Dirty Nipples and Questionable Fluids.

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Last night was spent bleeding the clutch fluid and replacing it. Poor Darren had to squeeze underneath the car and control the procedure by using the clutch fluid bleed nipple, whilst I had the easy job of sitting in the driver's seat and depressing the clutch pedal. Now and again I had to top-up the fluid reservoir. The old fluid seemed rather dark and there may have been a small amount of air in the system. Clutch feel seems to have improved, so hopefully that'll help Karen out on the circuit.

We also fitted some new Pagid brake pads. These may be a slightly softer compound than the originals, which could mean more initial bite when cold. They also dont have the edges chamfered which means a bigger surface area in contact with the brake disc. It remains to be seen how they will perform, but they'll be used for Karen's practice day at Pembrey. We can then make a decision about leaving them on for the races or swapping back to the originals which still have plenty of life in them.

All that remains to do is give the car a wash and polish ready for a long weekend in Wales!


Freeze Or Fry? The Mechanic's Malaise

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It seems that Karen's poor old spanner monkies invariably have to work in harsh conditions. Be it freezing cold, or boiling hot. You can be sure if there's an extreme of weather then Darren and myself are likely to be struggling with an item on the car...

This weekend saw the fitting of some Whiteline adjustable anti-rollbars front and rear, which took a lot less time than we anticipated. As far as we can tell they're currently set up at their hardest setting and certainly make for a sharp turn in, with oversteer requiring a lot of provocation. (In the dry, anyway).

Whilst the car was on axle stands at the front, we took the opportunity to remove the old radiator fans and fit a new plastic item. Not only is it much lighter, but we bet it's also much more efficient at cooling. On the engine side of things, we fitted some new Iridium spark plugs and Magnecor silicon HT leads.

The final and most impressive job, if we say so ourselves, was the fabrication and fitment of some aluminium door panels with which we hope to impress the scrutineers. Sharp edges have been banished in favour of some lovely curves all courtesy of the garage broom, believe it or not. Darren and I are now trying to get panel beater jobs with Aston Martin!


Profiled In Print

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Karen was recently profiled in the MRZine which is the newsletter for the MR2 Challenge. Here is the actual text:

"Hopefully Karen won’t mind us saying this, but she has been our little ray of sunshine this year. No matter what happens on track, hers is the biggest smile in the paddock afterwards. Her developing rivalry with Paul Barber is making things all the more interesting towards the tail of the field, and is a great example that fun can be had in the Challenge regardless of grid position, while their bon homie in the paddock demonstrates its friendliness.

With husband Richard Senter, Karen has been a regular track-day and airfield thrasher of Porsche Boxsters and 966s, Subaru Imprezas, and Nissan 200SXs. However, while officially a novice driver, she isn’t entirely new to track racing. Karen had been inspired to race by the original Formula Woman series, which of course featured our very own Lauren Blighton (who we’re really hoping to see rejoin us later this year), and joined the Ladies Only series the following year. Unfortuately Karen was unable to achieve Lauren’s success in getting into the final group, but had performed sufficiently well to be offered a position of Reserve.

Being a reservist for FW didn’t hold much appeal, and thanks to a friend (an MR2 Mk.1 owner) she grew increasingly interested in the MR2 Challenge. Attracted by the low cost of entry and running, Karen decided to take the plunge, buying her car from the friend who had introduced her to the series in the first place!

So Formula Woman’s loss is our gain, for as each race brings Karen more personal bests and increases her competitiveness, the more she smiles. Lucky us!"


Magazine Montage Malarky!

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The July 2006 edition of Track and Race Car magazine contains a half-page race report of the Cadwell meeting of the MR2C. Karen isn't actually mentioned in the text, but she is pictured racing against Sarah Wherry in one of the photos. The keen eyed amongst you may be able to see car #14 in a couple of the other pictures too.


About Karen Phillips

  • Karen races her Impreza WRX in the Nippon Challenge, a race series for Japanese and Asian cars. Karen has now been racing since 2006, having started in the MR2 Challenge.
  • Please check this site regularly for updates on Karen's progress through the season and developments with her race car.

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