With an absent round three due to a new family member, Hans Ruiterman made a comeback for the fourth NZ Superlap Series round. This time though, things looked a little...different. Many on the sidelines referred to the battle-scarred Silvia as ‘Mad Max’ followed by, ‘badass’. Although this menacing appearance caused quite the stir, Hans’ Silvia has recently been under the knife due to a tyre blowout at Pukekohe Park Raceway a few weeks earlier. We’ll hand it over to Hans to explain;
After the tyre blow out which destroyed the front end, we had the opportunity to improve the guards, side skirts and stiffen up the front bar slightly. It would have been much faster to simply replace the parts and keep moving but its an area that I always had wanted to improve and now was the time.
With the help of Geoff Layboun and Nigel Lucas we made up a new front section to the side skirt to open up the area behind the front wheel and help get the air out of the wheel arch. The front guards, being S14.5 aren't available in the width we needed so we cut the wheel arch out, extended it and fiberglassed in the new arch. The front bar also got raised slightly as the old one got hammered from touching the track surface way too often.
It was a mad rush to get it all done, and we didn't get time to get everything back on and get the parts painted. We also didn't get time to make up new side fences for the splitter or get the front undertray fitted so we were lacking a little front downforce for the weekend which was noticeable through turn one and turn 10.
As the event was run with the Auckland car club, we had the opportunity to cross enter into racing saloons which gives us one qualify run and three eight-lap races on top of our four superlap runs. To try fit in all this in one day was never going to be easy, but to have an issue with the car it made it much harder. We had an electrical issue in the morning which caused the car to lose power. We got this sorted though and carried on with some great racing.
We had a good set of A050's for this round and thought we would try the 30 series instead of 35s to improve gearing on corner exits. Although this did help with gearing, the lower profile tyre didn't seem to hook up quite as well and made the car more twitchy. As the car has been set up for slicks over the years, it's quite rigid — a little too rigid for a low profile DOT tyre as we now know so we may need to go back to the 35 series or soften the suspension off a tad. We didn't crack a PB on the A050s, but we did on slicks (just) with a 1.06.4.
For the final round, we will have the front end finished off with all aerodynamic aids on and hopefully be able to get it together and dip into the 1.05's!
We’re looking forward to seeing Hans crack into the 1:05-second range around Hampton Downs! For a car that can cut more than one hot lap, it’s incredibly impressive. Hans would like to thank all of his sponsors for their support this season, including; the team at E&H Motors, Gull Sports/Gull NZ, Motul NZ, Pukekohe Auto Spares, Onehunga Panel and Paint, TTi GTO racing gearboxes, Enduro Fit, and Devise.