dewismotorsport's Astra coupe

More parts have arrived, gonna chuck some valve treatment through it as it’s a old engine and I also needed a octane booster as I ended up filling up before race two at Oulton and the petrol station there only had 97 ron so need it back up to 99 Ron. Also decided to go for the 625 battery as it’s a better all rounder than the the 680, only downside was the shape is slightly different but I managed to get it into the battery cage

Also fitted the new latches to hold the back bumper on should I get rear ended again
So in true last minute motorsport style, I had to remove the supercharger again as it was making noises still, stripped it down and put some more grease in the needle bearings and changed the oil to gearbox fluid and it was a lot quieter, not perfect but useable.

All set up for race day, cars running roughly 30bhp down so qualifying was always going to be tough against my fellow class B racers, managed 10th and 11th for the two races, killed a CV joint at the end of qualifying so pulled in

Race one and not the best start as got boxed in and lost a place to the mini but got it back a few corners later, into a great battle with the 1.8T 20v mk2 golf until another CV joint gave up retiring me from the race

Race two got a better start and again was into a good battle with the golf, he had me on the straights but I was all over him on the brakes and cornering, was just never close enough on the part I was a lot faster to put a move on him and get past safely. Yet another CV joint died ending my race, this time it spat the shaft out mid bend

Some others of the races

Back at the workshop on bank holiday Monday I decided to look over the car, as you can see I’ve done a proper job of the CV joint, it also took out the bottom link hose on the calliper. I decided to pull the whole lot out and check everything over as I just wasn’t happy with the engine, found my exhaust leak which was causing it to run a bit rich on the wideband, welded the crack back up.

Dropped the oil and found a sump plug full of bearing liner, despite no knocking noise this is obviously a knock on effect from when the oil hose popped off at donnington Park. Stripped all the parts off the old engine I’m keeping and gave them a good clean through in the parts washer.

Made a new magnetic sump plug using a drilled out standard one. Stripped both engines fully and started to build up when the dipstick tube snapped off leaving the bottom section in the sump still, thought I’d knock it down and use a magnet to get it out the sump plug hole but it bottomed out in the tube recess so had to make a tool to pull it back out as it was late and I really didn’t want to have to take the sump off

Will finish it off tomorrow.

So the CV failure is a mix of the cheap CV grease burning off and drying out the joint and excessive engine/gearbox movement. So I’ve ordered some high temp grease and some two part polyurethane mix to poor into the mounts as the old sikaflex was just not up to the job anymore, ripped it all out and de greased them ready.

Race 1

Race 2
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Swapped the chains over, now running full GM kits. New gaskets and oils, gone for 10w 60 this time around. All back together and ready to drop back in, just waiting on the polyurethane to turn up so I can do the engine mounts.
Made a new link pipe for the caliper as it got damaged, neaten it up after the photo and gave it a quick splash of paint

Bought some more high temp cv grease for the spares, some more brake fluid, valve cleaner for the new engine, had the injectors ultra sonically cleaned at Relentless performance and got some brake disc temp paint, turns white once up to the certain temp so I will have a idea of how much heat there producing. Also some two part polyurethane mix, went for a cure rating of 85. Mixed it up and poured it in, will clean any excess off and the engine is ready to go back in now
So not updated for a while as I’ve been busy, managed to get the new engine in but ran out of time and money getting a new charger and other race costs so ended up missing the race at rockingham on the 9th of June and bloody typical it was filmed and will be shown on motors tv, ah well next time. Engine in just waiting on new charger and cv joints. Mounts got a quick spray.

So decided to further my skill set as only have 5 years left to serve in the marines so want to get some handy courses under my belt before I leave. First up was a window tinting course, big thanks to John and the guys at extreme tinting in Chester for the excellent instruction, picked it up quick and so John had me tint his sons car

Next course was a automotive locksmith course up in Wakefield. Scary how easy old locks are to pick and with a Astra G taking less than 10 seconds. Newer stuff is getting much harder but soon picked it up but something you need to keep practicing for sure.

And the last course was a vehicle wrapping course back up at extreme tinting in Chester. Had been tasked by my boss to wrap his T4, but first I had to get it flat so a days worth of bodywork and bodge it was ready.

Then onto the wrap itself, preparing the van for the wrap was the worst bit for me as I hate cleaning cars and this has so much crap around the rubber seals etc, clay barred and then various cleaners after and it was ready for the vinyl.

Being the bosses van I couldn’t not add a few personal touches, bonnet one is removable but the surfing penis is embossed so that’s permanent

Was the bosses colour choice and I wasn’t sure to start with but it grew on me by the end, not bad for 4 days work.
Sorry I’ve not updated this for a while but I’ve been working abroad a fair bit.

