DNRT Race 4 - Zandvoort with Paddleshifter

Posted on 22nd of October 2011 by Vincent
Premiere for SPAA05.com, first Saker Sportcars with paddleshifts

It was quite a special day as Hans Le Sage signed in for the first race of his life, driving the #01 car.
First race with the paddleshifter system made by Geartronics, on both the SPAA05 cars. This makes them the first Saker Sportscars with such a system. Since the installation of the system was finished just days before this race we had not done any testing. The testing and qualifying were used to fine-tune the system as much as possible. Neil Wallace (maker of the paddleshift system) was with us a helped immensely with tuning the system. Neil in case your reading this, thanks for your great support during the day! Sadly though he could not help prevent the so called “overshoots”. A phenomenon which was completely due to of the sequential gearbox not working as it should. This happened about 1-2 times per lap. Gearshifts were sub 50ms fast and actually quite smooth, when overshoots did not occur during shifting.
The last thing I want to say is that we had a live camera in the #57 car, allowing the people in the pits to view the racing in real time!

I drove the #57 car and managed a not so satisfying 1:55,4 in qualifying putting me 10th on the grid, just behind Coen Gardien with a 1:55,3. The quite regular overshoots not only did they make me lose time but also caused me to lose faith in the car, as I simply did not know if the car would shift properly or not.
Hans Le Sage broke the 2 minutes barrier with a time of 1:59.0 in qualifying. However when he was back in the pit, the mechanics of Bas Koeten immediately saw that the gearbox was broken, and the car could drive no more. They immediately called for a new one to be delivered, but some way or another it got lost.  A sad end for Hans first race.
(The gearbox got found again when it was delivered to the track 3 days later!)

Race 1:
Had a decent start allowing me to keep my position. I quickly got behind the Bebop/Veenstra car and passed him in the first rounds. I then went on hunting towards Coen Gardien at position 8. The fight lasted for a couple of rounds as I could not out-brake him. I finally got to overtake him at the Audi S by taking the inside line, when he picked the outside line to overtake a E30 BMW. Sadly the gap with to X-Com at place 7 was more than 15 seconds.

Race 2:
Quite a bad start here, dropping me back to 11th place. I got back to place 9 after 2 laps, but simply did not have the pace to catch Coen Gardien this time. Problems with gearbox got worse compared to the previous race.

Race 3:
Another awful start that set me back behind Robert Visser, who clearly had a handful driving the 2.5 litre Saker of Alex Musters. I finally passed him at the exit of the Hugenholt corner.

He got back at me during a yellow flag situation where he cleverly blocked the inside of the Audi S corner when I got stuck behind a BMW E30. I managed to close the gap already at the exit of Tarzan when the gearbox broke. End of race for me.

A sad end of the day, broken gearboxes on both cars.