Author Topic: Experieces in Racing an Europa  (Read 39019 times)

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Offline Mecky

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Experieces in Racing an Europa
« on: Saturday,August 04, 2012, 03:23:58 PM »
Hi everyone,

I want to start a thread about racing with Europas. Is there anyone in this forum, who is has some experiece in racing these cars? I would love to read about it.

I will start with a little piece of my first experiences (we started racing our S2 in 2011):

Since 2008 my father, my brother and my uncle were racing my uncle's 1969 Porsche 911 T at vintage racing cups. In 2009 my father bought our 1969 S2 as his "weekend-car", but he was allready dreaming about his next own race car. He started racing in 1970 and was driving a few race cars on different competitions since that time. After he bought the S2 it was only a question of time until this car will come on track.

In Winter 2010 we decided to race the Europa. My father, my two older brothers and me would be the drivers.
We talked to some Lotus-"Experts", which said that the Europa is in standard configuration already quiet fit for racing. So we installed the safety measures, semi-slicks and went to Spa-Francorchamps to race.

But after the first qualifying it was obvious that the Europa is not fit for racing...
My father's short conclusion: "No brakes and no power."

In the paddock we were able to improve the brakes by using endurance-racing brake-pads and racing braking fluid. The engine could not be done there. In the race, we did not finish, because the fan wheel collapsed and killed the water cooler.
And after this weekend, we saw another problem. The frame was cracked on some positions.

We had to do "something":
- restore the frame by welding it
- reduce weight
- improve the engine

The frame is completely restored now. It is welded on all cracked positions  :welder: and painted in grey.
We reduced the weight from about 740 kg to 680 kg by using light-weight parts (for example the new water-cooler and fan wheel) or removing superfluid parts like the leather-interior, the heater and so on. We also replaced the original door windows with electric lift by lexan-windows.

And the greatest succes was the engine. At the first race it had maybe 100 HP (little tuned 1565cc engine).
Now the engine is "really fit for racing". Racing parts like pistons, rods, crank shaft and cam shaft are used. And also the cylinder head was completely conditioned for racing. Now it has about 150 HP.
It's running great. I still remember a situation from a race on the Hockenheim-Ring:
A 2,0 Porsche 911 is in front of me, both of us are accelerating out of a corner and I overtake him like it would be nothing. This Porsche had no problem and it is a quiet fast 2,0 911. A great feeling :-)

But still the braking is not like we would wish it. It seems like the rear brakes are not working good enough... We have to brake until 70 metres earlier at the hairpin in Hockenheim than some other cars (for example: a Porsche 911 can brake at about 120 metres and I needed to brake around 190 metres before the corner).

Everything else on this car works great now. We replaced the original (soft) coils and dampers by racing parts. We also reduced the cars height until 7 centimetres. When we learned about setting the car up, we could be able to reach top ten positions in our competition. In Hockenheim we reached position 27 of 50 cars and P3 in class.

Our last race in Spa (one year after the very first) ended as early as one year ago: after seven laps the head-gasket blew. But nothing else was destroyed :-)

If you are interested, you can have a look at my website (in the profile and the signature).

I'm looking forward to reading from you!

Best regards

Stefan

P.S.:  :ttiwwp:
« Last Edit: Sunday,August 05, 2012, 01:13:49 AM by Mecky »

Offline benbeames

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Re: Experieces in Racing an Europa
« Reply #1 on: Saturday,August 04, 2012, 09:46:51 PM »
Wow, by a strange coincidence I was just looking at your website earlier today.   I love the look of your car.  I just autocross my Europa and I'm not happy with the brakes either.  When I started the back brakes did nothing.  New pads, cylinders, and steel braided flexible brake lines have made a BIG difference, but if you test drive an Elise you'll know how good brakes can be and my S2 is a long way off from there. 

Another guy I know who races a 300+ hp Europa with a turbo charged rotary engine is running bigger drums on the back.  And he's got enough rear braking that if his proportioning valve isn't set right, the rear brakes will cause the car to spin.  So you can go that route.   Or install disc brakes back there.   I wish I knew what he was running on the front wheels.

Ben

Offline EuropaTC

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Re: Experieces in Racing an Europa
« Reply #2 on: Saturday,August 04, 2012, 10:54:00 PM »
Ok guys, first thing is that I don't (and never will) race cars but as I've said previously, I like to look at the engineering behind the conversions. 

So brakes ? Rear brake width was increased slightly from the S2 to the Special, I forget the exact numbers but same diameter with an extra 1/4" width comes to mind ?  As you probably both know there are rear disc conversions around, plus I've also read about using Triumph TR7 back plates and drums which are larger diameter IIRC for those who don't want rear discs.

