Ok well i'm back (and alive!) so here goes.
First of all cars - Caterham 7 RoadSport SV's, not sure on actual engine setups but there is an option of a 125 BHP 1.6, 150 BHP 1.6 or a 175 2.0 - not sure which I was in but probably the slowest. SV just means "wide" so that fat people like me can fit in
125 BHP sounds pretty shit I must admit, esp as the p-wagon puts out 84 so thats not even double the beast from the east - but while my car does 0-60 in 12.2 seconds, the 125 BHP model does it in 5.9 seconds, mainly because the 7 weighs half the amount of my car (500 KG!). In short - I drove an LX4 :P
The car was "setup for drifting", the front ARB was gone, the front was lowered and softened (or hardened - forgotten :S) with soft tyres and the back was raised and softened (well, the opposite of whatever the front was) with shitty mega-hard Avon "Eco" tyres that ran for the whole day on a single set.
When I turned up there were all manner of cars in the car park, ranging from modified Golfs, a modified Lotus, an E46 M3, several rep-mobiles and a new TT, even another 7 - I was expecting to be the gimpiest person there with all their experience in RWD cars.
Got in the car fairly early starting off with a basic slalom, long turn to step out on then a "rolling donut" (i.e. wide-radius donut round a fixed point) - most people pussied out on the long turn, and understeered on the donut, then on their next go booted it and... spun. I managed to do quite well and took to the whole weight transfer thing pretty well, despite stalling the car. This was on a car park with cones, and several people managed to eat the cones.
It became fairly obvious that I seriously over-estimated the experience of the drivers - Mr. Modified Elise was balls-to-the-wall crazy and just booted it until he ended up parked on top of a cone in a cloud of his own tyre smoke. Several other drivers just froze the second they got it sideways and one guy just kept subconciously correcting the slide which was quite funny to watch.
Was a bit worried they would want to "baby" the cars but they didn't - they didn't mind anything they just didn't want us moving out of 1st (good for at least 30 in 1st and it was very tight so didn't need to move up, and i suspect the clutch would burn out very quickly if they let people clutch kick).
They then changed the course to a figure-of-8 style layout and I decided to try to go a bit harder, managed to link the turns up quite well and without blowing my own trumpet I was doing pretty well - the only problem I had was I couldn't seem to move my hands around the wheel fast enough without losing my grip on the wheel so some of my transitions weren't as gentle as i'd of liked
Then after much spinning (and lots and lots of "racing driver excuses"), and still none on my part, I got to move up to the next course, which was a mix of pretty much everything - got a few practice runs (where I got a semi spin, the car lost all momentum but I kept it pointing the right way) and then we were told we were going to be assessesed. In practice I did a blinding run, and managed to spin it at the end which got to me, but I tried again and really nailed it for the last run - part of the course was a 90 degree turn, then a "rolling donut" round a cone after the corner, then on the way out back into another 90 degree bend, and I was sideways going through the first corner, keeping it sideways through the whole donut thing and then still kept it out on the way into the next corner - alas it was on the other side of the track so my "cameraman" got a poor view but take my word for it
The scores were counted up, and out of the 22 participants, the guy in 3rd got 87%, Mr. Modified Elise got 87.5% as for perhaps the first run ever he managed to miss every cone, and then I went and got 89%
(yes, bitches, that did mean I won)
As a prize I got a free hat (w00t) and a bag full of Auto Glym car cleaning / detailing stuff which is also pretty good.
I don't think anyone was best pleased they were beaten by a guy who's had a license for a year, and never driven anything RWD (with road tyres) before, though
Must say LFS definately helped, although it did definately feel like LFS had much much less grip simply because you feel the grip the car actually has much much better when your strapped in with a harness vs sitting in an office chair holding a bit of plastic. The actual dynamics were very very similar though.
Picture wise, I'll give you a teaser:
I dont have many good pictures as my Dad sucks with a camera, and as it was cold (3° C when I turned up at 8...) my parents didn't stay outside too long, but I do have some videos which i'm uploading to YouTube atm (but at ~100 MB for a 1 minute video its taking a while...!) which i'll drop in.
All I can say is that the 7 isn't high tech but it's a bloody fantastic car to drive, and it either wants to understeer or oversteer and it steps between very quickly. I want one
Funny event of the day has to be the guy who couldn't keep his hands still though - every time he spun his hands could catch the dash and start the indicators / wipers.