Castle Combe Track Day

Castle Combe

Another fantastic track day made even better by great TVR friends. I was in two minds whether to book this up as it is a bit of a trek for me but glad I made the effort. It was an early 04:30 start for me but the traffic was good and arrived at 08:00 for the briefing.

The briefing was interesting, I made particular note of Quary being the most crashed corner of any UK track so the advice given was brake before the hill, neutral throttle over the hill and then brake further once on the correct line on entry to the corner. I never quite mastered it but the car is still in once piece so that is a bonus.castle-combe-track-layout

I opted straight for the instruction which Peter managed to negotiate into the price of the day when he booked the group. The instructor was very helpful and showed me lines and gave me lots of useful tips.

Driving around the track you cannot help but notice the barriers are very close and no run off or gravel traps whatsoever. Clearly not a circuit where you can take the piss.

Peter also very kindly took me out in his car 5.5 litre Chimaera I must say I am very impressed with his new cam it ‘feels’ much faster that it did before, must be the extra torque.

Phil managed to capture some footage from the pit wall and kindly sent it to me.

The combination of instruction and going out with Peter by the afternoon I had a bit more confidence and was pushing the car harder I had a great run with the Porsche Cayman which pulled me through to my fastest time of the day 1:28.88.

The AD08R tyres continue to amaze me, manged to get up to 1.2G this time. Once you have heat in them they do not seem to let go.

Castle  Combe

Bit of analysis from Harry’s Lap Timer:

Castle Combe

Great to see and catch up with Anthony Precat as well, we had a great run back and was enjoying watching the epic flames from his stunning Griff.

Castle Combe

Front Brake Upgrade

I have never been entirely satisified with the brakes on my Griffith, mine being the 500 has 260mm brakes which is in improvement over the earlier cars but they have always left me wanting more.

Upgrading the standard system
A couple of years after purchasing the Griff I decided to upgrade the front brakes. Speaking with my TVR specialist David Batty he recomended the following works

  • Renewing the front discs with standard items.
  • Replacing the brake hoses with braided hoses to increase the feel of the brake pedal.
  • Replacing the pads with upgraded Mintex  items.
  • Changing the standard brake fluid with DOT5.1 fluid.

The result of this works were brakes with certainly felt better and performed better. Perfectly adequate for fast road use.

A couple of years ago I started using my car on track. My first track day was at Snetterton. Aside from nervously drving around the track and trying to get out of people’s way the one thing a did notice as my confedence grew was the brakes were not fit for purpose. A couple of +100MPH braking at the end of the long straights and the brakes were cooked.

When you look at the standard TVR caliper it is easy to understand why the brakes do not work well on track.
PTVR J01345315

4pot brake upgrade
Looking at brake upgrades there are many options to choose from. Most owners who have upgraded brakes also have larger diameter aftermarket wheels which gives a wide range of options. I wanted to retain the standard TVR Estoril wheels which unfortunatley limits my options of what will fit under the standard 15″ wheel.

I also decided that I wanted an OEM quality product, I have been burnt many times before with substandard ‘upgraded’ parts from aftermarket companies. OEMs invest a lot of money in R&D and making sure thier products are up to scratch.

There are two companies who supply to OEM and provide a suitable upgrade to meet my requirements, AP and Alcon.

Option 1 was to upgrade to 16″ Estorils and fit the TVR branded AP 4pot CP6600 calipers and 300mm discs as fitted to the later Speed Six TVRs. Pictured below on Mark’s Griffith.
Mark Front Brakes 01

Option was to go for the Alcon 4pot calipers with 295mm discs that fit under the standard 15″ Estoril wheels
IMG_5484

After speaking to a number of people about the options I decided to go for the Alcon setup from David Gerald. I did very much like the idea of retro fitting the TVR AP solution from the later cars, however the exspense of sourcing 2 x 16″ Estoril wheels for the front, new tyres and resetting the geo did not seem worth it for an extra 5mm of disc (295mm vs 300mm). What sold me on the Alcon kit aside from being able to keep my standard wheel was it is a direct bolt on kit so no adapters required for the caplipers. Interestly enough I found an owner who had what appears to be the same spec brakes (Alcon 295×28) factory fitted to his Griff in the development days. More info about the kit from David Gerald (now Classic World Racing) can be found below.

After having the new brakes fitted to my Griffth immediately noticed the increased feel of the brakes. The standard system always worked when I needed it but it never inspired any confedence. I am now finding I can approach corners and rounabouts much faster as I have confedence in the brakes.

