Race Calendar

2016 Race Calender 

 

April 23/24th - Silverstone Int.

May 30th - Oulton Park Endurance

June 11/12th - Thrxuton

July 3rd - Donington Park

July 17th - Castle Coombe

August 6/7th - Snetterton 300

August 27/28th - Brands Hatch GP Endurance

October 22/23rd - Brands Hatch Indy (FFF)

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Complete Engine Rebuild for the Final Race of the Season

" I have definitely lost compression on two cylinders, and there is an awful noise"
These were the words from driver Tim Tudor as the car limped into the pitlane during race one at Pembrey cicuit.

for_engine_reportAs the team pushed the car back to the paddock, the thought of yet another car strip down only two weeks after the previous was beginning to set in.

Initially though, the team were worried something had not been put together correctly; an unlikely outcome though given the skill and dedication abundant throughout the team. Even more unlikely given that the engine had been running spot on with no problems prior to its somewhat reserved failure at Pembrey (no massive billows of smoke or any other tell tale signs of catastrophic engine failure).

As it transpires, the cause of the problem was in no way related to any work carried out on the car, but instead simply down to the age and high mileage of the engine. It is one of those cases to which the classic "This is motor racing, these things happen" can be duly applied.

Upon removal of number one spark plug, the electode was found to be bent, meaning something had hit it. Something that most definitely should not be in the combustion chamber!
But it was the removal of number two spark plug and the inlet manifold which provided much of the entertainment for the weekend. There was absolutely nothing left of the plug's 'combustion end', and by peering into the inlet port of that cylinder it could be seen that the inlet valve was bent almost beyond recognition.

With race two scheduled for the next day, the team were eager to put forward their best efforts in getting the car onto the grid for that race.

They had a spare engine back at the university, only 20 miles away, but that was in need of a cylinder head gasket and bolts. Frantic attempts were made to
try and locate the required parts, but unfortunately due to it being a late saturday afternoon these attempts were to no avail.

for_engine_report_valve

With the car back at the university workshop, the team were in first thing Monday morning to find out exactly what had happened.
The cylinder head was removed and the team stood back unsure whether to laugh or cry. The damage was so monumental that laughter took over, but then reality soon set in as the team realised they had only one week to build and fit a new engine.

The piston in cylinder number 2 had taken the worst of the damage, with the valve head of the exhaust valve having sheared off and consequently destroying the piston and cylinder bore. The remains of the exhaust valve were found in the exhaust manifold upon removal. Cylinder 1 had also suffered damage, possibly due to loose metal finding its way from cylinder 2 into cylinder 1. The cylinder head was also completely destroyed during this process, and the photos clearly illustrate the severity of the damage.

The timing belt had been found to have slipped one tooth, but it is currently unknown whether this happened before or after the event which caused such destruction within the engine. The most likely cause is old age and frequently high engine speeds.

The recently acquired spare engine that was almost ready to go in was left aside following closer inspection, showing that it required some level of work before it was ready to run. Fortunately the team have another engine in various bits -but in new condition. It was agreed that this engine would be the better choice, owing to the fact that it's been fully reconditioned and also measured at one the team's sponsors, Baty International.

The engineers worked relentlessly throughout the week building the engine and making sure everything was assembled correctly. The team's management also worked hard in getting the necessary parts ordered, paid for and collected in time.

for_engine_report_rebuild

After many hours in the workshop the engine was fully fitted back into the car. After priming the lubrication system, the engine sprang into life immediately. It was running rich initially and back-firing momentarily out of the exhaust. Swapping the lambda sensor and adjusting the idle setting soon ironed out this problem and the engine was happily idling, enjoying its new life in SMU Motorsport's Formula 4 Racing Car.

The team are now set for the final two rounds of the season; a double-header event at the track where everything began, Cadwell Park.
The long haul up to the Lincolnshire circuit begins on Friday, with the team returning on Monday with what we are hoping to be a good result