MR2 Track Car
Brands Hatch (Indy)
Brands Hatch Indy is a relatively short circuit, but flows really well. The MR2 goes really well round Brands Hatch, which is a circuit that really rewards cars that corner well (which the MR2 does!). Power isn't as important here as with some other circuits (e.g. Rockingham), so the MR2 fares well here.
The vertical G-forces you feel when you carry speed through Paddock Hill Bend and transition through the dip as you accelerate up towards Druids is just like being on a roller coaster - It needs to be experienced!
Rockingham is a fast circuit. The MR2 feels slightly under-powered at Rockingham, as it is better suited to cars with high power outputs... However, the track is great fun to drive, so I do recommend it!
However, be aware that Rockingham can be hard on tyres and brakes (due to the high speeds, hard breaking and lots of fast corners). Also, you will use a LOT of petrol here, due to being on full throttle for a large portion of the track.
Also, note that Rockingham is VERY slippery in the wet (I had a track day there when it had been raining the day before, so the track was damp first thing in the morning - I had a half-spin at the first corner (Deene), on my very first out lap, so I decided to come in a let other people dry the track out for the first half-hour.
Great Track. The MR2 goes very well round here. The two Chicanes are great fun.
Castle Combe has one of the 'scariest' corners of any UK track - Quarry - Made all the more difficult due to the approach from Avon Rise. The trick here is getting the majority of your braking done before the crest of the hill (you don't want to be heavy on the brakes whilst going over the crest, as the car will be completely unsettled.
I have seen a couple of crashes on track days at Quarry - All were caused by people trying to carry too much speed into the corner (or just out-driving their own car/skills) - The most bizarre of these involved two cars (who were at the track day together): The first carried too much speed into Quarry, outbraked himself, lost control and went straight on into the barrier, the second car then came along and pretty much followed in his tyre tracks and went straight into the back of him. Before anything says there must have been oil or something on the track, I will state that I was behind the first car and in front of the second as we were coming up to Quarry and I had no issues whatsoever getting round the corner - If I am being honest, both of them had been driving at what I would describe as 'beyond their skill level' through the day.
Only been once, and it was drizzling most of the day, so the track was slippy (I managed to get a complete 360 degree spin coming round Redgate late morning, but managed to keep it on track and pointed in the right direction, so I carried on!).
Good circuit though, and will definitely like to go back in the dry.
Oh dear, Mallory Park was just crammed!... Virtually every lap, and I do mean virtually EVERY lap, there was a "traffic jam" at the hairpin!... There were just too many cars out on the track at the one time... All day long! Those few laps that I did get a clear run around, proved that Mallory is actually technically a good track to drive - The problem was that I just couldn't get enough clear laps! :-(
I have to say, I believe that Mallory would be a good track to race at, as I can see several different potential lines through the corners that could open up some great overtaking opportunities, but as a track day circuit, from the experience that I had, I would say steer clear!... Unless you can go on a day where they severely limit the number of cars out on track - I am not sure whether I will be going back here.
Great little track. Tends to run sessions (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Drift... Yes, that's correct, drift!).
Things I have done to the car since getting it:
Lots of Stickers
Just see the Pics! ... Every one adds more BHP, and improves my personal driving skills, I am sure of it!!
- Carpets & Interior Trim
- Door Cards
- Transmission Tunnel Trim
- Boot Liner
- Frunk Liner
- Sound Deadening from Engine Compartment
- Stereo & Speakers
- Sunroof (see below)
- Braided Brake Lines;
The car still had the original rubber brake lines fitted. Whilst the braked still felt good, these were starting to look a little 'old', and I didn't want to risk them deteriorating and effecting brake feel/performance, so I decided it was best to change these to braided lines (this is a highly recommended mod for track use, as it can help to reduce the chances of any spongy brake feel from old rubber brake lines - the steel braiding effectively stops the rubber hose from expanding when under pressure, meaning all the braking force goes straight to the pistons in the calipers).