I decided to book a track day at Bedford Autodrome to test the new brakes out properly. After warming up the car for a lap I started to increase speed down the straights and brake more agressively into the corners. Towards the end of the day I was hitting over 130MPH on the back straight and agressivly late braking into corners, I could not get the brakes to fade.

I am very impressed with the Alcon setup and I can honestly say it is one of the single best improvements I have made to the car.

David Gerald Alcon Griff Brake Upgrade

David Gerald Alcon Griff Brake Upgrade

Millbrook Proving Ground

millbrook_aerial

As part of the TVRCC 50th Anniversary the TVR Car Club hired out Millbrook Proving Ground, apparently the first owners club to hire out the venue.

A very rare opportunity to drive the private tracks at Millbrook in my own car was an opportunity not to be missed.

Tracks on offer were the Alpine handling circuit, 2 mile bowl and the 1 mile straight.

What a brilliant day it was; sunshine, TVRs and tracks to play on.

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 12.01.55MillbrookThanks to Colin Haycock for the 2 above photographs.

Millbrook

Alpine Circuit
Unfortunately my good friend Dave’s Griff expired on the 2m bowl, later transpires 3 slipped liners. I chucked him the keys to mine to have a go on the Alpine circuit, result was quite spectacular…

Even more spectacular when you put this side by side with footage from one of the Millbrook instructors on the same course in a Caterham…

 

1 Mile Straight

 

2Mile Bowl

 

Goodwood Circuit Track Day

I attended the Hampshire TVRCC Goodwood track day earlier this month. £185 for a 105dB whole day at Goodwood circuit seemed like an opportunity too good to miss.

Goodwood Circuit

I love Goodwood, and it is a privilege to be able to drive the track. There was even a 2 seater Spitfire taking lucky people out, very surreal racing around the circuit with various aircraft taking off and landing over the track, very distracting when one of those aircraft is a Spitfire.

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 23.00.53

There very not very many cars at the track day at all and only 2 other TVRs so I managed to get in many laps. When I added up the laps recorded on the two datalogging apps I had been testing it turned out that I had completed 93 laps, no wonder I got through 4 tanks of fuel!

Videos
I finally managed to get Harry’s Lap Timer and the GoPro working together and here is the result, I am very impressed with the telemetry overlay and picture in picture. The GPS does lag a bit using the smartphone’s internal GPS but short of a full blown data logger is works well:

Final Session

Instruction was free on the day so I took up the opportunity. The instructor was adamant that I could take Fordwater flat in 5th which eventually I plucked up the courage to do, I didn’t get it quite right and had a bit of a wobble at 120MPH, made worse be me lifting off. It didn’t come out too well on video but you can see the car lose stability.

Fordwater wobble at 120MPH

There was a stunning Porsche Carrera RS in attendance, I didn’t get a chance to chat with the owner which was a shame but I did get the opportunity to follow it on track, copying the drivers’s lines resulted in my fastest lap of the day, 01:37.32

Following a Porsche Carrera RS

Goodwood Circuit

Nice bit of lap analysis from Harry’s Lap Timer:

Goodwood Circuit

This was the second trackday with the Yoko AD08Rs tyres, I really pushed them and I can confirm they stick like shit to a blanket…. 120MPH pulling 1G.

Goodwood Circuit

Goodwood is a quite a fast circuit and with continued abuse the tyres did start to melt a bit, no where near as bad as the T1Rs should I add.

IMG_5431

Bedford Autodrome Track Day

Bedford Trackday

First track day of the year, Bedford Autodrome and I am keen to test out my new Yokohama AD08R tyres and new geometry setup. The track was configured as the full 3.8 mile GT circuit.

011 Bedford

A few laps in and I am very impressed with the new tyres, once they have heat in them they stick to the track very well indeed. I found that I was able to corner much faster with the new rubber and they did not overheat like the old Toyo T1Rs did. The car felt really good with the new geo and the test Tuscan seat I have fitted is great on a trackday when you take the cushion out.

