Saturday 30th July saw a 192 mile shakedown of the Minister Power engine upgrade on the airfield circuit at Bedford Autodrome. The first pitstop of the trip however was on a slip road just off of the M25 on the way to the circuit to re-seat the detachable steering wheel which had started to wobble alarmingly. The day on-track also started with a surprise as SPR just sneaked under the static noise test level of 101db by a mere 0.5db – surprising because the upgrade didn’t sound that much louder than the car that has previously sailed under a 98db limit and worrying given Bedford’s one-strike-and-you’re-out rule with the council imposed 87db drive by limit.

The ‘opposition’ on the day was a diverse collection of metal covering a Peugeot 205, a Saab saloon(!), other Lotuses, BMWs, Porsches, TVRs, an 8 litre Corvette, Radical SR3, the obligatory Nissan GTR and what seemed like every Aerial Atom ever sold in the UK. A couple of sighting laps then saw us set about seeing just how much quicker the enhancements have made the car and I’m happy to report we were able to mix it with everything upto and including the Porsche 911s – a pleasant surprise after the mugging we took at Spa. The morning session was ended by a plume of smoke from the far side of the track as the hot exhaust on a Honda S2000 that had left the road set fire to the patch of grass it had come to rest on.

At lunchtime we met the extended family of the ‘next Lewis Hamilton’ (who’d been in the 205) and then the sun came out for the afternoon session and the track got hotter and hotter, so we dropped the tyre pressures and went faster and faster. Checks later in the afternoon showed SPR running at less than 80db past the drive-by noise monitors so we can only assume the static test in the morning had been faulty, and the chequered flag finally fell at 5pm after 192 rapid miles.

Next up is Donington Park in September after a trip to Back On Track to see whether we have any brake pads left!