At Brands Hatch, I spun off into the gravel trap at Paddock Hill bend. Twice.
Whilst the gravel traps are brilliant, and undoubtedly stopped the car meeting the tyre wall at high speed, it still has some major consequences.
When you see the BTCC cars spinning off and then rejoining, shaking off the gravel, what you’re not seeing is the hours spent stripping the car afterwards to get all the gravel out of it – not to mention the damage it does to panels and paintwork and sponsor stickers.
And it gets EVERYWHERE.
Even after scraping out piles of the stuff, after trailering the car home 200 miles there was still masses of the stuff. Kilograms. All over the engine, literally filling the engine bay, and everywhere in the cockpit, too.
Vacuuming gets some out, but there is still masses behind panels and stuck behind chassis tubing, and the only real way to do it efficiently is to totally strip down the car.
The original plan was to jet wash everything, but without one easily to hand James got out the sponge and soap and went over the car.
Then we drilled out the rivets and got the side panels off to get at the rest of it, cleaning up the rest ‘dry’ using an oily cloth and more vacuuming.
Next it was onto the rear of the car – Glenn found that he was unable to crank the engine over by hand, and so the engine had to come out.
Luckily, once on the bench we found a pulped lump of gravel was blocking one of the pistons, and once this was removed everything worked again!
After more vacuuming and cleaning of the engine bay, the car is now ready to start piecing back together – there’s still a lot of work to do (repainting chassis and suspension parts, removing and applying new stickers etc…) but we should have it at least running ready to get to Croft at the end of the month.