Prestwold Hall - 2 May 2003
Posted 03 May 2003 - 04:31 PM
Three VX220s attended the very wet day hosted by Bookatrack. They were myself, Mani and Richard. Mani was brave enough to allow his brother to drive as well! Other cars included the track day regulars such as Mk I and Mk II Elises, an Imprezza, a Caterham with no weather gear, a Ferrari Mondial, two Boxsters, two BMW M5s and a brace of Exiges. Instruction was provided to those that wanted it by Lotus Elise racer, Simon Scuffham.
Although the circuit is very smooth and free from debris, the approach road was terrible. Filled with potholes and gravel everywhere. Those that had tiptoed their way in were greeted with a clear, largely gravel free paddock and the friendly Bookatrack team. Although Bookatrack sell the venue with 30 places, only 17 turned up - presumably due to the weather. Therefore, Bookatrack ran the event as an open pit lane.
First up was the noise test. Prestwold is very strict on noise and has a 98 dB static limit and 87.5 dB drive-by limit. Each car was noise tested before being allowed out on track and Mani's with the Vauxhall sports exhaust was only just inside the limit. The Bookatrack team also monitored cars throughout the day to ensure the drive-by limit wasn't exceeded.
Since this is a new venue for track dayers, everybody went out for the sighting laps. This were led by Scuffham, showing that a Jeep can be rapid around a circuit in the wet! The circuit runs in a clockwise direction and following the main straight leads into a sweeping right hander. I was initially taking this in third, but tuition with Scuffham showed that, even in the wet, this was a fourth gear corner. Then up the hill to Elephant, which is a third gear right hander with a very late apex and difficult to master. Then continue up the hill round the sweeping left hander and onto the hangar straight. The right hander at the end of the straight is a quick corner, again in fourth, but a little unnerving as a mistake could see you in the trees. Then it's hard on the brakes for the tight right hander, before dropping into third for the complex. This is difficult to master as you have to go very deep on the entrance to avoid scrubbing speed on the second and third turns. The exit from the complex is a fantastic sweeping right hander where the power can be fed in for a launch down the main straight.
The morning was very wet with standing water over large areas of the track, particularly on the entrance to the complex. I have to say that the VX behaved impeccably, feeling very well balanced and planted. When grip was limited, the car tended to understeer, although oversteer could be provoked by prodding the throttle. As the track dried after lunch it got faster. The highlight for me was my last run of the day, where it was raining at the top end of the circuit and dry at the bottom.
As always with Bookatrack events, the day was very well co-ordinated and safe. The usual rules of overtaking on the straights and by consent only worked well and everybody behaved well.
Pictures are available here
Posted 04 May 2003 - 06:11 AM
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