Yas Drag Racing Festival – Abu Dhabi Report

Intro

FF3InAbuDhabiAfter a few days back in the UK, adjusting to the cold and catching up on some rest, we can now give you a full report on our time in Abu Dhabi at the Yas Drag Racing Festival. Please see the full gallery for behind the scenes photographs.
What can we say about Abu Dhabi? It is certainly one of the friendliest places you could ever wish to stay. From our arrival at the airport, everyone was so polite and helpful and went out of their way for us. The place is exceptionally clean and tidy and people seem to take an immense pride in maintaining a high level of cleanliness. Most people have a good grasp on the English language although the northern accent might have thrown some!! Apart from the obvious bonus of lovely warm sunny weather, there was plenty to explore. As well as Yas Marina Circuit, we also visited Ferrari World and Abu Dhabi City. We didn’t get to visit Dubai this time round, which is only an hour drive away, but maybe if we go again, we will find the time to do so.

Arrival – Mon 28th Feb

We arrived late in the evening on Monday and after making our way from the airport to Yas Island, then being shown around our hotel (The Yas Hotel), the only thing on everyone’s mind was a cold beer and to explore our new home for the next 10 days. After a couple of drinks on the rooftop bar, it was time to retire to our rooms ready for the visit to Yas Marina Circuit the next day.

Tues 1st March

Our first visit to the Yas Marina Circuit certainly didn’t disappoint. Apart from the dragstrip, the Yas Marina also houses an impressive F1 circuit alongside a drift circuit, handling circuit and kart track. With numerous entrance gates and a vast layout, we headed to the reception building to get our instructions and directions. With our passes and a map, we headed to the Race Tower to meet with Rod Fuller, who was one of our initial point of contacts. The race tower itself was a work of art. Being made of glass, it was a spectacular sight to mark the beginning of the track. The guys took some time to inspect the track and to check out the strip before we then headed over to one of the pit garages where the car was stored. The garages themselves were immaculate and most importantly, air conditioned, which was greatly appreciated!
This was our first look at the car since it had left the UK in the container. Initially, there were a few observational issues due to the car being unloaded from the container before our arrival. Therefore, knowing exactly how it had been packed and the equipment loaded, a couple of problems presented themselves immediately. After some discussions with YMC staff and trying to establish some information, we were able to inspect the car properly for the first time. However, the first priority was sourcing a table and some milk to get the tea and biscuits on the go!!

The only real problem was a faulty switch on the shut down system. The YMC staff offered to source one for the next day, so hopefully end of problems.
Wed 2nd March

Just a brief visit to the car, but unfortunately a new switch could not be located in time. A repair was therefore needed on the old switch ready for the test fire up on Thursday.

Thurs 3rd March

Thursday was spent moving the car and equipment from the garage to our pit space on the track. At 5pm, we had our allocated time slot for testing the car on the track for the first time. A test fire up was done at the startline minus the body. We were all happy with the testing and there were a lot of surprised people watching as they had never seen a jet car in the flesh before. All be it naked!
After the test, a discussion was held by Health and Safety at the track and ourselves as to the safety of staff in the race control tower and concerns over the glass panels in the building. Although the team were satisfied that there would be no issues, a 100% guarantee could not be given, so the track officials wanted us to start from the 60ft mark for Friday and assess the situation for Saturday.
The first of many interviews was also done. The main interview for the YMC to be used for promotions and which was played throughout the event on the big screens around the track and prior to our runs.

Fri 4th March – Yas Drag Racing Festival Day One

The gates opened at 4pm for the public, so most of the day was spent checking and prepping the car for the 3 scheduled runs.With a short turn around time in between each run, it was vital to ensure we were organised and ready to go after the first run.

As this was the first time a jet funny car had run at this track, let alone FireForce 3, the circuit had certain apprehensions about the glass race tower and health and safety measures were enforced fully. As we couldn’t do any staged runs and the car had to start from the 60ft mark, there are no timed runs to report. Extra precautions were taken for spectators and staff and the normal VIP area at the side of the track was closed off and the spectators moved further back underneath the grandstand.

The first run shocked and entertained a lot of people. We performed a short show and launch from the 60ft mark and clicked it off early. The car was stable and settled all the way down the track and gave us confidence for the next shows to up the performance.

