Formaplex flexes some American muscle at Silverstone
We’re taking another break from composite tooling to give you another alternative Formaplex automotive story. Our Composites Director, Jon Payne, has been behind the steering wheel at a very famous motor circuit again – this time it was our very own Silverstone.
After the six-hour competition at Spa-Francorchamps in December, the 2012 VSCC Pomeroy Trophy at Silverstone promised a shorter and, theoretically, more relaxed race, although Jon would still be hurtling round in something classic – this time a 1965 Shelby Mustang. As it turned out, there was plenty of drama.
The VSCC Pomeroy Trophy pits cars of all ages against each other in a series of tests in order to find the best GT car of all time. Handling, acceleration and braking tests are all part of the criteria, as is a high-speed time trial. In addition, the cars must be road legal and be able to carry two ‘standard’ VSCC suitcases.
The day attracts cars as diverse as those built in the early 20th century to modern day models, and the field for the 2012 event, marking 60 years of the trophy, ranged from a 9500cc 1911 SCAT Racer to a 2011 Audi R8. To even the playing field, a handicap system is employed based on a series of factors, including engine size, year of manufacturer and, rather peculiarly, the distance between brake pedal and rear axle.
So, under glorious blue skies, the scene was set for Jon to make his mark in the muscular Mustang. However, making that impression would be no mean feat. Having battled to get the car ready and road legal for the day, on the morning of the event, the team was presented with gearbox problems, a broken radiator fan and throttle cable, and a fuel leak during testing. For a car that guzzles a litre of fuel every minute, a leak was no minor inconvenience.
Some expert and innovative engineering got the Mustang ready for the 40-minute high-speed time trial, only for the gearbox to start playing up again after ten minutes: Jon ended up roaring around the course stuck in fourth gear. But this wasn’t the end of the race for the team as the car’s big engine and ample torque meant Jon could put in the pace that was needed.
And what a pace it was. Jon finished second in his class and 22nd overall. The winner of the VSCC Pomeroy Trophy and the best GT of 2012? A 1970 Ford Escort Mk1 – British engineering on top again!
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