January 2015


Bought a 2nd pair of aerocatches, and I've finally got the daily booked in for the fitment of the two bar, which will mean I'll soon be able to move the trailer off the driveway and in to storage. BTW the price Sytner quoted to retrofit the same BMW supplied towbar, was twice that of the factory fitted option. Go figure.


Really enjoyed the Service Hydraulics Speed Championship awards on Saturday night. It was the usual crowd of winners, and although I had no trophies to collect, we still won two bottles of spirits on the raffle, so didnt go home empty handed. The big news is that Martin Depper is taking a rest from 3A, and will instead be racing this year, in the 750MC, which he should do well at. We tried to convince him to paint the new car in the same scheme as the Mini. ie white with blue and yellow stripes. Any other colour would just cause confusion.

I've landed a new contract, and will be returning to Derby in February, which means I get home every evening, so I can work on the Fiesta once more. Working 22 weeks away from home has been a long haul, and meant little or no time to work on the car. Speaking of which, I've bought some Aerocatch carbon-look bonnet latches, to replace the ugly looking bonnet pins. Just one pair at the moment, 2nd hand but unused, from ebay, I'll get another pair ordered in due course.


Interesting to hear that the BTCC Motorbase team are going to be running the EcoBoost Ford Duratec Turbo in the 2015 championship car. I wonder how much one of these would set you back, and the potential with an unrestricted turbo?


I needed to change the battery in my Lifeline digital tyre pressure gauge the other day, as it was reluctant to give me a reading, and after fitting the new battery, I found that the display wouldnt turn off automatically, and the pressure reading was always around 7psi. Looking at the soldering on the wires that joined the pressure sensor to the PCB, inside the casing, the solder looked dull and possibly dry. A few minutes later with the soldering iron warmed up, I resoldered all of the wires, refitted the battery, and would you believe it, it works again.

Finally, I've found a few pictures from the Autosport Show, on the Autosport site and on Facebook, of Malcolm Wilson and Petter Solberg cutting the ribbon at the opening of the show. Thats me towering over Malcolm Wilson in the background, photobombing their picture :D


Westfalia coverLooks like fitting the tow bar to the BMW isnt going to be that straight forward after all. The fitter turned up on Saturday morning, and it was clear he hadnt fitted one before. Looking through the instructions, and looking under the rear of the car, we found that the heat shield underneath the rear bumper would have been in the way of the tow bar, and reluctant to cut it, the fitter left, having asked me to confirm that the kit I'd bought was indeed the right version for my model. I then drove over to Sytner and ended up speaking to a trained tow bar fitter, and it transpired that I needed a retro-fit heat shield, which is shorter than the version on the car, to leave a large gap for the tow bar. Relieved of £32 I now have said heat shield, and a full set of BMW Removable trailer tow hitch retrofit instructions, which believe you me, arent for the faint hearted. Not only do you have to remove the rear bumper, but also the rear bench seat, drill a hole in the body work to allow the loom to pass in to the passenger compartment, and the loom travels around the inside of the car all the way to the front passenger footwell. So I'm going to consider my options. The odd thing is that BMW are refusing to fit it, as they are saying the tow bar is non-approved. I've spoken to Westfalia and they confirm that it is approved, and they're now trying to put me in touch with their nearest approved fitter.
The BMW heatshield part number is 51 48 7 325 309.

Below are a few pictures I took outside on Sunday. Whilst uncovering the car, I discovered a pile of mouse droppings on the garage floor, so I'll have to find out where the mice are getting in, and a means to prevent them from spending any longer in there than they need to. Time to get a cat maybe? Would need to be a good mouser though.
2015 2015 2015 2015


I've made a few more changes to the site recently, I've revamped the menus, and widened the mobile display port for use on Apple Ipad devices. I'm finishing at SopraSteria at the end of January and I'm now looking for my next assignment. Hopefully something closer to home. When the tow bar is fitted on Saturday, I'll take the Fiesta off the trailer, and remove the engine and gearbox. Being home in the evenings would certainly help as presently I get just the weekends to work on the car, and weekends are usually spent with the family, so even though I'm home, I'm still not getting much spare time.

I bought a Raspberry Pi for my son at Christmas, and he's really got to grips with it very quickly. Its the B+ model, and the performance is pretty good. On the Raspberry site, I notice that the Pi is being used for HCCI engine management. HCCI is Homogenous Charge Compression Ignition, which is a spark free way of combusting fuel, and the Pi is used to monitor cylinder pressures and inject the fuel at the appropriate time to cause combustion. Fascinating stuff, and if you follow this link it'll take you to the Raspberry Pi project page.


