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In 2009 I came to an arrangement with Colin, a good friend of mine, to hire his Radical for track days. It worked out well for us in that it got him out to more tracks and was a lot more practical with two people to manage the Radical. For me this was brilliant, I got to play with a new toy and sharing track time with mates is more fun anyhow.

I'll admit that I was unsure initially whether or not I'd even get on with a slicks and wings car, but I loved it. However one thing we both missed was having a passenger seat. So initially Colin planned to chop in the Clubsport for an SR3. This could have taken a long time for a good one to come up within budget. After a natter I decided that if I went halves with him, it would open out our options to find a newer car, and so the plan was hatched. What we didn't expect was what would enter into our sights if we stretched our budgets a bit further.

...and lo, on a particularly snowy day in January, we picked up our new track toy.

The car in question is a Juno SSE-CN sports prototype. It is a 2006 car meaning that we have the older higher bodywork and lower rear wing. Under the body, this is the same car that is currently on sale and it's entirely possible to upgrade the body to the latest spec. Even so, this car still got a podium finish in the Spa 3hrs of the VdeV/Speed series against cars with the newer aero and running full flappy paddles and the like. So I may be slow when I drive it, but this car certainly isn't.

Some things about it: It has a Mountune Honda EP3 engine built to CN regs on Pectel's SQ6 engine management. Which allows for fun stuff like Qualify, Race, Safety Car and Wet engine maps selectable on the dash. I can only see us using the race and wet ones however. Power from the engine is 250bhp which should be nice and reliable as it's not actually that much more than stock. Given these are built for endurance racing, that makes a lot of sense. The engine is good for 80hrs use between rebuilds, though it's been mentioned to us that, as we're not going to be hammering it anywhere as near as hard as the race guys, 100hrs would probably be fine. In real terms, that's about 3 years before we need to think about it.

On to the box, which is a Hewland FTR 6 speed sequential. It's been fitted with flat shift on up shifts, but will require a jab of the scary clutch pedal on down shifts. Now I've driven a car with this particular set up before and found it reasonably simple... But as yet, neither of us have driven the Juno so expect a full report when we do.

What else is there to say at this point? Well it's got F3 centre lock wheels that weigh the best part of knob all, ali belled disks grabbed by AP 4 pot calipers all round, in-board super-funky 3-way adjustable Nitron NTF shocks on 800lb springs, pretty much no steering lock whatsoever, a swish AIM MXL Pista data logger dash, a hoooooooge 80ltr tank, it even has indicators. All up, it should weigh about 600kgs or less I would think. We'll get it on the scales and find out at some point. But it's a surprisingly big (mainly wide) car and indeed, it doesn't exactly fit on Colin's trailer.

All that being said, it's not ready to go yet. We have a list of things to do first. Mechanically the car is mint. It has been fastidiously maintained by Phil Williams Racing Services and is quite simply stunning under the skin. It still needs some preparation for the season ahead. Mainly that's a fluid change and possibly a new battery. However, we've got some other bits and pieces we're going to get sorted first. The bodywork, mainly the front wheel pods, have taken the battering that they do, so I shall make myself look busy with the tartage of the bodywork. Colin meanwhile is the mechanical ninja so he'll deal with the spannering (I'm only useful when closely supervised). We need to sort out the seating, not sure where we're going with that as yet, it's either going to be foam seats or GRP ones. What's left is just general odds and sods.

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