Anyway I’ll bring you all back up to date:

Built up the shafts and spares with all new CV joints, high temp grease and new boots.
Also wasn’t happy with the last bottom calliper pipe so made a tighter fitting one

Stripped the new supercharger and welded up the silencer holes, gave it a port out and smoothed the casting on the outlet side. Also ported the neck out and welded smooth the sensor hole also gave the mating face a skim. While the grinder was in my hand I decided to lighten the casing as much as I could by removing the various lugs and redundant bracket holders. Put all new needle bearing grease in, filled with the same oil I use in my gearbox and gave it a zinc silver paint job.

Whipped the inlet off and gave the mating face a quick skim also. Fitted new water hoses (well just the main hose) and put it all back together

Heat painted the rear discs and added temp stickers to the rear callipers just so I can keep an eye on the heat range I’m putting them through.
Cars too low for the over the tyre hooks on the tracking kit and using a ratchet strap was so fiddly I decided to use zip ties and it works perfect, solid as a rock and quick and easy to fit. Track it up, added some extra camber to the front left as I’m testing at brands hatch Indy circuit which is predominantly a right handed circuit with a high speed off camber down hill first bend.
Also treated her to a wash as she was thick with workshop dirt and dust

So on the 11th of March was the cars first outing at brands hatch Indy circuit, was a great opportunity to give the car a good shakedown pre season and iron out any niggles etc.

Happy to report I had no issues all day, CV issue is no more and new engine and charger ran fine.
I think the exhaust manifold has cracked again as wide band readings ended up very rich and seemed to be down on power as the AFR’s are 10.3 at WOT. I don’t have time to make one so will probably just bite the bullet and buy a Tullet one and that will solve that issue.
Selection of pictures from the day

Been invited to the Mission Motorsport 7th anniversary trackday at Goodwood circuit on the 19th of March. They are wanting me to take the beneficiaries out for hot laps round the circuit, I can’t complain it’s free and I get to test the car more and get some seat time so win win.
Had to fit the passenger seat, borrow a harness and even fitted a foot rest for them.

Gave the car a full nut and bolt check, changed the old worn out tyres off the front, bleed the brakes and re did the tracking to suit the circuit.

I’ve found the love again for the car and can’t wait for the first two races at brands hatch Indy circuit on the 13th of April.
So on Monday I was invited down to Goodwood race circuit by the head of mission motorsport to help celebrate their 7th year as a charity. The aim for the day was to take benificaries of the charity out for some hot laps of the circuit. The list of cars was something else with a vast mix of exotic cars like the Maclaren F1, Ferrari 488, Porsche 911 gt3 rs to all out race cars like E30 M3’s, radicals and a whole host of others including my own.
Everyone was allocated a garage with a sign (which I now have in the workshop office)

Weather stayed dry and the day had a good turnout with people with all sorts of back story’s but all with the same love of cars, met some great people and they all loved the hot laps. The circuit itself is great, very fast and favours the brave. The little old lady was 101 years old and she was out all day getting blasted around the circuit and she absolutely loved it!

Great day had by all and even got interviewed for a retro/classic car magazine. Couple of pictures of the day

Car help up well only issue being a cracked exhaust manifold making the map rich and the master cylinder seals to the reservoir leaking but both easy fixes.
Long time no update sorry!

Finally got round to building my simulator set up, with games like "Project cars 2 and Gran Tourismo" most of the main UK tracks are on there so it really helps to familiarise the layouts and make mental notes of brake markers and turn in points.

Treated the engine to a new manifold, went for the Tullet 3". can see the size difference next to the old piper. Had to modify the downpipe, moved the flexy and lambda position. Once done heat wrapped it and got it fitted.

New set of tyres ready for the season, went for 245 up front and 235 rears. Also got the new team branded race suits so we all look like power rangers.

Few first race was at brands hatch indy

Qualifying went well, seeing me P6 and P8 (1st in class) for race one and two, not too bad to say it was wet and I was on semi slicks doue to rain just before we went out.
Race one was a disaster as launching it off the line it killed the equal length inner cv joint ending my race on the line, thankfully no one hit me on the way through.

Race 2 went well and I finished P7 and 3rd in class.
Car sustained a bit of damage on the restart to race two where a stranded M3 on the line I had to swerve to avoid but then got hit myself, skirt held up well just some of the jell coat chipped off from the wheel, rest polished off.
Cars been suffering since it was built with fuel starvation on long bends if I run low on fuel so dug out the old cross fuel set up, modified it to suit the astra and made a box to meet MSA regs, fitted it all on rubber bobbins to cut down on noise and vibrations. Replaced the filters as they were well past there best.
Removed all the old lines and fitted a new wide angle rear view mirror.

Finished off the aero by making a front splitter, 12mm marine ply. All chassis mounted and strong enough for me to jump up and down on, routed the edge to tidy it up and painted matt black
With adding weight of the splitter and fuel system I wanted to try and offset that, so whipped the boot hinges off and some inner metal work. The front doors also had the door bar bit removed. Rear boot lid got some quik latch buttons to hold it down solid again

Final few jobs ticked off the list prior to races at Angelsey coastal circuit

So after a 9 1/4 hour drive up from Poole to Angelsey (north Wales) finally got all set up with the team

Our series runs a power to weight class system so I decided to get check weighed, without me and with me, running just under 1/2 a tank. Our race is taken after the race so can knock off the 21kg as that amount of fuel would be gone now the swirl pot system is fitted.

