Testing at Castle Combe

Yesterday saw a rather early start (4.30am for myself) to get the car and everyone along to Castle Combe Circuit for a test day. The weather did not look to be the best on the journey and only deteriorating the further west we went, however after the 8.00am arrival at the circuit things started to brighten up a bit and by the time of our first session we did not need the wets. We were met at the circuit by a very exited Jon Watt and his father who had made the trip up the night before, shortly followed by our own test driver Rob Hedley, who, as always was enthusiastic by the prospect of driving around a loud grumbling V8 on track. After the introductions were made we had to get the car up to sound testing to make sure we were allowed on the track. This is always a bit scary when you have a 6.2 litre V8 engine and not a lot to quiet it down, but we came in at 107.8dB(A) at 3/4 throttle, a close call seeing as the days limit was 108dB(A), but totally fine to get the drivers signed on and ready for the day.
V8 Sitting in the paddock
V8 Sitting in the paddock
We decided to get Rob out in it first to report back on how the car felt after we had conducted some work on the car prior to the testing; After 4 laps he came back in for the driver change and reported that all was fine and it felt great. We took this opportunity for Rob to brief Jon on how the car drives etc. Jon took his advice, got strapped in and away he went. Unfortunately he only got a couple of laps before the first session was over, so in he came only for us to discover he had clipped the tyres through a chicane only very lightly. There was a huge black mark down the side of the car! So out came the T-Cut and everyone grabbed a cloth and got to work, after 5 mins the car looked as good as it did before and ready for the next session. At this point we were greeted with Geoff Steel who made the trip to come and see what the V8's were all about and to offer some advice from his many years of experience. After a couple of sessions the part worn front tyres started to show considerable wear and needed to be switched out for some fresh rubber. Upon our return Anna Walewska had also arrived to see what all the fuss was about after her visit to the workshop a few weeks ago. Rob took the car out to scrub the fresh rubber and then handed the car back over to Jon Watt for the rest of the session. Next session Jon did a solo run and started to get a bit more used to the car and was putting in some quicker laps.
Rob and Anna smiles all round
Rob and Anna smiles all round
As the day was getting along Anna couldn't let the boys have all the fun and wanted to have a drive, so off she went to sign on and get suited up. This is where her drive started to get interesting; the seat was set as far forward on the rails as possible and it was not on runners. This was just about fine for the two 6ft + drivers, however Anna comes in at 5'2" and couldn't get anywhere near the pedals or steering wheel! So off people went around the paddock to see if anyone had any spare padding, as we needed quite a lot in order to pack the seat out far enough for her to reach everything. Padding achieved from some very kind teams and off she went out for one of the last sessions of the day.
Anna waiting to go out letting some air through the car
Anna waiting to go, out letting some air through the car
All in all it was a fantastic and relaxed testing, the car performed flawlessly and everyone only had positive things to say. Details of when we are next out will be available soon and anyone interested in the V8's should get in touch to arrange to come along and have a go!