£999 track/sprint project - adventures in the Japanese Sprint Series

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£999 track/sprint project - adventures in the Japanese Sprint Series

Post by benedwards64 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:08 pm

Afternoon all,

I'm a returning member, having owned a VR 231 several years ago (still going somewhere, apparently, if anyone here owns SN53 SLZ?!).

Anyway, after a couple of years competing my Westfield in the Javelin sprint series alongside a friend of mine, we've decided to go in together and share a track/sprint car project. It's going to be a pretty cheap build to start with while we suss out what needs doing (and whether it'll actually survive an event or two!) but we'll be developing as we go.

What follows is a few posts lifted from PistonHeads to bring us up to date - after which I'll update as we go :)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Some of you may have seen my Westfield thread – I’ve been taking part in the odd trackday and sprint (courtesy of the Javelin Sprint Series) for the last couple of years, along with my best friend. It’s been enormous fun, but having a fair amount of money tied up in a car that gets very little use has got me thinking recently about trying something different. Cheaper. Maybe a little more disposable.

And then, all set to go up to Croft last weekend, the turbo on my trusty tow-car decided it didn’t want to hold all of its oil anymore.

Image2017-07-08_07-04-25 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Pete came to the rescue with a very kind offer for me to double-drive his current Fiesta – a 140k mile Zetec S with some ECP coilovers and a set of R888Rs. It was a bit different to the Westfield, but a lot of fun nonetheless!

Image2017-07-08_07-05-15 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35nL38iUay4

So a plan was hatched. We both do all the same sprint events, and would like to do more trackdays. Neither of us drive our ‘other’ cars very often, and both of us have more sensible things to be spending money on. Why not share a car? All the costs are halved. We have between us two garages, two sets of tools and a hydraulic lift. Trackdays just become car + additional driver. But what could we get?

We spent the 5 hour drive back from Darlington looking at many different options. Civic Type R? Clio 182? MX5? Too many in the series already, and we wanted something different. I got very excited about the prospect of an MG ZS180 (yes, really!), but it would put us in a class with VX220s and V6 Exiges. Same for an Accord Type R. Z3/Z4 were too expensive, but we did want RWD. We kept coming back to the obvious answer that was staring us in the face – I’ve owned one before, but even so the internet scare stories can be a bit off-putting. How would it cope with regular track abuse? Only one way to find out!

We set a budget of £1000 and hit eBay.

We almost had too much choice for our budget so whittling them down was a fairly arduous process, and finally chose one to go and have a look at. So, yesterday evening, I put down a deposit on this beauty:

Image2017-07-08_07-05-28 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Image2017-07-08_07-05-39 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Yep, £1000. It has a recent rebuild from Apex Rotary, starts well from hot and cold, and has clearly had some money spent in the past. It already has a stainless manifold and full exhaust system, Tein coilovers etc and seems to have had recent plugs, Magnecor leads and coils. On the other hand the paintwork is scruffy, it smells of dog, has a bit of play in the steering column and has some horrendous drug-dealer wheels fitted (those rears are 265 section!).

So, plans? Well, the coilovers were on the list already so they’re a bonus. The exhaust does have a cat (so MOT friendly) but is fairly loud and the manifold is blowing slightly. We might be a bit close to some track noise-limits, so I’ll need to investigate that. We’ll flog the wheels in favour of a couple of sets of standard wheels (one for road use and one for a set of R888Rs we already have ready to go on). First sprint event is in three weeks so we have our work cut out! Longer-term plans will be to strip a reasonable amount from the interior, acquire some braided lines, fit a bolt-in roll cage, bucket seats and harnesses and take it from there. Hopefully it’ll give us a reasonable amount of fun without grenading itself.

Pick-up this weekend!
Last edited by benedwards64 on Wed Mar 28, 2018 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by benedwards64 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:09 pm

Well, we made it home! :D

Image20170701_183145 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

So, what does £999.50 of RX8 buy you, exactly? Let's see what we have here...

Image20170701_192012 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Image20170701_192501 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Image20170701_192620 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Image20170701_192608 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Image20170701_192644 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Image20170701_192911 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Image20170701_194335 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Image20170701_194344 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Pretty grim really. What these pictures don't convey is the vile smell coming from the boot. It looks clean, but something has definitely died in there.

Still, it drives well enough. Pulls well, handles OK (those stupid wheels aren't doing it any favours), but it is very loud. Gearbox seems fine, if a little whiny in second.

First things first, lets give it a clean!

Image20170701_204329 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Image20170701_204631 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Image20170701_210034 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Image20170701_210000 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Image20170701_205951 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Image20170701_205929 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

That's better!

Also found this little chap:

Image20170701_192335 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

And a MYSTERY SWITCH :yikes:

Image20170701_192438 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

So, plans? We have a growing list for next weekend when i'll be making the maiden voyage down to Kent - mostly servicing, but the exhaust manifold gasket needs sorting and it'll get a service as well. I'm also in danger of getting a bit attached to it, so it'll be getting some racing-orientated decoration :D

In the meantime, I'll drive it for the coming week and see what else I come across :lol:

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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by benedwards64 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:10 pm

Well, things are slowly starting to happen in preparation for the weekend. I've managed to secure two sets of standard wheels - one with some decent branded rubber which we'll use as road wheels, and a ropey set of bare wheels which will get sprayed a silly colour and shod in a set of R888Rs.

