My 1st Sprint Day Experience @ Philip Island Track - Alfa Romeo Forum
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My 1st Sprint Day Experience @ Philip Island Track

Hi All,

Just wanted to share my undiluted joy and excitement of having competed in my 1st ever track/racing experince.

On Saturday 23rd October, the Alfa Owner Club of Victoria held a sprint day at Philip Island Track (yes the same that's used for the MOTO GP).

I had entered my application about 4 weeks ago and getting the car prepared for srutineering wasn't too much of a challenge apart from finding a place to mount the fire extinguisher in the cabin without drilling any holes. The scrutineering list is long but quite easily done.

Thanks to advice from a fellow Alfaowner member, Damon, I also had the 147 fitted with EBC Greenstuff brakepads.

On the day, straight after scrutineering, was the driver's briefing followed by my 1st experience on the track. This was a 3 lap track introduction session with a qualified instructor.

Later on in the day I had a 5 lap practice session by myself followed by 3 timed sessions on the track.

I have the privelidge to announce that no car in my group passed me, and due to my posted times, I was in fact only 2nd to a Twin Turbo RX-7 which I was just keeping up with (RX-7 was fitted with Roll Cage, Slicks). In fact the driver (who was kitted out in Full Race suit and boots came up and congratulated me for the way I drove my "Little car".

I don't want to go into too much detail now, as I fear I may bore most people, but suffice to say that everyone should do this at least once in their life.

I have several important points which I believe would impact most people:

1. To do this activity, there is very very little danger of hitting other people and damaging your car. Drivers are well sorted into groups and no one passes you unless you clearly signal them using your arm as to which side you would like them to pass you.

2. The greenstuff brake pads are phenomenal. They realy made a huge difference in the braking performance of the car. The more laps I did, the more secure I felt in their performance and hence my braking was left later and later coming into a corner.

3. VDC is a lifesaver. No matter what I did the car never once got out of shape. Seriously, for anyone contimplating doing a track day for the 1st time, ensure you do it in a car fitted with some type of Vehicle Dynamic Control.

4. Pirelli P-Zero's were very grippy in the highspeed corners. They only started to lose traction towards the end of the day after heavy use but that really lead to understeer which was controllable.

Here are a couple of pics of my day.
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Hi Stef,

Great review Don't worry about boring us, we don't get bored (ok, ok, I speak for myself ). Tell us all the details

Driving on a track is one of the experiences I would definitavely like to have... pitty the track days here in Portugal are a bit disorganized and the risk of damaging your car are quite high... (lots of loons around in their civics, saxos, pugs and clios) I've seen some heavly banged cars at the Estoril Track...

Great fotos Stef, your car looks the works wink

All the best


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Please give a little more detail, particularly about your prep. I'm thinking of doing some limited supersprints next year (probably at Wakefield Park). Sounds like AROCA (Vic) really looks after things, AROCA (NSW) is not quite as gentle on newbies, but in NSW we run with the HSV and WRX clubs and each club orgainises events a little differently. Of course Phillip Island is one of the, if not the fastest track in Australia, so a little care is warranted.
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What a good time you had, Stef!
Very nice indeed!

Just as Sérgio said, there's a bundge of nuters, outside and inside the track. I think that Braga might be better then Estoril, if the track is smaller... but maybe with less crazy people.
There's a lot of desorganization, track days that are canceled a couple of days before, prices that go up just because, with no explanation... it's Portugal at his best.
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So your car actually got onto the track.

I thought it was just parked in the shed all day
Took picture with my binoculars....
Who needs a real camera when you have your trusty binoculars at your side

Of course this probably should be in the Image lounge eek! wink

My car in the background.
Sorry I couldn't work out who you were in the time I was there

maybe next time

A Bolwell

and some other shots using my Binoculars--Who needs a camera

Coming onto the main straight

Going up Lukey Heights

Coming down from Lukey Heights

Around the S's

And last of all
Spinning in Siberia

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You rock Stef!

47 race numbers on the car.... whoot!

Did you keep ASR on?

I've only driven on a track once and damn I will never forget that day. I'd love to do it some more (I've already booked in with some mates to go kart racing at the end of September at Eastern Creek again!) especially if the risk of damaging my car is minimal.

Sounds like a lot of fun Stef. Would love it if we could all go and do a day together somehow but I suppose it's damn expensive to try to hire a track.

I bet you enjoyed the laps with the professional. When I went out to Eastern Creek the 2 different pro drivers I had both drove the shoit out of the 147/156GTA to the point where I honestly was nervous and thought we wouldn't make some of the corners. It's really amazing how all of us on this Forum own a car that handles so well on the race track and having said that it's so sad that perhaps so many owners will never really know how great their cars are unless they do take it out on track and get a pro to show them what it can do (better yet learn how to do it yourself!). I found the 147 to be a very forgivable car on the track, perfect for a beginner.

