After months of hard work in the garage this past sunday saw Ross’ rebuilt 206 turn a wheel in anger for the first time since last season in a test day at the Pembrey circuit in Wales.
Welcome to Wales
Although not 100% finished the car was close enough to test, with the remaining smaller jobs like demisters and finishing up the paintwork to be done afterwards. Having never been to Pembrey before we were pleasantly surprised when we arrived mid-morning. The usual bizarre mix of cars being present at a pre-season test day included a couple of open top ADR cars, a Ginetta G40 making preparations for the upcoming Dutch supercar challenge, two rallycross cars (complete with wonderful squealing diffs that these 4wd cars run) as well as a super Touring era Ford Mondeo Touring car and a few other tin tops.
That’s a pretty confused paintjob!
First job of the day was to complete a couple gentle laps to bed the new pads in before returning to the pits to allow them to cool, followed by another harder few laps and another cooling period. With that done and everything seeming to be functioning correctly after the rebuild Ross went out again before the lunch break to do another 5 or 6 laps to see what the car felt like.
Above – How pretty is our gearbox tunnel?!? Below – Ross entering the final corner
Two main problems became evident pretty quickly with a major lack of traction at low speed and a very nervous rear end through the higher speed corners….giving Ross a somewhat nervous rear end himself! It seems we’d also picked up a left rear puncture coming in from the last run which unfortunately meant finishing the day on uneven tyres but not to worry! The rear ride height and damping were changed over lunch (and if you visit Pembrey the lunchtime Pasta is also highly recommended!) before we went out again. The changes certainly had the desired effect with much better traction out of the slower corners but the the car was still very nervous at high speed. Ross probably not helping matters much with a 3rd gear rallycross moment across the kerbs / astroturf / and finally the bumpy grass before regaining the track. One trip to the pits later and Brian had chance to use his broom to good comedy effect sweeping grass and mud from the front splitter and air intakes. Fortunately the fairly sturdy splitter seemed to have survived intact and with everything else well a few more laps were run just to check everything was okay.
Lets off road!
With that job done and the rain just about holding off it was back to the pits for a front damper and rear wing adjustment before another run. It was clear pretty instantly that the car was now much better, a lot more stable at higher speed with the laptimes also improving. Despite being very overgeared for this circuit and not going full bananas at the big stop for the hairpin we were down into the late 1:03’s. The Racelogic predictive laptimer proving to be an excellent addition with Ross able to get constant feedback on laptimes throughout each lap, which we can assure you is highly addictive, almost like having someone else in the car spurring you on to go ‘faster faster faster!’ So much so in fact that Ross decided with the car working well it was probably time to call it a day before he did something silly!
It’s good! Also, the inside of that door needs painting…
All in all a good day then, the only real problem with the car being a bit of a fluffy miss during fast left handers which we believe is down to fuel pressure so that’s something to sort out before Brands as it’s costing a fair chunk of time. We’ve also got to spanner check the car, put the new windscreen in, pop it on the scales and do the paintwork…….to the garage then!
See you at Brands!