We also have a full set of service gear to go on (plugs, coils, leads, oil & filter, EBC Yellows) as well as a new exhaust manifold gasket. Chatting to a couple of specialists revealed a few things we should probably know by now:

1) Apex Rotary (who did the engine rebuild) don't really seem to have the best reputation....
2) the stainless manifold (most likely a Japspeed) is almost certainly junk, and is in fact blowing because they have a habit of warping
3) Mazda want a hundred bloody quid for a new exhaust manifold gasket :yikes:
4) oil choice is a very emotive subject amongst RX8 owners

Well, 1) we can't do anything about, so let's just see how long it lasts :lol:

2) and 3) are a bit easier - we'll pilfer a standard manifold off a breaker, and Pete (my partner in ill-advised carfoolery) managed to get hold of another gasket from a local specialist. We opted for some 10 40 semi-synthetic oil after chatting to the guys at Opie Oils and doing lots (and lots) of reading on the subject.

I'm using it as a daily driver this week to get to know it. So far I've had one startup out of about 20 that was a bit smokey, but I'm hoping it's down to a bit of oil overfill rather than anything more sinister. It also pops and bangs when changing up at 9k rpm, which would have been fun for anyone along my drive to the station at 7.00 this morning :lol:

Image2017-07-04_10-08-20 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by benedwards64 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:10 pm

Last bit of tinkering last night - find out what the mystery switch does! I had an inkling that it was going to be a fan override switch, and sure enough...

ImageMystery wire by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

...which leads through to...

ImageEngine bay by Ben Edwards, on Flickr


And, under that (very sharp!) engine cover lurks this little piece of ghetto engineering :hehe:

ImageRedneck fan by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Yep, it's a fan switch. Useful for track work I suppose, but it's on a permanent live so we'd best remember to switch it off again.

Oh well, at least I know what it's for before I sit in traffic for many hours tomorrow evening :lol:

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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by benedwards64 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:11 pm

Well, that was an intense weekend!

First up, off to Uxbridge to pick up a set of bare wheels. Friday afternoon rush-hour traffic was in full swing, it was hot, and the air-con doesn’t work. I’d forgotten how much heat these things generate! Still, wheels collected I headed back to the M25 and down to South Kent. I’m a complete Waze convert now, as well – it managed to steer me round a closure on the M25 that the gantries weren’t showing, and another set of traffic on the M26. Total driving time from Marlow to the Marsh was 3.5 hours including a stop for the wheels, which wasn’t too bad really. I was absolutely sweltering by the time I arrived though!

First things first, I had to introduce Pete to his new race car! We took it for a nice run around the marsh back-roads and confirmed our list of jobs to tackle for the weekend. That done, we had beer and caught an early night.

One of the biggest jobs we had to do (and so, the one we did first) was sort out the blowing exhaust manifold. It had a stainless aftermarket unit fitted which has been farting away merrily since I picked the car up, but Pete had managed to get a good standard unit off a breaker all ready to go after a bit of fighting with stubborn studs:

Image2017-07-07_11-08-48 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

So, as of 8am Saturday morning, we got to work!

Image2017-07-08_10-33-23 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

And after much (much!) swearing…

Image2017-07-08_10-33-38 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

No prizes for guessing where this POS was blowing from….

Image2017-07-08_10-33-53 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Next job was to go hunting for another set of wheels – this time, to swap the 19s for a set of standard wheels with good tyres we can use on the road. I’d slightly underestimated the journey involved for this one, as it turned out, but after a 65-mile drive to Brixton and changing someone’s wheels in the carpark of a swanky hotel (a pretty surreal experience, I have to say!) we came home with the goodies:

Image2017-07-08_10-34-25 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Our work not over yet, we managed to find time for a full service (oil, filter, plugs, coils and some EMC Yellowstuff pads) before calling it a night. It was getting dark by this point…

Image2017-07-08_10-34-38 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Image2017-07-08_10-34-53 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Up early again on Sunday, and it was time for the fiddly jobs. I got started fitting the new numberplates – which wasn’t much fun given what I faced after pulling the old ones off!

Image2017-07-09_10-44-35 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

More important, perhaps, was securing the previously unsecured battery and correcting some pretty horrendous wiring bodges. Someone at some point has fitted a catch tank, the location of which was pushing the wiring loom against one of the pulleys. No damage to the wiring, fortunately, but it was only a matter of time! The unsecured battery tray was also a victim:

Image2017-07-09_10-44-46 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

:yikes:

So, another tray from the breaker and a bit of swearing later, we had this:

Image2017-07-09_10-45-00 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Much better!

On to the last jobs now, we got busy stripping some weight out of it. Front interior and seats are remaining for now, until we get some decent seats and a cage so we can run proper harnesses, but we still managed to remove a fair amount from the rear!