If you've nothing better to do this weekend, I'd highly recommend a trip to the Racing Car Show at the Birmingham NEC. I went today, which was a trade day, and wow, was really taken aback by the developments on display. I chatted to Dave Walker on the PPC magazine stand, and he demonstrated to me the Emerald drive-by-wire system. It utilises a potentiometer on the throttle pedal, and a Jenvey servo linkage attached to the throttle bodies. As the throttle pedal is operated, the servo is controlled by the ECU to open the throttle accordingly. The beauty of the Emerald system, is that it has three settings for the mechanism. Whereby each setting controls how the servo operates. So for example you could have a 1:1 map, so the servo is proportional to the movement of the pedal, or a 2:1 map, so the throttle opens 100% for 50% of the movement of the pedal (for a more rapid response), and finally, an intelligent setting, whereby the ECU monitors wheelspin, and closes the throttle automatically to restrict engine power. Dave also said that the system could increase the throttle opening for the engine was cold, to allow it to warm up with a faster idle speed. This would also mean the deletion of the idle speed control valve, which is typically used in the inlet manifold to allow air to bypass the throttle, to prevent the engine from stalling. Very clever stuff. The Jenvey servo retails at around £495.00. Another use for the drive-by-wire system is where the engine is in the back of the car, and you dont want to run a throttle cable from the pedal box to the engine. This system looks incredibly versatile, and Jenvey say that during testing, their servo has gone through over a million cycles, with no reliability issues.

On the Titan stand, Stuart Rossin showed me their new carbon air-horns, that feature a flange near the top of the horn, which a back plate can be bolted to, thus allowing the fitment of an air filter. I'm getting a set ordered next week. I've always wanted to fit an air-filter, but never had a means to mount it before this development.

Quaife had their new 8speed sequential gearbox on display, and I spoke to them about my box. Its overdue an inspection, so I'm going to drop the engine and box out and get it back to them before the start of the season, as I dont want it failing. At the same time, I'm going to buy a Gripper Diff, and have that fitted. And if they can confirm what the final drive is that came with the box, I shall probably opt for a taller one, as the car is undergeared, and I could do with a higher top speed on the longer tracks. The Gripper Diff would give me more traction out of the corners, and would most likely help prevent the front of the car from washing out, like it does at Rockingham as I'm joining the banked track. These diffs retail at approx £750.00 but I can sell the ATB diff when that comes back to offset the costs.

My pictures are available below
Autosport Show 2015


According to the tow bar supplier, pfjones.co.uk, the BMW doesnt need to have the ECU recoded when the tow bar is connected, as I already have a button that turns the parking sensors off. So I've booked a mobile fitter, and we'll see how easy he makes the job look. At least getting it fitted by the supplier, provides a guarantee, should there be any issues with their wiring or the fitment of the tow bar. The rear bumper and lights need removing, as well as the underfloor tray, and a small section of the tray then needs to be removed to provide access to the tow bar and 7 pin electrics. A couple of hours work I'd have thought.


Happy New Year. I've had a very quiet Christmas, even managed to wash the car once. Gave the Fiesta a check over, and I've a small list of items that I need to purchase prior to the first event. I'm going to the Autosport show on the 8th (Thursday) to buy a few bits and pieces and save on postage. While there I particularly want to have a look at Playskool flappy paddle pneumatic sequential gear change system, that integrates with the DTA ECU, plus the Simpson Hybrid Frontal Head Restraint, which also isnt cheap, but I'm sure I can negotiate a good price if I try. Speaking of which, I've just bought the Westfalia detachable tow bar for the BMW, with dedicated electrics, and fitting looks straight forwards. Its just the coding of the ECU that I may need to pay someone to do for me. Its a very long time since you could just attach wires with scotch blocks. The Beemer needs an extension wiring harness attaching, and the ECU needs to be told that the car has a tow bar fitted. A job for a specialist methinks. First event is either going to be Castle Combe on the 21st March, or Rockingham on the 22nd. I tried Rockingham last year. I thought it was a great venue, but I've not competed at Combe before, though I have driven it in the Fiesta. Its further away, but a longer circuit with some more challenging high speed corners. I'll make my decision in the weeks to come.