As we pulled round for the second show, the crowd were appreciative and supportive towards us with plenty of cheers, clapping and whistling. The show was similar to the first but a little bit longer and probably more aggressive to whet their appetite for the final show.

The third and final run of the evening was later than scheduled around 11pm and again the remaining crowd showed their appreciation when we pulled underneath the control tower. The car performed it’s signature startline show and moved up to the 60ft line to launch, however the burner would not light, which resulted in a vapour show going down the track. Back to the pits to find out the problem before tomorrow.

Sat 5th March Day Two

An early start to resolve the previous night’s problem on the final run. The issue was located with a faulty onboard battery. A new battery was fitted and everything seemed back in order. Again three runs scheduled for today but this time we were allowed to run staged passes after discussions with the Health and Safety and they were satisfied the car would not cause any problems.

The first run was scheduled approx 5.45pm and we were looking forward to getting some times on the board and putting on a proper show for the crowds. The debut of a jet funny car (FireForce 3) in the Middle East for the full ¼ mile pass did not disappoint and the car ran 5.93secs @ 274mph. The track is one of the smoothest that this car has ever run on and we were all delighted with this first full run. Looking forward to the remaining two runs.

Towing back to the pits in front of the grandstands, the crowd and the staff showed their appreciation to the team.
The second run, we were determined to up the performance a little bit by running 5.91secs @ 274mph.

The last run for FireForce 3 in Abu Dhabi was about 10.30pm and we wanted to give everyone a performance to remember by running quicker. The car rolled up to the startline after giving the crowd numerous burner pops and vapour shows and ran a storming 5.89secs @ 275mph. Not too bad for our first visit to the Middle East.

Throughout the two days, the car gained a high level of interest with people asking questions and taking photographs constantly. The main questions being, ‘What engine is it?’ ‘What’s the horsepower?’ ‘Who’s the driver?’ and ‘How much to buy the car?’ Unfortunately I wasn’t offered enough money to retire!!!

We handed out our hero cards which were warmly received. And even had a brief visit from the King. However he must have felt sorry for us as we were treated to some of his leftover buffet at the end of the evening, which were very enjoyable…..thanks.

All in all, we had a fabulous time and a very enjoyable experience entertaining the people at Yas Marina Circuit. As the event is only in it’s second year, it will be interesting to see how it develops over the next few years and puts drag racing on the map in Abu Dhabi. If we got invited to attend again, would we? Definitely yes!! We would love to.

Our thanks to all staff and officials at Yas Marina Circuit (Horace says thanks to Sheila for the Bourbons), for their hospitality and for making our attendance possible and trouble free. Special thanks to ‘Hot’ Rod Fuller and his team for their assistance, to Rashed for the invitation to the circuit, Mark Boyd for the Health and Safety assistance and for all of the new fans we hope to have gained.

If you ever get the opportunity to visit Abu Dhabi, we would all thoroughly recommend it and we have all had a wonderful time.

Yas Drag Racing Festival

Day 1 of the show went very well with just a few minor hiccups. FireForce 3 was only allowed to do ‘shows’ for safety reasons, mainly resulting in the circuits’ fear of the glass panels in the race tower smashing! Therefore Martin couldn’t stage the car at the lights and had to start from the 60ft mark meaning that there were no timed runs. We are hoping today that they will let us run the car normally from the tree now that we have shown that the glass panels will be fine! Obviously due to this being the first time a jet car has performed at this track, the highest of safety measures are being taken both for the spectators and teams sake.

With 3 runs scheduled for yesterday, it was a quite tight turn around time between each run and unfortuantely for us, the on board batteries failed on our last run causing the burner not to light on launch. However, the team managed to get this problem resolved once back in the pits so hopefully it’s all systems go for todays 3 runs.

What can we say about Yas Marina Circuit, other than the facilities are second to none. From the pit garages down to the shower blocks, everything is completed to the highest of standards. Martin said that the track is like a billiard table and one of the smoothest tracks he has ever known. The only disadvantage to us is not having our own trailer and complete supply of tools and equipment. Luckily for us though, everyone is happy to help us in any way they can and will source anything that we need.

A full photo gallery and report will be posted on www.fireforce.co.uk once we have completed the event and returned to the UK at the end of this week.

