Testing, Testing, Testing
Whether it be structural integrity in the fabrication lab, aerodynamics in the wind tunnel, clocking hours in the simulator, or exploring car setup while churning laps on the circuit, testing has been and always will be the most time consuming and energy expending aspect of motorsport at all levels.
It is all about preparation and execution, and even for a team in its humble beginnings like Grabko Grand Prix, testing is an integral part of being ready when race day finally arrives. As in most on-track testing sessions, the focus isn't primarily on squeezing out the fastest lap times, but rather in becoming familiar with the various setups and idiosyncrasies of the individual racing karts.
The sporting regulations of the Open GP Electric Gokart Championship stipulate that each driver is randomly assigned a different kart for each of the two qualifying sessions, as well as the race. This makes it a top priority for the team that the driver is familiar with each and every racing machine, so that he can adjust his driving to get the best out of whatever kart is delegated to him during race day.
Emphasis is put on consistency and gradual lap improvement over each of the sessions. At Grabko Grand Prix, a typical testing program consists of one reconnaissance session, to become familiar with the track conditions on the day, followed by either a qualifying or race simulation, depending on resource constraints and track availability.
The driver is allocated different karts for each of the sessions in the test program, as well as for each testing day. The team monitors driver performance and technique, and takes driver feedback for the session on how the kart was setup and how it behaved. All this information is recorded and a knowledge base is gradually built up that the team can draw upon going into the upcoming race.
That's the idea anyway, and today's testing session was positive. Dan Grabko started with kart 15 for his reconnaissance session. The kart is a solid package overall, although the brake pedal suffers from late engagement and a mushy feel, forcing the driver to compensate with adjusted braking points, especially in the tighter sections of the circuit. Chassis response and grip levels are good though and both acceleration and top speed are in the upper 50th percentile. Dan was able to get into a consistent rhythm fairly quickly. Unfortunately, significantly slower traffic and a spin on track prevented a completely clean run, but Grabko reported the track in relatively grippy and racy condition and was looking forward to the next session. Best time on the reconnaissance run was 35.859.
Track personnel allocated kart 13 for the team's qualifying simulation, and driver feedback was immediately positive on the out lap. The kart has a bit too much of a tendency to oversteer for Dan's driving style, but pedal feel was good and stability under braking as well as acceleration and top speed felt improved over the previous session. Despite being caught out once in the session with massive oversteer in the fast section of turns 4 and 5, Grabko was able to get into the qualifying zone, producing a string of decent lap times, culminating in a respectable 35.403 best effort, 0.009 better than his qualifying time during last week's race.
In the driver debrief afterwards, Dan reported that he was disappointed as he didn't feel he had gotten a 100% clean lap in, and felt at least two tenths was there to be had. Typical racing driver, never satisfied, and just the attitude Grabko Grand Prix loves!
So another week's testing completed, with more data to compile and analyse. A racing team's mission to continuously improve never ends!
Thanks to all our fans for your wonderful support, and we'll see you next time out!
FULL TEST DAY RESULTS