Monday, September 17, 2007

Maserati Event at the TT Circuit Assen

On the 8th September there was a Maserati event held at the TT Circuit Assen (Netherlands) organised by the Maserati Club International.

I was fortunate enough to receive an invite in the post a couple of days before the event and prompty re-organised my schedule to attend. I'm glad I did, since there were plenty of classic Maserati cars there to admire and I even got the opportunity to race against a few on the track!

I've posted some pictures from the event which you can view by clicking on the picture below.

Close up of Supperleggera

I also managed to capture some video footage of the cars out on the track which you can view below.

And my wife captured a bit of footage of my car driving down the start/finish straight which you can see below:

It was great to drive around the tight and twist TT circuit and gave me the opportunity to test out my car on the limit. My first lap was a warm up to get accustomed to the track and I was joined by my wife in the passenger seat. But unfortunately she only lasted one lap before politely asking to be excused since she was feeling a little motion sick... unfortunate because I'd liked her to have taken some in car video footage around the track!

With my wife out of the car, I really got to give it all around the track and found my car handled very neutrally around the bends. As I expected, the car has a high tendancy to understeer on tighter corners, but this is soon compensated with some extra throttle, upon which the car can be made to drift relatively easily and in a very predictable and controlled manner. About one third into the course is a very tight second gear corner where I nearly lost the rear end... but the skid pan training that I had a couple of years ago paid off and I was able to catch it by applying considerable opposite lock. I wish I'd caught some video footage of that!

Twice I blew off the inlet piping connection to the throttle manifold (the one on the left side) which resulted in me having to do a lap with no boost. This made me realise what a huge effect the turbo chargers have on the performance of this car... with no boost I struggled to keep up with an old Citreon that was on the track!

The second time the inlet blew off I asked an ANWB roadside assistance guy for help and he kindly replaced the clamp with a new one. He then timidly asked if he could sit in the passenger seat, so I ended up doing my final three laps with him smiling and giggling alongside me. I don't think he knew what he was getting himself into, but he certainly seemed to enjoy the experience!

I was very impressed with my Mov'it brakes. They performed extremely well with not a hint of fade. I even suspect that I was out breaking the Ghibli Open Cup and Barchetta that were also out on the track; although these cars were undoubtedly quicker on the straights and around the corners, I felt I caught them on braking, although admittedly I was getting a little too confident towards the end and found myself carrying more and more speed into the corners.

I need to do something about my front wheel arches, since around the right hand bends there was a fair amount of fouling occuring, particularly with the additional weight of a passenger. Maybe the wheel spacers I've order will sort this out?

Also, after completing my laps the engine oil pressure gauge dipped low and the warning lamp lit up. I immediately checked for leaks and measured the oil level, but both were fine. I therefore suspect that my oil got a bit too hot, which doesn't surprise me given that my car doesn't have an oil cooler like the later versions.

Driving the car on the track was a great experience and one that I'd love to repeat some time soon. However, it wrecks road tires... my fronts especially over heated and show signs of damage. If I'm to take my car on the track more often then there's a couple of ugrades that I'd invest in... an oil cooler and some stiffer suspension springs would be on the top of that list.

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