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17 May 2009

Topcats race experience 2

I like these. There is nowhere else in the world that you can get in a full on race car and give it the beans on a GP track within minutes. Add to that the fact that they aren’t just regular cars but a Race TVR Tuscan and TVR Sagaris GT prepared by one of the most successful TVR race teams ever…what’s not to like!

We did one of these days a couple of years ago and I felt that another visit was long overdue, so a quick call to Charlotte and Warren and it was sorted. Silverstone GP in May. The day filled pretty quickly with a couple of reserves, which I was pleased with as it shows that interest in TVRs and Racing is still high.

As the day approached rain was forecast. Lots of it. Now rain doesn’t bother me in fact I like it, but when it comes to someone driving a full on race car for the first time…rain would be quite daunting. Fortune favours the brave however as there was rain before and after but our day stayed clear. Thank you God.

As this was a bit of an experiment, we had more people than usual to bring the price down and make it more accessible. To compensate, the sessions were longer so you still got 1-1/2 hours in the car along with some hot laps at the end (for the brave) with the race instructors. Both guys were very experienced and very fast so everyone found out what the cars can really do. A few stoppages in the morning courtesy of some of the other less well prepared cars on track, but the afternoon went flawlessly with everyone getting loads of clear time on what was a very quiet Silverstone GP circuit.

Comments were very complimentary. Topcats run a very friendly day and are well known and respected by the Trackday Organisers, so that side of it went by un-noticed until the end of the day. I guess this is the biggest compliment I can pay them. It was all about the cars and everyone had their favourite.

The two cars are both Tuscan Challenge cars. One remains an unmolested AJP8 car, the other has had a Facory light-weight Sagaris GT body conversion over its AJP8 chassis. Essentially the same, they couldn’t be more different to drive. The Tuscan is open and airy and moves around quite a bit as all Challenge cars do. The Sagaris is enclosed and makes full use of its aero package and so drives like its on rails. The guys loved comparing the two, swapping favourites over the course of the day as they got to grips with the cars and the circuit. I think the Tuscan came out on top overall, probably because it is closer to the road cars that the guys have “Tracked” previously, but also possibly because it can be quite un-nerving taking corners that fast in a (Sagaris) car that stays so flat. To get the best from it would take some very strong nerves.

So, thanks to everyone that came along and supported the day, and special thanks to Topcats racing. Always great to deal with and consummate professionals, I can’t think of a better way of spending a cloudy May day. You may not be aware that they do Race and Trackday preparation as well as Servicing across the range of TVRs, Marcos’ and pretty much any sports car you may have. After all, if you based near Aylesbury, who better to look after your TVR than a race team who have 15 years of experience running theirs flat out for 2, 4, 6 even 24hours at a time in endurance races around Europe!

What a great day out!
see our last outing here with video and gallery

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