For now take a look at these great videos.

 

We’re here!!

abudhabiWe have arrived safe and sound in the affluence that is Abu Dhabi. Checking into our hotel late on Monday night, yesterday (Tuesday) was the first chance we had to visit Yas Marina Circuit and see the car.

The circuit is certainly a work of art, with all mod cons and the very essence and focus of Yas Island. We first went to the race tower which is completely made of glass (they still ask if it will be Ok with the Jet Car), then inspected the track and then over to the pit garages where FF3 is located. Inside an air conditioned garage, we got our first proper look at the car since being unloaded from the container.

Priorities were checking for any problems that may have occurred during the transit and double checking all the parts shipped over were present and correct. Then remains of our container were unloaded and assembled into some kind of operational order. With our pit space inside the garage organised and the all important kettle, PG Tips and biscuits set up, we then had a hunt for the milk. After asking one of the staff for help, we got the milk and the brew was ready. Quite possibly all the American crew working out here in the garage and the security staff, not to mention the ‘Yas Circuit Tour’ tourists thought of us all as the stereotypical English people, as we made more of a fuss about the tea than the car! Oh well, they’ve only seen the half of our idiosyncrasies!

The car has been polished and checked over and the only problem was with a tyre and a faulty switch. The car can be fired up on Thursday for a more indepth check and then Friday will be the first actual run. According to everyone here, there is much excitement over the presence of a Jet Car at their track, so we just all hope that we can put on a good show for everyone out here.

We will keep you all updated as much as we can, in between the sunbathing and shopping of course, plus the visit to Ferrari World.

From a very warm and contented team, keep posted!

FireForce 4 Photo Competition

For a chance to win a pair of weekend tickets to the FIA Main Event 2011, it couldn’t be easier. Just email us your best photo of FireForce 4. It could be an action shot on the track or the car outside the FireForce trailer, it’s up to you! All we’re looking for is your idea of a great shot of this new recruit.

If you missed the car in action at Stunt Fest, then you have another opportunity at the Fast Show on the 27th March at Santa Pod Raceway where FireForce 4 will be making it’s first 1/4 mile pass!

So, whether you are an avid FireForce fan or just happened to have taken a passing photograph, then email it in to us.

The closing date for entries is 15th May 2011, terms and conditions apply (Please read carefully before entering) The winning entry will be chosen by the FireForce team within 5 days of the closing date.

Please email your photograph to picturecomp@fireforce.co.uk

Good luck and happy photographing

Stunt Fest 2011 Report

stuntfestmainAlthough it was a wet, cold and miserable day at Stunt Fest, one thing certainly heated everyone up., the New Recruit FireForce 4!!

After a brief test on Saturday morning to ensure all niggles from the previous weekend were resolved, FireForce 4 made its debut on the startline to put on a Fire and Smoke Blip Show. Demonstrating a little of what we hope to come, the crowd seemed responsive and welcomed in our latest addition.

Further in the day, FireForce 4 showed its dislike for an innocent caravan. Eventually burning it to the ground. (There seems to be a common theme with FireForce vehicles and caravans, if anyone has seen the episode of Top Gear and FireForce 1)

The car performed well considering we had little time to get it ready. Although there are still a few bits that need tweaking, we were pleased with its first public performance overall.

This Saturday on 26th February at Saturday Night Special, FireForce 4 will run its first ¼ mile. Hopefully the weather will fair better and we can get the car on the track and down the ¼ mile for the first time.

We would just like to thank everyone who has wished us luck both for Number 3 in Abu Dhabi and for FireForce 4 and its first outings. The feedback on FF4 so far has been great, even from those who hate clowns!!! It makes all the hard work worthwhile when people take the time to speak to us and write their comments on our Facebook page.

A special thanks to Dave ‘DJ’ Jones at Santa Pod Raceway for taking the press release photographs at such short notice, to Nigel Holland for updating the website so promptly and the great write up in Drag Racing Confidential, Suze Morris for her great videos of FF4’s first performances (we can hear you laughing in it Suze, it was supposed to be serious!!!!) and to all of our fans. Without you, we wouldn’t be FireForce!!

