The GTD Car Club track day was the first I attended in my newly registered GTD40. I met up with Roy Snook at his house and we proceeded in convoy to Goodwood. We arrived without mishap and I joined the drivers briefing as I had decided to take the car on the track. The purpose was originally to shake down the car and setup the suspension - but in practice it proved to be just a few bursts around the circuit.
Part of the bind with track days is needing to pass the noise tests. In fact with its very mild engine my 40 was amazingly quiet compared to other cars, so much so that the scrutineer asked what was under the bonnet - he probably thought it was an electric motor!
Everything was new to me and I certainly was carried away with the impression I was driving a large kart. However it was hugely enjoyable and I would have got full value except for the two problems I encountered.
Firstly, I had not solved the battery charging problem which I had at SVA and so the car failed to start without assistance each time. Roy kindly lent me his battery for the track time but at the lunchtime parade of cars I needed a jump start - embarrassing or what! (Back home I traced this fault to a blown fuse in the battery supply circuit to the alternator.)
The second problem was more worrying. A session was for 5 laps but each time I only completed 2 or 3 as I heard a tapping noise coming from the engine bay (no it wasn't Kenneth Williams - a joke for older readers!). I think the name of the corner which caused the problem is Lavant which is a double apex and relatively sharp second corner. After discussing the noise with various members we thought it might be a noisy lifter and I decided discretion was the better part of valour and waited for the journey home. In fact the drive back was fine, although for some unexplained reason the car failed to restart after a short stop at Roy's - some fiddling with the coil circuitry brought it back to life.
I was quite despondent afterwards, believing that I'd over-revved the engine and caused some dreadful failure but when listening closely to the sound eventually realised it was an exhaust leak on one of the headers. I then found a crease/dent in the outside header on the passenger side and concluded that the suspension trailing arm had clouted the pipe bending the flange away from the head. Under hard cornering the engine (having steel heads and manifold) does lean over considerably on its mountings. When standing above the car it was clear that the nearside pipe was protruding much further than the equivalent offside pipe. I pointed the problem out to the manufacturers (Tony Law of Leeds) who, despite denying any manufacturing error, made me a new pipe. This solved the problem to the present day (although I have to admit I haven't done another track day yet).
All in all a very enjoyable event and despite the somewhat inevitable teething problems, I was not too disappointed with the performance of my 40 given it was a completely standard 289 build.