Bedford III – did it all help?

Watching this three years later still brings back very clear memories!

With brakes, tyres and setup improved, it was time to go back to the benchmark circuit. We all know that another track day means another new driver, and this time it was future brother-in-law Calum who got a chance to catch the track day bug – an early conversion at the grand old age of 18!

The video really does take me straight back to how the car felt that day. This was the first time it started to feel like it might be making sense on a circuit. My notes from the time:

‘The car felt superb. I was extremely impressed with the NS-2Rs, there is a huge amount of grip, much more than I was expecting – turns out they respond far better to a longer run on a “proper” circuit, as opposed to my brief tests at Curborough, and of course the surface is probably grippier at Bedford. Whatever the reason, it was mega, and I would recommend these tyres for anyone’s track car. I was glad I had the harder 180 treadwear compound, as some TT drivers using the softer type reported the fronts overheating a bit.. but then that’s a TT, might be fine on a properly balanced car wink. What can’t be denied is their durability – they’ve rubbered up nicely, but the tread has worn not a jot. Excellent.

‘I had three drivers [me, Emily and Calum] for the first time, and that was probably too much, she never had more than 15-20 minutes’ rest between sessions and I’d rather do longer runs with more breaks. We got a little over three hours out on track, 185 miles chalked up, and inter-family rivalries were continued as Emily beat the time my mum had set on her visit to Bedford!

‘As for the car, no complaints all day which is always nice. We just managed the day on a tank of fuel, having filled up 20 miles before arriving and crawling out on fumes, always nice to avoid paying Palmer’s prices or leaving the venue halfway through. Tyres as mentioned, no real wear at all, and the brakes felt good too – no fade at any point and the Redstuff front pads still aren’t quite done yet. Mintex 1144 in the rear seemed good and much more durable at the high temperatures seen on the rear axle.

‘I was suffering a bit of a loss of power due to heat soak (you can measure half a second lost down the first part of the back straight alone, despite a much faster exit from the hairpin) – I’ll need to rethink my intake design, I think I’ve got away with it up to now because of cooler ambient temperatures and longer breaks between sessions.

It all rings true today. If the car looks a little neater in the photos, that would be down to the cheapest modification yet – the removal of the one remaining foglight (450 grams out of the front end, thank you very much) and fitment of two cut-down Chinese takeaway lids, sprayed with a remarkably well-matched Audi Blau Perleffekt left over from my old A4!

Amazingly enough, the double-sided tape holding these in survived the track day. I count that as a win. Soon it would be time to see how the new tyres handled Blyton…