It seems to have been a frustrating month here at VHS HQ. Missed deadlines (self-imposed and from our suppliers) are never good and testing can often reveal issues that need to be sorted. It was supposed to have been a busy month receiving stock of our new kits. Unfortunately, (for reasons we all can appreciate) supplies from Germany have been put back. We can only apologise to customers who wish to sample our wares.
Planning, testing and issues in Germany got me thinking back to an experience I had at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. The plan was to carry out a final test of the MG6 1.8T before launch in the UK market. Our chassis tuning was complete, the rear lip spoiler had been accepted for production (yes, it really does work at motorway speeds to improve steering centre definition) so a sign-off test was undertaken. The drive from Birmingham to our base near the Nürburgring was always very revealing when developing a car, so we were pleased to arrive with little to worry about. A few laps of the track and we could be on our way home.
My first lap was always going to be taken cautiously as this track demands respect more than any other I’ve tried. Still, I felt comfortable and the car was responding well so no reason to hang about. And then it happened. The approach to Schwedenkreuz is exciting at about 120mph. A loud electronic ‘bong’ and an illuminated red warning light appeared on the instrument pack. Bonnet open! We had a data logger running and I’m ashamed to say that my steering wheel ‘twitch’ was recorded. As I got the speed down, it seemed pertinent to memorise the view through the windscreen for when the bonnet flew up.
Thankfully, the bonnet had only opened sufficiently (a combination of aerodynamic forces and the crest in the road) to trigger the sensor and pass on the warning. It was still shut. There was also the safety catch which would have worked, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, I found this out having felt the need to take a rather subdued pace for the remainder of the lap. A quick adjustment of the bonnet switch, a deep breath and I was ready to enjoy another lap.
Things don’t always go to plan. But we can still enjoy the process of developing solutions.