Hethel instruction day - Report

Well, the Exiges certainly made their mark! It was nice to see what our extra money gives us on the track over an Elise.Needless to say, unless the workshop is very well sound proofed, there didn’t appear to be much sound checking going on during scruitneering. Although I suspect the engineers can tell if an engine is going to fail and test it if required.For those that don’t know the Hethel circuit, it is basically two reasonable sized straights, connected with a funny shaped hairpin at one end and a series of differing speed esses at the other. The esses complex is in front of the clubhouse and you can see the back of the circuit from there too. As a test circuit I can see it is very effective but there’s not too much run-off if you make a mistake. To keep the speeds down, there is a chicane just before the fastest (“Windsock”) bend and another at the end of the long straight just before the hairpin. Apparently Alistair McQueen has taken the latter at 103mph in a 340R, I reckoned 80mph was f.quick!The weather was changeable. Everybody had a dry first session but then it rained, although it pretty much dried out as the day continued. Ideal for learning really, as we got all conditions.As for the driving, I think I took the prize for the biggest balls, by not braking for the first chicane but Maverick certainly had it working hard through the complex. I think I may have had the only spins of the day (twice in the wet at the circle hairpin) and the only other problem I am aware of was my oil cap. The flashy black metal Exige oil cap is definitely NOT recommended for trackdays, it worked it’s way loose twice and eventually disappeared in a puff of (oil on the exhaust) smoke. Thankfully I was at the Lotus factory so finding a (standard plastic yellow) replacement wasn’t a problem. Although I think it’s going to take a little longer to get the oil out of the engine bay!The instructors were good. The day was run by Tony Parramint (of 1-2-1 instruction fame) and some of the big Lotus names were there. David Minter, Alistair McQueen and Shaun Taylor shared the prize for being voted the best instructor. Their prize (wine) was given to Debs Marsh (Lotus Life lady), who’s last day it was. Amazingly, Mr McQueen has his final appeal against redundancy on Monday. It does seem amazing that somebody of his experience (30 years, man and boy) can be let go.Best turned out car of the day goes to Maverick, who’s Laser blue car even had pristine tyres…for a while. Nick’s car gets the prize for the hardest worked car, as Steph drove it in another of the sessions, so it did 4 flat-out hours and had a lots of oil around the exhaust to show for it!The the biggest effort award has to go Mr Niven for coming from Dundee…via Brands Hatch!!! Although I think the NHS should have paid for his trailer, as it certainly would have saved his hearing from the noise of the ULR box on the motorway!It was my first time with the Exige on the track and I am quite gob-smacked, it is nothing short of incredible! If you had ever told me a road legal/(nearly)practical car could do that I wouldn’t have believed you. I also wouldn�t have believe how stiff you feel the following day! [Opening myself for a few puns there!]Anybody interested in doing it again next year? [Although I suggest we just decide on an April date in December and if it’s not full and paid up by Feb cancel it, rather than wait until the week before!]Ian [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/smile.gif[/image]

Brilliant report, Ian [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/grin.gif[/image]Sounds like you all had a really good day.No doubt Maverick will tell us all about on Tuesday evening, over a beer at the Haywain [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/grin.gif[/image]You are absolutely right about the Exige - until you take it on track (well, a dry one anyway!), you cannot imagine how fantastic they are. To prove that I put my money where my mouth is, I’m booked on 3 trackdays in May - Cadwell, Rockingham & Oulton. [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/grin.gif[/image]There - a serious post for a change! [image]http://www.exiges.com/ubb/NonCGI/images/icons/shocked.gif[/image]