Project GT1 Winter 2005 drive test
The work on the project has been continuing, with further upgrades and minor changes.
The engine management has now been re-mapped without Catalysts and is running very well. The lightweight rear tailgate has also been replaced with an original Factory GT1 version. This has reduced the weight a little further, but also provides larger vents to remove more heat from the engine bay. Finally, the roof panel has been reworked to improve fit and increase the flow of air to the transmission oil cooler.
In December, I managed to return to the UK and arrange to collect the car for a couple of days. The intention was to cover some miles and test the useability of the car in its current configaration.
On start-up, the first thing you notice is the noise. The exhaust note is much louder now that the CATs have been removed. The noise is even more aggressive once the boost really comes on. You can hear the clear whistle of the turbo turbine side as it starts to spool-up.
The throttle response feels much sharper and the power delivery also feels far more aggressive than before. Luckily, the weather was dry, so it was possible to enjoy the most of the engine under acceleration. Quite honestly, I am amazed at the difference without the CATs. The power now is bordering on the ridiculous for a road car and the acceleration is brutal. My engine is set for shifting, latest, a little before 7000 rpm. This works well, as the peak power is generated at approx. 6800 rpm. Acceleration up through the gears is relentless and high speed stability is extremely good given the aerodynamic modifcations. Both the suspension settings and brakes are unchanged from my last drive. The ride height is well set-up now, with no grounding on uneven and undulating road surfaces.
After covering approximately 400 miles, I have a very positive feeling for the car. Even after such a long absence, you meld with the car very quickly. It is still necessary to appreciate the additional width of the front and rear track, but there were no problems for town driving.
I can now say that the project is finally finished. The road has been long and sometimes very trying, but Mike Haines should now be credited for his creative technical innovation and excellence. My thanks go to him for creating the final incarnation of this car; A job very well done.