Monday, August 14, 2006

Nurburgring Success!

Beast as it came home, thoughtly abused! click here to read this report without the stupid TM symbols?

So my trip started at 2pm on Thursday. I fitted my new pads Mintex 1144 to the car and headed to James's place.

Arrived there about 4.40pm and started to fit the seat belt and seat, then James’s mum kindly cooked dinner and we headed off.

I found since the engine had loosened up it had been using more oil. I did a quick mod before I left and further restricted the external oil feed line down to 0.75mm. After 2000miles would seem it was a good idea, as oil consumption is over 2000miles was only 1litre, which for a virtual race engine isn't too bad, also that was all hard miles!.

Back to the trip! We possibly left a little late from James's place and we hit some traffic on the M25. We would have made it in hindsight as the ferry was 45mins late, but it was looking tight. As such I was forced to wind the Beast up to 5500rpm in 5th gear for the entire length of the M20. Beast was cruising well at a GPS speed of erm, something not at all legal. We arrived at the BP station in at Dover in need of Petrol 30mins before the leaving time, check in should be done by then, we were late but my angst was lifted when it was late.

The car did 240miles to this point on a sniff under 6gallons of fuel...That’s 40-41mpg. I got from Ledbury to Dover on less than 1 tank; I had about 1.25gallons left as we entered Dover. That’s some purely awesome economy from a race cam and twin carbs eh? I have the engine setup pretty good I think.

We actually used only 3 tanks of fuel getting from my house to the Ring!! My last minute jetting and ignition fiddling paid off big time. We used a range of fuel during the trip. Mainly Optimax and Millers Booster, Total Super, BP Ultimate and ARAL 100 octane + booster at the Ring. I wasn't too keen in hindsight on the ARAL and thought my car runs better on Optimax and Booster. All my Ring laps where on ARAL100.

We got off Ferry in Bologne and headed on our way to Maastricht area. All was good for about 50miles, then the rain started, mild at first which was ok - then monsoon!!!

By the time we hit Belgium the rain roads where like rivers, "we need a keel, sail and an anchor" I said, the wipers were useless and windscreen steamed up. Regular high speed aquaplanes and at some points as there was a good 1cm of water over the road.

I could see only 10metres ahead for maybe 60kms or more. I was forced to slow to about 60-70mph during these periods and back up to 80-90mph when there was less water on the road. James commented a few times that he couldn't see anything at all and he gave up trying to see and just started to pray maybe?. I just mumbled a bit with swore at the conditions, actually I couldn't see anything either, basically driving completely blind in the pitch dark, we drove scalexetric style for a while, dots under the car . It was useless slowing down much as it would taken a week to get there. I just kept my foot in and left the rest to the luck of the day …Water was an 1/2inch deep in the floor pans at one point but the top half was dry from my inspired last minute waterproofing! Glad in this weather we didn't have Lucas electrics, the spray of water behind the car was very impressive!

After a while we stopped for Optimax fill up in the middle of Belgium and refreshments and headed on, weather was wet, wet, wet and we kept on meeting these torrential storms. I had to stop to regain my composure about 20miles from our F1 Hotel as it was 3am and my mind was bent.

Arrived and Hotel checked in and I got maybe 4hrs sleep. Roger arrived to act as escort on the B258 to the Ring. We left no breakfast or coffee and stopped and pickup supplies at a German supermarket, which I must add are horrible and useless. Unless you like cheap meat, rotten fruit and highly limited produce.

We safely arrived at the Ring and setup camp. We watched some old-timer racing on the Friday night, which was ok and nice to see the old cars on the Nordschlieffe , but I'd rather be on the track myself, I find watching quite boring and frustrating!

Slept ok woke up feeling a bit stale on the Saturday morning, the Dutch guys cooked a good breakfast and had coffee so my mood improved a bit.

All the guys wanted to watch racing on the new track for all of Saturday, but that sounded really boring to me - I wanted to drive the Ring. So I went off on my own and embarked on a day long session of Ring driving.

