Words by Sgt Will Ashmore
The SunVit D-3 Army F430 Died!
The team were excited to be going back to Brands Hatch, having not raced there for some time. A classic British Motorsport circuit that doesn’t give drivers much respite due to it being rather short and lacking in long straights where you would normally take a breather! Despite the circuit being short and seemingly lacking in its number of corners, there is plenty to learn at Brands Hatch - with some ballsy and off camber corners, it can be very difficult to improve lap times! Particularly with the new MSA track limit rules that were being enforced for the first time that weekend.
The Team arrived for testing on Friday to get to grips with the Sunvit-D3 Army F430 running on such a short and technical circuit which wouldn’t normally be suited to a larger GT car. The first few sessions were run on old slicks and a full tank of fuel, nod to the adage of train hard fight – fight easy. Straight away the lap times were in the ballpark of where we needed to be competitive. However, there was clearly room for improvement, both in terms of the Ferrari’s setup and not running a fresh sticky set of slicks.
During the lunch break the team worked to tune the cars suspension to give a little better turn in as the car was struggling through the hairpin at druids and installed the new slick tyres before just making it out in time for the third session of the day. The car instantly felt better with more grip all round provided by that fresh rubber. During the lunch break the team had also installed a new set of brake pads which, along with the new slicks, required bedding it. This is the process whereby the driver will slowly and gently bring up the temperature of both the pads and slicks to bed them in properly.
Just as everything was coming up to temperature on track and driver Sgt Will Ashmore started to push the F430 a little harder, the car lost 3rd and 4th gear. Returning to the pits and hoping it was an electrical fault, Will conducted a full reset of the cars systems and tried again. Unfortunately, the failure was mechanical and so the car was pushed into the put garage for further inspection.
Inside the garage the team worked through the logical steps to highlight the issue, which ultimately highlighted that the gearbox was at fault. It was a tough call to decide to retire the car from the weekends racing but one that was needed to be made. For this race weekend at least, the Sunvit-D3 Army F430 was out.
On the Saturday, when we should have been competing in the race, the Ferrari’s gearbox was pulled apart and diagnosed which can be seen in full detail on our YouTube channel: