MN Saloons Brands GP

Our second outing for the VE was at out home circuit Brands Hatch on the GP layout.

Saturday the 14th of September we had a late qualifying session with the Motoring News Saloons and luckily the rain stayed away.

We would be using the new COTF 18" wheel with Hankook F200's for the first time. We hit the track and on the outlap it became apparent there was a bit of an issue. The car was violently shaking from the front end when travelling at speed and even worse when turning into corners. A quick check over in the pits and we could only put it down to a wheel/tyre issue. After making sure it was nothing dangerous Alex was sent back out to ensure we completed the compulsory three laps. Not wanting to push too hard we qualified 9th knowing we could gain back places in the race.

Fortunately the issue was just down to poor balancing of the wheels/tyres. So this was rectified and we were all set for race 1 on Sunday morning.

Sunday morning conditions were still dry, so this would be the first time of driving the car hard in a dry race and it was the first time we would see how the Hankooks behaved/performed. Race 1 was all about getting as far up the grid to mount an attack for the lead in race 2.

Alex got the car Holden up to 4th place but the lead cars had pulled out quite a lead while he was making his way through the pack, plus with still learning the new car we didn't push too hard.

Starting 4th for race 2 we knew we could challenge for the win. On lap one the Holden was up into 3rd and hunting down the 2nd place E46 M3 of Tom Knight. The Holden was going strong getting faster with each lap and with the tyres not even up to full temp posted the second fasted time, only 1000th of a second off the quickest lap. After a few laps Alex blasted past the M3 as they went out into the GP loop.

Alex set off after the Escort WRC of Rod Birley and took a second off the gap in one lap, brining the gap down to just over 3 seconds.

However on lap 6 as the Holden came on throttle exiting Paddock Hill bend the car started holding back under throttle, Alex had to back out the throttle and cruise up to Druids, when trying to accelerate out of Druids the car was still holding back and cutting out. Alex had to pull off and park the car, leaving us with a DNF.

Upon checking data it was clear that from lap one the alternator had stopped charging and it was just a matter of time before the car ran out of electricity. From the incar you can spot the voltage warning on the lower part of the dash randomly flash up with ever decreasing voltage values. The car arrived from Aus with a faulty alternator and this was a new one, only fitted before our last race. So we need to get to the bottom of why the V8 is eating alternators.

The failure was hugely disappointing as Alex was getting faster with every lap and would have been fighting for the win. What we can take away from the weekend is that the car was very quick and there is still more to come once Alex gets settled in it, as it drives very differently to the VZ.

Next outing is Thruxton with Britcar on the 3rd of August and then back to Brands in November with the MN Saloons.

Posted: Sep 17, 2015 Return