A quick inspection revealed that it would not be a quick job to repair it so we asked permission to start the third race with a substitute car.
This was granted and a quick trip back to the workshop enabled us to get Tim back on the grid – albeit, right at the back – in his trusty silver Tuscan. But this signalled the start of a really great comeback drive. He scythed through the field to reach third position by the 8th lap. But then the safety car was deployed and, with seven minutes left to run, the race was red flagged and the results declared as at the end of the 11th lap.
By then the field had been depleted by multiple DNFs and disqualifications, although that shouldn’t detract from Tim’s performance. He also set the fastest lap of the race in a great drive which left us all wondering what Tim he might have achieved had he been in the car from the beginning..
I suspect he’d have left Brands with three victory trophies.
17, May, 2019
ROB’S BLOG – MAY 2019
Classic and Sports Car Club, Silverstone, 4/5 May
The spring bank holiday week-end represented a busy time for Boss Racing. We made two round trips to Silverstone followed by a visit to Castle Combe and a gearbox change to round it all off.
It was worth it, though. Silverstone yielded a win, two seconds and third plus sundry class wins. We were at the Silverstone International circuit for the CSCC’s second meeting of the season to support no less than eight runners in the closely fought Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens series. We arrived early on Friday for the pre-meeting test day. It was relatively drama-free except that Christian Pittard was complaining about clutch issues with his 2.5-litre Seven with its powerful Mountune engine.
Qualifying for the race and the race itself weren’t due until Sunday and as there wasn’t enough room for us to park at the circuit – according to the ever helpful Silverstone staff – we decided to go home on Friday evening and come back early on Sunday. How much do you love the M1 at the moment?
Christian was still complaining about his clutch but qualified second for the race. Close behind him were Tim Davis and Colin Watson with Caterham C400 2.4s, and Richard Carter (R300 2.5). Richard was troubled with a mysterious loss of power which took the edge off his performance. Peter Hargroves (Superlight R300 2.0) was 14th, William Redman (420R 2.0) was 17th and first in class, with Alex Harbour (Supersport 1600) 24th – he too was fastest in his class – while Peter French (Superlight 1800) was 31st and second in his class.
Mindful of his clutch problems, Christian eased his car off the line at the start of the race and dropped down to fourth, so it was Tim who took up the initial chase of pole-sitter Stephen Nuttall. It was gratifying to note that our quickest runners were now closer to the highly competent and experienced Nuttall than they were at Snetterton.
When Christian passed Colin to take third place he quickly closed on Tim and pretty soon the pair were locked in a duel for second. The top three pitted early and the two Boss drivers used their experience to take time out of Nuttall with Tim barely a second behind as the pitstops unwound. However Tim drifted back in to Christian’s clutches and their battle began again. This allowed Nuttall to eke out a lead once again and he won by just under 8.5sec from Tim. Christian set the fastest lap by 0.4 secs.
The chart below shows the gap to Nuttall through the race with the pitstops coming between laps 10 and 15.
Meanwhile Colin had retired on the 15th lap with a broken crankshaft pulley. This, in turn, broke the crank position indicator. Richard was fourth, still troubled by lack of power despite a change of plugs and coils before the race. Peter Hargroves was 14th, while William Redman and Alex Harbour both won their class, finishing 17th and 19th overall respectively. Peter French was 27th and second in his class. Christian set the fastest lap of the race with William and Alex both the pace-setters in their classes.
Unusually, the second Mag Sevens event was to be a 15-lap sprint and some of the contestants in the earlier race elected not to start. That included the winner Stephen Nuttall, which elevated Tim and Christian to the top two places on the starting grid.
Again, Christian took it easy at the start, allowing Tim to grab a lead which he retained to the flag. Richard retired still troubled with a down on power engine. William pulled out with a rear wheel bearing failure.Peter finished ninth and second in his class, while Alex was 14th and top if his. Tim recorded the fastest race lap with Alex and William quickest in their classes.
Despite the retirements the week-end had produced good results for Boss Racing – but we were not done yet.
Castle Combe Racing Club, 6 May
While Tim Davis swapped his Caterham Seven for his silver TVR Tuscan and made his own way to the Wiltshire circuit we headed for home once more. The following day, Nelson Love and I were off to support Tim.
We arrived just in time for scrutineering where the officials were giving Tim a hard time for something that had never arisen before. They objected to the cut-outs in the Tuscan’s bodywork which exposed the tops of the front wheels. After some discussion they agreed to let the car start but asked for the issue to be resolved before the car’s next outing.
There was more drama before the Tuscan was allowed on to the circuit for qualifying for the Dunlop TVR Challenge. A last-minute number change caused a hurried hunt for the correct digits meaning that Tim missed some of the qualifying. But he still managed to set fourth fastest time.