- New Discs (MTEC grooved);
For the brake discs, I was torn between getting plain OEM discs or grooved (a lot of people suggest plain discs are good/best, but I wanted to try grooved discs, as I liked the idea that the grooves would assist in keeping the pads in good shape and possibly assist braking performance (although the benefits of grooved discs are questioned by some). Since fitting these, the brakes have felt fine - I can't say they are any better than the OEM plain discs I had on before, but they are certainly no worse and I have not (as yet, at least) noticed any adverse effects.
- EBC Yellowstuff Pads;
I have been using Yellow Stuff pads since I got the car (they were one of the first things I changed. I like them, they feel good, offer great performance, last quite well and they don't cost too much. I have contemplated trying some Carbotech XP8's (which are generally very highly rated), but they are a lot more expensive and given that I don't feel the Yellowstuff pads are underperforming in any way, I just don't feel that more expensive pads are worth it for a track day car (A race car, perhaps, where every 10th counts, but not, in my personal opinion, for a track day car).
- Refurbished Calipers (Standard Rev 3 calipers);
Standard Rev 3 calipers offer plenty of stopping performance for the car (especially with some of the weight loss), so no need to spend loads to upgrade.
- Motul RBF600 Brake fluid.
The Motul RBF600 brake fluid is is a DOT 4 fluid, which has been designed specifically for race/track use, so has a very high boiling point, meaning significantly reduced risk of brake fade on track. Motul also do a RBF660 fluid, which has a higher 'dry' boiling point, but a lower 'wet' boiling point, and as I am not planning to change the fluid for every track day, I opted for the RBF600, as this should, in theory, last a bit longer between changes. I have not had any issues with brake fade since switching to RBF600.
Brake Fluid Boiling Point Comparisons:
- Motul RBF600:
- 'Dry' boiling point = 312 degrees C
- 'Wet' boiling point = 216 degrees C
- Motul RBF660:
- 'Dry' boiling point = 325 degrees C
- 'Wet' boiling point = 204 degrees C
- Standard DOT 4:
- 'Dry' boiling point = 230 degrees C
- 'Wet' boiling point = 155 degrees C
- Standard DOT 5.1:
- 'Dry' boiling point = 260 degrees C
- 'Wet' boiling point = 180 degrees C
Toyo R888 tyres front and back, in standard sizes, on the standard 15" rims:
- 195/55/15 Front
- 225/50/15 Rear
K&N 57i Induction Kit
K&N 57i Induction kit fitted - what a brilliant difference - in sound more so than performance. Well worth the investment, and it is just shocking how restrictive the stock air box is - and how much of it there is!!... You can see in the picture all the space around the induction kit - ALL of that space was taken up with the standard air filter boxes. So, removing all that has also resulted in a benefit from a little bit of extra weight loss too :-)
And, just for comparison, a before pic:
Sunroof Blanking Plate
I removed the (heavy) glass sunroof with a home-made alu blanking plate - _ got a sheet of aluminium big enough to cover the hole, cut it to size and sprayed it to match the car (came out a slightly darker shade, but I blame my rather questionable spray painting skills!). Finally riveted it into place, using sealant between the plate and the roof.
Smaller Steering Wheel & Quick-Release Boss
The Standard steering wheel, whilst great in the road car, is just a bit too big when on track, so I fitted a smaller wheel - I took the opportunity to fit it with a Sparco quick-release boss.
4-Point Race harnesses for both Driver & Passenger. Helps keep you planted in the seats under the extreme g-forces of track driving. They actually work well with the standard car seats... Although a pair of race seats is on the wish list!
Tein s.Tech Sports Lowering Springs
Dropped the car nicely by 38mm all-round.
Nothing too special, just a smaller battery than standard - The car isn't being used on the road anymore and the stereo etc has all been removed, so little stress on the battery. Is a small weight saving, but every little helps.