Bedford Trackday

I had an opportunity to test out my new GoPro 4 Silver which I purchased earlier on in the year as my old GoPro Hero HD was starting to play up. Video quality is much improved and the screen makes it very easy to line up camera. I also had an opportunity to test out Harry’s Lap Timer for telemetry, I had used this previously at Brands but that day was a bit of a wash out. The Telemetry showed a GPS verified 145MPH down the back straight which I was impressed with. Also a nice graph of the track with speed and G-Force overlayed

Bedford Trackday

Bedford Trackday

Here are some videos from the day:

Session 1

Final Session – chasing an Exige, unfortunately the Lotus spins off

Harry’s Lap Timer Test

Dashware Test

Ian’s Griff

Chris’s Clio

My car behaved itself for most of the day aside from needing to bump started by kind folk from PH every time I wanted to go out on track. The issue appears to be the infamous hot start issue, I did have this before and it was solved with my new Carl Baker meta alarm system installation, the general consensus was the wire the starter motor needs to be uprated as this only happens when the car is really hot, i.e. trackdays.

The car also developed another issue which was driving me mad, I had a feeling that the car was getting slower each time I took it out but I dismissed the idea as me being stupid. Half way through the afternoon session I came to the realisation that there was definitely something wrong as I was using full throttle and getting no where. It turns out that the throttle cable had worked itself loose. After consulting the PH technical committee I proceeded to dive head first into the footwell to look at the issue, luckily it was only the screwed on nipple which had come loose and I managed to fix it fairly promptly and continue with the trackday. Alun of course had to take a picture!

Bedford Trackday

Yokohama AD08R tyres and geometry

Since enjoying Griff on the track as well as the road I have found that the Toyo T1R tyres do not seem to perform very well on the track. I really rate the Toyos as an all round tyre on the road but unfortunately they overheat and melt when exposed to constant cornering forces.

2014-05-06 Toyo Tyres 1

I did not want the hassle of having another set of wheels for the car for track day use only as I only do around 2-3 track days a year. After doing some research online two tyres seemed to get continue praise, the Toyo R1R and the Yokohama AD08R. I noted that the Toyo R1R only starts off life with 6mm of tread and the AD08s start with the full 8mm, I am not keen on the idea of paying for a tyre that does not have a full 8mm of tread so I went for the AD08Rs.

I could not get the AD08Rs in the same sizes I had on the car originally so using an online tool I calculated the rolling radius of the wheel before and after to get as close as possible to the original. I ended up with the following sizes which so I am lead to believe were the sizes used on some of the early non-PAS Griffiths.

Front – 205/50 R15
Rear – 225/50 R16

2015-04-09 AD08R

I had the tyres fitted at my local garage an immediately after driving out I noticed how much better the car felt on turn in, I was always a bit disappointed when I swapped from the OEM Bridgestone SO1/SO2 tyres to Toyos as the sidewalls did not feel as stiff and reading up this is a common complaint. The AD08Rs have a Kevlar reinforced sidewall and this for me was reminiscent of the feel of the old Bridgestones. The feel of the car and grip was also very encouraging, I normally hate having new tyres as the car feels a bit squirmy and unsettled on new thicker tread, I tend to prefer tyres once they are half worn, these new tyres did not feel too bad at all.

My only compliant was that I could feel the geo needed to be addressed as the car was not pulling straight on acceleration and had a tendency to wander to the right on a trailing throttle.

I booked a session with Super Tyres in Maldon for a 4 wheel alignment and geometry.

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The initial read out from the hunter system showed that the geometry was in need of some attention.

IMG_4843

I provided my own settings which I found on the PistonHeads forums many years ago and I have used ever since:

TVR Geo – Neill Anderson
Front & rear camber 0.75 to 1.25deg negative, as equal as possible side to side
Front tracking (toe) 10 to 20 minutes TOTAL ACROSS AXLE (5 to 10 minutes each wheel)
Rear tracking (toe) 4 to 6 minutes EACH WHEEL (as equal as possible side to side)
Front castor 4.75 to 5.25deg Positive (more important that each side is within 0.5deg of the other)

NOTE: As the front and rear wheel alignment are adjustable independently, but only the front wheels are connected to each other (by the rack) it is important that the pair of rear wheels are aligned to the nominal centreline of the car and not just to each other. The castor is not usually adjusted, the spacer at the upper ball joint is simply to ensure adequate clearance at the full extents of negative camber adjustment.

A couple of hours later the car was dialled in and the final read out looked good.

IMG_4844

I took the car for a spirited drive and what an improvement, car pulls straight on acceleration, the tyres stick very well once they have some heat in them, turn is much improved.

2015 Update

On track these tyres are simply amazing. The Toyo T1Rs where good for a very short period between being stone cold and slippy to being too hot and melting. The AD08Rs grip and grip, not only is the grip fantastic they also inspire confidence as you know they will hook up time after time, it was a gamble with the Toyos as when the overheated they had the tendency to bin you off the circuit randomly when pressing on.

