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Goin' racing - Ford Fiesta Race Championship 1981
In this the first instalment of how we transformed our 'Concept' Fiesta from a roadster into a racer to compete in our own championship, John Pearson tells how the roll cage, racing seat, harness and other safety equipment were fitted. We also uprated the front and rear suspension . . .
AS WE TOLD YOU last month, the Popular Motoring team had just 20 days to transform our 'Concept' Fiesta into a racer to compete in our own series.
That could have been plenty of time if we were a professional racing team, but as we've got a mag to get out as well it meant that Staff Rotter Terry Gray, a couple of lads from our local Ford dealer, Peterborough Motors, and your truly did more than a few hours overtime.
We'll hopefully be giving a blow-by-blow account of the trials and tribulations of a novice racing team in the next couple of months, but the following tells what we did to the Fiesta whiie the power unit was down at Minister Racing Engines being breathed upon and having assorted go-faster spells cast over it.
Actually, the engine has to be bog-standard but Minister 'blueprinted' and carefully put it together for us, as we'll show in a future issue. The engine's got to be in first class condition in a one-make series where all cars are just about the same. Every brake horsepower counts.
First job for the team while secretary Jackie was transporting the load of engine bits down to Minister's Dartford base was to jack up the Fiesta ready for all the competition suspension bits to be bolted on.
We'd only uprated the suspension a couple of months back for fast road use, so it was a bit of a bind having to change it all again. Still, at least we knew where everything went.
Ride height for the series is free, as is the choice of springs, but the carefully worded regulations specify (as you'll see over to the right) the use of Bilstein units - Ford finis code 9054541 - on the front and 9054288 on the rear, using standard mounting points.
Also, the listed measurements keep the ride height reasonable. This all means the more wealthy competitors can't buy an advantage by using trick suspension bits, and you don't get really low cars in the series scraping their undersides on the ground.
We used Ford Rallye Sport competition springs on the front (part number 9054289) with approximately an inch cut off them to give the desired ride height.
On the rear we used 9054414 springs, although we've since found these to be a bit high, so 'ace' Gray will be hacking a bit off them to bring our car down to the same level, so to speak, as most others in the series.
Spring rates and ride height seem to be very much a matter of personal preference, and most competitors have experimented to.....
1 Fiesta front units are simple enough to remove and refit. There's just two bolts at the top and two at the bottom.
2 Once out the unit can be stripped by compressing spring and undoing top nut. Only top plate and assembly are needed.
5 Access to rear shock absorber top securing nut is gained from inside boot. You might need to grip shaft to stop it turning.
6 Bottom bolt also secures rear anti-roll bar bracket to axle. Make sure bracket is right way round when refitting.