Qualifying went well getting P8 and P9 for race 1 and 2 despite the car still running very rich at 10.2 at WOT so losing power and I've never driven the track before I managed a 1:20.59 with a optimum time of 1:18.10 so I was happy.
Race 1 lined up on the green flag lap, practice started the car and snapped the passenger drive shaft clean in half, so that was the end of that. Thinking about it it must be from when I've killed outer cv joints in the past, the heat must of removed the heat treatment from the shaft end making it brittle.

Thankfully I always carry spares so swapped it out and I was ready for race 2. I was gentle off the line losing a place or two but battled back to finish P8 3rd in class. Some good battles throughout.

Race 3 was a 25 minute reverse start handicap race, slowest car starts first and fastest last based on your fastest time from races, slower cars start with laps in hand, 85 second delayed start through the whole field. I started 13th and despite lapping cars I gained 3 places to finish P10. So good battles at the start and a good final lap last corner overtake. I did forget to turn off the traction control for the first couple of laps till I realised, I also didn't shut the door properly so had to keep pulling the window back in ha ha
I’ve got to the bottom of the shaft snapping issue, I think the previous CV joint failures has made the shaft brittle. You can clearly see the old shaft is discoloured at the end from heat damage, new shaft has non.

Dug out a old genuine CV joint and cleaned all the old grease out and gave it a spray to look presentable, measured the outer that broke on the J&R one and as you can see there is a fair bit of size difference.



Some pictures of race 2 & 3
Few little jobs I needed to do, standard washer jets are terrible so swapped them for some insignia mist jets, they give a much better coverage.
Also got some push button bonnet pins and replacement CV joints to build up the and fit the new shaft.

With fitting bonnet pins it’s allowed me to do away with the standard cable pull mechanism and allow me to cut any un needed metal out, saved a total of 3.5kgs which isn’t too bad really.

Since fitting the 888 kit I’ve found after every race a massive pile of dead rubber and stones, that pile is about 2” high. Made some plastic guards to stop the tyre flicking stuff in

Fitted the new Racelogic vbox HD2 camera kit, looking forward to overlaying videos and data to help improve driving, track and car set up.

Race day was a mixed one, a mistake by me (trusted the fuel gauge and ended up nearly running out so had to pull in early) in qualifying put me down in 14th and 15th for race 1 & 2 so I had my work cut out fighting back up the field.

Race 1 went well, not the best starts as the clio cup car in front stalled and I had to try and avoid.
Ended up finishing 7th and 3rd in class so not too bad.

Race 2 same sketch really, fought my way up to 5th and 1st in class but 4 laps from the end the gear cable end plastic cap popped off leaving me stuck in 3rd gear so caused me to retire.
Got joint fastest lap for class B so that’s silver lining I suppose.

Few photos of the day:
So after a stone smashing the window in race 1 and various other chips I found Asda had a sale on these, seen others use them with good results, so at that price I thought I’d stock up!

After watching my videos back I felt the cameras were too far away and focused more on the in car, only real downside to the vbox is the cameras are really wide angle. I’ve move the rear camera about 20”s further back to near the aerial hole and the front camera about 3”s closer (can’t really go anymore without making a new mount) so hopefully will improve the videos in future.

Races are here:

Race 1:

Race 2:

Go pro footage of race 2:
Between race improvements. Inlet temps were getting on the hot side so decided to make the most of what I had. I'd noticed the grill wasn't that open so cut the metal back as far as it could go and trimmed the plastic grill to suit. Should allow more cold air flow over the supercharger and towards the air filter.

Next to was to move the oil cooler over 2" to allow better flow to the intercooler

Then cut the front of the upper out and boxed the intercooler in to stop air going around it and direct it through it. Used some foamed type stuff to cut to shape, paint and bond on. Now have a much larger surface area of the intercooler getting air flow. Saved 2.5kg in the process. Plan to move the oil cooler elsewhere over the winter.

Removing the final few kg's is getting desperate, cut the last of the un needed rear panel and made a air deflector to stop the bumper acting as a air drag. 1kg saved.

One mod I've been wanting to do for years is make a brace bar set up for the rear beam. This helps stop the beam distorting when under load mid corner and changing the geo setting.
Left and right handed joints and inserts and made some brackets to hold it all

This has also allowed me to fine tune the rear toe baby slightly pre loading the bars to achieve the toe required



Other jobs were to move the mirror slightly back as I found it too close to my face and to cut up the standard tool over valve out the filler neck and attach that to the rear chassis leg in case I really run out of talent and stick it on its roof

Don't think I ever posted what I fitted in the fuel box so here it is, two filters, 1 litre swirl pot and a Bosch 044

Final bit of weight saving really wasn't worth the hassle, few hours work hole sawing the doors for a mear 700 grams. All adds up I suppose ha ha