Before the race started there was another qualifying session, this time for the special 30th anniversary Tuscan Challenge race. And the drama continued. The car’s silencer became dislodged and warmed up the bodywork quite nicely, although the damage was limited to some singed fibreglass. We applied heat shielding to the silencer and exhaust, enabling Tim to qualify third.
There was yet more excitement to come. In the TVR Challenge race Tim was holding a comfortable second place but on the last lap his gearbox let go and he coasted home third. That meant that Nelson and I had a quick gearbox change to do, not an easy task with the broken one still red hot.
We managed it, though, but guess what happened in the next race. Tim was tussling for the lead when the new gearbox failed too. We reckoned that the bumps of Castle Coombe had been too much for it. In the event, only four runners finished the race.
BARC, Brands Hatch
While we were at Silverstone and Castle Coombe Chris Whiteman was at the BARC meeting Brands Hatch in his Honda Civic Type R. The wrong tyre choice destroyed his chance of a good finish in the first race but a return to his normal rubber netted him the runner-up spot in the second.
Before his next visit to the Kent circuit we had the car in for engine set-up work which must have been effective because he responded by setting his quickest lap of the Indy circuit on 12th May.
And that was in a race with just two runners. Even so, Chris and Clio-mounted Terry Stephens put on a show in the BARC Tin Tops event, passing and re-passing. To nobody’s great surprise, Chris moved ahead on the last lap to take the victory.
Not unexpectedly, the second Tin Tops race was combined with the final Michelin Clio event and Chris started from the ninth row of the grid. He quickly moved up through the field though, and by the 12th lap was second and closing on the leader when his gearbox packed up.
Our next outing will be the CSCC’s Oulton Park meeting on May 27th. We’ll also be supporting Tim when he gives his TVR another airing at the American SpeedFest at Brands on 31 May.
24, Apr, 2019
CSCC SNETTERTON 300, 6 APRIL 2019
The weekend of 6-7 April was chilly even for Snetterton, but the Classic and Sports Car Club’s season opener still produced some solid results on Boss Racing’s first competitive outing of 2019.
Higher track temperatures might have enabled us to come away from Norfolk with more, but a win and two second places was nothing to ashamed of. The fact was, though, with temperatures in single figures, we struggled to get our Kumho tyres up to working temperature.
Altogether, Boss Racing was supporting no fewer than seven cars at Snetterton. This year, Christian Pittard’s CSR has a new 2500cc engine from Mountune, who left us guessing about its power output. Mountune keep their data close to their chests but the speeds the orange car was seeing in testing, albeit with the help of hurricane Gareth, were franky astonishing for a Caterham.
Friday testing and qualifying for the two races we were contesting proved pretty uneventful. The first of our two races, which opened the weekend’s programme, was the Verum Builders Open Series event. Tim Davis (Caterham 7 C400) was quickest, just 0.097 sec ahead of Christian. Richard Carter (R300) was fifth, just ahead of Colin Watson in the No 92 C400 2400, while newcomer Lewis Harman was in our class ‘F’ C400 was 12th and third in class.
Tim grabbed the lead at the start with Christian in close attendance. They made their pitstops on laps five and sixth respectively, allowing Colin to take over at the front for one lap. Tim was soon back at the front, though, but with two laps to run Christian used the power of his engine to move ahead and win by just under two seconds. He also set the fastest race lap.
Colin was fifth, seven seconds up on Richard, while Lewis crossed the line to take 12th and third in class. Four of the first six finishers were Boss Racing runners and the only non-Caterham in the top six was the Lotus Exige V6 Cup of James Little.
No fewer than seven Boss-supported competitors took part in qualifying for the Gold Arts Magnificent Sevens event, which was the fourth race on the programme. This time, Christian had to play second fiddle to the Series 3 C2400 of Stephen Nuttall whose narrower Avon ZZR’s seemed quicker to reach working temperature.The fastest runners were all out together on the third and fourth laps for what turned out to be an impressive piece of slipstreaming from which Tim emerged third fastest and Colin fourth. Richard Carter was sixth and Lewis Harman an impressive eighth with only 220hp. Regular runners Peter Hargroves (Superlight R2000) was 19th and Peter French 33rd, while Ben Whibley of MotorsportDays fame who was sharing our K-series-engined Supersport 1600 with his father lined up 32nd.
In the race Nuttall drove superbly to dominate proceedings, although Colin livened things up with a late-braking move on Christian and Tim in to the first corner. Nuttall was able to stretch out a 4.5 sec lead by the end of the first lap and kept it after the pitstops chased by Tim and Christian. At the finish Christian was 21 sec behind with Tim demoted from third to fourth for some exuberant driving – aka track limits.
