Being the first full track day for the car I decided that it would be better to be prepared for most eventualities so the night before, the front boot was filled with a fully loaded tool box, my trolley jack, foot pump and a box containing oil, sprays, lubricants and tape. This is something I'd never considered with the Boxster but the age of the 964 was possibly a factor that could lead to a breakdown being more likely. Of course on arrival at Donington everything was removed prior to going on track. And I'm glad to say that at the end of the day it was all put back without being used - bar the foot pump for adjusting tyre pressures for the track.
The first session gave us two sighting/warm up laps behind a pace car and my first driving experience of the place. At those speeds (not more than 60 mph) the car flowed effortlessly along. Then it was time to put my foot down for a few laps. I can't remember a lot about the first session as I was so engrossed in learning the track and trying to find lines and gears. Most of these were wrong to begin with and I continually let cars pass as they seemed to know more about what they were doing than I did! The thing I most remember is that the track was a little damp and the car skidded a couple of times under heavy braking (particularly at the end of the Dunlop straight where you get the chance to pull top speed). This just confirmed to me what I already knew that the ABS is a bit unreliable and needs investigating. Future laps would be driven with the mindset that the car did NOT have ABS and therefore I had to start braking a little earlier and practice smooth threshold braking.
In the three following sessions the track remained dry so the ABS issue never got in the way. In the second session I think my passenger at the time, Plynchy, summed the car up perfectly, "it feels really planted". There was no better evidence of this than Craner curves where it stuck to the line through the Apex like glue. In the early sessions I just held the car in 3rd gear through Craner in fear of what could happen unsure.gif . By the end I was changing up to 4th and on one occassion glanced down at the rev counter and saw 140 Kph flash up on the digital display w00t.gif . The car was similarly composed through the next section of the track where after the old hairpin there are a couple of gentle left handers that lead up to Mcleans. The more power I dared to put down the more the car gripped in this section. I will have to remember that next time as this is a place the car could easily pick up a second or two.
Strangely, the car never gives a feeling of massive acceleration but that's because it delivers the power in a very linear fashion, there's no sudden urge above 4,500 rpm like I get in the boxster, it just keeps pulling at the same rate. Also the 5 gears appear to be very long, most noticeably 3rd which could be used for every corner if the track was clear in front. Of course the lack of feeling of acceleration was completely false because as I got to know the track and got quicker, the more cars I ended up overtaking and seeing them get smaller in my mirrors. biggrin.gif . As for top speed on the day I clocked 178 kph (4th gear) along the Dunlop straight before braking (in plenty of time) for Goddard's chicane. This was down on the Purd's and Pete's 997S V-maxs (I know for a fact that Purds clocked 121 mph as I saw it wink.gif ) but there's no shame in that. Talking of which the last session that the three of us did together, we got out at the front of the pack and went round in a nice high speed procession for 4 laps. It must have been quite a cool sight watching two nearly new 997Ss tearing down the home straight with an old white 964 in hot persuit happy.gif .
In summary, the car behaved almost flawlessly and was great fun to drive - lots of grip and lots of feel through the steering. It'll never be the quickest car out there but if I can improve my driving ability* it WILL go round a track a lot quicker before it gets to its limits. It did give me one little warning though near the end ermm.gif . I turned in a little early for Redgate and on fearing I was going to run too wide, I did the classic 'panic lift off ' which resulted in the inevitable oversteer moment ohmy.gif . Strangely the natural lift off reaction was followed immediately by a natural gentle application of power and opposite lock and the moment was over, allowing me to carry on blasting round the track without anyone even knowing innocent.gif .
*I've got a driver development day at Prodrive booked for later in the summer.