AMRS Round 3 – Friday Notebook

WORDS: Ryan Jones

PHOTOS: Matthew Paul

For the first time in the history of AMRS competition, we’ve set up camp at Queensland Raceway and cars have hit track, getting valuable laps under their belts ready for Round 3 of the 2020 season. It’s far from a straightforward race weekend, even under the relative circumstance of 2020 as a whole; with an ominous weather forecast, an aging track surface and few opportunities for drivers to hit the track this year, it is shaping up to be a cracking addition to the storybook of AMRS in 2020.

The Weather:
We can expect a fair share of mayhem this weekend if the weather gods deliver as promised. The three designated practice sessions per category are all being run on Friday which is the only day forecast to be completely dry. Moving into the qualifying and racing action on Saturday and Sunday, the weather is set to turn on its head with afternoon thunderstorms forecast for both days. Currently there is a 50% chance of rain on Saturday and a disconcerting 80% chance on Sunday.

There are some differing opinions in the paddock as to the possibility of rain, John McLaughlin (TA2 #17) is excited about the prospect:

“I’ve never driven in the wet before in this car, so I was kind of hoping it would rain today. The forecast is a bit weird the next two days so I’m not to sure what to expect, but it will be fantastic to get some wet weather racing under my belt before the championship gets back in swing next year.”

On the other hand, Dion Cidoni (HQ #6) is apprehensive about the wet weekend:

“Yeah it’s been on my mind a bit, these (HQ’s) aren’t fantastic cars to drive in the wet and we’re also driving around on road tires so I’m hoping it stays dry!”

Track Conditions:

The Queensland Raceway circuit normally sees regular running all year round, until this year when the world ground to a halt. Fortunately, the track has hosted enough events since the resumption of motorsport that by this weekend, the surface isn’t as green as it might have been a few months ago. There are certainly areas where the age of the track surface shows its age though, as detailed by Tony Quinn (Super GT #7):

“I drove here a couple of weeks ago in a Mustang, but before that it’s been five or six years since my last visit. Certainly, the bumps at the end of the straight, especially towards Turn 1 are a lot more violent than in the past.”

Practice Makes Perfect:
Minor niggles are par for the course in motorsport and Friday running has proved no exception with a number of cars experiencing mechanical faults over the course of the day. In the day’s first session the #33 Ossie Deverall/Tony Shanks HQ lost its left front wheel, bringing out a red flag and leaving their drivers bewildered, saying “we don’t know why it came off, it’s done some damage to the disc (from dragging on the ground) but we will get it back out there”.

The dramas continued in practice 2 however, with engine overheating preventing the drivers from gaining more track time.

In TA2 the track received an unplanned delivery of oil around Turns 4 and 5 courtesy of an issue with Murray Kent’s #74:

It was an in house fault, we just overfilled the gearbox so we lost some of that oil out on the racetrack, luckily it’s an easy fix and we’re not too worried about other reliability issues thanks to the strong nature of these cars”.

The quest for dry running before the impending weather proved to be troublesome for Dion Cidoni as he encountered issues throughout Practice 2:

“We were having some issues with fuel surging in second practice and also with selecting third gear. We are just working through finding the problem with that fuel issue and luckily we have an extra gearbox we can swap in overnight if needed.”

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