Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all

WinterWinter is fast approaching and soon we will be covered in snow again. I am getting ready to relax with friends and family and celebrate Christmas, but before I close down the computer until 2014 I wanted to take a minute to say thank you to you all for the great support during the 2013 season and to wish you a Merry Christmas and a great 2014.

I also want to say a special thank you to my sponsors.

 

Porsche SportsCup 2013 Champion

A retrospective look at the 2013 season and the results.

The 2013 PRCF Porsche Sports Cup season has officially come to an end and was concluded with a great gala dinner last weekend in Helsinki.

A wonderful evening with my lovely wife and fellow drivers from team CoolCava Racing, along with many other good friends from Porsche Racing Club Finland.

As a team, I had the pleasure to collect the Best Team of the Season award along with team drivers Timo Virkki and Toni Niemelä on behalf of CoolCava Racing who now celebrates winning the SportsCup for the second season in a row.

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And as for me, I took the championship ending the season 1st overall and 1st in class. Something I could never have done without the support of my friends and sponsors:

You can find the official 2013 results, including outcome from each race here.

Race start 1 and 2 – Botniaring

Reflecting back on the season I can honestly say it has been a great year.

It started strong at the old shorter Botniaring early in May, where I took 1st in class for both race start 1 and 2 of the season with an overall 1st in race 2.

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But the 2013 season did not start without complications! I suffered repeated issues with the camber adjuster on the left rear wheel. With great support from our team mechanic Shardul, the problem was finally resolved.

Unfortunately team driver Timo Virkki was without a car at the start of the season, but this did not stop him from coming along to support the team. This was also a good start to the season for my team buddy Toni Niemelä, who also had a podium finish.

Race start 3 and 4 – Alastaro

Race 3 and 4 were in June and was the first time at Alastaro for the 2013 season. As with tradition, I had some issues during both race 3 and 4 at Alastaro (I have still to complete a full race at this circuit without issues!). Whilst I managed to complete both race 3 and race 4, I had a spin in the first corner after start in race 3 and race 4 had me drift out into the sand – as you can see at the end of this in-car video from the CoolCava Racing YouTube Channel.

But that is racing, and after the car spent 3 days getting all the sand removed and checked out by CCR Motorsports Engineering, it was back to another race weekend!

Race start 5 and 6 – Botniaring

Next up was race 5 and 6 in July, and now we were back at Botniaring – but driving the all new and extended circuit for the first time. And what a change from the old and shorter circuit…

We arrived to a damp and cold Botniaring in the early morning to set-up our tents for the day and get ready for the racing fun. As the event was shared with BMW Racing Club Finland, it was a good turn out with a lot of nice cars both Porsche and BMW. One part to the day that made it interesting was the rain. The week leading up to the race had been hot, dry and sunny. As we drove towards Botniaring it got cold and grey, and by the time we arrived to the track it was wet. During the morning it did for a moment look like the rain would fade out, but it returned harder than before and remained with us for the day. As fast as the rain had arrived that day, it disappeared. As we said our goodbyes and I started the drive back to Espoo the sun came out again!

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I had been told that the new asphalt on the circuit – including the old section where they
had put down a new fresh layer – was extremely slippery and like ice in the wet, so I was rather nervous to try the new layout for the first time in heavy rain. This was also the first time that CoolCava Racing driver Timo Virkki was going to run with his nice new 996 GT3 Cup car – brave man! But with some small changes to my suspension set-up and my wet weather wheels on I found the new circuit and surface to be outstanding – so good in fact, that by the time we got to run qualification I set my fastest lap of the day – did not even manage to beat it during the remainder of the day.

Race start 7 and 8 – Seinäjoki

After the rain in Botniaring we had a short time to freshen up the cars and get ready for
the big street race event at Seinäjoki at the end of July for race start 7 and 8. Whilst there had been a lot of discussions and speculations leading up to this event as to if we would attend or not, team driver Timo Virkki and myself decided to go – and it turned out to be a great decision…

This was my first ever race event on a street circuit, and I look forward to doing more in the future. The thing that makes the street circuit exiting is the reduced space for error. A bit like Ahvenisto, the circuit will not be forgiving if you make any error – something one of my competitors discovered!

Crash

After the race it was discovered that the issue was related to the oil filter which had managed to come off during the race. You can see this crash when Pauli’s engine suffered some issues and decided to spray the tarmac and my car with oil in the following video.

Both Timo and myself had good results during the weekend including podium results which ensured a good continued lead for team CoolCava Racing.

Race start 9 and 10 – Alastaro (Porsche Club Festival)

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For the Porsche SportsCup in Finland and the Porsche Club, this was a great event with a record number of Porsche cars collected into the same location at the same time. This was a two day event with all things Porsche!

For me personally this was the lowest point in the 2013 season. I was back at Alastaro (where I always have issues) and ready to race – but higher powers had other plans for me this weekend!

During practice on the Friday I started strong, and the Boxster again demonstrated great performance and handling. I was starting to feel more confidant about Alastaro and feeling good about the weekend. Then without warning I lost all drive to the wheels and ended up stranded at the side of the circuit…

PRCF_Festivale_2I was rescued from the side of the track and taken back to the team with my broken Porsche Boxster racing car. We did an initial investigation and discovered that the left side output flange had come out from the transmission and the car was slowly bleeding transmission oil onto the ground.

We made the decision that the damage was to large to try and fix there and then and without spare parts to do the job properly. The car was pushed onto the trailer and parked for the remainder of the event…

Then for one reason or another I ended up taking the driving seat in Toni’s Porsche 911 RSR replica (his spare care which he used before upgrading to the Porsche 996 GT3 Cup car that he is racing with today) which he had taken along to the event – this as it turned out was a bad idea. I went into a corner hot driving as I would have done in my Boxster, and the end results were not good. The outcome was a bent rear control arm and some cosmetic damage. The car has now been fixed and is up for sale via CCR Motorsports Engineering.

Back to the issue with the Boxster. The car was taken back to CCR Motorsports Engineering for a closer look, and to get fixed before the next race. On closer inspection it was discovered that the LSD had failed. With the limited time available before the last race of the season, it was decided to fit a temporary spare transmission to the Boxster. Pictures of the damaged LSD can be found on the CCR Motorsports Engineering Facebook page.

Race start 11 and 12 – Mantorp, Sweden (2013 Season Finale)

And with that we come to Mantorp in Sweden for the Porsche SportsCup 2013 season final…

MantorpThis was another great race weekend with a large number of participants. We had more than 20 cars on the starting line for both race 11 and 12 with some great race action.

I finished 1st in class for race 11 which gave me enough points for the season to ensure 1st place overall for 2013. But unfortunately I had to retire from race 12 with a damaged front splitter and issues with the ABS. It would have been nice to complete the last race of the season, but I was happy and content with the results and enjoyed the end of the last race as a spectator…

So, all in all a rather mixed season with some great results and some low moments. The car is now undergoing some upgrades for the 2014 season whilst I sit back and relax with family and friends.