Shakedown at Silverstone International Circuit
It’s too early! Or so my brain keeps telling me…I’ve checked the clock, which confirms it is indeed too early @ 5:00am! However, I know at the other end of this ridiculous morning we will be driving the Zed again and that can only be a good thing! I am currently cursing Tuesday Steve as he decided Wednesday Steve would enjoy packing the car at 5am in the morning more…he was wrong but I dont think I will see him again now.
Car packed and we are following tail lights down the M1 to Silverstone.
Test days are always exciting but this one especially because of two major points:
- We are announcing a new sponsor, Debbie & Andrews and they have given us plenty of food to feed the whole pit lane.
- We have a new Quaife gearbox and the car now sounds like a rattly old rally car!
Embarrisingly, the whole team are there before me waiting outside the pit garage in the new wing. I quickly say hello and dissapear to sign on whilst trying to avoid actually doing any real work. Rosie, Vanessa, various people called Mark, Other Steve, Alan and Simon are all busy setting the garage up, unloading the car and warming various parts up.
The spaceship airlock siren sounds, which in this case means that it’s track time!!
The car feels utterly horrible. The suspension isn’t right, the diff feels like it’s a lemon, the tyres have no grip, the rev limit is at 4k rpm – oh and the brakes are new so they don’t work either. This would all be fine if I had a track to myself but I’m surrounded by Radicals and other exotica. I try cleaning the tyres up a bit and bedding the brakes in but I’m not used to cleaning slicks up and it takes a little longer than I hoped. The ABS is also not working but no bother, the weather is ok.
THE CAR IS ALIVE!!! So much front end bite, the grip is phenomenal, I feel like I can get the diff working now and im concentrating on trying not to over rotate the car through the longer corners. The gearbox is epic, the noise and the speed of the shift is intoxicating. We didn’t have enough inputs left on the ECU to setup flat shift but we do have a spare now so hoping to get that in for Oulton Park.
Lunch is served, the team have been busy cooking about 180 sausages and have told the entire pitlane to come and help themselves. Everyone seems pleased with their lunch and some of the guys have even told their friends on route to the Silverstone cafe to come back. I managed to eat a single sausage batch and in the space of 1 hour we are left with 3 sausages left – crazy!
Right – back to the session!
I post a couple of 1:20s – come into the pits feeling like there is more time in the car and myself. Mark is talking about various things and asks the team to add a couple of clicks onto the slow speed rebound on the rear. The next 6 laps from me looked like:
Marks quickest of the day was a 1:16.2 whilst mine was a 1:16.3. We are both trying to work out where there is more time, Mark has a quicker top speed by some 5 and 10mph at two seperate points of the circuit, which suggests that there is time for both him and me to find! (More data analysis coming!)
Epic day with friends and family, really enjoyed the car today, the gearbox is just hilarious, flat shift coming and even potentially air shift paddles as well! The end of the day is always weird as you’re full of adrenaline and then the spaceship airlock door noise happens and there is almost silence…
Until next time (which is Saturday the 13th August!) – wish us luck in the race!
Thanks to Abbey Motorsport for the continued support
Big thanks to Debbie & Andrew’s for coming on board and helping a small team out with ideas bigger than their wellies.