Excursion: Radical Events Track Day, Eastern Creek
I was thrilled to be spending a day at the wheel of a Radical SR3 with Tony Palmer and the team from Radical Events. I was also really excited to be sharing the experience with my good mates Cam and Albi who were about to hit the track, and drive a racing car for the very first time
The Radical Events track day really is a magic and unforgettable experience. And the days runs like clockwork. We arrived and parked our car directly behind the garage, signed on and said hello to Tony. He tells us to gear up and enjoy a coffee and some breakfast. We suit up in brand new race suits, gloves, balaclavas and helmets with inbuilt communications. We meet the other guys, wander round the Radical SR3′s and admire our names on them. Then we listen to a 10 minute briefing and that’s it, we are ready to hit the track.
The sun is shining and we have the entire Eastern Creek Raceway all to ourselves. There are five cars and each is to be shared by four drives. Cam, Albi, myself and another Richard are allocated car 10. Our instructor is the super talented open wheel racer Ian Dyk, who has raced Formula 3 and A1 GP.
Cam is up first and he looks nervous. I don’t think he can believe he is about to be let loose in a totally unrestricted 1340cc , 210 HP, 600kg rocket ship. Cam then roars past and you can hear him banging through the six speed sequential gearbox as the Radical screams to its 10, 500 limit. When he comes in, his eyes are popping out of his head and he has a huge smile on his face.
Next up is Albi, who has also never been on a circuit before. When Albi completes his run he is in an adrenalin induced high and begins rambling on about the speed, the g forces and the phenomenal grip of the car.
I’m next up and I pull on my new Stand 21 Retro Piquet lid and jump in. I pull out of the pitlane and it doesn’t take me long to fall in love. The Radical Sr3 really is a fantastic weapon. Its fast, its well balanced, it revs to the moon, it stops,it corners like its on rails, its an absolute delight. I manage a lap in the low 1 min 40s and realise ill need to gain some confidence in the downforce through turn 1 to cut some more seconds from my time.
Richard MacPhillamy is up next and he shows he can drive by immediately banging in a lap in the high 1 : 40s
We each have another 15 minute session and then its time to sit down for lunch and talk with the other guys about where to find more time. The instructors come in a give us some tips and answers our questions. It’s good to have a break and have time to think about how we are going to apply the learnings.
Then we are back out again for two more sessions. Cam and Albi keep improving and make massive improvements in their lap times. The one on one in car instruction is invaluable for these guys and they complete their final sessions wanting more. Albi starts talking about “getting motorsport now” and I can see Cam thinking about selling his tractor and adding an SR3 to the garage.
I end up punching out a 1:38:3 lap which makes me the fastest of the 1.3litre cars on the day. The timing screen set up is one of the wonderful aspects of the Radical Events day. Each driver has his own transponder that is swapped for each session. There is plenty of friendly rivalry after each session with drivers pouring over the times to see who beat who and tracking their own personal bests. There were some stand out performances from guys who have never sat in a race car before, the most impressive being Dane Latham, who managed a 1:40:7. Nice work mate!
The day concludes with the instructors taking everyone for a hot lap, to demonstrate just what these purpose built cars can actually deliver.
Then each driver is given a USB stick with photos from the day and a video of their onboard laps, complete with overlaid telemetry. This put the icing on the cake of a truly fantastic day.
The next Radical Events Track Day is at Eastern Creek on Tuesday August 23rd. Motorsport Retro readers can get behind the wheel for $1850 per person, normally $2200 per person. Call Tony Palmer on 0411 325 553 to book your place.
Images: Rich Fowler and JPMPhoto.com.au