Sunday, 19 May 2013

CKC/Omex Llandow Track Day 2013

On the 18th May I attended the CKC/Omex Track Day at the Llandow Circuit in Wales.  The trip started when I set off on the Friday afternoon, with the passenger seat fully loaded for a night's camping.  I took the cross country route out west, along the A4.  There were a few good sections of road, but on the whole it was disappointing and very slow, in a large part due to school run traffic and people heading off early for the weekend.  I'll know next time.

To break the journey I stopped at the Castle Combe Circuit and took a quick look around:

Then onward to the overnight stop at Llandow Caravan Park.  This is literally the other side of the fence from Llandow Circuit - good for an overnight before and/or after a track day, maybe not so good for a quiet getaway!  There were some others staying at the site whom were attending the track day the next day, so there was some like-minded company.

The weather the week before had been pretty wet and I nearly cancelled the trip.  However, I'm glad I didn't as I woke to a sunny dawn, with clear blue skies.  A stiff breeze coming from the sea to the south, but that didn't matter.  The gamble had paid off.

After breakfast those drivers staying at the camp site drove the very short distance to the circuit next door.  Beats a long motorway drive any day.  After the usual safety briefing and admin formalities we were out on the track.

Llandow is not a big circuit, but it certainly has enough to keep you entertained: a couple of long straights, fast bends, chicanes and a bus stop just after the pit exit.  The circuit is quite taxing on brakes, particularly the deceleration at the end of the main straight into the bus stop.  Here you are slowing from 100+ mph to around 30 mph in a very short distance.  Then with a short lap before the next big deceleration there is little time for the brakes to cool, at least on a set up such as mine with solid disks up front.  There was a noticeable degradation in braking ability after five or six laps.  This coincided nicely with rest stops anyway.

The majority of the other cars there were of higher spec: more highly tuned engines and semi or full slicks.  There did not seem too much difference on the straights, but I did fail to keep up on the bends.  My Toyo T1-Rs will be replaced next time with something a bit more grippy.  Maybe not R888's, but at least R1-Rs.

Here are some of the free pictures that were included in the entry fee:

I had a really enjoyable day and learnt some more about the car's handling and hopefully improved my technique as well.  I will definitely try to make the event in 2014.  Fingers crossed for another dry, bright day.

As I wanted to get home as quickly as possible I used the M4 for the return route.  I stopped at the services next to the old Severn bridge for fuel.  When leaving there is a short downhill section to a roundabout.  It was here, under heavy braking, that I noticed the brakes fade quite a bit.  For the rest of the trip I took it very carefully.  I think, whilst on circuit, the heat generated in the front calipers may have boiled the brake fluid.  I had standard DOT4 fluid in there.  The week after the trip I replaced it with the much higher spec DOT5.1 fluid.  I've had no problems since, but it would be interesting to see if this fluid could withstand the rigors of a full track day.

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