Taken from Dyrr’s blog on the Talk -Torque.com forum
The story starts in 2002 when I started Sprinting and Hillclimbing my Lotus Elise. At the time it was kicking out approx 170hp (it only weighed 700kg). I had bought it as a road car, but slowly stated doing some trackdays and then got the competition bug!
That first year of competition saw me finish 1st in class and 7th overall in the Toyo Tires Midland Speed Championship. http://www.midlandspeed.org.uk/
After spending quite a bit doing up a flat to let, I had to sell the Elise and bought a 106 GTi. Still competing in the Midland Speed Championship over the next 4 years, I achieved the following results;
2003 - 5th Overall, 1st in Standard Cars 1400cc - 2000cc
I can’t quite remember all the stats but it was something like 45 top 3 finishes in 52 events with class records broken 18 times.
The 106 had gone from looking like this;
The car was quite a beast with 185hp, weighing 860kg with a plate LSD and geared to do 116mph in top at 8000rpm!
I had to decide on a couple of things;
After much deliberation as I took a year off in 2007, I decided on the National Mobile Windscreens Castle Combe Saloon Car Championship and racing a Fiesta ST. But not a normal ST, one with only 1800cc!
The reason is to do with the class structure;
A normal 2.0L ST would land you in Class B, where you would be up against some pretty hefty machinery….VAG 1.8T Ibiza, Leons etc kicking out over 350hp! together with some highly developed Astras and 206s with more than 280hp (engines for these cars were over 10K alone!)
Before anyone says why not Turbo / SC it or use a 2.3 - You can’t. Charging a car that is not normally charged is not allowed and stroking is also not allowed, so unless I had big modey to have a >270hp 2.0NA which I don’t I would not be competitive. So a 1.8 it was going to be. This can be done by sleeving the 2.0 and turning it into a 1.8L. But more of that later….
So I had to find a car. Basically any decent ST was too expensive and out of the question as I was going to pull it to pieces. I had seen a fully rally prepped 1.4 Group N rally car for sale, but they wanted £9K for it so it was too expensive, as I wanted to ideally have the whole car built for that!
At this point I sold the 106 and got £6500 for it which was not bad as at the time it was a 9 year old car, albeit one with a lot done to it!
So I found a CAT D damaged 1.25LX to start the project on in Sep 2007;
I started to repair the front damage and strip the interior;
where I had got it looking pretty good at the front;
Also at this time I started to get hold of some of the other bits I was wanting have on the car. 4 x OZ Superleggeras and 4 x Team Dynamics Pro Race 1.2s both in 17s, together with some Gaz Gold shocks (the series des not allow remote reservoir dampers and GAZ were the only ones who would add a little camber and castor into the strut for me;
After all that however, I still had a lot to do to the car when, the Rally car I had previously been interested in came up for sale again for £5.5K as a lot of the spares had been sold.
I had a quick look round it and snapped it up for £5250. It had a body off rebuild and as it came with a decent cage, H&R suspension, lots of rally bits and a Quafe ATB in it thought it was a bargain. Only problem was that it only had a 85hp 1400cc engine in it!
Here are some pics as I bought it;
So I spent some time getting rid of the 15s, rally computer, nets, co-driver setas, etc. And fiited some ST bumpers and spoiler and got it ready for the first test at Castle Combe at the end of May.
I also added a Race Technology Dash 2 & DL1 dataloggers. Essential kit in my opinion.
I had decided that I needed to get some experience racing with other cars on the track (sprinting & hillclimbing is against the clock) and I hadn’t had any real experience for some time back to when I had done a bit of competitive karting.
So I thought if the car did some reasonable lap times as 1400cc I would run it as is. The target for the day was 1min 30sec which would have qualified me for 5th in class D out of 12 for the race a couple of weeks, previous. I ended up doing a 1min 29.2, so for all of 2008 I decided to run with the 1400cc. Here’s a pic of the first test session (note it still had the rally roof vent). I think this was also the first test that Dixon had done in his car.
After that it was a case of getting ready for the first race at the end of May. The car was prepped (but I had not changed the suspension for the first race).
I knew I wasn’t really going to be that competitive as I was running with the 1400cc motor and also the car is really a bit to heavy for the 1400cc car. I estimated that the car with 20L of fuel was weighing in at approx 920Kg, which compared to the class norm of approx 800kg and about 50-70hp more meant that I was going to be well off the pace.
Anyway, it was wet throughout the day and in Qualifying I achieved 4th in class out of 9 (28th Overall out of 38), while I finished 6th in class (26th Overall) due to a spin. Here are some pics from teh first race;
Me waiting in the holding area before the race;
I was pretty pleased with my first race as I think I probably had the most underpowered car in the race!
I had booked 2 test session before the next race at the end of July to evaluate the GAZ shocks and try out some spring / damper settings and also a set of 15s.
The 2 tests came and went and I felt I had a reasonable setup to use and so to the next race;
I had got a bit of sponsorship! Baileigh Industrial http://www.bifabuk.co.uk/
Qualifying I achieved 5th in class out of 10 (27th Overall out of 34), while I finished 5th in class (22 Overall).
Think it gives you an idea of how underpowered the car was even against some of the guys doing similar lap times.
I then had to take 2 months off as I was having a 2nd child - Get in the way these things!
Charlie Luc Ardash born on 3rd Sep 2008;
Back again in early October for a dry quali and then wet race. I was really pleased with my time in qualifying as it was a PB but only put me 8th in class out of 12 (31st out of 36). But a strong showing in the race meant I moved up to 5th in class (25th overall)
I also had a bit of a moment in qualifying…
In the end I finished the championship in 8th in class and 22nd overall (out of 80 or so registered competitors), considering I only competed in 3 out of 9 races that wasn’t too bad (all with 85hp!)
There are lots of mods planned for the winter…engine box, custom loom, losing some weight, new bushing exhaust too much to mention now, but all will be revealed….
All that is left is to show you how the car looked like in October;
Front of the car stripped to take 1400cc engine out
There has been quite a bit of work done on the car since then, but I guess I’ll let everyone digest all of that…