Nippon Challenge Track Day at Silverstone

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Silverstone saw the official launch of the Nippon Challenge at a track day held on a very wet and blustry Sunday. The track was covered in areas of standing water and everyone was nervous about the prospect of going out for the first time. Richard pumped up the pressure in Karen's tyres to try and ensure the modest grooves dispelled some water at least!


Image copyright Sarah Wherry, used with kind permission

Karen pronounced the car very twitchy, which was hardly surprising. The other MR2 drivers were trying out the new Toyo R888 tyres for their racing and were having the same trouble. At one point Karen had to go off what might laughably be called the drier line to avoid an MX5 and ended up spinning at Copse.


Image copyright Sarah Wherry, used with kind permission

It seems the Yokohama A048R tyres on Karen's car are high maintenance, needing a careful eye on their pressure to ensure heat and grip in changing conditions. The original high pressures meant less grip as the track dried even slightly. Reducing the pressure improved things marginally.


Image copyright Sarah Wherry, used with kind permission

At the very end of the day, Richard took the car out for a spin and was lucky to enjoy the track as dry as it had been all day with a very definite dry line and more heat in the tyres produced great grip. He shared the track with a monster ex-Japanese Touring Car R32 Skyline GTR. See the video below:



Despite the conditions, incidents were very low in number and everyone seemed to have a good time. A big thank you to Steve Vince for organising the day for the Nippon Challenge and MR2 Racing groups, and providing a lovely hot lunch as well!


And Breathe…

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Richard only had time to complete a small task on the car this weekend. He cut down the length of an elbow piece of 70mm silicon hosing and created an aluminium bracket to fix the air filter in place. All that now remains is to drill a couple of holes in the boot floor through which to bolt the bracket and to spray the boot interior white. Everything can then be assembled to complete the new induction kit. This will receive plenty of cool fresh air thanks to the vent in the side of the quarter panel and new vents in the rear panel which will draw the air over the filter cone.


Can’t Stop the Rock!

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Sunday 24th March saw Karen and Richard attend a track day at Rockingham. This was driving the International Long Circuit configuration which Karen will be racing on in June. Karen was driving her naturally aspirated ex-MR2 Challenge car, but was using the 15” wheels and Yokohama A048R tyres from the Supercharger to get a feel for them.


Image copyright Richard Senter

Grip from the tyres (a least in the dry) is prodigious, allowing higher cornering speeds and fantastic braking even with standard discs and calipers using the Carbotech XP8 pads. This obviously bodes well for the Supercharger which will be a lighter car in race trim.


Image copyright Richard Senter

It was great to share the day with some friendly faces in the form of Garrick, Jo and Tom. Garrick and Jo were working for Bookatrack on the day, and Tom had come along to say hello and enjoy some passenger rides.


Image copyright Richard Senter

Richard had a couple of sessions in the driving seat which he thoroughly enjoyed, but most of the time was given over to Karen to get to grips with the circuit. She also had a brilliant day and enjoyed some tussles with various cars including other MR2s, a Prodrive fettled Aston Martin Vantage V8, Mitsubishi EVOs and Lancers, and a Mazda RX7 which it turned out had about 400bhp!


Image copyright Richard Senter

Other notable attendees at the event were Dixon Cheng in his Honda Integra and the Buddy Club Integra. Both are due to take part in the Nippon Challenge and they looked phenomenally quick around the tight infield and out across the banked oval sections.


About Karen Phillips

  • Karen races her Impreza WRX in the Nippon Challenge, a race series for Japanese and Asian cars. Karen has now been racing since 2006, having started in the MR2 Challenge.
  • Please check this site regularly for updates on Karen's progress through the season and developments with her race car.

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