Learning the ropes – what it’s like to be new in 750F

Everything you need to know if you are thinking about racing in 750 Formula

Learning the ropes – what it’s like to be new in 750F

Postby Conway » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:49 pm

Hi All

At the beginning of this season Peter Bove suggested I write a few notes on what it's like to be new in 750 Formula. Having now made it through the season I’ve looked back over my various scribbles and have tried to assemble them into some sense of order.

To anyone who’s been involved in any sort of motor racing before many of the points will seem like statements of the bleedin' obvious. Certainly no single idea here will put you on the front of the grid, but collectively they might make things a little easier and so more enjoyable. Nothing relates to the technical side of preparing a car, or learning how to drive it – both covered extensively elsewhere.

The thoughts I have gathered seem to fall into two groups. The first are things you just seem to have to know or find out for yourself. The second are general points of advice and encouragement. Apologies to any of the experienced hands if you think I’m giving the game away!

Things that nearly caught me out at sometime or other:

  1. Make sure you enter the races! When entering the first round I ticked a box for automatic entry into every race, but it didn't seem to work - I had to follow up with the 750MC office.
  2. Cashflow - if you do pre-enter all the races, the 750MC don't take all the money in one go, just each round in turn, about a fortnight before the event.
  3. Take some of the arrival instructions for each event with a pinch of salt:
    - Arriving on the dot of the specified 'earliest arrival time' will usually mean you're almost the last to get there and squeezed for paddock space.
    - The instructions always say to sign on 30 minutes before your scrutineering time and not before... but really you can sign on anytime!
  4. If attending a 'first time at the circuit' briefing, make sure they cover the essential bit as it sometimes gets forgotten: the route onto and off of the circuit for practice and races (sometimes different).
  5. Scrutineering
    - As well as car, take along boots, gloves, suit, helmet and FHR/HANS (it seems to be corrected now, but the instructions didn't mention FHR/HANS for a while)
    - It seems to be acceptable to take an external/slave battery along to scrutineering if you use one for cold starts. I've only ever been asked to start the car once.
  6. On board camera of the box/GoPro style. Scrutineers will/should ask that you zip tie around the case so that it can't vibrate open and drop the camera.
  7. Event tickets - sometimes issued with a vehicle pass, sometimes not. Always take it as read that you can camp if you want to - you don't need to pay any extra.
General learnings from first year:

  1. Ideally get to the venue the afternoon before the action takes place. Scrutineering is often available the evening before and getting signed on and scrutineered makes it easier in the morning, especially if you need to attend a 'first time at the circuit' briefing.
  2. Racing prep 101 - The Routine. Sign on and hand in upgrade card, get issued with scrutineering check list, take that with car and kit to scrutineering, get issued with scrutineering pass card and display that in the car in a rain-proof way!
  3. After the races remember to collect your upgrade card - it's easily forgotten so worth putting a post-it note on your tow-vehicle's dashboard with a reminder. More than once I got in to drive home and realised I still needed to collect my upgrade card.
  4. Camping electrical hook ups are sometimes available, but not often.
  5. Get to know your car - 750 Formula cars seem to be acceptable at track days (not just test days) and it's well worth getting familiar with your car. In one June trackday I did about as many miles as I had managed in the previous three race rounds combined. This really helped with confidence and pace.
  6. Watch YouTube videos for guidance on driving each track. Random track day videos with an instructor on board and an audible commentary often proved useful.
  7. If you have time, walk the track the evening before the races. No amount of on-board YouTube fully explains the Cadwell Mountain or Anglesey Corkscrew for example!
  8. Practise getting strapped in to the car especially if you need help to do so. It can be quite tricky with the HANS/FHR device and can take a good 2 or 3 minutes.
  9. As a rule of thumb you are likely to be called to the assembly area at the start time for the previous race or practice session. Be ready!
  10. Get organised. Enjoyment of an event seems inversely linked the hassle involved. Reduce the hassle in lots of simple ways - having the relevant tools to hand, an overnight rain cover that fits, sufficient bungees or specific tie-down lines, event specific timetable and checklist, pre-prepared food, and so on.
  11. Talk to anyone and everyone in the Formula. Unless they have their head in their own car at the time they will always advise and often physically help.
  12. Oh, and there's an awards presentation and dinner dance very January too apparently. Tickets available from the 750MC from October onwards.

Finally, don't take it all too seriously and don't expect too much to start with. Don't be embarrassed to be lapped and as one former Class B champion told me; "It was a whole year before I wasn't last!"

Hopefully something above will be useful to someone, sometime. If you read it and thought, "Well, der!", then it wasn't aimed at you ;)

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Re: Learning the ropes – what it’s like to be new in 750F

Postby Martin Kemp » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:29 pm

Very good newbie advice.
I would add that if you have a camera work how you are going to switch it on when you are in the car.
Also point it at the driver's hands and the dash panel -it is the simplest form of data logger. You won't be looking at the gauges let alone remembering what they were reading.

Martin Kemp
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Re: Learning the ropes – what it’s like to be new in 750F

Postby F1300Tony » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:34 am

All good stuff.
Take the difference between your best practise lap time and the pole time in seconds. Divide this into the pole time (in seconds) and that number will give a rough idea what lap to expect to be lapped, or if at all.
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Re: Learning the ropes – what it’s like to be new in 750F

Postby Pyro60 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:55 am

hi Conway

Glad this year panned out for you , I remember most of your newbie list and How I learnt it

Touching on the Camera and cheap / easy data logging , I planned to add micro switches to the throttle stop and break peddle to work small dash mounted lights ( led ) out of sight of the driver but seen by the camera

so when i played back the footage I could see when i was using full throttle and when i was breaking

Antony Raine told me to get on the throttle earlier and earlier so the engine can get up to speed for when you need it

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Re: Learning the ropes – what it’s like to be new in 750F

Postby pbove » Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:13 am

No wonder Antony was always spinning! :)
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Re: Learning the ropes – what it’s like to be new in 750F

Postby andyk5000 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:09 am

Lol at that Peter :)
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