Colin, meanwhile, retired on the tenth lap when his undertray worked loose. He came into the pits to have it fixed but decided it was pointless to continue at that stage of the race. Richard was fifth at the flag, while the ever-improving Lewis took a class win with ninth overall. Peter Hargroves was 16th and second in his class, while Peter French took 28th place. The Whibleys might have brought up the tail end in 31st place but were all smiles after what they considered a great experience.
And that is surely what it’s all about. Our next outing is on 4/5 May at the CSCC’s Silverstone meeting and we are hoping for sunshine..
Goodwood Sprint, April 20th
A rather more genteel day was had at Goodwood for the Bognor Regis motor club sprint over the Easter weekend. The Lotus Seven club had been invited so there was a whole array of Sevens including one of our customers, Peter Seldon, in his Duratec R500. Always a great place to visit especially with the glorious sunshine. After the first timed runs we retired to drinks in the flying club where Peter decided not to bother with the second timed run as he had a dinner party to get back to! I could get used to this sort of motorsport!
21, Jan, 2019
MotorsportDays Live, Silverstone, 2/3 November
Ben Whibley, founder and managing director of MotorsportDays, invited Boss Racing to participate in their excellent show at Silverstone where we joined the CSCC on its stand. Tim Davis and Jack Hannah took people for hot lap rides around the circuit in two of our trackday Sevens over the two days of the show. Altogether, there were 150 cars on track and 60 exhibitors with highlights including the launches of Revolution Racecars new sub £100,000 carbon tubbed sports prototype, and the Enduroka race series for Ford Ka’s for the slightly less well heeled.
It was a very different experience to the normal shows. Being able to see show stands, wander among the teams in the pit garages and jump in the cars for hot lap rides was a whole new experience for members of the public. We’re looking forward to the 2019 show as a great way to finish the season.
Motor Sport Vision Racing, Brands Hatch 10/11 November
Except for us it wasn’t quite the end of the sesason. We entered two cars for the ‘Allcomers and Z Cars’ race at Brands Hatch on a weekend marked by changeable weather conditions. Qualifying was cold and damp despite the TSL timesheets saying ‘Dry and bright’. They clearly didn’t come out of the timekeepers office! We had brought slicks for 92 but wet and intermediate options were a little thin on the ground. Colin lined up for the first race in our 92 C400 behind a rapid M3, while Peter Hargroves was 11th on the grid.
By the time the starting lights went out the track had dried and it stayed dry for the duration of the race Colin made a great start and pulled away to win by eight seconds with Peter seventh.
A heavy shower before the second race returned the track to the conditions for qualifying. Colin was now on some vintage wet tyres that clearly hadn’t matured with age and couldn’t live with the winning Porsche 997 Cup and the M3 now on fresh wets. He held second for the first four laps before dropping to third where he finished.
So that was it for another season. But we’ll have plenty to do before 2019 starts. There’ll be cars to prepare, engines to build and ideas to try out. As usual I’ll be keeping you informed…some time!
4, Jan, 2019
Robs Blog. September – October
Classic and Sports Car Club Late Summer Meeting, Donington Park, 15/16 September
Boss Racing customers came away from the Leicestershire circuit with two wins from two races, a perfect result. It started well with Colin Watson (Caterham C400 2400), Richard Carter (R300 2500) and Tim Davis (C400 2400) occupying the front row of the starting grid for the Racetruck Open Series race. Peter Hargroves was 20th in his Superlight R2000.
For the Magnificent Sevens race, however, our old rival Peter Ratcliffe pipped Tim and Colin to pole position. Richard was fifth (and first in his class), with Peter Hargroves 25th (third in class) and Peter French (Superlight 1800) 34th and first in class.
From the time the lights changed to start the Open Series event Tim and Colin dashed off into the distance. But on lap 17 of this 31-lap race, Colin was wrong-footed while lapping a back marker at the Craner Curves and ended beached in the gravel. This left Tim secure in the lead and he won by a comfortable 17-secs. He also set fastest lap. Richard was third and second in class, with Peter tenth and second in class.
The Mag 7s race was a little less straightforward. It was raining as the cars assembled in the collecting area but the sun was out when the race started – with our cars on wets. The first couple of laps were run under the safety car and Tim was caught out as he’d been expecting two green flag laps. He soon recovered, though, and he and Colin battled for the lead with Peter Ratcliff until Peter spun exiting coppice on lap four as the leading trio tried to put down nearly 1000hp on to the all important Starkeys straight.