I made some new friends in the shape of people who liked my car or who had been following me, overtaken by me or complemented me on my gall in bring a highly tuned 40 year old car from UK on its own 4 wheels and ragging it senseless on the Nordschlieffe! Never a dull moment when you own a car like mine, I was chatting all day!

I did 8laps on the Saturday, 1 at time. All dry which was a good call, as Sunday was horrible! I was very pleased to get these in and had a great time. My first lap was driven quickly in the slower corners and I backed down slightly in the fast ones and kept the speeds down slightly on the run to Schwedenkrautz and down the Forschure as I found on later laps I could pull 123-125mph to Aremberg and 118mph to the left before Adenau Forst, the car didn't bottom out to this was flat in later laps. Always feel a bit out at sea for a lap or two and concentrate mainly on a clean and flowing lines than driving on the very limit.

I increased the speed on the 2nd and 3rd laps and after that I was giving the car full power and commitment as the car felt good. I didn’t time my laps but they would have been quite fast I think…I took the corners after and Flugplatz flat out at 100mph on my later laps and I was pulling 6250rpm in 5th on the downhill shoot to Schwedenkrautz which is 125mph. I must say the car handles superbly it was a pleasure, stable and loads of grip with a lovely balance on the new tyres 80% of the understeer is gone and the drifts nice and balanced…. Long tight corners like Aremberg, Kallenhard were a pleasure to drive with a late turn in, full power on and a late apex kiss using all the road on the exits. The car just goes round corners, it doesn’t fidget or move about you get on the gas early and hold it down, NO oversteer bar at Adenau forst chicane and exit of Weirsefen! It works well in bumps etc. It is too low with a passenger as it grinds the exhaust a lot, but is ok on my own.

There was an American service man there in a Corvette ZO6 who tried to hold onto me through the Hatzenbach down to Bergwerk but didn’t seem to like cornering as quick as me. His son enjoyed the show! I indicated for him to pass on the straights but he wouldn't. It was during this lap I was chasing one of the Arbath race cars I saw in the race on Friday night. I was holdng onto him from the first corner to Weirsefen and gaining on him in the sections where there were corners with no straights. His driving was getting more erratic the closer I came to him and he finally spun it at Weirsefen and made contact with the bank! Opps. I didn't see him again. The Z06 driver just missed him as he fishtailed back on track. Not my intention I was just having fun!

I chatted to Terry in the Z06 for about an hour in the parking place and watched some action with him and his son and headed off for more laps after this.

I had no moments or near misses etc I never take myself to the limit on the Ring. I don’t need to push myself to be fast! I don’t find watching my mirrors for faster cars takes any of my concentration away and being overtaken by fast cars never bothers me as I always see them early. Plus in the corners I always seem to be as fast as just about anything.

We had a good few drinks and ate well on the Saturday night, I got a great nights sleep with my ear plugs in.

James and I left the others at about 10am on the Sunday and headed off to get in some laps with Rob in his TR7V8. I needed a quick food hit and got some breakfast from the cafe at the track. If was VERY cold, foggy and damp in the forest camping but the track was bone dry, empty and these were great fun laps, even if I was half asleep!

Rob is a great driver and led the first lap, obviously his V8 is faster than my car on the straights so he kindly backed off and in the corners we had some good fun, he was going well. I had no problems keeping up bar the straights. Was fun watching the big car handling well and him over steering out of Stielstecke Curve.

My brake pads were not really great and needed to be harder for maximum attack! Rob indicated we should do another lap immediately so we didn’t take a break and headed back out my first double header which I knew I would have brake issues!

Rob waited as I was held up at the ticket gate. I am not sure if he wanted me to lead or not, but I wanted to set the pace so I zoomed by. After the previous day my lines were coming together and I did a pretty fast lap with Rob following and I think it was easiler for him this way?. I could see him and his lady laughing at my rear wheel camber! He is no slouch behind the wheel and it was interesting to see the type of corners where the Spitfire was faster and lighter on its feet, ultimately faster in all corners maybe, but then Rob had not done many laps for a long time so I guess he was rusty! I lost my brakes at the very tight Weirsefen section and had no brakes at all at Briedschried! The car was full of the smell of burning brakes! Lucky the climb to Angstcurve is time for then to cool off and the rest of the lap they were fine.