For front brakes there are the 4-pot caliper conversions which again I'm sure you know of. Another option is for the larger discs & calipers off the Triumph GT6 & Vitesse using 16P calipers. I've done this on my road-going Elan and it seems to be a common mod for people doing track days over here because it's relatively cheap. The discs and calipers are more or less the same price as the 14xx caliper & discs but the mounting brackets are only available s/h. (I paid £25 for mine last year).

Having said that, my personal experience on the road is that the most notable difference was in the pad material which varies from "oh sh....ugar, this isn't going to stop" to "wow".

Offline Mecky

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Re: Experieces in Racing an Europa
« Reply #3 on: Sunday,August 05, 2012, 01:38:43 AM »
Hi guys,

we already installed a two-circle-braking system with steel-flex brake lines and a master brake cylinder of the Porsche 911 without brake booster. The front brakes seem to work well. It is possible to get the front wheels standing while braking. In rain the front wheels are standing almost at the moment you start braking... The car has not enough weight on the front wheels. Because of that it has not enough grip in rain. But we are not able to put more parts from rear to front. When it is rainy, we put about 15 kg of lead into the front boot. Not the perfect solution, but better than doing nothing...

The problem is that on our vintage racing events we have to use the parts, which were originally used on the same car in racing until 1971. -> We have to keep our brakes. Maybe better rear brake shoes can help. We need brake shoes which are specific for racing.

A Lotus 47 would be a dream :-) A car, which is constructed as race car. Front and rear disc brakes and a twin cam engine (which today can have up to 190 HP). That's a winner's car :-P

Offline benbeames

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Re: Experieces in Racing an Europa
« Reply #4 on: Sunday,August 05, 2012, 03:06:37 PM »
You think you could slip n some GT6 brakes in there without anyone noticing?  They'd be period correct and there's always the notion that you're not really compeating in racing until you're borderline cheating.   ^-^

Not that I'm advocating cheating, but pushing the rules to their limits.  Though some say it's not cheating unless you get caught.   Thankfully I'm nowhere near a good enough driver to have to worry about these moral dilemmas.

Offline EuropaTC

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Re: Experieces in Racing an Europa
« Reply #5 on: Sunday,August 05, 2012, 10:28:42 PM »
Allegedly ( ;) ) some Elans used to do that over this side of the pond, whether it was classed as cheating or period modifications I don't know.  It's a tight fit but if yours is the only such car in scrutineering I think you might get away with it....

It does make a noticeable difference on the Elan but with the Europa being lighter at the front I'm not sure it would have the same benefit. I suppose it might be useful if you were running wider tyres though ?

Brian

Offline Mecky

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Re: Experieces in Racing an Europa
« Reply #6 on: Monday,August 06, 2012, 02:52:44 PM »
Wider tyres would help, but it's hard to get bigger rims than 8x13" into the front wheel arches. There we use 215/50/13 semislicks. Slicks are not allowed for us. They are only allowed for cars built after 1971.

Does somebody know, how wide the rims and tyres of a Type 47 were in the period?

Offline EuropaTC

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Re: Experieces in Racing an Europa
« Reply #7 on: Monday,August 06, 2012, 11:35:40 PM »
I have a copy of the Robinshaw/Francis book on the Europa which gives a spec sheet for the mk47 GT from January 1967. That states the wheel rims are 7.5" front, 10" rear, so you're ahead of the game with 8" rims. (which seem amazingly wide for such a light car ! ). As for tyres,  it just says "to customer specifications".

The same book also gives the RAC/FIA papers for the Mk47. No wheels or tyres are quoted but the weight might be of interest to you, it was 559kgs (10.8cwt) with the TC engine fitted, so that's your next target  :)

Brian

Offline Mecky

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Re: Experieces in Racing an Europa
« Reply #8 on: Tuesday,August 07, 2012, 01:41:39 AM »
Oh yes,

a Type 47 is great. This car could have until 30 HP more, 120 kg less weight and disc brakes all around.
And it could even race in GT1600 class against cars like Ford Escort Twin Cam and Alfa Romeo Guilia. Unfortunately we have to race in Two-Seater-Racing-Car 2000 class against cars like Porsche 907, Porsche 906, Chevron B16 and Lotus 23B. The Lotus 47 would be really competative in the TSRC2000 class, but in GT1600 it would be the "everytime-winner".

559 kg... a dream, but we are not allowed to have less than 615 kg. But even that is a dream. We already reduced the cars weight from 740 kg to the actual 680 kg. There still is this massive exhaust manifold and the water-container (both stainless steel). These two parts replaced by lighter ones could bring around 10 kg, I think. But then it would be still 55 kg to reach our minimum-weight.

Do you guys have more ideas?

