DETAILS OF THE ESPRIT V8 RACE CAR
The car is a spaceframe based silhouette special, it's appearance is that of a Lotus Esprit, however, under the bodywork there lies a single seater racing car.
The car is light (1700 lb, 770 Kg) and with 575 BHP from it's Chevy LS6 race engine has a power to weight ratio of 760 bhp per ton .........so its pretty quick !!
The car was track tested by Mark Hales and featured in Car and Car Conversions magazine in December 1997 when fitted with a 5.0 litre wildcat V8 engine. Mark described the car as "....Awesome...." , So what makes the car 'Awesome' ? Read on.
The car is a Lotus Esprit built to Special Saloon car regulations, so what does that mean ?
The regulations are few, but basically they are as follows:
The side silhouette, the wheelbase and the windscreen all have to be the same dimensions as the car on which it is based. The engine must be at the same end of the car. You must sit completely to one side of the cars centreline.
After that there are a few compulsory safety requirements, but thats it, after that you can pretty much do what you like !
The car is based around a steel spaceframe, this is a tubular steel frame, onto which all suspension, engine, gearbox and body work is attached. This has been designed such that the car is very light, very rigid and also very strong.
The bodywork is made from fibreglass, it is very thin and flimsy when compared with that of a road car, but whereas the average small road car weighs about 1140 kg, this car weighs only 770 Kg !!
The car has specially designed suspension front and rear, the front suspension is modified Westfield uprights with my own wishbones, the rears are off a March formula 2 car. The position of the pick up points have been optimised using a computer programme (I wrote myself) to achieve good camber and roll centre control.
I have made all the panels that are now on the car, with the only exception being the roof (so still a bit of weight to loose!).
All the bucks, molds and panels have been made by myself and my good mate Martin.
The engine is a very interesting 5.5 litre Chevrolet Gen 3 LS6 race engine from out of a Pontiac Sports Daytona Prototype.The engine has very light internals and produces 575 bhp.....and 513 lbf.ft of torque...The engine is described separately....see link above.
Previously I have used 3.5 litre Rover V8 and 5.0 litre and 6.0 litre Wildcat V8 (Rover based) engines.
The Gearbox fitted is a Hewland DG300, a gearbox first used in Formula 1 and F5000 in the 60's and then later becoming the box to run at Le Mans. The gearbox is a 'dog ring' box with interchangeable gear ratios, it has 5 forward gears + reverse. Also fitted is a Salisbury limited slip differential. I purchased this box new from PDS Racing near Barnsley who provided much useful advice and help.
The setup of the cars suspension has been developed over a period of time by observing the handling of the vehicle and changing items such as spring rates, dampers, roll- bars, camber angles, toe in, tyre pressures, wing settings etc, to achieve a car that has great cornering ability, good turn in to corners both fast and slow, with plenty of traction.
The car is fantastic to drive, don't just take my word for it though, read what Mark Hales, a very accomplished , experienced and successful professional racing driver had to say after his test drive at Oulton Park for CCC Dec 1997.
For 2013 I have been in contact with Simon Roberts at Cornering Force and he has made a few suggestions, especially regarding the valving of the dampers ...so watch this space !
ESPRIT V8 RACE
LINKS TO OTHER PAGES
The floor and bulkheads are aluminium. The floor uses high strength aluminium alloy with close spaced rivets to add strength and rigidity, the front and rear bulkheads are thin to save weight. The rear bulkhead is covered in fire retardent shield (just in case)
Triangulation is used throughout to ensure strength and stiffness.
Additional downforce is provided at the front by a splitter and at the rear using a carbon fibre 2 element aerofoil.
Recently Simon McBeath performed an aero analysis on the car and made a number of recommendations .... I have got the most important ones done ...some of the others are still WIP (Work In Progress !)
Both Slicks and Wet weather racing tyres are required. 9"x21.5"x15" tyres are used on the front, whilst 13"x24.5"x13" tyres are fitted on the rear.
The car has Formula 3000 brakes fitted front and rear, using carbon metallic pads, these have proved to be very effective at slowing the car from speeds approaching 150 mph on a regular basis.