We both hopped from our cars with very big grins on our faces! I think James enjoyed the laps too! I certainly did!.....

Then it started to rain a bit and didn't dry up till 3.30pm. Glad I got my laps in on Sauturday.

I did one wet lap following Rob but couldn’t hold him without risk of crashing my car so I backed off and enjoyed the scenery! The car is brilliant in the dry but the rear camber doesn’t work at all in the wet it would have been easy to crash the car in a straight line if you caught the camber wrong or a bump etc. Not fun! I had it sideways with only a slight application of the throttle in most corners till I called the fun off and took it safe!.

We hung around after Rob went home and the sky was sunny oneside and grey the other. The track was closed for a crash and still wet when it opened.

Lucky it dried up fully and took Roger for a quick one before having to head back to the campsite and pickup my stuff. This lap was quick, smooth and with the benefit of clean lines. We overtook lots of cars and didn’t have to worry to much about cars from behind. A Lotus Elise was 70metres behind me exiting Bergwerk at the bottom of the massive climb and even with Roger (80kilos) on board he only passed me at the very top after over 1km, so maybe without a passenger my car would be as fast as an Elise? This is a steep hill without a passenger I was able to pull nearly 100mph up it if I used 7250 in 3rd before hitting 4th.

Then it was time to go! We had an uneventful drive to Bologne bar one session of Belgian manic rain! The car feels like it would run forever at 95mph in 5th gear! The ferry was nearly 2hrs late. I didn’t get home till 6am after leaving the Ring at 5pm! I was wacked!.

We then got "pulled" in the Ferry Port for driving too fast or something, basically some jumped up dickhead policemen needed to stretch his puny ego and tell me I was a show off etc, he was just pissed off cause my car was nicer than his eh, or he hadn’t been laid this week?!…We weren’t even driving fast just my car is noisey and I opened it up at about 10mph. He was a real example of how not to endear the public to "our" police force. Some looser who finally got some authority.

He asked me what I was thinking and someother tarade of crap that applies not to sportcar drivers but muppets. I replied it’s was 2am I had been driving all day the ferry is late I have just been asleep, I have not the brainpower to be thinking anything bar about getting a coffee and getting home.

He starts the court summons shite, why do they do that- is it policy to bullshit you?! I just had to apologise and bite my lip while he wasted 5mins of my time checking all my details…He said "take a seat"- pointing at my car…Get lost - I stood up and rolled a smoke and started walking about and sorting my stuff in the boot, I don’t give a toss for your commands, don’t tell me what to do you jockstrap!
I could really get myself in trouble in these situations.
Had he given me the points, court bullshit any more than once I would have asked for his evidence that he will present to the court, he had none and he was alone, so he was just barking up the wrong tree trying to intimidate me . I made sure when he taking to me I just just looked him up and down constantly, with a VERY un-interested vacant look, the kind of **** you look, your bullshit is just heading over my head, don’t bother.

He handed me my passport and said off you go…"Don’t speed" …Yer right!!! Some people have minds of their own mate.

A great welcome back to the UK!

We had no issues with the car, I need not have taken any tools or spare anything! It handled Ring really nicely and as a package it works very well! There are some changes to be made over the winter, namely small things and a camshaft change and shorter diff.

I am sure there is more to say, but I am still knackered! Hopefully some more pics will appear soon!

String of images after the rain. The Golf was quicker than me under braking as I was leaving a safety margin.

I made bit of ground on him between the previous photo and this one, in the transitions between corners, you can see his missies laughing in the next photo! I was flying in the 2nd and 3rd corners of Haztenbach and had all 4 wheels sliding and my car is VERY agile compared to the Golf! The 2nd corner in Hatzenbach is wicked in the Spitfire! Ride a wave of grip!

I let him by here as holding up folks isn't nice and pisses me off too.

Exiting Hatzenbach section the Golf is local has R-tyres + more poke than me + H&R Ring pack fitted! I just let him by, he was going well.

Smutty bum!
Car looks a like it drives in the corners, very easy work!

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