A Mountain to Climb
It's fair to say that the five weeks post-Silverstone have been painful!
When the Students of Together, We Progress (TWP) Racing returned to their Wrexham Glyndwr University base they were faced with not one but two heavily damaged cars to repair on top of the scheduled upgrades that had to be completed in time for Spa Francorchamps this coming weekend.
With the advice and assistance of many friends within the industry the team collected the various components required to rebuild the MX-5 Parts Mk3 MX-5 - not least a new block as much of the old one was left on the track at Silverstone!
With a new engine came the opportunity for a full rebuild; with Students needing to burn the midnight oil, access to the University Performance Car Laboratory was proving to be problematic so the car was outsourced to Student Aaron Hissey and his family's garage in Stoke; the replacement block was stripped and rebuilt with OE parts and the crank re-ground and balanced. The head went to Bradbury Engineering (more used to working on Classics than 'mere' MX-5s!) where it was skimmed, ported and polished. New high-lift Kent Cams finished off the head rebuild. An early-morning run over to Worksop and the Autotronix rolling road saw the rebuild prove it's worth with significant horsepower, torque and fuel economy gains on the 1800cc engine under the expert supervision of Clive Bussey.
The MX-5 Parts Mk1 MX-5 needed a front-end rebuild after contact with what seemed like every other competitor on the Silverstone International Circuit...a replacement bumper -wrapped once again by the Team's friends at APM Customs - the most obvious change with an aggressive new shape but under the bonnet a new ME221 ECU was fitted and mapped with some surprising - equally amazing - results: a 20% torque increase and 14hp gains whilst also sorting a fuel-lean issue!
Underneath the car, the impact(s) had also bent both track-rods and the suspension needed substantial work to return it to a race-ready condition. Again the car was outsourced with Students Zoe Sharp and Mark Little leading the rebuild.
As an example of the quality of work that has been achieved the images below show the 'before' and 'after' of our Mk3 engine:
Reaching the Summit
Both the TWP MX-5 race cars are, as of writing this, sat on trailers ready to roll out of the University 8am sharp Thursday morning for the 600 mile convoy to Spa.
Talking of the past five weeks Team Principle Jon Earp said "I'm absolutely amazed. The ask was huge - not least because many of the Team are away for the Summer break! Some would say that the workload that faced us five weeks ago was insurmountable given the Team is wholly run by the Students and the complex nature of the work required. Yet here we are, loaded and ready to leave, ahead of schedule. I cannot express my gratitude to the people out there in motorsport land that have helped get us to this point. There is an awful lot of quiet goodwill going on behind the scenes that in all honesty keeps us racing".
Earp continued: "Whilst we are a Team and all win and lose together, this last few weeks has shown exemplary dedication from a few key players, they know who they are and I cannot thank them enough".
The Team also gladly supported the MX-5 Owners Club National Rally held this year at the British Motor Museum, Gaydon. Speaking of the event Will Earp - TWP Relationship Manager - said: "It's important we as a Team continue to share our story. Without the support of Clubs like the MX5OC we wouldn't have the relationships with some of our key sponsors that we do. It remains important to give as well as receive so hopefully our attendance was appreciated, the Caber Coffee certainly was and in the process we managed to raise a bit of money for the Wales Air Ambulance!"
2017 Race Calendar:
750 Motor Club CARTEK Club Enduro
19 Mar Donington 2hr 23 Apr Snetterton 2hr 08 Jul Anglesey 3hr 20 Aug Silverstone (Int) 2hr 01 Oct Spa Francorchamps 2hr
750 Motor Club Birkett Relay
28 Oct Silverstone GP 6hr
BARC / Mission Motorsport Race of Remembrance
11/12 Nov Anglesey 12hr
That's 29 hours of racing!!!
TWP: Together, We Progress. In partnership with Wrexham Glyndwr University.