Image2017-07-09_10-45-11 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Image2017-07-09_10-45-31 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

And, for the full-on Ricer Special look (well, I was starting to get attached to it, so what better way to cure that!). Purists, look away now…

Image2017-07-09_10-45-41 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

And with that, time for a test drive! It immediately felt much happier – the engine was pulling better, idling better, and (mercifully) there were no blows from the exhaust. It’s actually quite civilised on a steady throttle now! We were suffering with a fairly horrendous noise at WOT though, which after a bit of reading up turned out to the an issue known as ‘marbles in a tin can.’ Pretty alarming at first, but after replacing the BP 95RON with some V-Power it has gone away. I was a little nervous about the long drive home, but made it with no dramas despite the M25’s best efforts. We really need to fix the aircon, though…

So that’s it for now, it’s pretty much ready for race weekend in a couple of weeks. There are a few other bits to sort in future (a front splitter of some sort, refitting a standard airbox, investigate a Sohn adapter) but we’ll see how we get on at Blyton and take it from there. Assuming it survives to tell the tale :lol:

Image2017-07-10_10-51-59 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Image2017-07-10_10-51-44 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

Image2017-07-09_10-46-05 by Ben Edwards, on Flickr


[footnote]Edited by seiben on Monday 10th July 13:03[/footnote]
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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by benedwards64 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:12 pm

...and to bring us up to date, I've just been sent this picture:

Image
Tango by Ben Edwards, on Flickr

:D

First event at Blyton (Eastern) on Sunday. Fingers crossed....!

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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by PeteH » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:22 pm

Good stuff so far. Best of luck on the track.

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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by benedwards64 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:29 pm

Thanks Pete. Have had a good read of your thread already for inspiration :)

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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by wgimenes » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:00 pm

Pete, what's your opinion on that spoiler?

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Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by GreySilver Beast » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:23 pm

Hi Ben & :welcome: back to the RX-8OC :P


Please check out the EVENTS SECTION's :thumleft: - Events Team

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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by PeteH » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:26 pm

I'm sure if Ben wanted my opinion he'd ask for it. :thumright:

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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by wgimenes » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:27 pm

What if I say "I'm asking for a friend" ;)

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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by benedwards64 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:32 pm

:lol:

Did I mention we're not taking this too seriously?

I'm aware the spoiler looks gash ;)

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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by wiggles » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:07 pm

I think he was talking petes technical opinion of it, we can all agree it looks gash ;)
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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by wgimenes » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:17 pm

I was simply calling on Pete's experience on the effects of such a large area increasing the downward pull on the rear suspension without an equivalent effect on the front suspension as well as the encumbrance of turbulent untrained air that might create a vacuum following the car.

Nothing to do with looks.

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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by benedwards64 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:53 pm

Front splitter will be happening at some point. I'd be interested in just how much we've cocked up the car's aerodynamics, certainly ;)

We already had the spoiler though. And how can you not bolt it to a track car. I mean, come on. It's carbon :lol:

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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by wiggles » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:02 pm

benedwards64 wrote:Front splitter will be happening at some point. I'd be interested in just how much we've cocked up the car's aerodynamics, certainly ;)

We already had the spoiler though. And how can you not bolt it to a track car. I mean, come on. It's carbon :lol:
Yeah everyone knows adding a carbon spoiler must have dropped at least a few kilos off the car :lol:


In fairness you probably saved the weight of the spoiler and more swapping those wheels.
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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by Shagrington » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:15 pm

Hi and :welcome: back Ben. :D If you want to join the club, among the other good stuff membership gets you, you'll get access to all the workshop and technical manuals etc (if you need them) as well as discounts from some of the traders and we could move your posts above (fascinating stuff by the way =D> ) into the personal projects section.
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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by Davemitch » Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:45 am

Is it bad i really like those wheels? Lol what's wrong with 265 rear tyres .... :-k
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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by benedwards64 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:31 am

It depends what you want from the car really. In reality there's not much wrong with them, but such a staggered setup won't do the car's balance any favours on track.

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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by benedwards64 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:32 am

Shagrington wrote:Hi and :welcome: back Ben. :D If you want to join the club, among the other good stuff membership gets you, you'll get access to all the workshop and technical manuals etc (if you need them) as well as discounts from some of the traders and we could move your posts above (fascinating stuff by the way =D> ) into the personal projects section.
Thanks Shagrington. We'll let the car decide - if it survives this Sunday at Blyton I'll join up again [-o< :lol:
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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by Twistedmonkey » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:54 am

Hi mate cars looking great are those my old wheels that are now bright orange ? Paul uxb


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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by benedwards64 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 8:40 am

Hi Paul - yep, those are the ones! Will get some pics this weekend when they're on the car :thumright:

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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by benedwards64 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:15 pm

I'll just leave this here... :lol:

Image

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Re: Newbie (well, sort of) - £999 track/sprint project

Post by Liam22 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:04 pm

Great read! Nice job so far. Looks like the rear wing still allows for oversteer :D

Also spotted some Tein(?) coilovers fitted. Can't argue with the bang for your buck at £999

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