Abingdon Track Day

Now that was a warm day. No rain, though a bit cloudy in the morning which helped to take the edge off the temperatures. It had rained overnight but the track was practically dry and any remaining damp patches were all gone by the time the warm up sessions were done. Come the afternoon, the cloud had all disappeared and it was positively warm! About 31 degrees apparently.

WP_20140718_001 WP_20140718_002

Firstly, the cooling system seemed to be up to the job. Once in the thick of it temperatures didn’t go above 94 degrees, where as previously they’d edge up to 96 when I’d come in before it got any higher. Only difference is that the grill fell off a few trackdays ago and I’d not refitted it yet. Of course, whilst these seems to be good for cooling, it’s not all that good for the radiator which had collected a fair few flies and moths. Only need a stone to be flicked in there for things to get interesting, so I’ll still be looking to refit the grill and add some ducting to improve the air flow.

Secondly, the brakes. They certainly bedded in well and were less snatchy than they’d been when driven previously. I found them quite progressive, requiring less pressure than the original pads but still enough pressure to be able to modulate them. Ultimate braking power was still unchanged, still limited by the grip on the tyres on that front. However they certainly seemed to stand up to the abuse better, especially given the higher ambient temperatures than last time. They only occasionally felt like they were underperforming during the first few corners of a session compared to the last pads, and cleaned up a lot quicker. I may try grooved discs next to see if that helps.

Of course, no trackday of mine would be complete without any problems and this one was no exception.


On the previous lap, I felt the steering stick when turning into a left hander after a big stop. I thought it was a bit weird, but that maybe I’d locked up slightly and that had affected it somehow. I was aware of my luck though, so decided I’d come into the pits. A bit of weaving once I was in the paddock and all seemed fine, until it stuck slightly again. Perhaps I’d got some debris stuck on the steering rack or UJ. When turning around, I couldn’t wind the lock off so decided it was easier to just stop and fix it there.

WP_20140718_003So I was kind of right, it was some debris. It’s just the debris was originally attached to the car. It’s a mount that goes on the back of the starter motor which had come loose. However, I couldn’t see where else it attached to, maybe it was attached to the engine mount on the MX5. I checked with a couple of other Mazda SDVs in the paddock and neither of them had it, so it’s now removed. Everything was fine after that.

I’d also lost the tensioner on the alternator. Not the first time that’s come loose either, though the first time it has vacated the engine bay. I think I’ve got a spare on one of the engines but if not will order a new one. Pretty sure it’s not fitted with Loctite or anything so I wonder if I’ve got some kind of vibration making it loose.

Still, overall a really good day. Not quite killed my tyres yet, not sure whether to go for track day tyres or a compromise next. For example, R888s or R1-Rs. I went out in an R888 shod Westfield and was deeply impressed with the amount of grip there was.

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