Monday 30 January 2017

Academy Car - Wet (Track Day) Weekender

Continuing on with my Academy preparation, my race clothing has arrived, but, I'm waiting for my new crash helmet to be painted - which will be ready be ready in time for the first event...  The car still has to pass it's IVA, and once passed it'll be time to prepare the car for racing, with roll cage padding, sealing the boot, fuel sample filter fitting and so on...

Having 'all the gear' and gagging to get out again - I booked up a full weekend of track day action... Firstly attending Rockingham on 28th Jan, afterwards heading up to Donington, camping out, and attending the track day there the day after (29th Jan).

Rockingham International Sportscar Circuit - 28th Jan 2017
Rockingham circuit has a number of different configurations, and the one used for the day was the International Sportscar layout... The day was extremely wet in the morning, and anyone that's been around Rockingham in the wet will know it's slippery as a newt with any moisture on the tarmac.

There was more rain forecast for the mid/late afternoon, but it kinda held off... So the circuit dried out somewhat... The quick banked first corner and first hairpin were still extremely slippery, and also the final chicane was greasy too, but the majority of the circuit had a half decent dry line...

Here are a couple of laps of on-board action:-

I finished up at Rockingham around 4pm, and with an hour or so of packing up, it was then time to head up to Donington Park... Having invested in a VW Campervan for the long track-day and race weekends, Charlotte and I 'camped out' in the paddock for the night - which worked extremely well indeed...

Donington Park National Circuit - 29th Jan 2017
Seeing as we stayed at the paddock overnight, we didn't need to get up at 5am to drive up to Donington Park which was a refreshing change!  However, it was VERY COLD overnight, so cold that there was ice everywhere...   We went for a 'healthy' 'paddock breakfast' and coffee to warm up at the cafe, and then it was onto the briefing - where we were advised that the start would be delayed by an hour due to the ice...  Then around 9:30... The fog came in, so eventually the day kicked off around 10:30 / 11am, but it was very wet...

The grip is somewhat 'limited' in an Academy car in the ice / wet as it is with any car I guess!?  This was about as quick as I could get it to go given the grip / conditions...  Looking back at the video, I can see there's definitely still some time to be had:-

I'm really happy with the progress I've made over the weekend, and also that I got to experience the wildly varying conditions too!

'unfortunately' it's my 40th! gulp! birthday this coming Thursday, and unless I get a 'surprise' track day for my birthday :-) this will have been be the last outing in the car before it gets collected to go to Caterham South for it's IVA prep and IVA - fingers crossed!

Monday 16 January 2017

The R500 is For Sale! - Blog Post 200

At the time of ordering the Academy Car, I was unsure what to do with the R500; with only two options really - keep it, or sell it...  I didn't want to jump the gun by selling the R500 before I at least tried out the Academy Car, but now I have, I've made the decision to use my 200th blog post to announce a very sad time (for me)... The time has come for the greatest R500 Duratec (if not the best Caterham Seven around), to go to a new home.

I've blogged in detail about the full build journey, and all the upgrades too, so on this 'For Sale' post I've decided to bullet everything down with links for info, pics etc from section (where possible).

First, a couple of pictures to 'whet the appetite':-
The time has come - my Caterham R500 Duratec is for sale :-(
The time has come - my Caterham R500 Duratec is for sale :-(
Drivers side view of my beloved Caterham R500 Duratec
Drivers side view of my beloved Caterham R500 Duratec
So onto the car's spec:-
I have to admit I did get a serious case of carbonitis - here's all of the included carbon goodies:-
There are a lot of spares that I've picked up along the way too... Here's the list:-
  • Full Weather Gear including doors, wipers (and motor) hood sticks and additional carbon vinyl boot cover
  • Set of 13 inch 8 spoke wheels and tyres on ZZR's (ZZR's have 1-2 track days left)
  • Soft Bits for Sevens Light Weight Tonneau
  • Painted Scuttle (without wiper and heater holes - was going to be for heater removal blog post)
  • Raceco Silencer and Cat Bypass Pipe
  • Polished Catalytic Converter with guard
  • Standard Bilstein (wide-track) Shocks
  • Original Aluminium Bonnet
  • Original Interior Panels and carpet(s)
  • Original 'donor' parts for bespoke carbon parts - pedal box cover, 12v fuse cover, knee trim panels and petrol pipe cover.
The 'known' issue with the car:-
  • Gearbox leak - this has been completely fixed by way of a new gearbox tail fitted by Caterham at the factory by Mick Atree, back in September 2016.
What's the condition?
  • For anyone that hasn't followed this blog - I've discovered I have some sort of cleanliness OCD (joke! kinda!) so the car is absolutely MINT.  Naturally I'm happy if anyone wants to come and inspect the car prior to making an offer.
How much did it all cost:-
  • Looking over all the paperwork, it appears I've spent well in excess of an eye watering £60,000 on the car and all the upgrades!   Which means you have the opportunity to effectively get a 'bargain' by making me an offer on the car....
How much is it going to sell for? - offers in excess of £45,000...
  • Well this is an interesting one... I've decided to leave the car 'up for auction' until the end of March 2017.  I am welcoming offers over a minimum of £45,000 with the highest offer between now and the end of March securing the car, with all spares etc - I will not split the sale into car only.  If the offer is good enough not to refuse, I may let it go early to the winning 'bidder'...
  • I will want to create a final 'hand over' blog post, with a picture of the both of us handing over the keys, so I would like this to be part of the sales agreement.
  • To make an offer on the car, please use the contact form on the top right of the blog - this will reach me directly, and I will confirm receipt of your offer within 24 hours.  Please leave your mobile number and email address (check both are correct) when using the contact form.
My beautiful R500 could soon be yours....
My beautiful R500 could soon be yours....
I will be genuinely gutted seeing someone else drive off with my cherished pride and joy, but realistically, I'm not going to use it this year (or maybe even for the next couple of years), so on the flip side - I'll take great pleasure in seeing it go to a good home.

Saturday 14 January 2017

Academy Car - Shakedown - Bedford SEN Circuit

So it actually happened today... My first run out in the Academy Car at Bedford SEN circuit.

I'd been concerned going from the R500 to the Academy Car that I may not enjoy it as much, but I think I had even more fun in the Academy Car today - it was a total blast!

Here's three laps of onboard footage:-

A few hours on, and I'm still completely buzzing...  I don't know what made it so much fun, meeting up with some of this years Academy racers, great conditions, the close driving with other Academy cars, or just having to thrash the absolute life out of the car to get some pace... Probably a combination of the lot!

Having had SUCH a blast, my only problem now is the R500... Will I drive it on the roads?  Will I take it to track days?  Do I really need to own TWO Caterhams............?  I'll ponder on that, but the next track days are already booked in - Rockingham on the 28th and the day after, Donington...  I'm looking forward to them already!