We went to Thruxton today for a Track Osession track day. I had not been to Thruxton before. It was a track that was not too far from Essex and was on our list to do. When I had mentioned to a few people that we were going to Thruxton everyone had said that it was a fast track with very few braking points. Every sign at Thruxton had the tag line, "The fastest circuit in the uk" at the bottom including the sign for the gents toilets.
When we arrived we parked up and realised that the garages were extremely small and just about big enough for a Clio. @LiamP
had warned me that they were small when I had offered to share the garage with @Big Ben
. After unpacking the car another Clio owner came over and had a chat. He said that he had a Clio that had had raced in a championship which was as close ot a cup racer as he could get it. It was a nice looking car. He then said that he was looking for some comparable cars to follow or race on track and said that he would follow me. I told him that it might not be a good idea as I was not particularly fast. He then told me that it was really easy to just go flat through the back section without breaking. When I saw this chap on track he was not braking and was passing most cars very easily.
We did the sighting laps and I kept thinking in my head, "This track will kill me."
did the first session and I went round as a passenger. His first session was a session of acceleration and braking but set himself a time of 1m 43s to improve on. I did my first session going a lot slower breaking awkwardly and lifting off the throttle a lot. My first session resulted in a time of 1m 50s.
After the second session the car developed a whining noise. It sounded like it could cause a problem but was not exaggerated by either acceleration or braking. Bizarrely after a few more sessions it disappeared. I have no idea what the noise was but I am hoping it does not come back.
As the morning went on we both got more experience on the track and the track times improved, but only because both of us were attempting to carry more speed through the back section of the track where braking was optional.
There were five Clios there today. a Clio 182, and four 197s/200s including the battered Track Obsession hire car. One the Clios lasted one session and was then trailered away. The guy in the garage next to us had a GR Yaris. He enjoyed going around the track as his own pace and moving out of the way of faster cars. He told me that he was okay with left hand turns as he could lean on the drivers door but right hand turns were difficult as he just slid out of the seat! Anyway, kudos to him for going to a track day to go at the pace he wanted to.
Thruxton is another circuit that is full of many right hand turns. This was the first time since October 2022 that we had done a track day with the original Cup engine and gearbox with the Gripper. The Gripper performed well but the MRF tyres took a beating. The the front passenger tyre was looking well worn at lunchtime so we swapped over the front passenger side with the front drivers side. This is what they looked like at lunchtime.
The afternoon gave us more time to finesse the skill of not breaking. @EthanMenace
had a tuition session which resulted in his best laps of the day. I still find it mental that the Clio was going about 110mph round some of the sweeping corners.
Sadly my driving did not improve at the same rate as Ethan's. He told me that when he was a passenger with me today it was a few of the most uncomfortable passenger laps he had ever had as I was on and off of the throttle round the sweeping corners making the car unsettled. @EthanMenace
best lap today was a 1m 34s and mine was a 1m 43s.
I am not sure if I like the circuit at Thruxton or not. By the end of the day I was certainly doing "better" laps as a result of trying to be smoother and braking less to carry speed, but I think that I missed more twisty sections that you find on other tracks.
The car end up being splattered by insects. Helpfully some of them left yellow splatters to match some of the yellow bits on the car.
It was another good track day. There were very few red flags and the driving etiquette and standard was all pretty good. There was only a quick shower of rain at lunchtime which did not affect the track.
The shakedown with the engine and gearbox transplant was a success