The Christmas break came around quickly and since pushing the car back in to the garage after Cadwell Park in September, not much had been done to the car. However, there was a blown engine that needed replacing. So, after a search around on various well known selling forums, Dave, on another trip back from China, managed to find a replacement for a small £350 fee. Fortunately, another borrowed company car was on hand (perks of a business trip from China!) to help transport said engine. Whilst Dave was back, we took the opportunity to do a few more jobs around the workshop, most notably scrapping the original blue shell that was written off in Rob’s huge crash at Spa in June. It was sad to see it go, but it was starting to look like a scrap heap at the workshop, so it had to go.
Dave was to head back to China for what was to be the final time in January, but in the mean time, Ryan would get hold of various engine bits such as rod bolts, valves & gaskets to build up this new engine. This 2nd engine failure in 4 years was once again attributed to the standard exhaust valves not being able to withstand the heat and general rigour of many hours of abuse. So, in order to gain a little bit more reliability and robustness, we decided to upgrade the exhaust valves to Supertech inconel valves, almost costing as much as the engine itself. We also found that after removing the cams from the blown engine, there was some scoring on one of the lobes. We decided that it would be a little excessive to completely replace them and sent them to a specialist machine shop to have them repaired. They came back as good as new and Ryan then continued to rebuild the new engine back to the spec of the old engine.
The month of March was soon upon us and finally it was time for Dave to return from China, for the very final time, his work assignment had now concluded. We were straight back in to it and within a few weeks, the engine was back in the car. This newly built engine was identical in spec to the last engine, so we had decided to not bother taking the car for a mapping session to save a few pennies. We ran it up to temperature at the workshop and all the vitals were on point, so we were happy.
The next job on the list was to make some effort to repair the bodywork damage sustained from Ryan’s brush with the barrier at Cadwell Park. Fortunately, we happened to have a donor silver Clio sitting in the yard, ready to be ripped apart. The driver’s side door, front wing and rear bumper were all soon replaced but the rear quarter was still quite dented. We made an attempt to pull out the worst of the dents, but really it needs the whole panel replaced, an aesthetic job we will save for another time.
The final thing to do before the start of the season was to get the welder out again and make a tyre rack for the trailer. We had some old scaffolding tubes tucked down the side of the workshop, so we used these to build a simple square frame on some brackets that would simply bolt on to the side rails of the trailer. An arm was added to the top with the use of a smaller diameter tube that would sleeve inside the cross beam of the frame to create a hinged joint – lots of grease of course. A lick of paint and hey presto, 1 trailer tyre rack created for almost nothing. Next up would be Thruxton for our first race of the season.