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Jo’s Diary: An uphill struggle

1 month ago

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Joana Fidalgo | Engineer


14 June 2024

Since my Suzuki Cappuccino returned from its restoration, I’ve been itching to take it on track. Something about its incredibly kart-like handling on the road means I find myself always coming up with excuses to take the longer, sinuous route home.

I blame it partly on the Suzuki engineers, who decided to design a practical, economical, shrunken car with aluminium double wishbones up front and a multi-link arrangement at the back, which I have now upgraded with the daintiest set of coilovers upon which my eyes have ever settled. On paper at least, this kind of configuration and setup in a car weighing a sack of spuds over 700kg looks like something with very promising track potential. And for a kei car, the Cappuccino is a sporty little thing: it feels stiff and solid in all the right ways, and I’m convinced this has been much improved by Midland Performance & Retro’s dexterity with a welding machine.

I have long contemplated what event I should attend. Silly as it sounds, there is something rather unnerving, if not straight-up terrifying, about driving a car that is smaller in almost every dimension than any Caterham on sale on a track with a bunch of other vehicles. I’m convinced that had I taken my Cappuccino to the last track day I attended, I’d have been trampled into the tarmac by drivers wondering if they’d just driven over a particularly nasty kerb. Yet, I was sure there was a solution somewhere: and then I happened upon the Club Motul Hill Climb at Shelsley Walsh.

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