This was the first chance to see what the big suspension and tyre changes had done to the car. Perhaps I should have resisted the tyres and just saw what the suspension had done to the performance on road tyres. No matter as I can do that in the future if necessary.
With this being, I think, my sixth go at Oulton I knew the parts of the track it struggled. In particular, the esses before Knickerbrook and the tight off camber turn at Lodge. It also used to wallow a bit in fast corners like Druids. The changes are quite remakable. The car is much, much sharper now on turn in and sticks much closer to the chosen line. The result is that I don't have to use as much of the track through the slower corners (i.e. I've got less understeer and therefore have room to go a little quicker through these). More impressive than that was the ability to carry more speed through the faster corners. I managed to do some quick glances at my apex speeds and recall 70 mph at Old Hall, 80 mph at Cascades/Lake, 90 mph at Island and 70 mph at Druids. With time all could be done a bit quicker because there was still plenty of room left on the exits (previously I needed the exit kerbs).
A couple of photos courtesy of my friends Fraser and Dave:
This was also the first time I ran with Toyo R888 track tyres. The Toyos aren't available in the normal front size of 205/50/17 but the popular choice is 225/45/17 which is what I have. I experienced no issues during the day and as expected the car went the best it ever has on track with the new suspension, geo setup and track tyres . However, this is what I found when I got home (left front tyre):
I think the different rub/cut lines are probably due to me regularly dropping the pressures during the day as the tyres got hotter. Clearly this is not good for the tyre so I'll investigate a number of cures:
1. Raise the front ride height a bit (currently RS spec)
2. Junk the tyres and fit 215/45/17 (the only other Toyo option)
3. Roll the arches (a bit drastic)
4. Drop pressures more (I got down to 35 psi hot)
There are no similar marks on the other tyres. The circuit (like most in the UK) is a clockwise track hence the left tyres are the ones that take most of a beating.