By now we're around March time 2016, the car had over 1000 miles on the new setup so I booked my first trackday/shakedown in over 6 years! I booked Blyton park as it's a local track to me and pretty simple as I knew I was going to be rusty!
There was however one job left to do before the trackday......fit the oil cooler!
I had put this job off all winter because basically I didn't know what I was going to do from a space point of view. I had bought a 25 row cooler which once it arrived looked huge lol. So with the help of one of the mates simon (now schuband autoworks, this was before starting his own business) we set about making some ally brackets to hold the cooler on the left hand side of the engine bay, where the A/C rad would have been. It was a super tight fit but it went in (lol). I then nipped down to the local hydraulics company to get some fittings and made the pipes up at work. Fitted everything up with p-clips and a mocal thermo plate and hey presto, we had an oil cooler system!
It was time for the trackday! I've gotta say, I was nervous. With the car basically having had a major overhaul since the last time I hit the track, and double the power I took it steady and only run wastegate spring pressure (0.8bar) in the morning.
Pretty soon I found a problem, my plastic braided breather pipes above the manifold had melted! Now they had been fine on the road for 6 months but I guess the heat produced on track was another level. I had to sort this issue there and then, unbelievably no one had any exhaust wrap (including myself!) Suddenly I had an idea.....so off to the canteen I popped for some tin foil! This bodge (awesome repair lol) worked a treat and I had no issues the rest of the day! The car ran perfectly from then on and I even turned the power up to 1.3bar.
To say I was pleased was an understatement, I was extatic!
I've honestly thought about it! Work has offices in the UK and have thought about transferring on some sort of work visa before. I've always wanted to visit the UK, if not for the trip I'd definitely visit for the car scene.
4 weeks after Cadwell our baby boy arrived, 2 weeks early lol! The car took a back seat for the next couple of months, but it didn't stop me buying a few little things haha!
I dropped on a set of immaculate Enkie RPF1 in 16x7 ET43, just the right size to fit nicely! As soon as they came I got them on, checked the pressures and went for a spin. Obviously I did a 'big pull' and at the top of 4th was met with one hell of a bang and then the steering wheel was like trying to fire an uzi one handed! I stopped in a lay by to inspect the damage, one of the tyres had developed a huge egg on the inside! I limped the car home slowly as I was only round the corner from my house.....lesson learned, don't trust s**t tyres! The next day I ordered some AD08R'S for them in 215/45/16 for the front and 205/45/16 for the the rear, got these on ASAP!
I had been concerned with my breather pipes melting so I had been researching the best way to evacuate heat from the engine bay. Contrary to most people's belief's raising the bonnet at the rear doesn't help as this is a high pressure zone, so heat would be forced back in to the engine bay (why do you think manufacturers put the demister inlets there). The best way to get it out is with a raised vent so air can flow over the top and 'suck' the heat out as it passes over. Now I really didn't want to chop my oem bonnet up but I do have a spare so was thinking of making one at work, but then I saw a fiberworx item on Neil Wren's time attack civic and liked the look of it. After a conversation with Alex at fiberworx the bonnet was ordered!
The bonnet arrived in primer so I got straight on with fitting it, it didn't fit bad actually but I wasn't happy with the oem bonnet catch just holding the bonnet down, especially with it just being into fiberglass so I ordered some aerocatches.
When they came I popped over to simons (schuband) and let him fit them, he's a very skilled coach builder by trade who I've worked with all my life, I on the other hand am a coach/bus mechanic so it wouldn't have been pretty if I'd have done it lol! He fitted them perfectly.
The bonnet got fitted unpainted as I had another trackday looming at Rockingham raceway and I just couldn't get it painted in time.
The day arrived, loaded the car up with a spare set of wheels, 3 20L jerry cans and tools as Rockingham is around 1 1/2hrs drive for me so I needed spares....just incase lol. Upon arrival I was pleased to find out my friend who I was doing the trackday with had booked a pit garage! In the briefing we were notified that too many people had booked on......so we were doing the longest circuit with nearly half the oval in, not a bad problem to have lol.
Once again the car ran perfectly all day! The bonnet worked brilliantly, temps were even lower all round which was exactly what I wanted, so much so that when pulling in pit lane and opening the bonnet I could easily put my hand on the valve cover where as before it would be damn hot!
Had a play with the suspension as the transition from the infield to oval was quite a harsh bump so to speak. Only other thing I did was put more fuel in, brilliant day once again!
So after doing 3 trackdays I thought the standard seats were good but not as good as a proper bucket. I looked around at various seats and set my heart on some Recaro SPG's, unfortunately they are so expensive new I just couldn't justify ordering 2 brand new ones. On the off chance I dropped Nicole a message to see if she considered selling her pair of red ones, as luck would have it she had bought some black ones and was on her way up North later that week to pick them up! We struck a deal, I met her in a service station and picked up my new seats.
Now they looked very clean when I picked them up but I've seen all this hype about woolite so I thought I'd give it a go. The dirt that came out was unreal, and they literally looked brand new once finished!
I also needed another harness so obviously I wanted a Takata (jdm yo), I happened to find an old mph version for sale, brand new from Funky Power that was super cheap as it only had 3 years cert left, so I bought it.
Onto seat rails, looked at Tegiwa, Buddyclub and M2 ones and come to the decision that they all look the same apart from a sticker on the side lol. I got some M2 ones from a vendor on here for the right price.
Fitted the seats and they felt so nice! Lower and a hell of a lot lighter than the stock ones. The sabelt harness was moved to the passenger seat and the Takata fitted in the drivers side. Now up until this point I had always ran a full interior, but with the harnesses needing to utilise the rear seat belt anchor points the rear seats came out. The rear and front seats now reside in my loft lol.