Matt Hart participated in the 2015 Season of the Circuit Excel S.A. series driving the 2013 Championship Winning Car. Updates from testing/practice days as well as race results are posted below.
For all Practice Results Look HERE
Master of Mallala Round 1 – 21/03/2015
Matt has made his debut into motorsport in a spectacular fashion!
- Qualifying: Matt qualified in P12 with a time of 1:33.08. His timing unit stopped working so he had to be manually timed and this paired with having to perform his OLT meant he didn’t achieve the time we know he could. Three front runners were excluded from Qualifying meaning they would work their way back through the field rather quickly.
- Race 1: Played out as expected with Matt losing 3 positions very quickly to the previously excluded front runners putting him in P15.
- Races 2 and 3: Played out very similarly with Matt losing 3 positions on lap 1 whilst struggling to get a good start having very little experience with take offs. In each race he was able to win back those positions and retain P15.
- Race 4: The final night race, unfortunately played out very differently with Matt getting caught up in an incident at turn 1 on lap 1 (see video below). This dropped Matt to last place and caused some panel damage to the car. Track speed was still very good and he was able to make up half a lap of time in order to overtake the last place car and finish the day in P20.
The car will be fixed for the next Round and we will be back out there and competitive! A great fun day for all involved!
Master of Mallala Round 2 – 23-24/05/2015
- Qualifying: Matt qualified in 12th position out of 22 cars. He unfortunately only got 1 fast lap in given the number of cars on track he kept running into traffic.
- Race 1: Matt was having a great race and overtook 3 cars but ran off the track twice on the last lap leaving him in last place. He complained about some mechanical issues but we could only find some minor things which we fixed and sent him back out for race 2. There were 2 cars that DNF so that at least moved Matt into 20th by default!
- Race 2: Matt struggled big time with the car all race and could only manage to make up 1 position. It was clear from the stands that there was an issue with the front suspension moving to a positive camber through the fast corners. His lap times reflected this and showed that he was well off the pace.
We got to the track at 7am and replaced the front right wheel bearing and did a brake pad change. A much closer look at the car after the race revealed a hidden issue with the top camber adjustment bolts which explained the issue from the previous day. This was fixed and we crossed our fingers for race 3!
- Race 3: Matt and the car had their mojo back! He did his fastest time of the weekend and made up 3 positions to finish 16th.
- Race 4: Matt had a bad start and dropped 2 positions off the line but continued his good racing form and worked up into 14th.
- Race 5 (Final Race): Matt was getting far better with his overtaking and found himself in 10th position and primed to take 9th place on the last lap but ran out of time.
So to finish the weekend in 10th (a top 10 finish!) was a great achievement!
Master of Mallala Round 3 – 22-23/08/2015
- Qualifying: There were a few new faces this round who had extensive racing experience behind them. As a result there were a few more people doing very fast times than the past couple of rounds. Matt’s qualifying time was his best yet and earnt him P12 out of 22 cars. This time would have easily put him inside the top 10 in the last round!
- Race 1: Matt was doing very well but seemed to be losing significant straight line speed down the two straights dropping him back to P14 by the end of the race. Unfortunately it appeared that the synchro on 4th gear had let go so Matt was struggling to get it into gear on the straights. We told him to toughen up and push on as there was not enough time for a gearbox swap.
- Race 2: Matt has improved significantly with his starts and also got his head around double clutching into 4th gear which minimised the effect of the dodgey gearbox. As a result he managed to claw back 1 position to finish in 13th.
- Race 3: Despite the dud gearbox Matt really pulled his finger out and pushed all the way up to 9th position which was fantastic to see! He also did his PB time.
- Race 4: Matt was doing great and was looking to take 8th place when all of a sudden something went horribly wrong with only 2 laps to go. Matt’s cornering speed dropped right off and he fell all the way back to 17th. Inspecting the car after the race we found that a suspension component had failed on the front left wheel (the one that experiences the most load when cornering) and had started to destroy the wheel bearing as a result! The wheel was basically flopping around so it’s a wonder he didn’t drop back to last place! Thankfully we were prepared for anything and were able to weld up the broken components and get everything straight ready for the last race. A disappointing result nonetheless.
- Race 5: This race was only a 6 lap sprint so Matt didn’t have a lot of time to make back the positions. He drove angry and made up 4 spots to finish in 13th which was a good result.
The car was fast and Matt managed to avoid any incidents so it was a great result. With the addition of a few new experienced racing drivers it was a little disappointing that we didn’t get the results we were hoping for as his performance would have earnt him consistent top 10 finishes in the previous rounds! We have a new gearbox lined up and a few modifications planned ready for the final round of the year on November 21st.
Master of Mallala Round 4 – 21/11/2015
- Qualifying: The new faces from Round 3 stuck around and modifications/improvements made to other cars meant that despite Matt posting his fastest qualifying time of the season he ended up P13 out of 23 cars. Had he posted this time in Round 1 of the season he would have qualified 2nd!
- Race 1: Matt did extremely well posting consistent times and picking up 4 places to finish P9.
- Race 2: A short excursion off track dropped Matt down to P15 meaning he had some work to do in the final 2 races.
- Race 3: Consistent times and gutsy moves saw Matt pick up 4 positions in the short race to end up P11 putting him in a great position for a top 10 finish in Race 4.
- Race 4: Race 4 was a twilight (more like night) Race under lights. The last twilight race was in Round 1 and saw Matt’s only incident for the season. He got off to a great start but after running less than half the race distance disaster struck. Matt started falling down the field he eventually withdrew from the race. A major mechanical failure with the racing seat fixtures meant Matt was thrown around inside the car in the corners and eventually had to make the call to pull out of the race for safety reasons. So unfortunately that lead to the only DNF for the season!
Despite a roller coaster of a season Matt was able to finish just outside the top 10 in the Championship at Position 13 (out of 35 entrants).
This is an absolutely stellar result for a first time racer!
For a number of reasons Matt has made the decision to withdraw from the 2016 season but we are hoping to see him back in 2017!