MMRT on a lazy sunday
by, 5th Mar 2012 at 23:04 (815 Views)
Shivali and me had been wanting to take the mondeo to the track for a long time now. It had been quite some time since we last went to the track as well. It just kept getting postponed for various reasons. Last saturday we decided to just head out instead of delaying it any further. So started off at 6.00pm from bangalore for MMRT. Drive was easy and smooth and we reached by around 10.30pm and took a room at Sign inn hotel where we decided to halt for the night. This was so that we could use the track during the early part of the next day when the temperatures were a little more manageable. Remember, this was chennai...
One of the things we also wanted to try out was the GoPro camera that we would be using for recording the laps in addition to the various photography tricks that Shivali wanted to try. I wanted to see how the mondeo fared on track. It was not an ideal track animal as the car weighed in at 1.5 tonnes with a power output of 143bhp. The power to weight ratio was nothing to really talk about. Engine was in decent shape even though it was not a devil per se. The gears were on the taller side as well. Stock suspensions were good for road use. The track would answer any other doubts that we harbored against the car.
Reached the track the following day at 9.30am and after formalities got down to fixing the camera and driving the car. We did not have a suction mount to fix the cam. So used the head mount strap to fix it up on the passenger seat headrest and started trying out a few laps. A few things became apparent almost immediately. The car was not going to blitz the track. This was a 2003 car with me being the fourth owner. But what it had was splendid poise on the track. even though a stiffer suspension would have made it perfect, one really could not have asked for more.
This was by far one of the best stock cars one could drive enthusiastically without worrying about flipping over or suspensions compressing to black hole dimensions. Spent time till 3.00pm on the track and had great company from bikers who were just sensational. I did a lot of laps with lap timings ranging from 2.18.xx to 2.15.28 which incidentally was the best i could do for the day. Felt that there was more room for improvement but was plain exhausted to try any ideas out. The weather was just incredibly harsh and all the time spent in air conditioned offices just makes the body a lot less durable when subjected to such stern tests.
A few details about the car itself. It is a 2003 petrol mondeo in bone stock condition minus the tires. Was running Michelin PS3's on all four corners and they seemed to fight under-steer very well. Very good tires. Squealing was present but had more to do with unreasonable expectations from the tires than the tires themselves. Engine red-lines beautifully and the gears although tall are a pleasure to work.
Have put together a small video from the track day at the following location. This was just a random lap (neither the best nor the worst). Did not have the camera all the time as it had to be taken out for space creation on the SD card.