A month ago I got a call from Stu at Shannons Insurance letting me know he had a spare spot in the garage for the bi yearly Charity Drive Day that they proudly support.
Phillip Island is a world class GP Circuit that is only 2.5 hours around the bay from my home, I built the PS13 specifically for the chance to drive on this circuit. The flowing layout would suit the setup perfectly but unfortunately I had the motor out of the car and in need of a lot more time and money than I have right now.
So I loaded up the Hilux and hoped for the best. The last time I drove the Hilux was at Summernats and unfortunately hit the wall and damaged the rims, guard and front suspension. I had a new guard to fit up, I repaired the suspension, replaced the tie rod, straightened out the steering rack and had the masters at Barrel Bros repair the rims. I am so thankful they could because we had a few phone conversations that indicated it wouldnt be an easy job.
Unloading the Hilux and walking past the pit garages it occurred to me that I was the odd man out here, filling out the drivers paperwork and filling in the Model: Hilux, Make: Toyota, Colour: White, next to people filling in the same form for Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren got me a little nervous.
But Charity Drive Days is not about competition, its about an open track and having a good time for a great cause.
During drivers briefing we all got a chance to understand the layout of the day and stare at some mechanical art in the form of the new S5000 series.
After a quick check of fluids, pressures and some extra loctite on some known problem bolts I was ready to hit the track.
I love Porsche cup cars!
But a car that can be driven to the track also gets me excited.
I was pitted next to some great people, these Charity Drive Days book out extremely quickly and I can see why.
The weather was perfect (for Phillip Island that is, it can get pretty wild), no wind, a little rain in the morning followed by a nice sunny afternoon.
The most extreme car on the day!
Alright enough talk, lets drive!
On my first session out I just wanted to make sure that the car was in good health and felt safe and secure. Exiting pit lane and out onto a new circuit was an exciting moment, the alignment and handling felt great, the Falken RT615K+ tyres started heating up and gave amazing feedback, I was really surprised at how good everything felt. In drifting I rarely get to feel the ultimate performance of the car or appreciate the finer details that this car posses. The gearbox is freaking amazing, rewind way back to that time I was searching for a stronger option, the most expensive component on the Hilux is this gearbox and it is worth every single dollar.
To my surprise the biggest problem I had was traffic, the Hilux was fast and I wasn’t pushing it to its potential what so ever, I had another 3,000rpm I didn’t use down the straight because I was worried about the aerodynamic effects on the open rear tub area, top speed on the last session was around 220kmh and everything held up just fine.
I swapped batteries through the day as I run a 16V XSPower battery instead of an alternator, this is a total loss system but would easily last for over an hour of driving, I also flattened out my blade sway bars to get a little more roll in the chassis and then just enjoyed the sunny afternoon seat time. Every single time I get in this car it’s a spiritual moment, to have it perform so well on this beautiful circuit made it one of the best days I have ever had inside it.
Big thanks to Stu from Shanons Insurance, Charity Drive Days, all the good people at the track, Falken Tyre for the RT615K+ tyres, Red Line Oil for the fluids and you for reading this post.