Aiden Moffat drives for the Laser Tools Racing team in the British Touring Car Championship. Here his Race Technician, Tim Sleigh, tells PMM about his role on race day.
Each car is fitted with a data log, which records things like wheel speeds and steering angles when the car is lapping the track. Once the car comes in from Free Practice 1, all of the data is downloaded from the car, including things like temperature and tyre pressures; these are taken at every available opportunity.
All of the recorded information is then passed to the Performance Analyser who discusses the data sheet with Aiden, our driver. The results of this conversation are then fed to the Race Engineer and he has the final say on what adjustments need to be made to the car.
Once I receive word on this, the necessary adjustments are made; this is the stage when things like ride height and damper settings are adjusted. Weather also plays a key part in how the car is set-up, so the forecast is closely monitored too.
In the build-up to qualifying it’s all about that one lap and finding the maximum grip for the minimum time frame. After qualifying, the team carry out a full set down of suspension settings; they check the engine, clean the air filter and assess all fluid levels. Toe, camber, ride height and damper settings are all adjusted and the suspension characteristics are changed for ‘race settings’.
After all outings, tyres need to be scraped of surface rubber and examined for wear and damage. Wheels are also cleaned and checked for missing balance weights and any damage. In-between races the car settings are checked and any bodywork damage repaired. The fuel is then drained and consumption checked and adjusted for the refill.
The race weekend – a brief diary
Arrive at the circuit, put up the awning and set up the rest of the gear. Change old tyres for new and have them checked by officials. Check ride heights and weight to ensure compliance with championship regs. Start the car and check all data channels.
Before FP 1 – Check with the engineer to discuss any set-up changes. Go through the running order, ready any spring and anti-roll bar changes and fuel the car to the specified amount.
During FP 1 & 2 – Make changes to the car setup based on driver feedback and tyre temperatures and pressure.
After FP 1 & 2 – Make sure all components are tight and analyse data. After FP2, fit new bedded sets of brake discs and pads.
After qualifying – Carry out a full set down of suspension settings. Then check the engine, fluid levels and change/clean the air filter. Adjust the toe, camber, ride height and damper settings before removing and inspecting gear ratios.
Races – Car settings are checked in-between races, damage is repaired, fuel is drained/adjusted and suspension settings are changed.
Towards the end of last year, Laser Tools Racing announced that following a successful, productive and satisfying test session at Donington Park in October, the team will be running a Mercedes-Benz A-Class for the 2015 BTCC season. The move to a Mercedes has been initiated by the strong ties forged over the latter half of the 2014 season with Ciceley Motorsport and their race-prep and engineering assistance on the team’s Chevrolet Cruze.
The new car will be unveiled at Autosport International show at the NEC this weekend.