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Driving X11 GTR

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Fri 20th July 2007 - The drive home

The initial drive home from the factory was a gentle affair due to the heavy rain.  Above 30 mph the rain runs off the windscreen and the wipers are not needed.  The wipers work, but an intermediate position switch would have been useful.  Having said that it's not really a car for heavy rain use !!

Visibility is great.  You sit almost under the front windscreen and side and front visibility is 100%.  The side mirrors are better than I thought.  The front wings sweep in to the middle and look as if they sweep out to the side too (they don't).  The car feels wider than it is but once under way it shrinks in size.

Despite the rain, no leaks from the doors.  No rattles either, just a low rumble from the engine which is hardly trying at 70mph. Back home the rain continues and I gently squeeze the car into the garage, guided in by the missus.  It's low and purposeful next to the Ford Capri - about six inches wider and six inches lower.  They make a nice pair.  :o)

Sun 22nd July 2007

The first real taste of the 640+ horses came on the following Sunday, nice and early.  Easing the car down the lane it became apparent exactly how fast the GTR accelerates.  Pressing the loud pedal gives a steadily increasing thrust forward and the further the pedal goes the faster the acceleration.  One-quarter throttle rockets you forward faster than most other cars.   It feels almost magnetic, there is very little roll or dive at the back, just a push in the back like a roller coaster.

Onto the main road and half throttle in second at 1,500 rpm.  The speedo needle flicks upwards from 20 to 60 in what seems like two or three seconds.  No squeal from the rears, no squirming or twisting, just dead straight down the road.  Into third and off again, up to 90 or so and on the brakes for the fast approaching roundabout.  The brakes don't bite very well, but Ted already mentioned that they need some use to bed in.  Pressing harder on the brakes the pads bite and the car scrubs off speed rapidly.

Heading back down the (empty) road I decide to squeeze the throttle more.  I have set the MSD rev limiter at 6,000 for now, just to give the engine some time to bed in before the 7,500 limit takes its place.  Again, 1,500 rpm in second and I stamp on the throttle. It's instant wheelspin as the rears lose their grip - I come straight off the gas.  But the car tracks clean and straight, with no vibration from the back as the wheels spin.  Ted mentioned that the tyres would be "green" for a while so I drive around for 20 or so miles without too much HRF (heavy right foot) and head home to check the car over.

Bach home all is fine so after lunch I head out again.  A long straight run gives me a chance to see some higher speeds and press the throttle in fourth.  The acceleration is exactly like second !  Fifth is pretty much the same.  It's an unbelievable feeling; totally intoxicating !  Stopping to fill up for the first time I am mobbed by local kids who seem to come out of nowhere.  It's nearly 30 mins before I am off again, scoped by mobile phones taking pics and video footage.

With the missus out and about I arrive home to find Trevor my neighbour and we head out for a quick run together.  Trev is suitably impressed, getting out of the car with a slight "shake" having uttered pretty much all of the top ten explitives.  He too is struggling to get to terms with how fast the GTR is.  And I still haven't seen full throttle nor any serious revs ...

29th July 2007

200 miles so far and the car is running perfectly.  I'm getting used to the car and the tyres have bedded in well.  I find that the air con is always on - it gets hot in the cockpit when the sun is shining as the huge windscreen acts a little like a greenhouse.  Even in dull weather, the engine kicks out so much heat that leaving the air con on position 1 is a must.

With everything going "too well" I'm waiting for a couple of glitches.  I wasn't disappointed !  The first one was the clutch going down and staying down whilst changing gear on another passenger ride.  I was just turning around at a local pub and fortunately four cyclists were on hand to push me back to safety.  They were on a Land's End to John O Groats run, and they mentioned me on their web site !
 

 .... Received a kind donation from Tony Knight who had unfortunately broken down in his new Ultima, apparently the world’s fastest car - at a top speed of 230mph he could potentially complete the JOGLE in about 5 hrs! ...

(see http://www.dansfundforburns.org/news_jogle.htm )


The beauty of building the car is that these problems like these should all be solvable, after all I put it together !  And a quick look at the pool of fluid under the car showed that the clutch pipe had come loose from the cylinder which drives the fork.  A quick call to the missus and she arrived with clucth fluid, a bleeding kit and soms spanners.  I did have to call the nice man from the AA to left the back of the car up (and press the clutch pedal etc), but it only took 5 mins to fix.

The nice thing about breaking down was that lots of people at the pub (which was packed out) came over and made a nice comment about the car.  There were no vindictive comments etc, which you might get if someone in a Ferrari had broken down.  Perhaps it was the fact that I was under the car in a flash getting busy with the spanners ?  Or perhaps the Ultima doesn't draw "bad publicity" ?

Second slight glitch was that the temperature of the engine seems to rise past 100 quite easily and then struggles to get back under 100, especially in traffic.  Hmm, will refer to Ultima.

Third glitch was that I was hearing an intermittent squeak from the clutch when down-shifting.  Ted had heard this at the time of the SVA but couldn't locate it.  Ultima promised that I could bring the car back to get this fixed if it didn't go away in the first 500 or so miles, so I'll keep an eye on it.  It doesn't affect the drive.


20th August 2007

Have now clocked up 500+ miles.  Had a couple of long runs to work to show the guys what all the fuss was about and did a few more passenger rides.  The acceleration continues to be mind blowing but I am getting used to all the power.  So long as the power is fed in progresively, you can use full throttle in second (just) and third without wheelspin.  The engine demolishes the revband and the speed rises very very quickly.  Based on the power of the car, 0 to 100 should take less than 6 seconds.  It feels like less !  On open roads, with the car moving along at 20 in second, 100 takes 1 gear change and less time than counting to five.  Driving the car on open roads is a constant exercise in restraint ....

I replaced the water temperature sender with a lower one, so the fans come one earlier.  It's solved the slight overheating issue.  I also refitted a lambda "blanker" in the exhaust, which is now a lot quieter and doesn't "pop" on overrun.  Shame really, as the sound was great !


12th September 2007

Now on 900 miles.  Last week I took the car to Ultima and they sorted out the squeaky gearchange.  They found that the crank on the engine was marginally (a few thou of an inch) longer than normal so they shaved a fraction off the adaptor plate.  Sorted, and for free too, good thing as these gearbox out jobs can run up the £££ !!

Changed the oil for the second time (first one done by Ultima post SVA).  The oil gets black quite quickly, fuel contamination is to blame (common on all SBCs).  Easy job, only takes 30 mins.  :o)

Going to go to a 1/4 mile strip soon to give it some beans.  Have also now fitted the higher rpm chip (7,000).


30th September 2007

Had a great time at Stratford Upon Avon raceway (www.shakespearecountyraceway.com) doing some 1/4 mile runs.  Managed a 11.5s run at 132 mph !  Well pleased given it was my first experience of 1/4 mile racing.  Should be in the 10s according to the racing tifosi who said (constructively) that I should have been way quicker to the 60 and 330 foot lines.  Will be back soon for another go !  If you fancy a go yourself, remember your driving licence, MOT and V5, just in case.

Timing runs are here - Timing runs Stratford 30092007
 


Shropshire Ultima Club ?

We are currently looking to set up a club covering the Shropshire area, possibly also including the Midlands and the North West.

More details to follow shortly.  Please email me mailto:mail@ultimagtr640.com if you are interested in joining..

 

 


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