Our next report will probably be after our return from Abu Dhabi but you can follow our progress on the Yas Marina Circuit websitewww.yasmarinacircuit.com

The FF Team

 

FireForce 4 – The New Recruit

FireForce4Over 4 years in the making, lots of ups and downs (more downs) and some near misses with the secret being unveiled, FireForce 4 will make it’s first appearance at Santa Pod Raceway on Saturday 19th February for the Stunt Fest.

Although it will not complete the ¼ mile, a fire and smoke show will be performed on the startline. Luckily for the team, with Number 3 on its way to Abu Dhabi to perform at the Yas Drag Racing Festival, the Stunt Fest will prove the perfect opportunity to unveil the new addition.

In a test ‘fire up’ last weekend, a few small issues presented themselves, but after some tinkering and fine tuning, it’s all systems go for Stunt Fest.

So, a little more about FireForce 4…….

The graphics were the idea of Martin, who wanted something totally different from the much photographed Number 3. Clowns were always the first option and it was whether this idea would work, once actually on the car. With some discussions and ideas exchanged between the crew and Custom Painthouse (of Sheffield) the vision of seeing the FireForce crew become the ‘clown’ characters seemed an ever popular idea. (Not that they are clowns of course!!) With Martin’s exasperated expression on the back of the car, Rich and his dreads, not to mention chunky rings, and Horace, well, just being Horace, both clinging to the car for dear life, maybe the graphics have depicted the team all too well! Our thanks to everyone at Custom Painthouse for their patience, understanding and incredible work.

After many years of seeing Number 3 and very traditional paintwork, Number 4 will no doubt get people talking and more than likely have a marmite effect. People will either love it or hate it!! Whatever people’s opinion, we are now back to three Jet Funny Cars and will as ever be putting on a show and putting the ‘Fire’ in FireForce.

Number 4 has a few innovative design features, most noticeably the absence of a rear wing on the Camero style body. Also a new style intake and redesigned chassis incorporating all the latest chassis safety features. The engine is another J60 which has been used in FireForce 2 & 3 to make these the fastest Jet Funny Cars in the world!

With so much focus currently on preparations for our trip to Abu Dhabi, development work and the true performance of Number 4 will not be explored until our return. Then we can really concentrate on getting the most out of new recruit and hopefully build up the performance of the car.

Our thanks to everyone involved in the build and for the courtesy of those who knew about the project and respected the privacy of the team. It’s been very hard work but hopefully it will all be worthwhile.

Martin and the crew

FireForce Goes to Abu Dhabi

The FireForce team are proud to announce that they will be travelling to Abu Dhabi to perform some demonstration runs at the Yas Drag Racing Festival on 4th & 5th March 2011.

After many months of organization, we are delighted to get the go-ahead to publicise this event and have been told that the Official Press Release will hit the papers in the UAE this Sunday.

We are honoured to have been invited to attend this event and are looking forward to taking FireForce 3 to our first ever performance in the Middle East. It will also be the first time any jet car has performed in the Middle East!! Hopefully we will prove as popular there as we feel here in the UK and just maybe make a few more fans along the way.

It’s taken a lot of hard work and there will be a lot more to come once we arrive in Abu Dhabi, but we are all really excited about it.

We will keep you all updated as and when we can but for more information and the Official Press Release, visit www.yasmarinacircuit.com

Martin Hill & the FF Team

New Children’s T-Shirts (Ideal for Christmas)

We are delighted to announce that we have just confirmed an order of ‘Brand New’ FireForce 3 Kids T-shirts.

tshirts

These T-shirts will be the first in a new line of clothing with adult clothing hopefully ready for Easter Thunderball 2011. We have many things in the pipeline so keep checking back regularly for updates!!

Kids’ T-Shirts will be available in red, blue or grey (sample of graphite grey shown) in ages 5-6, 7-8 and 9-11 years, depending on stock availability.

Priced at £10 each or a Christmas & New Year Special of 2 for £18 (if ordered before 31st December 2010) plus £3.99 Post & Packaging in the UK.

We have been promised delivery by Thursday 16th December at the very latest so if you would like to pre-order then please contact Martin via the enquiry form on the ‘Contact Us’ page for further details.