Your car and your helmet look the biz! I want to see more photos please. If you're not going to post them here then email them to me!!! Bet you're still buzzing from the day and I bet the g forces, the late breaking and flooring it out of the corners are the last thing you think about when you put your head on your pillow every night for a week maybe a month

You have to take your wife out next time so she understands your passion/obsession!

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It's great that u enjoyed so much. Did u go for harder setting on your Konis? How was it? I must go for the next track day of Alfa club. what is the requirement of join the track day. Do I have to join the club 1st? I heard someone said I need to have "CAMS" to drive on the track?
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Actually I was planning to go to Philip island to see u race this Sat. But finally I went to test drive 147GTA in Richmond .
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You guys make me so happy. I didn't think so many people would have responded.

There are a few things which I can/would like to expand on. Please bear with me.


Thanks buddy. I think driving on the Estoril track would be soo much fun, but it all can go so horribly wrong if you have an accident. Fortunately most of the drivers on the track with me were very professional and didn't take un-necessary risks.

Damaging panels in Alfa sprints days is known to have happened before, but mainly due to over-enthusiastic WRX & Nissan GTR drivers. Suffice to say that those people have not been welcomed back.


Good to hear from you. The victorian guys are excellent in their organisational side of things.

My preperation lists to pass scruniteering was as follows:

** A fire extinguisher AS 1841 (save 1841.2 which are not permitted), rigidly mounted with metal bracket and readily accessible. (BCF / Halon types are illegal).
** A blue triangle with sides of 150mm on the bodywork indicating the location of the battery. We shall have them at driver check in for purchase if you require.
** Headlights, fog lights etc. to be covered by a transparent adhesive film.
** A safety belt or harness complying with Schedule I of the2003 CAMS Manual, particularly validity year.
** Be fitted with a return spring on each throttle in the event of the throttle linkage becoming detached. Fuel injected cars are exempted from this requirement.
** Bonnet Catches: Cars must be fitted with at least 2 independent fastening system, of adequate strength and limited extensibility, which simultaneously hold the bonnet or panels closed. Bodily unmodified production cars manufactured after 1/1/1973, and other cars as specifically approved by CAMS and which are fitted with forward hinged bonnets may utilise the original, unmodified manufacturer's component for closing the bonnet, without the use of a secondary restraint mechanism.

My main worry was the mounting of the fire extinguisher in the cabin. I didn't want to drill any holes inside. I purchased a fire extinguisher (& bracket) from Autobarn for A$40. After a number of attempts, I found the best solution was to utilise a metal brace that runs along the length of the glovebox (underneath, near the hinge). That metal bar/brace is screwed using 3 screws, so I just utilised them.

Apart from that I would strongly suggest fitting the Brake Pads. I am sure that the originals will be fine for a couple of laps, but after that I am sure they will start to fade. THAT IS NOT WHAT YOU WANT TO HAPPEN, as you are approaching a corner at 170km/hr.

Email me if you need more info Kev.


Stori, I saw you pull up into the car park, but at the time I was out on the track at Turn 10 doing flag marshalling. The damn marshalling went for 2 hours, and as soon I got back to the pits, my race was on in 5 min. So I didn't get a chance to look for you.

Great to see you there....Some excelent pics too. WHO NEEDS BINOCULARS INDEED wink

From the marshalling point I was, I saw some excellent racing, and picked up huge number of pointers, which helped me for my runs later in the day.

That Grey/Silver Falcon was an absolute disgrace of a car...As he was braking for the hairpin corner I was on, his rear wheels would always lock causing the axel to thump up and down. Thanfully he was pulled of the circuit ue to noise emissions.

My favourite was a gorgous Alfa GTV 1600 Sprint. Not the fastest but themost beautiful going around.

Anyhow, I would love to catch up with you guys still so see if we can organise something.

I had anabsolute bal, so I am hooked.

Very good question regarding ASR. I forgot to mention that before. I did indeed switch off ASR on all my runs, except for one. I only remember that half way through Turn 3

Another point which might interest you, is the use of paddles vs the gearshift. I had 5 runs on the track during the day. For my first 4 runs I used the Paddles exclusively and that was excellent. Hands on the wheels at all time so I felt good.

But I eventually found that using the gearshift whilst approaching the 2 hairpin corners helped a lot more. What I was finding was that sometimes, the paddle system would fail to shift all the way down to 2nd gear from 4th, when I was slamming on the brakes on the corner entry. But using the gearshift would do that perfectly all the time.

The Selespeed system is GOLD in my opinion. You guys who talk the Selespeed system down all the time, should realy try it on a track condition. Its vastly different to driving it on the road. Since you are shifting gears above 6500RPM in all gears, the shifts are always lightening fast and smooth.

