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2018 - Moving Forward

Updated: Feb 17, 2019

People in motorsport often talk about 'moving forward' and for the Wrexham Glyndwr University students of Together, We Progress Racing that could not be more accurate with a bespoke new home in the Glyndwr Racing Centre!

After a challenging - sometimes eventful - 2017, the Team have spent the winter layover consolidating and will present their two Mazda MX-5 race cars to the scrutineers for the first time this year in just one week at Donington Park. The 750 Motor Club Club Enduro series steps up to full Championship status for 2018 so every race and every result will be vital as the months tick past.

With the key support of the Team's title sponsors MX-5 Parts and  FUCHS Lubricants UK it has been a busy start to the year with both cars having seen considerable improvements.

Almost everything has changed - read improved - this year; from management structure to new Chief Technical Tim Earp (ironically no relation to Team's Principle and Manger respectively: Jon and Will who share the same, somewhat unusual surname!) Tim brings huge industry experience to the Team and will act as liaison for the Student No1 mechanics on each car at race weekends as well as supervise work back at HQ. Gary Bush also returns to the Team (where his Ciceley Motorsport BTCC duties allow) and will lead with data and driver debrief analysis. A final year Student himself, Gary brings a wealth of experience to the Team.

Speaking of the changes Will Earp said:

"From the hard work and efforts that have gone in over the winter, the cars are looking immaculate so credit to the Students and all the staff that worked so hard to get them in this condition. Moving forwards, we've got high hopes for our first outing at Donington and I'm personally looking to pick up where we left off last season. Now is the time for us to prove how we can perform as a team and push for those results!"

The Team has grown not just in depth but breadth too; with the Team missing the recruiting opportunity of Freshers week (due to being in Spa Francorchamps, worse places to be!) the Student Union society under society President Aaron ably assisted by Zoe have worked hard to bring in fresh blood to ensure longevity in the project.

The Cars

Car 72: The Team welcomes back Nick Dougill and Graeme McMurchie in the MX-5 Parts MRF Tyres Mk1 MX-5.

Having tasted success in the same car last year - including multiple trophies in the Club Enduro campaign and a hard-earned Race of Remembrance podium - the pair will again share the majority of this season. Both Nick and Graeme brought a wealth of experience to the Team in 2017 and worked alongside the Students to bring home the trophies in true team style.

The winter has seen considerable work go into the Mk1, the 22 year old car that showed impeccable reliability in 2017. Having found that sweet-spot the decision was made not to upgrade the engine (yet) but to work on further lightening the chassis whilst also improving aerodynamic forces around the car. --- Car 27: Max5 champion John Munro will join the Team in the MX-5 PartsNankang Tyres Mk3.

John will be joined at Donington by 5Club stalwart Ben Hancy. Meanwhile behind the scenes the teams' new recruit Alex Duffy has gained his ARDS licence and will secure some quality testing in the car under John's watchful eye before he joins the hunt for silverware in time for Oulton Park.

After the engine woes of last year the Team took the hard decision to abandon their 1800cc engines in favour of the - more accepted - 2000cc VVT unit. Step forward Wicks Performance Engineering and their newly imported OE blocks direct from Mazda's Hiroshima factory. The expected horsepower of the crate engine was 160-165bhp but actually achieved 173.9 on the official rolling road and that's before it's tuned!

Season Hopes

Speaking of the progress over the Winter months Team Principle Jon Earp said:

"Since the Team moved into our new home (a short time after the Autosport Show) the pace and quality of work has increased exponentially. It's been exciting to watch the Students not just own the floor space but take ownership of the entire project. There was an awful lot of work behind the scenes to secure the move to our new HQ and I'm personally indebted to the individual that made that possible.

It's not just the Team that are looking smart (in their new Techmax uniforms), the cars look amazing too; the Mk1 in particular came back from the Race of Remembrance looking more 'agricultural' than 'race' but new lightweight panels, significant aero work and a general tidy up of the electrical system has seen the car as good as new.

The investment in the new space has been significant: new pit-to-car race radios, new Grand Design Systems garage equipment, new tooling, even the new engine, all were key to pushing the Team forward whilst also giving both the Team and drivers the best chance of success. In all around £10k has been ploughed back into the project over the Winter but as far as I'm concerned, it's money that needed to be spent.

In terms of hopes, we've seen the burgeoning entry list for the Championship and it's clear there's a tough season in front of us competition-wise, but I can honestly say that we've never been so well prepared, so ready for the fight!

And I cannot express how proud I am of the Students (and Staff) for the commitment, the late nights, the extra mile they've all gone to to put us where we are".

2018 Race Calendar:

750 Motor Club CARTEK Club Enduro Championship

18 Mar Donington 2hr 14 Apr Oulton Park 2hr 10 Jun Rockingham 3hr 6/7 Jul Spa Francorchamps 2 x 100min 11 Aug Silverstone International 2hr 7 Oct Snetterton 300 2hr

BARC / Mission Motorsport Race of Remembrance

10/11 Nov Anglesey 12hr

That's 26 and-a-bit hours of racing!!!

TWP: Together, We Progress. In partnership with Wrexham Glyndwr University.

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