Well, after 3 years of doing it my Mazda MX5, I finally did my first Sprint in the Alfa. It was a cold, wet and horrible day and because of the dicey handling of the Alfa so far in the wet I was a bit worried. Luckily that week I had swapped the 17Ē Fulda tyres for some Goodyear F1s (205 front/225 rear) and on the drive up the car seemed a lot better.
Went through scrutiny OK and then onto sound testing, I knew with the system I had on it that the car was loud, but it was 96DB at 4000 RPM, a lot higher than I expected, but under the limit.
Nutts Corner is a very small, twisty track, more of a go-kart track really.
First couple of runs I really was being very careful and not pushing the car too hard, but I got faster as the day progressed. Down the bottom section the car felt fantastic and I felt right at home in it, and was soon doing little drifts like I do in the Mazda on the cooling down lap. The main problem with the car is the little chicane that is halfway up the left side, just after the finish line. The car to be honest was a dog through there, I was having problems stopping it in time, it was wobbly under braking and the lack of a quick rack really caused problems getting around the tightest bit.
I also managed on my 4th session to end up in the gravel trap. Basically, came to my usual Mazda braking point, change down to second gear the same I did in the Mazda, then released the clutch at the same point that I always did in the Mazda....
However, since I was in the Alfa, not the Mazda the back wheels locked up and pitched me into a 360 spin. If I hadnít of run out of road I actually could have pulled the spin off and kept going in the right direction, but unfortunately it was before a corner and I ran out of tarmac
Toad, can you teach me how to heel and toe?
The marshal also called me a fecking idiot as he ran past, Iím sure they must be something in the MSA Rules about insulting drivers
Times wise, the car was only slightly faster than the MX5 even though it's 70BHP up on it, but I hope that really that because of the rain and lack of experience. If it was dry I reckon I could have carried a lot of speed down the straight, but always lifted off before the kink. Probably a good idea as a carís back end went out at the kink, dug into the grass and he rolled 4 or 5 times.
So basically, so far Iím very happy with the car, the problems I found with it (!!!! brakes, too much lock to lock, heavy, boot full of water
) can all be fixed and I reckon over time it will be quite a lot faster. Thinking of dumping the Koni's as well (money permitting) for the Ebspares shocks (Bilstiens??)
Next sprint is Kirkistown, which is a lot faster and longer and if itís dry I suspect it will give a better picture of the carís full potential, so Iím really looking forward to it.
Oh, and I used £5 of petrol for 10 miles of track driving!!!!
Hereís a wee video of the Alfa in action, Iím afraid nothing exciting happens in it, but it gives you an idea of the track and how it goes.