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Aug 16

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Castle Combe General Track Day in Wiltshire, Friday August 12th

So Friday unusually I wasn’t up to much, but I knew there was a general track day at castle combe so I thought I’d pop down, see what’s there. It’s surprising what these days can bring up on occasion. Little did I know it was a race weekend for Lotus and Caterham 7’s. I was really surprised at how busy it was. They seemed to be putting alot of cars out at once on track which was slightly unusual.

Before I got to see all of these though there was a long period of silence…on the track. Having just arrived I wasn’t sure what was going on and then I saw the answer…

Peuget 206 crashed carBeing towed in on the back of a trailer was a Peugeot 206. It looked like it had been in quite a high speed crash; the damage was very reminiscent of a serious under steering accident or too much speed into a corner.

peugeot 206 crashThat aside, I think it was just a practice and setup day for the Lotus Caterhams since people were tinkering with bits and pieces all day in the paddock area. It was nice to be able to get up quite close and personal with the teams and see what was going on.

It was an atmosphere of small talk, pleasantries and people enjoying and sharing a passion for the cars in the pit area. There was no sense of competition or rivalry, people from all the teams were mingling with each other and mixing and sharing ideas and experiences.

Caterham Super 7lotus 7 sports carI got the impression alot of the people there were retired business owners or very high up in companies and this was just them indulging in their sport. On the flipside of that was alot of young people, some my age and lower out in the cars (I’m 20 by the way) (: These are the people that caught my eye since I highly suspect these kids are the young hopefuls and next generation of drivers to take to the countries race tracks.

The caterhams are a car that seems to harness and develop drivers, when they are out on track, you can judge very quickly the people just starting by those that have been doing it for a while. Because the car is a very simple light-weight FR arrangement and you can see what the drivers doing mistakes and inexperience show very easily and this is where things were interesting.

lotus track carLotus super 7It may have been a general track day or practice session but some of these drivers can’t resist a good race between each other. Quite often there were cars coming into quarry three-abreast or in a box of 4 or 5 people swapping positions. There was quite a few lockups and alot of slipstreaming and “who’s going to break first” on the straights. It made for some fascinating spectating and kept things interesting.

Caterham 7 track dayIn-between all the caterhams was a chance for some of the road cars to get out. Again there was a nice variation of cars. There was what appeared to be an original AC Cobra V8 which sounded brilliant, a little MGB GT sports car, an old Alfa 156 or 166, a tidy Vauxhall cavalier SRI and Something similar to a Radical or small motorbike engine track car. There was a couple of Radical SR3’s there,but none of them were out on track.

AC Cobra V8AC Shelby CobraThere was also an amazingly quick white MG midget. This looked like a kit car, but the interesting part was the engine. This was probably the fastest car out on track all day. It sounded amazing. I didn’t get a chance to see it but it sounded very vtec-ish or it was some high performance racing engine. The best way to describe the sound was not quite Vtec but louder than an mk 1 or 2 Ford Escort Rally car. The acceleration was insane.

There was one unfortunate person whose engine blew on the way into esses. I spoke to him after, he had a Subaru Impreza and it was slightly modified and putting out about 280bhp- it was very fast on track. He’d had the car for six years and this was the first time anything went wrong. The Turbo went and it done some damage to the cooling system of the car. It was most unfortunate but he put on a good show up till then. Hopefully we’ll see the car back on the track soon.The nicest thing about the day though was the freedom you had. Since it wasn’t an “event” day as such you could drive round the track and park up anywhere or you could sit down somewhere and just relax. No shoulder barging with crowds of people or kids screaming.

It was just a relaxing nice day and I’d highly recommend visiting a general track day to anyone. It’s free to enter, there’s usually alot going on and nice cars about. It’s just “easy viewing” and a good day.

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Marcos track Car

 

Permanent link to this article: http://carsandcoolstuff.com/2011/08/castle-combe-general-track-day-in-wiltshire-friday-august-12th/

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