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The Real First Test

It feels like quite a while since we’ve had an update, but plenty has been going on, so this might be a little bit longer than usual! Where to start…..!?

Firstly, we finished all of our engine work and after a few checks and some running of the engine, we felt confident in taking it on track. So, we just needed to finish off any more car preparation then we could head out and give the car a good and proper shakedown. With this confidence, we booked a track day at Blyton Park scheduled for June 16th, “easy” we said. We were still yet to get a trailer, so we pushed forwards with our search and found something we thought would work….

Ryan fetched the trailer from South Wales less than a week before the scheduled test day, brought it back, presuming we would just roll the car on and we were done. Not to be the case, it was 2 inches too narrow! A cardinal error by myself, looking at the track width and forgetting to add the width of a tyre on……what a rookie.

So, we figured out a way to widen the trailer and get the car on it whilst still maintaining the structure of the trailer. At the same time, we also had to fit brakes to the trailer; there was a reason it was a steal at £350!!! Nonetheless, we managed to get it all done the night before the test, finally finishing at 1am.

The next morning, with an early start of 6am and with everything all well secured, we set off towards Lincolnshire. We were tight for time, but we were making good progress and just about on track to reach arrive on time for the driver briefing at 9am. Then, as we got towards J28 on the M1, Ryan spotted a chunk of rubber fly off the trailer tyre!! So, he pulled over almost immediately and I joined him on the hard shoulder. We inspected the delaminated tyre; luckily it hadn’t burst, but it needed to be changed immediately. We called the track to tell them we would no doubt be late now and they said they would be able to accommodate. So it was now a case of getting the trailer off the motorway and getting the tyre replaced.

 

Fortunately, we were only a mile from the junction and so we limped off the motorway. The wheels were soon off and I was on my way into Mansfield to find somewhere to change a tyre at 8am on a Saturday. Luckily, we found an ATS that had 1 tyre in stock, so we replaced the failing tyre and made our way back to the rest of the gang waiting patiently with the car. We were soon on our way again and we arrived at the track at around 10.30.

 

After the exclusive driver briefing for ourselves (thanks to the Javelin trackdays guys for that!), we were ready to get the car on track.

 

We had a little under an hour before the lunch break, so we made the priority of getting each of us on track before we had to stop for lunch. So, 5 lap runs it was. We all felt reasonably comfortable with the car, but we could all tell it needs a fair amount of setup work.

 

After lunch, it was time to get in the car again and get some longer runs in. We each did 10 lap runs and kept the setup the same so we could all give feedback from the same basis. We had a few friends with us, so we had passengers on board throughout the day, this might change the next time out, but that isn’t the limiting factor by any stretch at this stage.

Towards the end of Ryan’s run, he started to feel a slight loss of power and so brought the car in. When we tried to restart the car, we had no power at all and it wasn’t even trying to crank. After further inspection, we noticed that the alternator cable had come off and we were obviously getting no charge from it. A new nut and the problem was solved!

Or so we thought……that wasn’t the end of it! It was still struggling to start and we noticed that the immobiliser light was flashing again. More checking of the wiring and no errors could be found! A few more cranking attempts and then suddenly it decides to start!!! We put it down to one thing….it’s French! (Or the ECU has decided to protect itself and it needed a hard reset). Either way, the car was going again and we had about an hour left to run the car.

So, we decided to run the car for the remaining time we had left. All 3 of us would take it in turn to drive, doing around 15 mins each with a reasonably quick change over. We had changed the damping rates a small amount and lowered the front tyre pressures too. This seemed to make a positive difference, but still plenty of room for improvement! The car ran solid for a good 45 minutes and the engine didn’t miss a beat. All in all, we’re pretty happy with the car, it feels pretty solid. Another list of jobs has obviously been created, but we are very much looking forward to getting it out again and pushing it a bit harder once again.

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