Next up was the Production category car; James Orton’s race-winning Peugeot 106 GTI from 2015. The car was bought as a project some years ago, but realising that it only had one owner from new after buying it, Orton put it on the road for his wife to use. He then converted it into a race car later.
I used to race a Peugeot 205 myself in Stock Hatch, a car renowned for being tail-happy. I was expecting the same from this Peugeot with similar suspension, but it was quite the opposite. Orton has spent time working on the set-up of his car, and to his credit it handled well.
The Peugeot 106 was really stable, both under braking and in the corners, especially on the fast Tarmac first corner, which tightens almost to a hairpin. This type of corner is prime territory for a frontwheel-drive car to step out of line, but the 106 was well planted. The brakes were very positive too. Orton uses off-the-shelf motor factor discs and pads, but they were very effective at slowing the car.
As with the Impreza, the 106 inspired confidence to enter the long loose corner flat on the throttle and, with a small tug on the handbrake, it was willing to rotate around the following hairpin nicely. What was noticeable was the standard differential with the front-wheel-drive car. In the 90degree Tarmac corners, the front inside wheel would spin up, but as all cars are the same in the category that makes little difference.
Three sub-classes make up the Production category; up to 1600cc 8v, up to 1600cc 16v and 1601cc to 2000cc. All cars race together. On top of the safety requirements (rollcage, bucket seat, polycarbonate windows etc.), limited modifications are allowed, such as upgraded suspension and air filter.