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chilled
16-05-2009, 09:12 PM
Pics to come later, but here's part one:

Friday was the Alfa 75 stage 3, which is the 3.0 V6, 200bhp (more like 190) stripped out on R888. The car is not exactly what you'd call civilised. However that really isn;t the point. From the inside it certainly feels and sounds the part.
The V6 engine is sonourous and the throttle response is what you'd want from a naturally aspirated V6. Now to the worst part of the car. Some of you may have read Dale's question about "can you double declutch" I thought H+T would be sufficient, but I was wrong. You really do need to DDC. Upshifts are easy enough but try approaching
Aremberg in an unfamiliar car, and needing to use all three pedals at once. Not the easiest thing I've ever done. I have to say by the end of the day, maybe exacerbated by the rain, I was pretty much just using 3rd and 4th for the entire track.
The car smells a bit. But that's just part of the charm. The seat is a good race bucket, the 4 point harnesses caused me bruises without hurting, which means they're perfect. And the noise. Did I mention the noise? It's not just the V6, its the transmission noises too, reverberating through a stripped rear. Makes it feel like a proper race car.
I did 4 laps on a 2/3 dry track. The car felt good, but the rear was a touch too snappy to help me lean on it in marginal conditions. Maybe I should have gone to the wet line, but that was pre-empted by a track closure. The rain moved in and whilst chatting to agt, ade and chris, a trip back to rsr for some street tyres was the most sensible plan of action.

it turned out to be a wise choice. By the time the track opened again, there was plenty of streams across the track. On line, there wasn't much grip to be found, but because of an instructor I had in Donington I decided to brave the wet line, which in basic terms, is the outside of the bends. It's scary as you're that much closer to the arnco in marginal conditions, but the consistency and level of grip is far higher than the "dry line" that the payoff, if you can brave it, is worthwhile.

WHen I finally handed the alfa back, I decided that it was a slight shame. Despite DDC being an archaic institutions, the fact that I still hadn't quite mastered the downshifts was slightly disappointing. In some ways, it reminds me of the metal gate shift of a Ferrari. Slower to do, but way more satisfying when you get it right. And I'd rather have had a full dry run in the alfa. I don't think I've seen the full light that it can shine.

Floyd
16-05-2009, 09:25 PM
Good job. Pictures? :D

Dave G
16-05-2009, 09:57 PM
Looking forward to the remainder.

You sort of have to be brutal :whistle: :huh:

Hi :wave:

Dale
17-05-2009, 07:59 AM
Dave. No. Bad boy.

DDC. Don't crash!

chilled
18-05-2009, 09:14 PM
So another day, another car. Sat started with the RenaultSport Clio 197 Cup. The interior was unnervingly like the Modus that was my shite mobile to get me from the airport. But the seat is a bit of a giveaway at to its true purpose. Looks pretty good in white, and I'm not generally a fan of white cars.

First lap out I left the EDC on, at least for most of the lap. The engine is ok, not the worlds best and needs wringing to get the best out of it. The car was very chuckable, could throw it into corners and it would just take it with some tyre squealing. The only sign of being unsettled was hard braking under slight turning, but that's normal for any car really. Nothing scary or uncontrollable.

So on that first lap I duly arrived at the Karussel, when the car started dying, no power, brakes on, lights flashing. A quick EDC press later and car springs into life. A chat with dale later, and apparently it IS possible to go through with EDC on, but even Dale and Ron can't do it every lap. As it turns out, driving in the dry without EDC is fine anyway. So it was turned off for the rest of the day.

In the 6 2/3 laps I did I found the car to be incredibly easy to drive fast. A great car to learn a track in, because it didn't feel like it took much skill to drive fast. It didn't understeer as badly as I thought. In fact I actually thought it had an LSD, which it doesn't. And whilst it goes quick enough to be fun, it's never quick enough anywhere to scare you.

And then, when I had 2 passengers and was having a good lap, the car wouldn't go into gear. It was on the uphill approach to Hoha Acht. I coasted into a slip road at the crest of Hohe Acht (marker 150) on the right and had to get trailered off. Apparently a known weakness of the clio, the Master Clutch Cylinder overheats. I had to do the office walk of shame as the track closed for another reason (I was behind not only arnco, but chain link fence) but I was the last off the track. Good car, bad ending.

Jim Cameron
18-05-2009, 09:20 PM
Your brakes go too if you keep going...