I actually did change the settings to full hard (from 3/4 hard on my intial 3 runs) for the last 2 runs. I found the car to understeer a little more with the full hard setting.

I really encourage you to get your 156 on the track, as you will realy learn a lot about its ultimate potential. Also (just like me), you have done a lot of modification to your car, so you should get the full enjoyment by seeing the fruit of your labour on the track.

Trust me when I tell you that the streets are not where you will feel the difference of your suspension. On a smooth track, you will finally feel the huge difference the proper Eibah Spring/Koni Damper Set up makes.

There is a Sprint day coming up in a couple of months and I would love to see you there with me.
Call me to talk about what's needed.

You have to be a member of an Automobile Club (not necessarily of Alfa Romeo). The CAMS License is nothing. Its only a level 2S License which you have to fill out and hand in on the day of the race:

As I said email/call me so we can discuss futher.
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wow that looks like alot of fun. Looked like a good turnout, usually at track days u get all the heroes trying to prove themselves, and only a few laps because of it. Great stuff man. Just if u ever sell ur car, dont run the add in Unique Cars with the 47 on ur rear window

Re the RX7.....thats a japanese car yeah? laughing
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Cool Stef, I found out there's a trackday on 5th Oct in Sandown which is close to Melbourne. I might go on that one. I will contact you about how to prepare my car like I don't wanna drill a hole in cabin for fire extinguisher either. wink
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hey Stef, looking great on the track there.
did you do that thing with your CLIE that you were talking about?? would be good to see some movies...
did you feel that the 147 was capable on the track??
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Sounds like you had a time of your life on the track! The photos of your bella lowered on the track make me drool!

You look like Pro man! Wearing that Helmet!

Damn I need to take my bella onto the track and burn some rubber!

One last think Steff Your the true Jedi NoW!


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Looks like you had a fantastic experience! It's always great to see othere AR-owners having maximum (and save wink ) fun driving their Bella's . Top notch man! If only I owned my car privately, I would definitely do a track day too frown
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Sounds great. I know you'll have the time of your life on the track. So contact me anytime.


The RX7 was the latest shape version. There may have been the "Hero's" you speak of but they weren't on my groups that I ran with.


I actually do have pother MPEG's from the in-car cam (aka Sony Clie), but I can't post them.

The 147 was just brilliant on the track. Certainly looked more than a match for a few other Well Credentialed cars that ended up below me on the time sheets.

I don't believe a standard 147 will do as well as mine, since the suspension work and the brake pads really helped me a lot.

My best time of 2:09.46 was ahead of;

Peugeot 205 GTi
Nissan 200SX Turbo
Porsche 944
BMW 318Ti (this felt especially good as the driver would not let me pass, even though blue flags were waved to him in 3 consecutive corners whilst I was behind him!)
Honda Civic VTi-R
Mazda MX5

I had the time of my life man.
Its the sort of thing that's right up your alley. You should try to contact your local Alfa Club (which I think you are a member of now), and meet up for their next track day.

Maximum fun describes my feeling exactly. I found it scary as to how easy it is to get into the racing and it really showed a new side of my 147 that I don't see on day-to-day city driving.
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Steff, you are gonna get me in big, big trouble - how do I distract Shelley long enough so I can take her 147 to the track?! Sounds like a ball. One question if I may - how did the tyre wear go? My mate almost totalled a brand new set of Falken ST115s on his wrx during one track day. How did the Pirelli's hold out? Did the Alfa club touch on the W word (warranty). I've been told that Subaru Aust. have been known to use photgraphs from track days to void warranty on WRX's. I don't want to put a downer on your fun, just curious if the issue was raised. That looks like SO much fun - I'm tempted......

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Hi Steven,

You have to send Shelley on a Winery Tour or Hot Air Ballooning day. Whatever you do, just make sure she comes back so tired that she won't notice half her tire tread gone

The tyre situation is quite funny actually. My Pirelli P-Zero's were at 85% tread level at the start of the session. I suspect that they are not sitting at about 50%. Now most may think that a 25% tread wear on a A$350 tyre is a bit expensive, but you can't put a price on the sheer fun of the day.

I have decided that I will look around for some cheaper tyres (possibly Bridgestone S-03 or Goodyear F1-GSD3) before my next session.

Below you can see a pic of my front tyre:

I'm not too sure of the technical term but on the outer groove of the tyre, I had a fine layer of melted rubber coating the edge of the groove.
Other than that, it was perfect.

Good Luck with your "Get Shelley's 147 on the track" project.

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Oh....and about the "W" issue:

No one mentioned warranty, or lack thereof, to me.

I personally think you are taking certain risks with the panels of the car but that is your choice.

From a warranty perspective, you can argue that you are not pushing the car any harder than what you would normally do on the road. (ie: Taking corners fast, or Revving the engine up to 7000RPM to get the quick shifts).

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