Frustrating. Cars can be very frustrating.

Having spent the winter working on the ’73 BMW 2002 Hot Rod aka ‘The Shitterror’, there was a huge amount of anticipation riding on it’s first outing on circuit in 2016. The EuroHoon, the annual pilgrimage to the Swiss Alps, had lead to a number of significant changes to the 2002. We had learnt that on track, flat out, when dealing with high air temperatures that it could quickly get too hot. On the track days in both Valencia and Barcelona after just a couple of laps the coolant temperature would be nudging over 115 °C.

Another potential issue that became apparent is the ‘Shitterror’ is loud, very loud. Howling banshee, being chased by a swarm of angry African killer bees loud. So, although acceptable at both of the Spanish circuits, it could be an issue at one of the UK’s more noise sensitive venues. The exhaust was therefore added to the list of track focused related tasks, joining cooling modifications and the Quaife sequential gearbox.

With a task list completed, a track day was booked. For it’s first shakedown the decision was taken to stay local and head to Snetterton with the BMW Club. The day didn’t go quite as smoothly as we’d hoped. It was just going to be one of those days and it started before we’d even arrived at the track. Shortly after leaving home a loud knocking developed at the rear of the car, suspecting the exhaust was catching on prop, a pitstop was made at a tyre and exhaust workshop to get it checked out.

After waiting for an hour, in the car doctors waiting room, the ’02 was up in the air. Typically, nothing could be found wrong, exhaust was clear and held solid with no other clues as to the origin of the noise. Stupid cars!

Snetterton is always cold and windy, this visit would be no exception. Getting parked up, sitting through a late comers briefing, we got out on track. We managed a whole two laps before being black flagged for noise. Frustratingly, even though it sails through the static noise test, once the VTEC kicks in she howls. The only option was to fit a ‘Decibel Devil‘ sound muffler and short shift like a granny. This strategy worked until we decided to ‘give it the beans’ down the back straight, which ended up firing the Decibel Devil out of the exhaust like an intercontinental ballistic missile. Fortunately, no one was close behind, it did however lead to another black flag.

“Three strikes; you’re out!”the important bloke at Snetterton

“Three strikes and you’re out!” came the warning as we returned to the pits. Very frustrating considering the completely new exhaust system that was built over the winter by Hayward & Scott. Eventually, the marshals recovered the ‘Decibel Devil’ and we refitted it, ensuring it was tight, very tight. Combining this with some well timed short shifting, we found a rhythm and had a solid session before lunch. It was a great chance to get a feel for the car and review the set up, although power oversteer was available on tap, the overall feel was very much understeer biased. This would need to be addressed

Feeling we’d finally found a strategy for staying on track with out causing trouble, we were keen to head out after lunch. Sadly, the car had other ideas. The tiny, and slightly ridiculous, race battery decided it wasn’t going to play ball. After numerous attempts to bump start her, she developed a knock. Without anyway of getting the car in the air, we decided to call it a day. Sending her home on a low loader.

Frustrating. Cars can be very frustrating.

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