2017 Season

22 11 2017

Sorry, it’s been a while since I updated this.

2017 was going to be a big season for us. The Mini7 Club had introduced a new Mini Libre class to run alongside the prestigious Mini Miglias. The class was designed to attract minis from other disciplines into the mini7 club. The main stipulations were that it had to be steel bodied, round front minis running on 10″ wheels with Dunlop tyres with an A series cylinder block and gearbox casing. This allowed for 7 port, 8 port, KAD and BMW headed 16v twin cams, turbos etc – basically a very exciting new class. My car with its 1380 engine would theoretically fit in nicely albeit a bit down on power, but these plans don’t seem to work out…

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Castle Combe Test Day Easter 2017

 

Sadly we were chasing our tail with the outsourced 2016 engine from the start. Without going into it too much, it was a duffer, and true to form it blew up in spectacular style 2 laps into testing at Castle Combe a couple of days before the first round. I seriously considered jacking it in at that point as I’d put all my money into that engine, but it was little more than an expensive grenade. All the money I had saved for entries now had to go towards a new engine. The season was over so I spent all of 2017 wheeler-dealing to raise the cash for a no compromise 1293 Miglia engine. Anything not being used was sold, even my mini pickup road car.

In the meantime I kept my hand in by doing spanners for top Miglia driver Sam Summerhayes who lives quite local to me in Pill. I managed to get to Castle Combe, Donington, Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Rockingham, and Sam managed a very respectable 4th in the championship.

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Sam Summerhayes Mini Miglia at Donington

 

Whilst waiting for the new engine to be completed I had been collating a few parts for a spare engine. I had a fast road spec block, crank, rods and pistons from a 1380 in stock, and also the leftover head, carburettor, inlet, cam, timing gear and flywheel assembly from my old 970S Autograss engine. I also acquired a 4 syncro SCCR gearkit and so I had enough parts for a complete spare motor. There was an extra meeting at Brands Hatch in November being run and Sam said he would spanner for me and let me use the truck as a thank-you for helping him this year, so it was all systems go to get ready for November 18/19th.

The 1380 ‘Bitza’ engine

 

The engine needed mapping and the fuelling sorted so it was off to JPR Tuning in Yate. The engine actually started up ok at home but we needed to fine tune the crank trigger settings so that was the first job on the laptop. With that sorted we setup the ignition map, and then we could do some runs to get the fuelling and ignition spot-on. It’s imperative to get the fuelling and ignition at safe baseline settings before putting the engine under any real load, so there is a fair bit of back and forth. The engine felt strong but sadly we couldn’t do any full power runs that day. At least it was tuned and safe.

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Sat on the JPR rollers

 

The following Saturday I took the car to Lodway Service Station for Sam to work his magic doing a suspension setup. We used their new Bosch alignment system which is an amazing bit of kit. It’s fully digitalised and you can see dynamically on the big screen how adjustments affect other parameters. We set ride height and cornerweights first, then all round camber, castor, tracking etc, and then a cornerweight check again.

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Bosch Alignment setup

 

So now the car was pretty much ready. Time to send the entry in…

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