I went down to Llandow circuit in South Wales on Saturday to see what the Panda was like on track.
No sooner had I parked up than a guy came over for a chat – Anthony. He too had a 100HP but was passenger in a RenaultSport Megane for the day.
Then I got talking to the guys next to me in the paddock with a RenaultSport Clio and the passenger there, Rob, also had a 100HP! I took him out for a few laps in mine and think it would be good to get all three out on track together some time . Maybe a few more too. Perhaps I’ll organise something through the 100HP Facebook group.
When competing, the trick will be to carry as much speed as possible through the corners as there’s not much in the way of acceleration. The fast back end of the circuit was fine and the car was nice and stable through the fast corners and through the little kink at the end of the straight, but I don’t think I really mastered the tight wiggly complex by the control tower. I feel I should have been going much faster and raising a rear wheel but don’t think that happened, just lots of tyre squealing. It was fun though and the small OMP steering wheel allowed me to do the whole complex without repositioning my hands on the wheel, which was very reassuring.
I changed the wheels for the day and put on the Toyo Proxes R888Rs. These are very sticky and I liked them a lot. I ran them at 20psi (cold) but am not quite sure of the optimum pressure.
They are not uni-directional but have an outside and an inside which means that their tread pattern is ‘backwards’ on one side. Seems odd to me but I noticed another car there with the same set up and it’s right apparently.
On the subject of tyres the guy next to me in the Clio was very disappointed in his tyres which broke up after just one session. Perhaps as a result of not getting them up to temperature before really trying or too much curbing? Anyway he had to abandon his day.
The only problem I had was brake fade. I’ve got EBC Red Stuff pads fitted and they are clearly not suitable for track days. I have Yellow Stuff in the GT86 and these are much better when they get hot. However, I’ll probably leave the red pads in as they won’t get hot in a short sprint or hillclimb and they are fine for the road.
Yesterday I heard that my reserve place at next Saturday’s Bristol Motor Club and HSA Championship Sprint at Llandow is confirmed as someone has had to drop out. So last Saturday’s track day sets me up nicely for my first competition in the Panda. The HSA class record is 90.02 set in a Suzuki Swift so that’s what I’ll be aiming for.
It’s a two and a half hour motorway journey from Kinver to Llandow and the Ragazzon exhaust really does drone but it certainly wasn’t uncomfortable and I can see myself taking this little car far and wide without a trailer. It’s all Good!
Here are some random paddock shots from the day…