Colin had eased into a three second lead as the pit window opened and the cars came in for their mandatory pit stops. Colin made the call to only change three wheels giving him the edge over Tim as the pit stops unwound. Backmarkers seemed to be particularly tricky at Donington perhaps due to the flowing nature of the track and the gap yoyoed but Tim slowly reeled Colin in. As it looked as if there would be a last lap fight, faces on the pitwall became more concerned – team orders perhaps? In the end however Tim couldn’t quite latch on to the 92 car and they crossed the line 1.5 seconds apart but over 40 seconds ahead of third place! Peter Hargroves was 13th but Peter French wasn’t classified.
Classic and Sports Car Club Wendy Wools Anniversary Meeting, Mallory Park, 6/7 October
There was a brace of victories for Tim Davis at this tribute to the Wendy Wools sponsorship of the crowd-pleasing special saloon and mod sports races of the 1970s and `80s. It was certainly a busy qualifying session for us with five cars entered for the Mag 7s race: Colin Watson, Tim Davis, Christian Pittard, Hugh Coulter and Richard Carter. We were also supporting Peter French.
Colin, Tim and Christian took the first three places on the grid with Richard fifth, Hugh (C400 2000) sixth and first in class G. Peter French was 22nd.
Richard however went off and hit the wall, seriously damaging his front suspension. We only just managed to get him to his grid position in time for the start. Colin, however, had incurred a five-place success penalty and had to start sixth.
Tim, therefore, inherited pole with Christian alongside him
In a lively race Colin, who likes Mallory, quickly surged to the front with Christian second and Tim third. But he had to make an early pitstop to replace a broken wing that was rubbing dramatically on the front tyre. Then, on lap 13, he was squeezed onto the grass by a back marker and went off ending his race. Christian suffered clutch failure, while Hugh had a moment and left the track.
And so Tim and Peter Ratcliff pulled away to battle for the win. Indeed with ten laps to go Ratcliff seemed to have the win in the bag as he gradually pulled out a five second lead. However, never one to give up, Tim held the gap and managed to reduce it as the clock wound down and with one lap to go he was back with Ratcliff. Catching was one thing but with just the hairpin and Devils elbow to go, getting past looked like something else. However the Team Leos car struggled to slow for the hairpin, half spun and left a small gap that Tim dived in to. To the amazement of all on the pitwall who had watched the cars disappear on the run up to the hairpin they reappeared with Tim in front and he sailed across the finish line to take the chequered flag! Richard was third. Peter French was 15th and first in class. Tim also recorded the fastest race lap.
The Racetruck open series event should have started with Colin, Christian and Tim occupying the first three places on the grid and Richard fifth. However due to his crash in the earlier race Hugh elected not to start, Colin’s car car was too damaged to repair and Christian, with a broken clutch, was another non-starter.
Tim was leading the race – a much quieter affair – when the organisers were obliged to bring it to a premature end on lap 21 due to problems with noise limits. Again, he set fastest lap. Richard was placed third.
With only nine days before we were scheduled to leave for France Colin’s no. 92 Caterham was stripped the day after we returned from Mallory. Unfortunately the damage was worse than we thought with the front of the chassis twisted. The only option was to ship it to Arch Motors on the Wednesday. We collected it two days later and spent the next few days building up the car and getting it running again just in time for the five day trip to France.
Classic and Sports Car Club, Magny Cours, 19/21 October
It’s a day’s drive from the port of Calais to Magny Cours in central France, 250km south of Paris, but it was far enough south for the weekend’s weather to be gloriously warm and sunny. We had four cars for Colin, Tim, Richard and Will Redman (420R) to contest two open series races. The results of the first determined the starting positions for the second.
Colin was on pole once again with Tim third, Richard fifth and Will 16th. The first race was a repeat of the earlier battles between Colin, Tim and Peter Ratcliff. In fact, I’d call it epic. Tim pitted first but Colin and Ratcliff came in together. On re-joining the circuit both were delayed by a slower car, allowing Tim to sprint away into a lead he retained to the flag. Colin was second and Richard fourth. Will was 17th and the winner of his class.
Battle was re-joined during the second race. Tim started from pole and the leading trio was soon hard at it again. They pitted in the order Ratcliff, Tim and Colin but Colin was again delayed by a slower car leaving Tim and Ratcliff battling for the lead until a late-race safety car interlude. The safety car toured for ten minutes and it looked as if that was how the race would finish as the officials struggled to clear the debris. But just as we thought it was all over (and we were singing the praises of British marshalls!) the safety car pulled in with one lap to go. In the dash for the flag the lead must have changed five or six times but Ratcliff just held on to win. Colin was third and Richard fourth. Will, meanwhile, came in an excellent 17th again.
There was nothing left for us to do except pack up and head to our home from home one more time for a barbeque and ‘couple’ of beers and reflect on the results of the 2018 CSCC season. Out of nine Mag 7 rounds we’d won seven with victories in five out of eight open series races. Not bad, I’d say