Nürburgring (12 July 2003)
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|Christer and Matthias were driving in the "Preis der Schlossstadt
Brühl", part of the
Haugg Cup series. Christer was driving a E30 BMW; Matthias was in
a Ford Escort RS. As the weather promised to be fine I took my camera
along to take some pictures of the event.
Like many good plans, this one didn't survive long beyond the planning stage. Near Cologne I got stuck in a traffic jam. A real German traffic jam. The kind where you spend more time at a complete standstill than crawling along. The long kind. The virtually endless kind. The kind of traffic jam that delays you by one hour and nearly 45 minutes. Fortunately both Matthias and Christer drove the second stint in their respective cars, or I would have missed them altogether.
The participants drove a wide variety of cars: I saw Golfs Mk.1 and Mk.2 (like our C-Car), Honda S2000, E30 BMW, Renault Megane, and of course a variety of Porsches.
The complete set of pictures can be found here.
After the CHC had ended I made my way to Ring Racing to swap the SquealMobile for the C-Car. Waving to Meino and Uwe took little time; getting the harness to fit took a little longer. The trusty Golf started at the first twist of the key, rumbling impressively thanks to the semi-stripped interior and the racy exhaust. Ed had noted a low brake pedal after his loast outing in the C-Car, and he hadn't been kidding. I almost turned back before turning onto the B-258, but decided that as the brakes felt a bit like the ones in Job's car, it was probably normal. As it turned out later, it wasn't: the front pads were nearly completely gone...
At the track the opening had been postponed by 45 minutes, giving me the chance to hang around in the shade, watching some people perform interesting maneuvers in the parking lot and chat briefly with Johan. His M3is stripped more than the C-Car by now ;-)
Finally it was time to go out for my first ever lap in the C-Car. Unfortunately Sir B. and Christer were absent, which meant that no-one could follow me with their emergency indicators on to warn fast traffic.
My first assessment of the brakes was that they are worthless. They don't provide much feedback, the rears lockup long before the fronts, and the pedal goes about all the way to the floor. The first 5cm of pedal throw results in nothing much in the retardation department and a sickening feeling that somebody nicked the brakes while Ring Racing wasn't looking. "Stopping power" is an overstatement. Even my SquealMobile brakes harder, despite weighing in at 1220 kg empty (which it usually isn't). Luckily this isn't the normal state of affairs: I'm looking forward to giving it another go with some decent brake pads.
The driver's seat is total pants. There's a very sharp rail or something running along the edge of the seat which tries to break my left ribs whenever I start a right turn. The cover of the hole where the left shoulder harness strap goes through keeps falling out.
In stark contrast to the brakes, the steering position is good. The Momo steering wheel is small and is comfortable to use. It might be a bit slippery without gloves though. Turn-in is very nice and crisp. There's little body roll and more grip than I cared to explore during my 5 laps (well, mostly :-) ). When braking hard, the rear end is all over the place. By now a roll cage has been fitted, improving the balance and keeping the back a little bit better planted under braking, apparantly.
The throttle response is very good. It's great to drive a car with a light flywheel and a minimum of electronics to govern the engine :) It's very easy to downshift with double-clutching as long as you're not braking at the same time: the brake pedal and accelerator are too far apart in the horizontal plane.
All in all I had 5 laps of good fun. The C-Car is almost as entertaining as the SquealMobile. "Almost" because the brakes suck; otherwise the C-Car would have beaten the SquealMobile in the fun department. Again: I look forward to trying the new brake pads.
Just to have some kind of reference I timed one lap. There wasn't too
much traffic. BTG was about 10.00, which is comparable to the
SquealMobile. I do feel that the CC will be significantly quicker once
I get used to it :)