Another long weekend, taking the opportunity being up north to get the branding finished on the MX5 and the Ranger. The forecast for Cadwell had been poor all week, but when the day arrived, it looked set to be dry until mid afternoon. That said, for what it lacked in rain, it made up for in bitter cold.
Car felt good on the sighting laps, and the first session was great: car felt very quick, passing lots and was passed by nothing else. Most importantly, the tyres still felt good after the hammering they’d got at Oulton. Issues with a leaky hydraulic handbrake union spoiled play time until lunchtime, by which with some help bleeding the rear brakes the car was back to being drivable just in time for the rain to start.
After a dry morning, it took some adjustment in driving style to account for the reduction in grip, but the car proved to be as forgiving as ever, even with my heavy right foot. The afternoon was spent finding the limits by crossing them frequently and dialing back when required. Looking back, taking some time adjusting the setup for wet would have been prudent, but given the uneventful morning, a tail happy MX5 was a good giggle in the wet.
Had some interesting “moments” involving patches of standing water. Hard on it down park straight, 5th gear under load, it’s quite disconcerting when you go from driving in a straight line to having the backend step out. Equally disturbing, again on park straight, getting to the end of the straight, coming over the brow, to be greeted by a scene of broken polystyrene and chunks of turf.
The rain was pretty much horizontal in the afternoon, and most people packed up around 4pm and I was no exception. Never normally one to “waste” the opportunity of track time, the MX5 is now a lot more mentally demanding, and I didn’t fancy the prospect of an incident in such foul weather, at the end of a day when everyone I knew had left.
There were a few quick cars being driven quickly there: a Nissan GTR that was going well (but you’d expect it to, being largely driven by a computer….), a Mk3 MX5 which was being peddled very very well and, in the morning, a hayabusa powered RWD mini which was pretty quick. There were also some quick cars being driven quite slowly….
Cadwell is a great circuit, and I don’t think I’d get bored of it, but it is incredibly exposed when the weather is unpleasant. Won’t be going back until the summer!