Goodwood Circuit I had the telemetry setup and recorded cornering at 1.0G at 121MPH.Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 23.51.03.jpg

Later that year Castle Combe 1.2G at 65MPHScreen Shot 2015-08-02 at 20.34.39.jpg

Really impressed by these tyres, they are a great compromise between a road tyre like the Toyo T1R and a full out track tyre like a Toyo R888. As I discovered Toyo T1R is great on road but not good on track, R888 are great on track but not that suitable on road. Yoko AD08R does both very well, not quite as good in the wet as a T1R but still safely drive 70MPH on motorway in heavy rain. Not as good on the track as an R888 but very close. A great compromise tyre without having to maintain a set of winter tyres, summer tyres and track tyres.

New Dashboard

I had a new walnut dashboard fitted to my TVR in 2012 it was supplied by Classical dash and I was very pleased with the finish. Unfortunately as my Griff lives outside every summer the glue would fail on the rear of the dashboard buttons and they would end up floating around inside the dashboard. Various glues where tested including Araldite and 2 ton epoxy adhesive, none would secure the buttons for more than 12 months.

New 2015 dashboard
001 Pete Dash

Recently I also noticed that the veneer had cracked, this is again probably mainly due to the extreme temperatures the dash is exposed to during winter and summer. Having to remove the dashboard  so many times to re-fix the buttons I asm sure also did not help.

Issues with existing dashboard
2012-03-09 Headlight Switches

A good friend of mine and fellow Griff owner Peter Wiggins mentioned he was developing a new dashboard for his car to address the issues with the original TVR design. Despite the issues with the design of the original TVR dashboards being well documented, none of the existing suppliers of these dashboards have chosen address these issues in the products they sell.

Peter’s design to eliminates the manner in which the gauges and switches were fitted from new, they were simply glued to the rear of the panel dash panel. The design also addresses the poor choice of a veneered piece of thin 1.5mm steel sheet, which flexed and twisted in use causing the veneer to crack regularly.

Peter’s design is a laminated dash concept; meaning that it has an aluminium backing of 1.5mm that holds all the gauges via bezel mount and has ‘press studs’ to provide fixing capability, then a front bonded layer of 4mm ply veneered with bur walnut. This design produces a nice relatively flex free surface and allows all the switches and gauges to be properly mounted rather than using mastic or an araldited little bracket.

Peter started with a digital CAD file of the dash outline, kindly supplied by Dave Horthersall (TVRCC deputy editor) and then produced a paper 1:1, then modified the file to follow as accurately his original profile. Peter then produced two layers; 1 the aluminium with gauge holes the size of the case and 2 the wood with gauge holes a clearance fit for the bezel. Peter also designed switch and indicator lamp mounting brackets to all fit onto the aluminium layer. Finally Peter had both the wood and aluminium water jet cut from the CAD files, then the veneered wood layer was bonded to the aluminium. Lastly the veneer was coated with 7 coats of lacquer to give a deep shine.

The following are photographs showing the stages and finished items (kindly provided by Peter Wiggins):

Water Jet Cutting 1
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The Cut Pieces
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Assembly of finished dash
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Prototype fitted to Peter’s 4.3 Griff
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Machined Swirled Aluminium
Pete Stainless Dash 1

Pete also offers a machined swirled aluminium option and brushed stainless steel for those who prefer the more modern look. My car came with one of these from the factory and it did look very good.

TVR MADS Advertisement

I took delivery of my dashboard February 2015, Peter very kindly let me have one of the first 500 dashboards he produced. The finish looked fantastic I could tell that a lot of time had not only gone into the design but also the finishing of the product.

New dashboard
001 Pete Dash002 Pete Dash

While my car was in for a service this year I took the opportunity to ask David Batty (TVR Specialist) to swap the dashboard over for the new ‘Pete Dash’. I also had the stereo headunit swapped for an updated unit as the old one had failed. Trying to find a head unit which did not look like a disco ball was quite difficult, I ended up settling for a Pioneer DEH-80PRS which is a good quality unit being part of the Pioneer reference series and also has full iPhone/iPod connectivity including charging which is useful when using the phone as a sat nav.

David did a great job of fitting the dashboard and the item itself is absolute quality, I am really pleased with it.

If you fancy one of Peter’s fantastic new dashboards can be contacted via email at peter.wiggins@talktalk.net

New dash fitted to my Griff
002 Pete Dash
003 Pete Dash