DAN THE MAN
18-05-2009, 09:28 PM
Nice reports..i like how u explain stuff.. Would be nice if u drove a DC2 after the clio to see what your thoughts were compared..

chilled
18-05-2009, 10:24 PM
Friday's Steed:

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_mpA2rBSa8ds/ShHHPGQ4FxI/AAAAAAAAAOY/95BHnciLLWI/s800/ring%20may%2009%20007.JPG

The Clio that lost the Clutch

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_mpA2rBSa8ds/ShHHSXjGLjI/AAAAAAAAAOg/YK3TPuE3ogs/s800/ring%20may%2009%20009.JPG

Me driving it courtesy of Mathias:

http://www.e40racer.be/nurburgring-16-05-09//_dsc1321_wm.jpg

The sequence can be found here:

clicky (http://www.e40racer.be/php/nurburgring-16-05-09.php?dir=&offset=192)

chilled
18-05-2009, 10:29 PM
And now to what was pretty much the main event. First some photos as a taster:

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_mpA2rBSa8ds/ShHHlkWgW6I/AAAAAAAAAPY/HWaVoLpqgUI/s800/ring%20may%2009%20022.JPG

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_mpA2rBSa8ds/ShHHqGbqFPI/AAAAAAAAAPg/VRYLOH4ETDw/s800/ring%20may%2009%20024.JPG

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_mpA2rBSa8ds/ShHHx0wbLFI/AAAAAAAAAPw/OqqCxxsXLZc/s800/ring%20may%2009%20028.JPG

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_mpA2rBSa8ds/ShHH0-XfYxI/AAAAAAAAAP4/11rITH8ltjE/s800/ring%20may%2009%20030.JPG

And now for the highlight of the trip so far. The Renault Sport Megane R26.R. 136kg lighter than the standard RS Megane, no rear seats, rear roll cage, 5 point harnesses, carbon bucket seats, carbon bonnet and wing mirrors, poly rear and rear side screens, and running track rubber. THey come with R888's but the RSR one had Kumho V700's which I have to say were massively impressive, pretty much as good as A048Rs from a grip perspective.

First lap was a bit odd, the back stepping out under braking early in the lap as the rears hadn't warmed up, but was duly caught and the rear kept an eye on. It wasn't long before the tyres had warmed up and I could start to explore the grip the car had, and what grip it was! Very exploitable, very grippy and deserved of all the plaudits it gets in the press as a track car.

It's basically the CLio turned to 11. In the clio you never go fast enough to really get into trouble, but the megane crests SX at 140+ and through Foxhole the same without too much difficulty. So it's fast enough to scare you on the straights, has plenty of torque so you don't need to wring the engine too much and very controllable. If you've not got your line right through a corner, it's very easy to just make minute adjustments on either the steering or the throttle. And if you get the balance just right, the grip through corners is epic.

Main downside: it's French Clutter and I've read about plenty of problems with them. Also it eats brakes and tyres. But when it's not your car, none of that matters :D I occasionally got 6th instead of 4th, and the engine note doesn't change much at higher revs and can be a touch too easy to hit the limiter. However once you get used to the car, you don't need to shift quite so high, you can make use of the fat turbo torque.

Basically, I think you should all go out and try one for yourselves. They're epic fun. Really.

Hammerzeit
18-05-2009, 10:33 PM
I quite enjoyed the RSR 197 i had! Sorry to Dale for ruining the tyres, i was used to R888s and forgot road tyres go off so quickly doing back to back laps...

The R26R looks awesome :D

chilled
18-05-2009, 10:35 PM
Originally posted by Hammerzeit@May 18 2009, 10:33 PM
I quite enjoyed the RSR 197 i had! Sorry to Dale for ruining the tyres, i was used to R888s and forgot road tyres go off so quickly doing back to back laps...

The R26R looks awesome :D
I really enjoyed the Clio. It's great fun. But I'd take the Megane every single time.

Pete R
18-05-2009, 10:49 PM
How about the CSL then?

Good to meet you by the way, albeit very briefly.

Hammerzeit
18-05-2009, 10:51 PM
The 197 is a bit civilised really, it makes it all seem so easy, it just feels like it is lacking in power because it is so capable, it needs the megane engine :D

The ESP did the same to me in K, was very annoying as it just slammed all 4 brakes on. Seems like a lot of modern cars do that, i spectated inside K for a few hours last year and the amount of cars that would dive into the corner and part way in their ESP would go mental, you'd see the car slow down quickly and the driver panic :lol:

chilled
18-05-2009, 10:53 PM
Originally posted by Pete R@May 18 2009, 10:49 PM
How about the CSL then?

Good to meet you by the way, albeit very briefly.

INdeed, good to put faces to names. But it's always busy when I'm over there. And as I managed to get 36 laps in plus 4 pax laps I was mostly on the track :D

Sundays review will follow tomorrow. Still a bit knackered and sunburnt.

