Look what MOTOR found – Mid Engine Rodeo

The internet is full of wonderful sometimes.

This is a creation by Mike Moore and is used for track days and sprints.  It runs an L98 with a Jerico and Winters quick change rear end.  It runs a Quick Fuel carburetor, dry-sump oil system, modified cam, and pumps out roughly 600hp.  All this in an 1100kg car.

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Incredible Datsun Cylinder Head Redesign

Tony Knight from Knight Engines in Adelaide has posted up some amazing things over the years, including reworking a 24L V12 tank engine and countless alloy V8 porting jobs.

His current work is a Datsun cylinder head for a competition engine.  He has welded up most of the combustion chamber, ported it and has even moved the entire head across the block 2mm!

Tony explains:

Starting with an open chamber U67 L20B casting – it doesn’t really matter which head I started with as long as it is a big port one, you’ll see why in a sec.
Aiming to make a really, really powerful 2L datto:

Got it all stripped down, seat inserts & guides out back to a bare alloy casting, then out with the TIG welder & spend a couple of hours making rods disappear”P1131391_zpskakloexr

Tony also commented on his willingness to share his experience with the broader automotive community:

“I have an accutig 300 – 300A capable & 100% duty cycle with water cooled torch etc.
Depending on the area I was using between 130 – 220A, it could be done with a 200A machine, but only just. The chamber design will be the secret squirrel stuff, but I’ll post it up anyway, along with an explanation of how/why it works.
I’ve drawn from the knowledge of others on many occasions, you can’t learn all this stuff on your own, there is far more than a lifetimes knowledge to obtain – may as well pass on what I can.  I wouldn’t be where I am without the help of guys like Peter Schaeffer, Peter Michaels, Bill Hanson, Bob Sherry etc.
Nor would I be here without the information posted online by yanks like Darin Morgan, Chad Spiers etc.
I’m just passing it forward, just like they did, it’s only fair”


Web Trawl: Nissan GTR Unveiled for Le Mans – and it’s FWD!

Well, this is counter-intuitive, but the Devil is in the detail.

Nissan has unveiled the Le Mans special GTR; the GTR-LM.  A front-engined, front wheel drive car that is powered by a 3-litre twin turbo V6 petrol engine.

They are also using a kinetic energy recovery system of an (as yet)  undefined specification.


The Learning Curve

From Top Door Slammer to Ferrari F458 GT3

Words: Neil Roshier Action Images: Howard Shearing

So what does a drag racer who runs a top Doorslammer in the ANDRA series do when he wants to go circuit racing? … He buys a brand new Ferrari F458 GT3 racing car of course!


Web Trawl: Head Porting by David Vizard

Here’s an excellent article we came across on the web, written by the legendary David Vizard.  Cylinder head porting is a dark art understood by very few, and those that do rarely share their knowledge.  To make things harder, the things that work are often counter-intuitive.


Glen Torrens

The People’s Racer – Get into Motor Sport

Volkswagen nut GLENN TORRENS reveals why he reckons a Beetle is a perfect first – as well as competitive – weekend race car

THE VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE was designed in the 1930s to be a cheap and reliable get-around car. World War II nearly saw the demise of the design – off-road and amphibious military versions of the VW Beetle were made, so the factory was bombed – but (to cut a long story short!) it was saved from death by an Allied management team who got the production line going again.

By the 1950s, the VW Beetle was a legend. It found incredible success in the USA as a simple, modest, affordable vehicle sharing American roads with the over-styled, over-weight and updated-every-year ‘yank tanks’. Around the same time in Australia, the Beetle found almost instant success and forged a formidable reputation for performance and reliability with success in several Around Australia trials… car destroying rallies over outback trans that, in the days before the mining and oil exploration companies opened up the Outback, were little more than two wheel trails across hundred of miles of sand, rock and scrub.

The reason for it success was its light weight, function over form design and simple, reliable layout for chassis and suspension. The air-cooled engine was low on power but high on reliability – with no coolant, it was just about impossible to overheat and of course it couldn’t freeze. By the mid-1960s it was one of the biggest selling cars ever. And of course, it spawned the first Porsche – yes, it’s true, not just a desperate boast from Beetle nuts – which even today retains the familiar rear-engine layout.

Now, nearly 80 years after it was first drawn, and nearly 40 years after the last Aussie-made Beetles were built (1976) the humble VW Beetle is quite appealing for motorsport use, for beginners and more experienced racers alike. The rear-engine chassis and overall light weight allows a Beetle to leave the line hard and handle well, with quite high limits despite modest power. With the right amount of hardware and modifications put into it in the right areas, it can not only be a great first race car, but can be made into an outright winner!

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The Transaxle Conundrum

Audi Transaxle

Audi Transaxle

One of the most enduring motor sport engine and gearbox configurations is the ‘North-South’ mid-engine layout with a transaxle mounted behind the motor. For a manufacturer or a well-funded race team, designing a purpose built or high-end transaxle is not a difficult decision to make. For those of us on limited budgets or ‘green field’ design ability, we are left to pick through the second hand market for something suitable. The biggest limitation for most transaxles available is the ability to take the sort of power even standard modern engines produce. The next problem is whether they can be adapted to suit the intended purpose. Some can have the diff ‘flipped’ to reverse the direction of drive, and others can’t. The intention of this article is to explore the common options in the marketplace, and to develop an on-going resource as the marketplace changes over the years.

This resource will be updated as new information comes to hand. This information has been accumulated from internet searches, forums and in rare instances where manufacturers have provided data. Some of the more difficult data is physical dimensions and the amount of torque they are rated to survive. We will gladly update this resource with information from our readers!  Take a copy of the attached Excel file, add your own data and we will update this page once the information has been verified.


The Toybaru Twins

The sports coupe for a new generation? Already being compared with the E30 M3, the FT86/BRZ will soon hit Australia’s tracks and hills.

(First printed in Issue 31, Nov 2011) The Toyota FT86 and Subaru BRZ twins have hit the Australian sports car market like a small tornado, selling out in a very short amount of time and selling even more hype in the process. I think you would have to have been hiding under a large rock not to have been buffeted by the amount of media puffery.


Ron’s Fast Blast – The Synergy Dallara

The F3 car no more, Ron Hay’s new hill climber simply has more of everything! More rubber, more downforce and a lot more power!

Words: Neil Roshier and Ron Hay

Just like Peter Brock, Ron Hay built his first car using Austin 7 mechanicals, when he was 16 years of age. By his own admission it was not pretty and it did not work very well, but it did the job and helped Ron develop a passion for cars that continues this very day. Ron’s passion for building cars focused on making them go fast and he maintained a long interest in hillclimbs, building several very successful cars including the “Bowin Hay” for Barrie Garner, a Leyland P76 V8 engined Bowin P6 and the “R.H. Honda” using a supercharged Honda CBX 6 cylinder motor.


Commodore Late

Damien Milano’s Late Model Commodore corners flat for such a heavy car.

Words: Neil Roshier Action Images: Howard Shearing

Some cars are just things, a tool for getting from one place to another. It’s difficult then to explain why some other cars are more than simple transport, why their function as a tool for transport then becomes a tool for unlocking a connection between car and owner. Damien Milano first started driving this blue HSV Commodore when it was brand new, straight from the show room floor. For the first few years it reliably roared its way from home to work until one day, as such days happen for company cars, it was time to be traded in. The Commodore must have done its job well and not just the job of transport, it must have forged some attachment or connection. When the time came to part, Damien took the plunge to buy it rather than let it go.


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