1st Lotus with Andy Walsh
If you haven't done a day like this then I thoroughly recommend it. This is my second time and although i learnt more first time round, its still a very enjoyable and speedy way to gain lots of confidence in your car and firmly set in stone in your mind what your car's limits are and how it behaves in typical limit driving situations.
The Duranail started the day very understeery. On the high speed turn no amount of aggressive turning could get the back to step out and even coming off the brakes after applying them harshly through the turn or trailbraking aggressively into the corner provoked little oversteer. Interesting to know that if it all went wrong in a corner with the car as it is I could pretty much mash the brake as hard as I dare and the thing would just stop ! Shame really, because I wanted the car to threaten a spin on turn in (at 80+ mph) and then get used to dealing with it.
Off to the concentric circles and exploring understeer, power-on oversteer and slip angles. I took the opportunity to give the car some more toe-out and also increase the rear pressures a little. The difference was quite noticeable and although the car would still push on, it would now also oversteer with a really generous throttle. Only problem was I found it very very difficult to hold the car in a slide for any length of time. No matter what I tried with the wheel or throttle it seemed virtually impossible. My guess is that the car is simply not neutral enough to be balanced in a slide because the understeery setup dictates that you have to provoke it so brutally in the first place.
The little course that Andrew lays out is fun. The trick is to stay off the power around the cones and be patient ! Not as easy as it sounds. The other trick is to trailbrake (preferably with the left foot) into some of the cones thereby getting the car into the bend easier. The Duranail seemed reluctant to do this and andy had a go and also confirmed that it felt more understeery than he'd want normally. Still, a few tips from Walshy and after 8 laps my time had improved by over 8 seconds..
The braking exercise was also good to do. I learnt to come off the brakes a fraction less when cadencing and also learnt that I don't actually apply quite enough pressure initially and am too sensitive to lock-up during this phase when it is least likely to occur. Also found out that with my left foot I braked in a shorter distance than with the right .... not sure if thats a good sign or a bad one !
Interesting couple of Westies in attendance.... one of which i got to have a quick drive of, a 190bhp Hayabusa car with sequential shift which felt very very light and pretty quick especially with tha mad busa delivery and piercing noise !