I also got 1/2 a lap pax with Dale driving the GT3RS :thumb:

Pete R
18-05-2009, 11:02 PM
I managed 3 laps on Sunday either side of a trip to Cochem which after Saturdays nightmare wasn't too bad. I'd have loved to have got in to double figures but nevermind, I'll just have to go again in a couple of months.

The R26 does look very purposeful, there were Meganes everywhere though :lol:

Nige
18-05-2009, 11:13 PM
What was this then ? an `experience`, some sort of trackday / weekend, or you jsut hiring different cars ?

From sitting next to Dale for a quick lap in the R26, I must admit to being impressed :thumb: , although I agree about the engine noise, it doesn`t get the heart pounding does it :(

Montana
19-05-2009, 05:03 AM
Good review and pictures.

But aaaaaaargh, its arMco!!! (not arnco)

Das Chin
19-05-2009, 06:41 AM
nice work and report chilled.

I wonder if the R26R will be for renault what the CSL was for BMW?

a totally mental motor, bespoke, out of the normal mould and cost them a fortune in warrnaty repairs as live their life on track?

one of the main reasons the E92 CSL was never made!

Simon
19-05-2009, 07:52 AM
Good write up so far :thumb: . What a weekend renting all those cars B)

ade_g
19-05-2009, 09:00 AM
I had a Pax Lap with Mark (chilled) in the R26.R - it's everything he says. Awesome car and it was doing things you wouldn't expect a FWD car to do out of corners. Agree on the comments around the engine sound and the standard harness install points are a bit odd as well (you'd expect with a half cage they would have attached harnesses to the cage).

Looking forward to the CSL report.

Chris Ratcliff
19-05-2009, 12:22 PM
Originally posted by Montana@May 19 2009, 05:03 AM
But aaaaaaargh, its arMco!!! (not arnco)
Next you'll be telling us it's Effiel...

chilled
20-05-2009, 09:12 PM
Apologies about Arnco. :D ;)

Right. Day 3: Sunday

First of all, Megane again in the morning.

http://www.ring-bilder.de/galerien_readyfornet/tf_17052009_I/images/175_4396.jpg

When I arrived at RSR it was raining, and the road was damp I was a touch unsure about the semi-slicks. After a chat with Christian he offered to take me out for a lap to check the conditions and also provide a bit of guidance on the wet line. Was instructional, the wet line not being quite so far off line as I thought other than the braking zones for Aremberg and Bergwerk. We both decided the Kumo V700's were fine. :D And the car seemed stable and progressive. And there was no standing water which was the most important thing.

So I went out on my own on a progressively drying track as the rain stopped. In the damp the car was very controllable still, with more grip than most stuff out there. A touch of understeer early in the lap but was reasonably easy to get some temp in the tyres which really helped.

Took Andrew Thompson and Ade out for some pax laps. Shame Andrew didn't get to experience the dry performance but still pretty grippy. If it's wet it's a great car to be in. Far less twitchy than the live axle double declutching Alfa :D

In summary, I absolutely love the Megane. Wouldn't buy one due to its French Clutter Status, but I would most definitely hire them again.

And now onto the main event:

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_mpA2rBSa8ds/ShHH44_jSHI/AAAAAAAAAQE/BmuN8Gf5-AI/s800/ring%20may%2009%20032.JPG

Before I get to the nitty gritty, it's worth pointing out for those that don't know that I have a normal manual E46 M3 which I've also taken around the ring so a lot of it will be a comparison to that. And it was on road tyres, not Cups like I'd hoped.

When I picked it up, originally I was supposed to be taking an instructor around to see if I was going to crash it. :D But eventually Ron and Dale decided I didn't need it. And if I crashed it they'd both kick my ass and Ron would kick Dale's ass. :D I owed it to the donkey's not to crash it.

First order of the day was to turn up the speed of gear changes in the SMG gearbox and press the sport button which tightens up the throttle response. I decided to leave the DCS on initially for my first lap. However going through T13 it cut the power too early so that went off. I didn't switch to M-track mode because I didn't know how to :D

It didn't take long to get to grips with the car, as it really feels like I want my standard M3 to feel on track. But still as predictable. The gearbox makes a lot of sense on track, even down to being able to change gear mid corner without upsetting the balance of the car. You might not want to do it mid apex but on corners like Wehrsiefen (sp?) where I always need to change to early, it really helps.

It doesn't feel that much quicker down the straights despite the 100 or so kg less and 20 bhp more, but through sections like PF2+3 where my M3 would scare me with the amount of wallow over the crests, it was so much more planted.

Then the rain came through the course of one lap it got really rather greasy. However the csl was still very controllable. I think having driven the twitchy alfas in teh wet helped here, as did knowing the wet line, but the car still shone. Was very glad not to be on cups, although I suspect that cups may still have been fine as there was no standing water and if you could get enough heat in them I'd imagine they'd be fine.