Fitted a Japspeed exhaust whilst I was still driving the car on the road - Only used it for one track day (an unlimited noise day at Rockingham) - It is VERY loud - measures around 115 dBA, which is way too loud for the vast majority of track days. I have since removed it from the car, replaced by a much quieter performance exhaust (which measures around 90 dBA).
Getting the original exhaust off was "fun", as the bolts were well and truly rusted through and the only way to get them off was with the use of a dremel!!
The Alternator gave up the ghost - I started the car after it had sat for a few months and there was a terrible screeching sound followed by a 'bang'!... Turns out that the alternator had seized solid and the belt had failed to get it moving so ended up rubbing (the screeching sound), melting, then snapping (the 'bang').
It was a bit of a pain getting the old alternator off, as it seems that I may have enthusiastically over-tightened the old pivot bolt after the problems I had with a loose bolt previously. oops!... I ended up undoing a few of the engine mounting bolts to drop the engine down an inch or two to get clear access to the pivot bolt, which eventually came off with a little persuasion. This meant that I needed to get a new pivot bolt too.
Now, for anyone who has tried to replace the alternator on an MR2, they will know that getting the thing out of the engine bay can prove to be a bit of a nightmare, as there is simply not enough room anywhere around the engine to get it out! What we ended up doing was using a long breaker bar to prise and rock the engine towards the front of the car, whilst pulling and twisting the alternator up through the slightly enlarged gap - This actually worked a treat, and for anyone else struggling with getting an old alternator out, I would recommend at least giving this method a try, as it beats dropping the sub-frame and disconnecting the exhaust, or any other such gubbins.
The new Alternator was dropped into place past the engine using the same prising / rocking method... One slight booboo that I made was in not disconnecting the battery again before dropping the new alternator in (I had reconnected the battery to drive the car out of the garage to fit the new alternator, but forgot to disconnect it again!)... So, as the new alternator dropped in, sod's law, it of course landed right on top of the live cable, which proceeded to set off a mini spark display! This made me jump out of my skin, but thankfully nothing was damaged - So, the lesson here folks is remember to keep the battery disconnected when you are replacing the alternator!
Titanium Bolt! :-)
So, I bought my very first TITANIUM bolt for the car!! Now, this was just a whim and nothing more (It is being used to hold the new alternator in place)..
Never having held a titanium bolt before, it was a bizarre feeling holding the old steel bolt in one hand and the new titanium bolt in the other and feeling the significant weight difference between the two!... My mind wandered for a minute thinking about how much weight I could save if I replaced every bolt on the car with new Titanium ones and indeed what else I could replace with a titanium component... then it's back to reality - I won't be doing that!!
Clear Front & Side Indicators
Easy and cheap mod - Improves the look of the car.
My Track Day Journey Started When I Bought an MR2 as a Track Day Car!
I have always liked the Mk2 MR2's, but never got round to owning one... so, when the opportunity arose to buy a track car, first choice was an MR2.
I got a 1995, 'M Reg', Rev3, Mk2, UK model, Coupe. It comes with the revised suspension geometry to (...supposedly!) reduce snap-oversteer which the Rev1 got some bad press for, larger brakes (much better for track work than the Rev1's smaller brakes), and slightly larger wheels / wider tyres.
When I got the car, I put together a list of possible mods to make it more track focussed:
- Weight loss - Driver on a diet! ;)
- Weight loss (strip out all the gubbins that really isn't needed in a track car, like carpets, etc)
- Uprated brake pads (when the current pads need to be replaced)
- Track tyres - Get some decent sticky rubber
- Harnesses (Was going to see how I get on with the standard seatbelts, but decent 4-point harnesses are cheap enough if I felt the extra support would be worth it)
- Induction kit (to free up some noise and possibly an extra HP or two)
- ... Then see how it goes from there... Perhaps some other mods too :-)
Here are a couple of pics of the car is stock form...