Offline EuropaTC

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Re: Experieces in Racing an Europa
« Reply #9 on: Tuesday,August 07, 2012, 09:10:08 AM »
Anything to be gained from the alternator ?

Standard ones always seem quite heavy to me and there might be some mileage in looking to see if there are any others you could fit. I know you can get "racing" ones at around 2.5kg, which is (at a pure guess  :) ) probably around half the weight of an old standard one.

Offline benbeames

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Re: Experieces in Racing an Europa
« Reply #10 on: Tuesday,August 07, 2012, 10:12:34 AM »
I use one of these 1.3lbs batteries in my car though that wouldn't be period at all:
http://www.kronospark.com/index.php/products-page/

Again I don't know what's legal in your racing.  I've got an iron block toyota engine in my car and have its weight down to 600 kg in race trim (with a half tank of fuel) and I still have the carpets in it for some reason. . . .  But I don't have a roll cage so I'm saving a lot of weight there.

Things I did:
Door and rear windows have been replaced with lexan
Heater core, heater fan and ducting removed
power window motors removed
battery replaced with 1.3 lbs battery
aluminum wheels
trunk removed
spare wheel removed
horn removed
seats replaced with fiberglass seats

That's about it.  I haven't replaced the windshield with a lighter one, nor have I removed the carpets and door trim just because I like how nice it is in there when I'm not racing. 

Exhaust could certainly save some.

Offline Mecky

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Re: Experieces in Racing an Europa
« Reply #11 on: Tuesday,August 07, 2012, 02:27:58 PM »
With a heavier engine under 600 kg. That's nice. I think our cage has about 40 kg. Even if we had no cage, we would have 40 kg more than you. Maybe our body is a bit heavier than your (enlarged wheel arches), but that's only a few kg.

A lighter alternator would help. With this and another exhaust and water-container we could win around 12 kg. Unfortunately a new exhaust would be quiet expensive. An Aluminium fly wheel would also bring a few kg. All in all about 15 kg, I think. That would make a difference. But 665 kg would be still 65 kg more than your car's weight. Even without cage a difference of about 25 kg.

I cannot understand, why our car is comparatively that heavy. The standard weight in the car's papers is 660 kg. Without the cage, our race car would be only 20 kg lighter than that...

We also did most things you did. Unless a standard lead-battery to get a bit weight on the front. We also installed Aluminium water pipes. Magnesium rims would be even lighter than Alu, but we just bought two sets of Alu Minilites a few months ago.

@Ben: I would like you to post pictures of your car. Maybe I can learn something from your configuration.

Offline benbeames

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Re: Experieces in Racing an Europa
« Reply #12 on: Tuesday,August 07, 2012, 04:57:31 PM »
I forgot!  I have an aluminum flywheel.  But its only a few kg lighter.  The pressure plate weighs almost as much as it but I don't know of a lighter one of those.

I did weld some 16 guage steel sheet metal in on the "Y" part of the frame from the engine mounts back to "box" the frame, but I weighed the metal before I put it in and it was only adding about 1 kg.  My brake master cylinder is from a Nissan and is lighter than the original unit but not by a lot.

Below are some pictures, they're not great, just what I could find left in old emails.  The seat weighs 12 lbs as opposed to the stock 26 pound seat, but I'm currently making a creafoam bead seat which right now weighs only 8 lbs. Oh and the engine bay shows a heavier 15 lbs battery instead of 1.3 lbs battery.  I've also used a Braille 11lbs battery to good effect.

I did run with the battery in the front for a while but actually wanted more of a rearward weight balance.  I'm currently 43% of my weight in the front (with driver) and 57% in the rear. 

There are other auto cross guys out there with Europas that are down to the class limit here which is just under 1200lbs (mine is just over 1300 lbs).  So there's more that can be done, but I either don't know what it is, or I haven't decided that I'm ready to give it up yet.


Offline benbeames

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Re: Experieces in Racing an Europa
« Reply #13 on: Wednesday,August 08, 2012, 03:05:06 PM »
I've been looking at your website and the only differences I can see, as far as tings on yours that would add weight to mine are:

Oil cooler (plus the extra amount of oil to fill it)
Extra supports on the transmission (I've been thinking about trying something similar but am just trying a solid rear mount right now)
a fire extinguishing system
and the roll cage.

I think that could add up to around 50kg.  The roll cage being half of it.   I wouldn't give up any of those things for a bit less weight.

Offline Mecky

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Re: Experieces in Racing an Europa
« Reply #14 on: Sunday,August 12, 2012, 10:01:39 AM »
Next weekend we are going to race on the former Formula 1 circuit Zolder (Belgium).

I hope they have a weighing machine at scrutineering.

Our aim is to go as fast as the best of the other 1600 cc cars and to reach a laptime around 2:05.

I will report what happened and if we had succes  :trophy: