When Phil Millington of Milltek Sports shook my hand on our sponsorship deal, he was confident that there would be benefits for both of us which would be totally unrelated to the cash value of the transaction. One that arose immediately was the arrival of a new exhaust manifold to replace the OE VW part that is seemingly fashioned out of pig iron. In addition to losing 5kg in weight, the new system is a thing of beauty that caused a fierce debate between the artist and driver within me.
The former wanted it on a pedestal as a piece of modern sculpture to caress and lick (I really hope there are other people out there who feel this way about high quality components – if not, help!). But needless to say, the racing driver took control to ensure the free-flowing pipework was duly installed on my Golf R32.
A slightly less obvious benefit materialised on race day at Donington. Qualifying had left me in 19th place on the grid, and feeling as low as a Morrissey fan. Race one was not much better, a battling drive up to 12th position ended prematurely with my fuel supply. As my team were looking to apologise to me, I had two apologies of my own to make, and I thank Steve Chaplin and Peter Wyhinny for being so understanding (see above photo).
Whilst talking to Milltek’s guests between races, Ben Williamson of Sports Tech thought he could explain why my car was lapsing into limp-home mode whilst racing. Not the greatest aid to swift lap times, so I introduced Ben to my race technician, Mark Farmer, and with a bit of rewiring using a component cut from Ben’s own car we were ready for race two. The car was transformed. Where previously it struggled to rev past 5500rpm, it now pulled cleanly through to 7000, and the electronic nanny that was over-riding my input and rationing horsepower to the rear wheels has been well and truly banished.
We still have a long way to go, but I left Donington in seventh place in the championship and with a serious impediment to further development overcome – thanks Ben.