TCF goes racing: Part 9 – Getting Things in place

by Vince Pettit

It’s fair to say that after the excitement of making my debut, I was in a slight state of shock as the car which is currently located on my Mum’s drive looks back at me! Genuinely I have no idea of what I need to do, to get it ready for the next meeting never mind starting to work on things to improve this – that said, I was not born a quitter, and there is always a way!

So I sent emails to Myerscough College and UCLAN University, both of which run motorsport courses, saying that if they had any students looking to gain some experience and earn a few extra notes to get in touch with me.

Within hours my email inbox became inundated with emails, however it was on receiving a call from Jordon Cullen and having spoken to him, I was confident that I had found someone to look after the car at race meetings and start to work on a series of updates.

So in a slightly unusual twist to this blog, let me introduce Jordon (Cullen):

When did you first get into motorsport?

I’ve always been fascinated with cars and motorcycles since a young age, as most young boys are, but it wasn’t until having my own car and realising the endless possibilities to improve performance that I even considered Motorsport as hobby and career. As many of my friends went off in directions of modifying their cars to make them as low and as impractical as possible, I took the route of modifying components that enhanced the performance of the engine and the handling characteristics.

Then, during my first track day at Oulton Park, pushing the car to it’s limit, although it may have been my own capabilities that I reached first, I instantly knew that this was what I wanted my life to be focused around, Motorsport.

Tell us about the education path in motorsport?

I started my path into Motorsport by completing a National Diploma in Motorsport at Myerscough College, Garstang. Myersough is a fantastic institute where the fundamentals of Motorsport, both theory and practical, are taught to students, introducing them to the various paths that can be taken for a career in Motorsports.

I am now about to start my final year of a degree in Motorsport Engineering at the University of Central Lancashire, I decided that studying a degree in Motorsport Engineering was the most relevant path for me as I discovered a particular interest to the design and technical side of Motorsport during my time at Myerscough.

In addition to your actual education path, what other motorsport experience do you have?

Thanks to my time at Myerscough and the opportunities they offer to be part of the race and rally teams, I have valuable experience in car preparation before, during and after a race meeting. This experience ranges from the simplest of tasks such as loading up the race trucks with the necessary equipment for the weekend to carrying out vehicle repairs under scenarios with very tight time constraints and high amounts of pressure in order to make sure we could remain competitive within the race.

Amongst this, I’m also building my own competition car from the ground up. It’s a Citroen C2 that is being built to the specifications required to compete in Rallying. I’m carrying out all of the work in house, including the welding and hoping to have the car complete and ready for testing come late 2016.

If you were talking to other hopeful motorsport enthusiasts looking to develop a career in motorsport what advice would you give

Be prepared to work hard, both in the lecture room and away at race meetings. No matter which industry of Motorsport you want to work in, Management, Logistics, Design or Technicians, you’ll play a fundamental key role in the team where you are expected to complete your tasks on time to a very high standard.

Ultimately, experience within the industry will be one of the most valuable assets you can have, particularly when it comes to making applications to professional race teams. I’d highly recommend finding local race teams and offering to volunteer, even if it’s just to help move about equipment and cars at race weekends, you’ll learn what is involved in the logistics and car preparation side of a race team. It’s also a great way to make valuable contacts who may be able to aid you in your search for a career in Motorsport.

Specifically focussing on Nick’s car, what is your assessment of the car currently, and where do you see opportunities to improve the performance of the car?

The car is currently capable of keeping up with the field in the championship, as proven by Nick’s performances to date. However, to become more competitive, there are a few areas that need focussing on before the next race meeting;

* Wheel alignment and Geometry; the XR2 will benefit from having the corner weights of the car set up precisely with the use of corner weight scales as well as having the camber and toe adjusted to a set up that gives the best handling characteristics for the car, allowing Nick to push harder throughout the races with confidence.

* Power loss; there will be a loss of power from the engine as a result of an exhaust blow from the manifold to the downpipe. A common problem with a straight forward fix, just a matter of removing the old bolts, fitting a new gasket and fastening it all back together again with new bolts. The use of new bolts will make it easier for removal in the future should it need replacing again.

The next blog will focus on how Jordon and I get on at the championships second round, which hopefully will be more sunny than snowy! Follow me at @nickrmarketing and

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