Whilst Ade was in teh car I played with oversteer a little and found it to be just as pliable. That e-diff really is excellent in both standard and CSL guise. I did get the back a little wide on the exit of Brunchen 2 but managed to catch it. I do like to tempt fate on occasion :D

The CSL feels to the M3 like the R26.R does to the Clio.

My only final comment about the whole thing is that it's exposed a gap in the selection of cars that RSR offers, something RWD sitting between the alfa and the M3. Ron's already ahead of me and apparently they're looking at something Lotus based.

I would definitely hire from RSR again. Maybe not every trip, but despite the prices looking expensive up front, when you really look at the prices of your tyres, brakes servicing etc it's not that expensive.

chilled
20-05-2009, 09:13 PM
http://www.ring-bilder.de/galerien_readyfornet/tf_17052009_III/images/175_5318.jpg

mjrc
20-05-2009, 09:56 PM
Lucky man!

You must have got some discount on all of those, no?! :whistle:

chilled
20-05-2009, 09:59 PM
I did get some discount. Still not cheap, but worth every penny.

_Nathan_
21-05-2009, 08:25 AM
e-diff? What does the e stand for? No different guises of diff either, same for M3 and CSL.

Simon
21-05-2009, 08:31 AM
What an excellent weekend you had by the sound of it :thumb:

Neil Mac
21-05-2009, 08:45 AM
Very cool. If I could afford it, I would do exactly the same thing. Lots of fun.

Nathan, the e stands for "excellzumshafftennatürlichdriftenpoppenbangen"

ade_g
21-05-2009, 09:35 AM
Originally posted by chilled@May 20 2009, 09:12 PM
Whilst Ade was in teh car I played with oversteer a little and found it to be just as pliable. That e-diff really is excellent in both standard and CSL guise. I did get the back a little wide on the exit of Brunchen 2 but managed to catch it. I do like to tempt fate on occasion :D
:o :o :o :o :lol:

It was a great catch and must have looked ace as a spectator!

Ali M
21-05-2009, 10:12 PM
Sounds like you had great fun, would love to do the same some time.

I am heading over next week and was thinking of phoning Dale for some prices but have gone so far readying my M3 that I will just run it instead.

I cant remember reading your comments on the CSL sound compared to M3?! :whistle:

chilled
23-05-2009, 12:00 AM
Originally posted by Ali M@May 21 2009, 10:12 PM
Sounds like you had great fun, would love to do the same some time.

I am heading over next week and was thinking of phoning Dale for some prices but have gone so far readying my M3 that I will just run it instead.

I cant remember reading your comments on the CSL sound compared to M3?! :whistle:
Fair point well made. It's a lovely noise. But like I say, unfortunately (or fortunately for me) I'm comparing the CSL to my M3, which is my everyday car.

The CSL noise is almost worth the price of admission on its own. The problem I have is that I've been in Steve Gill's machin and when you strip the interior you get even more lovely noise :D

Ali M
23-05-2009, 10:42 PM
Originally posted by chilled+May 23 2009, 12:00 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (chilled @ May 23 2009, 12:00 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Ali M@May 21 2009, 10:12 PM
Sounds like you had great fun, would love to do the same some time.

I am heading over next week and was thinking of phoning Dale for some prices but have gone so far readying my M3 that I will just run it instead.

I cant remember reading your comments on the CSL sound compared to M3?&#33; :whistle:
Fair point well made. It&#39;s a lovely noise. But like I say, unfortunately (or fortunately for me) I&#39;m comparing the CSL to my M3, which is my everyday car.

The CSL noise is almost worth the price of admission on its own. The problem I have is that I&#39;ve been in Steve Gill&#39;s machin and when you strip the interior you get even more lovely noise :D [/b][/quote]
Haha, I just need to get the airbox noise now&#33; Now I know why S Gill&#39;s sounds liek it does as I just removed my back seats the other day and have just fitted the SPG Recaro from my race car.

It sounds sooo much better&#33; Winner :D

JUst ordered the R888&#39;s to go on the CSL wheels so should have them fitted on Tues, then off to the ring on Thurs. Cant wait&#33;

handpaper
24-05-2009, 02:39 AM
&#39;To mimic the sound of an E46 M3 CSL you will need :
One 22" Stihl chainsaw
One heavy duty cable tie
One 1.5m high x 1m diameter steel rubbish bin

Start the chainsaw and warm fully.
Using the cable tie, lock the throttle fully open.
Throw the screaming chainsaw into the rubbish bin and listen as it attempts to fight its way out.&#39;

It&#39;s not conventionally beautiful. It IS awesome B)