Works style rally car preperation for the clubman budget

Step 2- Using and Abusing

Well the building had finished and the time had come to get out and drive the finished article and see if those long evenings and weekends work had been worthwhile. Unfortunately the first two outings were to prove dissapointing, we had chosen to bring the car for a trackday at the local circuit, Mondello park, as we guessed it would be a stress free uncompeditive atmosphere, where we could learn how the car was to behave. The stressfree factor didn't last to long though, on the first day we got 4 laps in only for a flywheel sensor on the engine to give up and grind the car to a misfireing halt, without a spare sensor it was back on the trailor and homeward bound, reassuring ourselves that it's only teething trouble, bound to happen. 3 weeks later we arrived back again after everything was checked over with a fine tooth comb, there would be no faults to distract us this time! 3 laps in while pulling a supersonic gearchange from 3rd to 4th on the start finish straight a brand new gear linkage decided enough was enough and it wouldn't be treated like this, so without further adue it promptly snapped off the car and headed off into the scenery never to be seen again.  We managed to get back to the padock in 4th gear where we identified the problem and realised that again we didn't have this part in the spares. We breifly toyed with the idea of burning the car out there and then but in the end decided to stick it on the trailor and let it live to fight another day.

                After a few days in the garage nailing, glueing and welding everything that looked like it could fall off the car and cost us money to replace, we again headed out to get some milage on the car, but this time we decided on a change of venue. A local motorclub had bought a dissused quarry a few years ago and built a mixed surface track for the purpose of autocross racing in it and this was where the bm was to visit next. We arrived at the track and passed scrutiny and were informed that there were 5 class'es for cars, starting at class 1 for 1300cc engines up to class 5 for over 2050cc and 4 wheel drive specials. Cars from each class would be raced 3 at a time on the track at staggered start intervals. We would be sharing the track with a 400bhp metro 6r4 engined escort cosworth and a 280bhp fiberglass space framed Astra.         Shite, why didn't we build a 1600cc bmw . The clock ticked away and soon it was our turn to hit the track and we were extreemely relieved to see that the cars were started at big enough intervals that the car starting behind you should never catch you unless you have a problem.

            The day was absolutely fantastic, the track is brilliantly laid out with a mixture of tarmac, concrete and loose gravel keeping you working from start to finish, theres a multitude of wide hairpins,  jumps and even a few straights to get up to speed, heaven for a rear wheel drived car.
The car behaved faultlessly, it proved a lot of work to keep in a straight line with the rear always wanting to go sideways and not nessarily proving to be the fastest way around the track, but this was what we built it for, cheap rear wheel drive sideways fun and at the days end both of us had a grin a mile wide, we'd be back for plenty more of this.

                Below is an overhead view of the track built and maintained by Cavan motorclub in Cootehill Co.Cavan. What the over head pic doesn't show is the change in altitude as the track rises and falls and the change in surface's, so if you click on the little red arrows it will open a picture of that corner at ground level for a better look.


                  Over the last couple of months we managed to get in quite a few visits to this track and were starting to get to grips with the car, pushing a little harder each time as we became a little bit more familiar with the place, ah yes, there's nothing to this rear wheel drive stuff, lets push a little harder and see what this car can really do.
                                           Click on the link below for the next installment for details on how exactly we managed to barrel roll the car and why we had to go shopping for a new shell .