July 12th saw me and a few others at the Motorsport Events run trackday at Hullavington, just off J17 of the M4. Last year’s track day was cut short as I had to go camping later that day so I was determined to get some miles under my belt on this day. It started off well in that I arrived on time. A minor coolant leak delayed me getting to the sighting laps (needed to tighten a jubilee clip, nothing more sinister than that) so I only got one lap in. This ensured I did my traditional spin on the 2nd corner of the 2nd lap, just like Abingdon last year. A couple of missed chicanes later and I decided I was obviously not in the right frame of mind so came back in.
Once the 1st sessions were done it was open pit lane so off I went out again, a bit more relaxed and trying to understand what I did wrong. It looked like I’d initially made the 2nd corner far tighter than it should have been and opening that out did indeed mean I could carry the same speed through it and make it out the other end! On the chicane front I just needed to adjust my braking point. Lessons learned and I got on with getting some laps in. Towards the end I was quite comfortable and really pleased with how the car was driving. The suspension work done previously was definitely paying dividends.
Unfortunately, drama struck after 7 or so laps. At the end of the long straight I braked at the brake marker and turned in for the hairpin at the turn in marker. Then, a yellow flash and a bang… I wasn’t turning in anymore and instead heading off the circuit with what looked like front nearside damage.
Someone in another Westfield (not part of our group) had completely missed his braking point and sailed straight up the inside, connecting his rear offside wheel with my front nearside. I trundled back to where we were parked wondering what the damage was. It certainly didn’t sound healthy.
Once I got back and explained to the rest of the group that surprisingly it wasn’t my fault I took a look at the damage. I was relieved to see that it was largely cosmetic – the cycle wing stay had bent right up and the cycle wing itself was cracked. There was marking to the wheel and rubber marks on the exhaust. I bent the stays back into roughly the right position, taped up the wing and was ready to carry on. The guy who drove into me did come over to explain what happened, though fell short of an apology.
Photos taken later on in the garage:
The cycle wings are due to be replaced with carbon CSR style efforts. It’s the wheel damage I’m more annoyed about – the wheels were perfect until this and now it looks like I can’t park.
But anyway, on with the day!
I managed to get a few more laps in before lunch and the car was driving ok. During lunch I stiffened the shocks to see what difference it made. It was quite good – the car was more stable and less ‘squirmy’ under braking and cornering. I also had a passenger ride in Mike’s 1.6 Mazda SDV (the dark red one in the later photos). His was largely like mine, only with Toyo R1R tyres and obviously a lighter engine. His car seemed much less dramatic and seemed to just get on with the corners rather than squealing and complaining. I’ve decided I’m not a massive fan of my tyres on track use, so may get some dedicated track wheels.
Later it started getting really hot, 32 degrees and the coolant temperature rose to 95/96. I decided not to push it any further and took to cruising down the straights. Even the production cars were only doing a few laps at a time. I’d still like it to do better though so decided I need to move the pipe from above the manifold and potentially shroud the radiator in.
I also started leaking gearbox and diff oil so I will be clearing the breathers for those.
Overall though, ignoring the muppet, I had quite a good day. A few changes to make and hopefully I’ll get another track day in during September.