Millbrook Proving Ground

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Brands Hatch Indy Track Day

brandsindy

Last track day of the year for me a cheap off peak weekday session at Brands Hatch. It is always a risk booking track time in winter and unfortunately luck was against me on the day as it rained heavily all day. The day was run by Javelin and as always the day was very well organised and the staff very helpful.

Fortunately I booked the day with the usual TVR crowd on PistonHeads so I had good company. The track was very greasy having recently been scrubbed due to a car leaking oil on a recent track day. No old rubber and wet weather resulted in a very slippery surface.

I only completed 21 laps in the end as the car was very difficult to control on the slippery surface and there had been many red flags that day with cars spinning off so I felt it would be best to quit while I was ahead rather than risk an expensive repair bill.

I did get a chance to try out a new iPhone app I have been playing with called Harry’s Lap Timer. The app uses the iPhone’s built in sensors to log G-force, location and speed and overlays the telemetry information onto recorded video footage. I must say I am very impressed with the app so far, the POI information is great where it displays the sector names and I like the minimum and maximum speed ticker.
http://www.gps-laptimer.de/Home.html

Here is the lap analysis from the iPhone datalogging app, the green is the G-Force and the speeds shown in red are the minimum speeds through the corners and in green are the maximum speeds on the straights:
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Here is some video footage of me driving very slowly around Brands Hatch:

North Weald Car Limits Activity Day

Another great day with the Car Limits team at North Weald Airfield. Still only £49 per car for a whole days hooning fun.

The weather was better than usual this time, this is the first time I have been to North Weald when it has not been freezing cold and wet.

Dave gave a great display in his Griff showboating around the course….

Me driving my Griff

External footage of my Griff