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192 Miles Around Bedford Autodrome

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!

Brands Hatch GP Circuit Track Day – 12/07/10

Living in a county baked by brilliant sunshine for what seemed like weeks, it was hard to believe the rain forecast for the Brands Hatch track day at a venue not more than 50 miles away … but after consideration we loaded up the Golf-mule support car with the wet tyres on the outside chance they might be required.  We left Surrey on a bright summer’s morning and hit the M25, crossing into Kent around 7am, …. and an absolute monsoon.  Arriving at the circuit  we found it overcast and damp.  We also found it very, very, very busy and the facilities in the inner paddock lacking, with the Golf-mule being relegated to the outer paddock because of space constraints.

Briefing completed, we hurriedly prepped for sighting laps behind a pace car before finding some time to prepare properly for our first runs.  I drove next with PC as passenger, taking it cautiously to learn the circuit and also through a passing rain shower.  We then swapped for the next session, at the end of which we both agreed the need for some extra power to keep up with the competition!  (That’s next year’s upgrades planned!)

Next up were solo sessions.  Having learned the circuit, the 12.00 session allowed me to push the car further, and the GP circuit is fantastic with a huge variety of challenges – most enjoyable and rewarding.  A break for lunch and PC’s solo session then preceded my most interesting moment of the day as I sought to perfect a ‘backwards’ racing line out of Paddock Hill bend as it drops away downhill.   I have absolutely no idea how it happened – although I have a suspicion that it involved a lack of talent – but the back of the car snapped away just past the apex of the corner and I completed at least one 360 before collecting it up and completing the lap with the car intact but pride definitely wounded.

In summary, the Brands Hatch GP circuit is fantastic – although apparently rarely used for some reason – and I’d definitely drive it again, but the logistics behind the day are more than a little trying.

Chris Evans Mulberry P1 Event 21/03/10

Favourite car of the day …..

SPR Laps Goodwood (Tentatively)

Footage from my first laps of Goodwood in the newly track-prepared SPR.  The brakes and the tyres have been sorted – the car now goes around corners and stops when you press the pedal in the middle!

Koenigsegg & Zonda

Captain Slow Touring Silverstone

Exige Thruxton 2009

Elise Pics

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