I was able to get down to Colerne a week or so back to do a track day in my GTV Cup. As there is often a lot of talk about what is good and bad about our cars, from a performance perspective, I thought I would share some thoughts based on how the car performed on the day.
Colerne is a fairly tight circuit, the main straight isn't that long but there are plenty of right and left corners and lots of hard braking! Overall I thought the GTV performed very well! In our group alone we had an E36 M3, a Honda S2000, an MR2 Turbo and a chipped Audi S3, so comparisons were quite easy to make. The headline is that the Alfa surprised most of the other owners who thought its relative weight and front wheel drive chassis would make it suffer, overall, it didn't, it more than held it’s own amongst the other cars!
What was the cars biggest strength?
This would be a toss up between the engines torque / power and the cars overall balance. Out of the bends and on the straights it held its own fantastically well, very few things could out drag it proving that it's in gear acceleration is in fact very good. I was also impressed at how balanced it generally felt. It was easy to push the car and feel safe, it probably allowed me to get more out of it than say the S2000 which was a touch 'livelier'.
The biggest area for improvement?
Getting the power down out of the bends! Chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp... the tires squealed for mercy out of the hairpin, a Q2 LSD would definitely be the first place I would invest to improve the car and I'm considering this before I do another track day.
What were the brakes like?
The brakes get a lot of stick on the GTV V6 which always surprised me because the Brembo callipers are huge pieces of kit! I had fitted Ferodo DS2500 pads all round and fresh 5.1 fluid and for me they were more than up for the task. There was no fade at all and I was more than capable of scrubbing off speed at an aggressive rate. Perhaps the OE pads are poor, but with the DS2500's the brakes felt great for me.
Could you have used more power?
Perhaps, but as I said above, the car was NOT slow in a straight line! A simple re-map to improve the mid-range torque a little would no doubt help, but I certainly wouldn't recommend spending thousands chasing maybe 10-20BHP... I honestly don't think it would dramatically alter a real on track lap time.
What was the suspension like?
Pretty good. If you were building an out and out track machine no doubt there would be benefit in getting it a bit firmer but everyone commented on how flat the car cornered which they were surprised about! Also, having some balance was greatly appreciated as I drove home in comfort at the end of the day! I bet the Caterham’s would have appreciated that!
What tyres did you run?
Goodyear Eagle F1's all round... these seemed great for me. It was a dry day and they stuck really well. They did wear quickly though, the fronts took a real pounding! Out of context a bit they are quite noisy on the road but if anyone complains about the performance of these on the track then they must have been pushing it a hell of a lot more that I was! Or their technique is poor… I will probably stick with these in the future.
Weight! If you're serious about making your GTV quick it needs to go on a diet. For a car that fully loaded weights over 1.5 tons I thought it was absolutely great, but there is no doubt shedding as much weight as possible would have dramatically improved the lap times.
In summary, I would recommend:
I wouldn't personally bother with:
- Ferodo DS2500 pads & dot 5.1 fluid
- ECU re-map
- Q2 Limited Slip Differential
- Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres
- ...and as an extreme... adjustable shock absorbers...
- Larger brake upgrades
- Major suspension changes
- Expensive BHP increases
Just a few thoughts... hope they are of interest! There are some pictures of the cars in action, including the Cup, here:
MSE Colerne 18th April 2009