Richard, Team Xpress UK’s newest addition to their team recently took his freshly built XQ1 out for a spin, check out what he thought of it!
On the track at last After my first meeting was rained off, I finally got on the track for the first time with the Xpress XQ1, supplied by Steve – head of team Xpress UK and.The day started out damp with moss getting onto the tarmac down at Aldershot. This lead to a demanding track to drive. During pratice I manged to put in some lap times close to the times of my regular rivals. With only 15 competitors at the track is was a layed back day but at least all were in 17.5t class . By the first round of qualifing the track was drying, apart from the moss in the chicane, so that was a challange that caught me out quite a lot leaving me in 12th place and not letting me find out much about the car. For the next round the track had dried out, apart from the moss which was still drying, so I couldnt push flat out, but on the parts where I could push it I found the car very good on the kit setup. I found on the slow corners, like the hairpins, the car rotated nicely but really safely, the back end was just kept inline . I had removed the motor mount post for this round. Next round was my best for postion as I was 3rd in round which helped me get up into the top 10 overall . I had cut the top deck at the front where it y’s out for the bulkheads on the thin part. I did this because I thought it would give better flex as I haven’t had a touring car with this before. The steering was better in this round again and I could push the car hard. In qualifier 4 I tried different springs, Axon 2.75, but the steering was more vague. It could have been because of the cold conditions but I still got a 6th in round. I also had a big tumble leaving me with the shell on the rear rubbing/bouncing on the tarmac making me think I had broken the shock tower, but when I picked up the car the screw had just come out of the body post so I was happy that I got back up to 6th in round. last one, went back to the kit springs and the car was feeling better again. Chasing my mates Ross and Andy I managed a 5th in round and 19 laps in 302.78, which is a new PB for me on my first day out with the Xpress XQ1. My previous PB was 19 laps in 305.76 seconds. After all that fun I was lying 7th on the grid. I was more than happy with this given that I was up against BRCA Clubmans and nationals A finalists. This made my day and at this point I didn’t care if the finals were a washout. In the first final I was ready to push again and see what the car was like in a full 10 car grid. The first lap was messy, nearly taking out Andy while avoiding the first corner pile up, but luckily my tap pushed him clear though the mess and I carried on to chase him, then one other car got a break and put himself between us, taking me up to 5th .Things then calmed down. The racing started to get close, and into the chicane the car in 4th got out of shape and lost the back end right in front of me. I ended up tapping him because I had no where to go, and as he had already lost the car and I was on the brakes hard to avoid it, I decided it was an unavoidable racing incident and carried on after Andy. I had just caught back up to Andy when a back marker was rejoining the track before a corner, making us both jump (thinking he was going to hit us) missing our braking points. I had more time to react, being behind, and over shot the corner the least leaving me the inside line up to 3rd. Unfortunately I only held it for a few laps near the end of the race as one of the unlucky front runners was making a charge back through, and under the pressure I buckled and missed another braking point to let him through. Therefore I finished my first final in a great 4th place. Lets just say I was very happy again, and the car was performing very well, faultless for a first day out. In the second final I let the car down by clipping too much kerb and spinning it twice; one time being collected by another car pushing my shell in, and then again after the marshall had sorted the fuss I caused. He rightfully sorted me out but by now I had ruined my chances of a good finish. I tried to put some good laps in with the car so with one DNF in my final i got a 9th. First impression of the car is epic, I love it. I am so happy I changed brand and am looking forward to racing the Xpress XQ1 next season with active rear toe system, vertical top deck and hard plastic sets all to test. Also an alloy chassis hopefully for a couple of indoor championships maybe. As for people watching the car they were very surpised by my pace out of the box. Next on my list of setup changes is to free the rear end of the car to get the rear rotating faster, going from kit 3 degrees toe in on the rear to 2.5 maybe 2 degrees. I have also been advised to try a Protoform D9 as the type S that I use can be edgey at times. Once again Thanks to Steve and Xpress UK for this chance and to all the people down at the Aldershot track for the fun racing, kind words, and great setup help. My next review will be on indoor carpet racing – or as my team mate Mark has quoted me as stating, the thing “I suck at”.