Don’t forget we also have some ‘old’ stock left of the FireForce 1 and 2 adults and children’s T-shirts on sale at £5 each plus P&P

(Subject to stock – ages 7-8, 9-11 and adult sizes S,M,L,XL)

Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas, A Wonderful New Year, and see you all in 2011 for more FireForce action!!!

Stunt Fest 2011 Report

Although it was a wet, cold and miserable day at Stunt Fest, one thing certainly heated everyone up., the New Recruit FireForce 4!!

After a brief test on Saturday morning to ensure all niggles from the previous weekend were resolved, FireForce 4 made its debut on the startline to put on a Fire and Smoke Blip Show. Demonstrating a little of what we hope to come, the crowd seemed responsive and welcomed in our latest addition.

Further in the day, FireForce 4 showed its dislike for an innocent caravan. Eventually burning it to the ground. (There seems to be a common theme with FireForce vehicles and caravans, if anyone has seen the episode of Top Gear and FireForce 1)

The car performed well considering we had little time to get it ready. Although there are still a few bits that need tweaking, we were pleased with its first public performance overall.

This Saturday on 26th February at Saturday Night Special, FireForce 4 will run its first ¼ mile. Hopefully the weather will fair better and we can get the car on the track and down the ¼ mile for the first time.

We would just like to thank everyone who has wished us luck both for Number 3 in Abu Dhabi and for FireForce 4 and its first outings. The feedback on FF4 so far has been great, even from those who hate clowns!!! It makes all the hard work worthwhile when people take the time to speak to us and write their comments on our Facebook page.

A special thanks to Dave ‘DJ’ Jones at Santa Pod Raceway for taking the press release photographs at such short notice, to Nigel Holland for updating the website so promptly and the great write up in Drag Racing Confidential, Suze Morris for her great videos of FF4’s first performances (we can hear you laughing in it Suze, it was supposed to be serious!!!!) and to all of our fans. Without you, we wouldn’t be FireForce!!

Our next report will probably be after our return from Abu Dhabi but you can follow our progress on the Yas Marina Circuit website www.yasmarinacircuit.com

FireForce 4 – The New Recruit

Over 4 years in the making, lots of ups and downs (more downs) and some near misses with the secret being unveiled, FireForce 4 will make it’s first appearance at Santa Pod Raceway on Saturday 19th February for the Stunt Fest.

Although it will not complete the ¼ mile, a fire and smoke show will be performed on the startline. Luckily for the team, with Number 3 on its way to Abu Dhabi to perform at the Yas Drag Racing Festival, the Stunt Fest will prove the perfect opportunity to unveil the new addition.

In a test ‘fire up’ last weekend, a few small issues presented themselves, but after some tinkering and fine tuning, it’s all systems go for Stunt Fest.

So, a little more about FireForce 4…….

The graphics were the idea of Martin, who wanted something totally different from the much photographed Number 3. Clowns were always the first option and it was whether this idea would work, once actually on the car. With some discussions and ideas exchanged between the crew and Custom Painthouse (of Sheffield) the vision of seeing the FireForce crew become the ‘clown’ characters seemed an ever popular idea. (Not that they are clowns of course!!) With Martin’s exasperated expression on the back of the car, Rich and his dreads, not to mention chunky rings, and Horace, well, just being Horace, both clinging to the car for dear life, maybe the graphics have depicted the team all too well! Our thanks to everyone at Custom Painthouse for their patience, understanding and incredible work.

After many years of seeing Number 3 and very traditional paintwork, Number 4 will no doubt get people talking and more than likely have a marmite effect. People will either love it or hate it!! Whatever people’s opinion, we are now back to three Jet Funny Cars and will as ever be putting on a show and putting the ‘Fire’ in FireForce.

Number 4 has a few innovative design features, most noticeably the absence of a rear wing on the Camero style body. Also a new style intake and redesigned chassis incorporating all the latest chassis safety features. The engine is another J60 which has been used in FireForce 2 & 3 to make these the fastest Jet Funny Cars in the world!

With so much focus currently on preparations for our trip to Abu Dhabi, development work and the true performance of Number 4 will not be explored until our return. Then we can really concentrate on getting the most out of new recruit and hopefully build up the performance of the car.

Our thanks to everyone involved in the build and for the courtesy of those who knew about the project and respected the privacy of the team. It’s been very hard work but hopefully it will all be worthwhile.

Martin and the crew

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