VW Action has always been a great show for us, both from a spectator perspective and for results. It was where we did our best time in the Arosa last year, a 9.7224s @ 146.74mph and Jerome also set his quickest time of 11.183 @ 121.88mph in his Ibiza, so we had high hopes for both cars performing well this year.
The day started out in the one of the 2 ways it generally does at Santa Pod. In the perfect world you do a fast run the first go off the trailer and take it easy all day. Or you do run after run, dealing with issues that prevent you from getting anywhere close to the times you have done in the past.
This weekend was the latter!
It was Jerome's final event in his Ibiza before we give it away in our competition, so we decided to leave the Arosa on the truck for most of the day, to give our full attention to him and his car.
Since the last time Jerome had driven the car, we have made quite a few changes to the Engine setup, mainly around the turbo, switching from the Holset Wastegated package, to our GTD2872VRK VNT Turbo. Power levels are pretty similar, with maybe a little more power and torque coming in earlier and smoother now.
We had originally chosen the Holset as it made the car very simple to drive and tweak trackside, which was perfect for Jerome to learn to drag race in (he had not driven in anger on a drag strip before last year!). We did not anticipate the change in driving style needed for the new setup would take a lot of getting used to, so the best time he could manage was an 11.3 @ 130.31mph before the track closed at 5pm to prepare for the Night Racing.
Drag racing is a big part of Jerome's life, and he has met some great friends in the scene, including José Realista of AM Motorsport in Portugal, who currently holds the Diesel FWD record with a time of 9.4787 @ 141.72mph (set at VW Action the same weekend!) in his VW Polo.
With those credentials, Jerome asked José to take his car up the strip for a few runs, to get an idea of the potential. After a couple of runs to get used to the car, he smashed the previous best for the car with a 10.90 @ 125.97mph.
We pulled the Arosa off the truck for the Night Racing, and were shocked at the 60Ft times we were experiencing, over 2s when with the exact setup at BugJam 2018 we were seeing high 1.6s to 1.7s (which were still high for the car). We did 3 runs and had a regroup to figure out why we had seen a drop from the best of 1.55s at VW Action 2017 to now. The only major change we had made were the Wheels and Tyres. We changed from 13" Wheels with Mickey Thompson Wrinkle Walls, to 15" Wheels and Hoosier Wrinkle Walls.
Luckily we had brought the old 13" setup with us, so stuck those back on and jumped in the queue.
Since we had brought the CitiGo for the ride, we wanted to give it a quick run to see how it performed. With no NOS it did a 13.25 @ 105mph with a 1.99 60Ft. Definite room for improvement on both the launch and speed, but the car needed to drive the 2.5hr trip back home, so we didn't want to tempt fate! It was never built as a drag car!
We then lined José up against the Arosa to see how they compare! First head to head with the 13s back on, Paul smashed the Arosa's best time with a 9.59 @ 144.78mph with a 1.56s 60 Ft, and José did a 10.73 @ 134.09mph in the Ibiza. It would have been rude not to line them up again for one final run...
On this run, José did a 10.64s @ 132.9mph, which ended up being the fastest time of the weekend for the car. The terminal speed was a little down from previous run as the Nitrous bottle ran out at some point, so the potential is even more! Low 10s are not out of the question with just a few tweaks!
The Arosa aborted due to a slow gear change, so the 9.59 time was the quickest of the day when the track closed.
A new day and a fresh Track! On Sunday the track is fully prepped for what they call a Peak Performance day. This means extra care is taken at both the start line, and all the way up the track, with glue applied all the way down.
1st Run for the Ibiza resulted in what we suspected was a driveshaft failure. It chewed 2 shaft in one day last year, so we had upgraded them to the same type as fitted to the Arosa. What we found was a little more serious!
Being well prepared, the Arosa and Ibiza use the same gearbox, so we had a spare in the van. 3 of the guys got stuck in and changed it on the deck in 2 hours to get Jerome back on track!
While this was going on, we were running the Arosa on what a few guys were complaining was a poor quality track compared to the previous day. Our 60Ft times were in the 1.5 - 1.6s range, about where we expect them to be (although we would love to get into the 1.4s!)
1st run was aborted, again due to a dodgy gear change. Everything needs to be perfect to get a great run, so we decided early on not to keep pushing when a mistake has been made. It's not worth risking the car and engine when we already know it won't be a good time!
Next run was straight into the 9s again with a 9.8 at 145.29mph and only a 1.66 60Ft. We are making progress!
3rd attempt was a 9.58 @ 144.3mph, so a new best time. The launch was great, 1.52 60Ft was also the best we had ever done.
Everything was going too well and the drag racing demons were not too far away! Long story short, we had a limited amount of Nitrous left over on Saturday night. Knowing it would be an issue on the Sunday, we spoke to the Santa Pod office to see if someone would be on site for bottle refills. We were assured someone would be there in the morning, so did not make any other arrangements. Annoyingly, the company expected to be there were not, and the same person in the office on Sunday claimed to have never told us such information! Talk about banging your head against a brick wall!
To add insult to injury, a company that has a workshop at the Santa Pod Entrance, and have Nitrous on site were present on the day. However, they were unwilling to help by taking the 2 minute drive to their workshop to allow us to pay for some refills. Not very sporting!
So this left us with a problem. The bottles in the car were at the level where we would normally top them up, but we had no way of doing so! This was evident from the 4th run top speed being 2-3mph down on the last few runs.
After running around like crazy, we managed to find a guy with an Ibiza TDI that had retired, with a bottle that had only done a couple of passes. A few £20 notes exchanged, and we were back in business!
Run 5 - 9.5521s @ 149.14mph
This is the fastest ET and highest Terminal Speed we have achieved so far, with the 2nd quickest 60Ft time of 1.5532s.
This is a massive improvement from before, with a very similar 60Ft. We are now going to concentrate in this area, which involves removing more weight from the car, and working on the launch strategy to get those extra fractions of a second. With a 1.4s 60Ft, there is no reason we could not be in the 9.2 or 9.3s range. A low 1.5s will get us into the 9.4s easily.
150mph is also a whisker away. With a slightly better start and consistent run, we could be there without any changes to the car. We did not go beyond 80% Nitrous on the day either, so there is still a little more in it from that.
We got 5 more runs in, but the nitrous REVO we use relies on high bottle pressure and we just didn't have the right launch or speed to improve the time. It was so disappointing to not improve further, when everything else had fell into place, but the new engine had lasted 15 runs over the weekend without any major issues to report.
Meanwhile Jerome was back in his Ibiza, but struggling to get a good run stitched together and into the 10s, his main goal for the weekend. He decided to become the 'Burnout King', filling his car with Tyre Smoke, to the point where it was still cloudy inside at the back of the queue minutes after the run!
Overall we had a great weekend, overcame some issues to pull in quick times in both cars and Jerome left knowing that he owns a 10 second car!
And for £25 you could potentially win that car -
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