2016 was a great year for me in my SE46. I started to see consistency in the speed I'd gained and was feeling really confident. This was epitomized by me getting pole position in a third of all sprint races I entered. But at what cost?
At the Rose Cup races I managed pole position (one of two I earned at PIR this year). The lap is as follows and was one of the achievements I was most proud about as we had a stacked field of drivers for this race.
One of the areas I was doing well - or so I thought - was gear changes. By minimizing the time during changes I was finding more time on track. A common critique you often hear drivers get is that their changes are too slow. My problem, however, is that I made my gear changes too fast!
Here is that same pole lap now but looking at the RPMs and Throttle Position Sensor in the car. Pay close attention to the red boxes. Notice that during any gear change I'm never at 0% throttle during the change. With the fly by wire system in these newer race cars the revs spike a little during the change. While that little rev increase isn't spiking an over-rev it is happened EVERY gear change and is putting untold pressure on the clutch, through to the engine.
For 2017 this has to stop. Test days are coming and I have to get my timing back together. This only happens on my car because, well, it's my car and I push it a little more. The challenge is I'd rather get my timing back together for all cars I drive vs. over-slowing the shift on team cars or friends cars and being extra slow on track.
Not only are the consequences going through clutches more frequently - incurring labor and parts cost - but if the stresses on the engine get too much then this might happen...