Donington National - Kit Car show 2002


Talk about getting initiated into the MK1 Club with two trackdays in the same weekend! My thanks must goto Andrew O’Brien, Richard Morgan & Stuart Kynoch for making it such an enjoyable event. Donington is my home circuit as it is conveniently only 20mins away by SC! 

I met up with the guys and girls early on Sunday morning after an extremely late Saturday night! With the weather looking decidedly British we were keen to get a session in quick. After a fair bit of running around we found the pit entrance (they didn’t seem that organised there!). Then it was a tense 10minute wait until we were allowed out of the pit lane. I was second in the queue with John’s NA in front of me. As we headed out into Redgate Corner I was about to happen on the best set of corners I had yet driven. These were the famous Craner Curves and let me tell you that accelerating out of Redgate then sweeping over to the right of the track to get the line down into the Craner Curves was an amazing experience. As you go down the hill reaching 100mph or so there is a left kink where I was lifting off and you could feel the weight transfer to the rear offside of the car, which would then gently load up as the car did an incredible four wheel drift just tucking the nose into the corner setting you up perfectly for the right hander that sweeps up the hill. 

I hadn’t been on this circuit before so naturally I had some interesting moments trying to find the right lines and establishing how much grip there was. As always with my first time round a track I did manage to overheat the tyres a little (!) and also did some unintentional powerslides followed by a trip through a gravel trap on the last lap and a trip straight over the chicane at Goddards! John Viveash managed an incredible spin though he had let me past by this point so I missed it. Andrew was setting a good pace, and Mik had a wayward exhaust after the third lap, resulting in early retirement from the session!

Chasing Vashy coming out of Redgate at Donington Sept 2001

In the afternoon the weather just about held up and Mik (bless him) had managed to get me another session for free! Twist my arm then I said and within no time I was off to the petrol station to fill up for the next session.

Just before the 2nd session I decided to put my car on the rolling road that had appeared from nowhere. This prompted quite a bit of interest as we soon had a crowd gathered eager to see what my little car was putting out. It transpired on these rollers that I had 151Bhp (though the operator reckoned I had a fuelling problem, he was later proved right) but a rather extreme 243lbft torque!

This time I was behind Andrew in his nearly stock SC. This was going to be interesting! I felt much happier with my lines around the circuit now and I wasn’t overheating the front tyres so much (just a little then!). This was my favourite session I had a ball out there. Andrew let me past after the Craner Curves as it was pretty hectic. There were so many cars out on the track sometimes it was just safer to back off rather than risk a coming together. The track was full of kitcars that seemed to be spinning off everywhere and this did make the sessions a little disjointed with quite a few yellows and two red flags (meaning a re-start) in the afternoon session. We gave those kitcars more than a run for their money. After the first restart I had managed to end up right at the back which was a terrible shame as it meant working my way through the field. This effectively means that for at least a lap it’s more like cruising round as you wait for people to sort themselves out. This gave me an opportunity to get past understeering Mik who had subsequently found that his Avon tyres were not really that good! I suspect though that he had rather overheated them!

We even got a chance to look around the Kit car show, it was quite an experience though most of the cars were Caterham in style there were a few interesting cars around. How about the ‘Ferrari’ that was really a MK2 MR2! It did look quite good but I’d always rather have the ‘go than the show’. I’ll bet it wasn’t even a turbo!

Thanks to all at the MR2 MK1 club for organising such a cracking day, brillliant!

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