As Cameras are banned from the MIRA test track sprint event due to the secrecy of car company testing there, I have included the pictures of the Buster Lang car show at Sandown Park, where the Mustang was displayed on the stand of my Sponsor, Peter S. Taylor insurance services. They specialise in American cars, so with my car alongside their own C3 Corvette, the display pulled in a lot of interested visitors. The fact that I invited Lisa Marie L’Amour and her friends of the Buster Lang’s “Police Force” models as well as the girls from the Hard Up Garage to pose on the Mustang definitely helped!
The Lisa Marie L’Amour and friends check out the Peter S. Taylor insurance stand!
I was looking forward to the MIRA event as it normally has a very grippy track in the dry due to an experimental road surface, which allows me to use my power and gave me a class win over a four wheel drive Subaru Imprezza in 2013. However, on this occasion it was pouring with rain and in the wet the track seemed pretty appalling. On the previous event I was able to put power down without wheelspin and accelerate away from the line in the most mazing fashion, now I had to limp a long way round the initial hairpin, not daring to push the lateral grip.
I pushed gingerly along the next short straight, before braking very early for the hairpin(even then I locked up badly and had to run massively off the racing line before recovering back to where I should be). After the next short straight and very tight chicane I was now on the long straight. I cautiously applied the power to find myself now aquaplaning as the solid barrier approached terrifyingly at the end of the straight! Fortunately, some very careful braking and a wide line round the next corner kept the car on the track. My time was pretty slow and I couldn’t see how I could easily improve it without taking some big risks, as I watched another competitor spin off the first straight and smash his car into the barrier. Fortunately the driver was OK but his car was in bits.
I found that I was further disadvantaged against the leading car, a BMW M235, as the driver was using all of his advanced traction control aids and even leaving the gear changes to the fully automated system. Not very sporting I thought as to win the event this should be a triumph of man over adverse conditions, rather than a victory for BMWs IT department.
Just before the lunchtime break the rain stopped and the sun came out. This was really good news for me, as it allowed time for the track to dry significantly. I had been experimenting with different tyre pressures to try and find some grip, whilst fellow competitor Gordon Peters in his Nissan 350Z was changing whole sets of tyres.
I went out feeling much more confident and was rewarded with a much better performance. It was still quite slippery so I could not use all of my power and take advantage of the much more lively throttle adapted by Redline American Muscle, however, I put in a much faster lap. At the end of the final practice run just one second covered the top four cars, with me in fourth. I felt very pleased that if the track conditions continued to improve I could win! However, it started raining again. For the first timed run I managed to go nearly a second faster, but all of the other (lighter and traction equipped) cars went much faster. It rained even more and so I went slower on the final timed run, the end result was a fairly disappointing fourth out of six in class, five seconds behind the BMW.
1st 26 Alan Lee BMW M235 2979T 60.81 secs
2nd 37 Gordon Peters Nissan 350Z GT 3500 61.24
3rd 27 Gordon Hick Seat Leon Cupra 280 1984T 62.06 secs
4th 38 Alex Peters Ford Mustang GT 4680S 65.28 secs
5th 28 John Williams Nissan 350Z 3500 70.82 secs
6th 36 Nic Houslip MG RV8 3946 77.98 secs
7th 29 Peter Elliston VW Golf 1984T DNS