12 August 1999
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I have a video of some events run by the Owners Club and Trax99 is included - available now!
|Heralded as "The ultimate car club event", Trax 99, was held at Britain's most famous curcuit, Silverstone. Every year the number of car clubs (and branches) in attendance at TRAX has risen dramatically making the event the best one-day car club track event.|
The Mitsubishi FTO owners club made Trax'99 our national club day and we were there in force with a very impressive display of nearly 30 cars. Some of us took the sprint tests and circuit rides, but for those of us who were involved with running our cars on the track it was a moment to remember forever. Below you can download some AVI files of the track events.
|Thanks to Rip for these in-car stills|
|This view from Rip's in-car camera is showing a black FTO entering Farm hairpin with Rip chasing||Parking up in the Padock area behind the pits after Rip's first track session|
|This is me overtaking Rip between Copse and Maggotts. I managed to get a good slingshot out of Copse corner at the end of the start/finish straight||. Here we are approaching the left-hander of Maggotts which is a fast left-right-left leading into Becketts|
|This is my FTO taken by one of the many professionals there on the day...||...and this is Rip. Note the 18" alloys.|
|Please click an image to download an AVI file!|
|840k - Starting the session with 3 FTO's out at once||562k - Tyre-screeching-tastic. This improved MPeG file shows me giving it some round the Priory/Luffield complex|
|(removed) Rip takes a longer line round the complex and comes back across infront of me||246k - A red FTO taking on the Complex|
|162k - A black FTO on the complex||
330k - Another view of the same car
|620k - This white FTO had one serious Daytona Du-Catro body kit - and was very quick around the track!||649k - End of the session - driving back into the holding area|
These pics were snapped by a Redline magazine photographer and show Rip spinning at Copse. The story was that he'd entered Copse far too quickly and lost it half way through the corner. Luckily, no damage was done and he was able to drive away with everything but his pride :)
Silverstone estate: 800 acres
Average width: 15m
Track surface: Prixmat - stone mastic asphalt
Length of main straights:
Pits straight: 420.90m
Hanger straight: 738.28m
Abbey straight: 479.10m
Farm straight: 200.39m
Safety features: wide run-off areas, Gravel beds - tyre walls - guard rail- safety walls - debris fencing
Average height of spectator banking: 4m
Permanent grandstand capacity: Pits and Woodcote, 9,000. Stowe 4,000
Temporary stand capacity: 33,000
Total spectator capacity: 90,000
Public address speakers: 480
Hospitality suites: 77 suites with private car parking
Industrial units: 44 units all connected with motorsport including Formula 3000, Formula 3 and Touring Car teams.
Grand Prix Circuit: 3.214 miles
National Circuit: 1.651 miles
International Circuit: 2.268 miles
Historic Grand Prix Circuit: 3.186 miles
Southern Circuit: 1.981 miles
Stowe Circuit: 0.625 miles
The sun had just risen over the heart of damp and cold Northamptonshire countryside when I arrived at Silverstone. It was quite busy even at that unsociable time of day. Countless Novas, Orions and a yellow Porsche were queuing at the west entrance to what is arguably the most famous racing circuit in the world. Brabham, Hill, Clark and many other heroes of racing have all made their mark on the circuit over the years and many more will follow in their footsteps. I cannot describe the overwhelming feeling I got when I saw first hand the images that are normally only seen on television. As I drove past the empty Grandstands, they echoed eerily with a silent but deafening roar of an invisible crowd. A chill passed through me as I drove over the famous bridge on Bridge Corner and as I entered the Paddock area, trepidation loomed knowing that Ferrari, Lotus and countless other great names had treaded this very same tarmac.
The FTO Owners Club had a premiere stand directly behind the start/finish line. Spaces for nearly 30 cars started to fill sporadically and as usual with our rallies, there was a mixed bag of cars; some modified, some standard. From black to white, they all stood together which made an intense sight. There was the opportunity for an early circuit ride, which some people took up. The rides were exceptional! The amount of speed that could be carried through corners by the professional drivers in the course cars was simply unbelievable! Speeds of up to 120mph were common past the start/finish line and tortured tyres could be heard all the way around the track as the white Vectras thundered their passengers around the International circuit.
A number of us had track time with the majority having just the one session and a couple of people having two or three. The first time we went out on the track was a fairly sedate affair for the first couple of minutes anyway. In the briefing we were told about overtaking, i.e. indicate and let the faster car pass on the left hand side. Instruction was also given not to overtake on corners. When I joined the track I was fairly well down the order as the scrutineers delayed me, insisting that I remove the in-car camera for safety reasons. I was among a slow but tidy pack of cars following in single file around the track. After I'd completed my first lap we were still in an ordered procession. When we passed the start/finish line and gearing up for Copse Corner, I saw a dust cloud in my mirror. It was gaining FAST. Around a half-dozen Cosworths shot past all of us. I thought "Sod this for a game of soldiers" and nailed it! Until that time I had not let the FTO loose on a circuit and I can tell you that I'll remember the next few laps forever. The FTO is billed as having excellent handling characteristics, but I didn't realise that it would be that good. Under cornering the handling was very neutral but I could make it oversteer or understeer just with the throttle. When it did go into under/over steer it was entirely predictable and controllable and at no time did I feel out of my depth. It was just pure magic.
The second session was quicker due to an increase in confidence and track knowledge. The only cars to overtake me on this session would be a modified Cozzie and an Impreza and those eight laps were fast and furious. Over the start/finish line and into Copse in 3rd gear, I accelerated hard through the apex and let it run wide into the quick left-right of Maggots. Braking as late as possible into Becketts and then into the straight enabled me to carry through as much speed as possible. 150 yards off Farm corner saw me braking hard, the non-ABS brakes hauling the speed from 115 to 30mph and around Farm before accelerating under the famous bridge into Bridge Corner. Priory and the Luffield Complex are directly in front of the main grandstands and were perhaps the most dramatic, as the slowest corner on the track is Luffield. My tyres screeched around the entire Complex as the crowd cheered on, all the way to the start/finish again. The eight laps that I got out of this session were easily the best and will never be forgotten.
The whole day was very long for me, but it was worth it. The UK FTO Owners Club won 3rd best club stand out of the 88+ clubs present. This was a great achievement and could not have been done without all of your support. The organisation on behalf of the Trax team was perfect. They managed to organise over 12,500 people, 700 track sessions, the sprint tests and everything else! Thanks to all who attended, and those who didn't - you missed one great day and we look forward to seeing you next year at Trax 2000! A small selection of movies from the track sessions can be downloaded from http://www.mivec.co.uk/fto (in the RALLY INFO section). Thanks, Dave Wilson
Visit the Links section and look for the FTO Owners Club Resource to see some more rally photos