Autosport International Show: Radical RXC goes Spyder (open)

By Freddie Heaney, January 28, 2015 Birmingham, England: Fancy embarking on a great adventure? To occupy your mind in the grip of winter, you might consider the Autosport International show. It began in 1991 as the Racing Car show and has just celebrated its 25th anniversary this January. A pioneering concept originally, it revealed an era of optimism and energy, opening up an alluring world of racing cars old and new. It’s a venue where technology and industry and science and racing people flourish. Always based at the National Exhibition Center in Birmingham, the inaugural event attracted just 150 exhibitors and 30,000 visitors. Last year, by comparison, the four-day show enticed 600 exhibitors and 82,000 visitors. Presenting an enchanting mix of modern and classic exhibits, it’s the nostalgia flavor, apparently, that’s often the main draw. Like our own PRI event held annually in Indianapolis, the UK exhibition serves as the traditional precursor to every race season. Company head Phil Abbott said, “The reaction to the Spyder quite surprised me—this was probably the best show we have ever attended in terms of sales. The SR3 is also selling well and the RXC, our gull-wing coupe, has just been homologated.” http://www.evo.co.uk/videos/14926/autosport-show-highlights-ariel-nomad-radical-rxc-spyder-renault-and-morE Radical race cars arrived in the US at the turn of the century. Always elegant and fast, they quickly established six lap records in the SCCA 1-liter D-Sport division between 2000 and 2002, won the prestigious June Sprints as well as two successive Southeastern National championships. Today, Radical North America thrives through a nationwide network of dealers. To find out more click on the link below it’s worth a look!...

Bright outlook for 2015 Engine Masters Challenge: Final rules revealed within 10 to 14 days

Sam Logan, February 3, 2015 Up to 40 of this country’s most gifted race engine builders will descend upon the University of Northwestern Ohio in Lima to compete in the prestigious annual five-day contest known as the Engine Masters Challenge. Scheduled for October 5-9, crucial changes will affect this year’s format. The first change signals the end of Popular Hot Rodding magazine’s reign and the beginning of Hot Rod’s future. The largest auto performance magazine in the world, Hot Rod’s page circulation is estimated to be four times larger than that of the former PHR, and their website traffic approximately ten times greater. Even more interesting news is what Hot Rod plans to do with the contest. Significantly, they decided rather than settle for the traditional one or two elite classes they would expand the tournament to include five categories—crowning a winner at the end of each day. From the magazines’ perspective the new concept is brilliant. They set out to stimulate the imagination of the common enthusiast with a wider campaign. As a result, the new regulations allow them to exploit their editorial before a much greater audience during the course of the succeeding year—a concept not possible for Hot Rod hitherto. In addition, the rule makers are sympathetic to the idea that competing engines can be sold and put to productive use after the contest, unlike past dyno racing engines that were rarely useful to anyone without significant modification. At last year’s PRI exhibition, held on the second week of December in Indianapolis, Hot Rod, instead of conveying the rules, presented the engine builders with their new...

New alternator mounting brackets: SBC and BBC

By Ben Mozart, January 28, 2015 Two new alternator mounting brackets for Chevrolet small and big blocks KRC has released two new alternator mounting brackets: one places the alternator on the left side of the small-block Chevrolet, while the other is a reversible style that allows the alternator to be mounted either on the left or right hand side of the big-block Chevrolet. In both applications, the alternator is driven by the water pump and the brackets accommodate the small Powermaster 138mm Denso alternator. Much to the delight of the asphalt short-track racer the new small-block bracket moves 5lbs to 6lbs of alternator mass to the more favorable left side of the race car. KRC believes it to be the first of its kind. Supplied with bolts and spacers and assigned part number KRC40565000, this new bracket is perfect for pavement crate-engine race cars. It costs $113.26. The other bracket is a reversible style that positions the alternator on either the left or the right of the big-block Chevrolet engine. Instigated by requests from Northeast big-block racers, this bracket is also furnished with bolts and spacers, is assigned part number KRC40575000 and costs $93.08. Source: KRC Power Kennesaw, Georgia (800) 451-1074...
Nitrous: the race tuner’s biggest challenge

Nitrous: the race tuner’s biggest challenge

By Fergus Ogilvy, February 4, 2015 Starting a competition piston company in the second decade of this century could be a bleak proposition. Finding new customers isn’t easy. Engine builders have a stubborn tendency to remain faithful to their existing suppliers, unless something goes awry. You could play the game grimly and die of ulcers or you could play it with a light heart and dedication and perhaps survive without losing sleep. Gibtec Pistons, the Denver-based operation did exactly this. But they had one other valuable resource to rely upon: decades of experience at the competitive edge, including several ten-year development programs with NHRA Pro Stock teams But when asked where they see the biggest challenges in race engine tuning, company founder, Robbie Giebas, responds with one word: Nitrous!  Why so? “Well, the top tuners will tell you nitrous engines have never been completely mastered—there’s still an element of mystery about them. Nitrous oxide induction requires a totally different approach, and it’s a volatile science; if the tune-up is off a little, parts need replacing. “Unlike the turbo or blower guys, who might get fifty or sixty runs from their pistons, when those nitrous guys are really pushing hard they’re replacing rings every three or four runs—it resembles the Top Fuel class in many ways. If they ease off a little on the tune-up they’ll become uncompetitive. And when the racing gets close, they’ll routinely dismantle the engine after every pass. Leak-down tests, ring end-gap checks, raised ring lands, pinched rings these are constant topics in their world.” What provokes a raised ring land or a pinched ring? “Race...

Mark Burch, Diamond’s gem of the month

By Martha Maglone, September 1, 2014 Imagine for a moment you’re in Lincoln, Nebraska and you’re conducting your tax affairs. You’re impressed by your accountant’s prudence, but your eye is confounded by the picture on the wall. It looks like Danny Lasoski’s sprint car at full throttle and, though no expert on the subject, you know this is motor racing at its most visceral. These cars weigh little, generate around 900hp from their Chevrolet V8s and lap 3/8-mile dirt tracks at speeds in excess of 110mph. So you say, “I’d love to speak with the engine builder that prepares power units for a car like this.” Composure unruffled the tax specialist declares, “Actually, you’re speaking to him!” Suddenly your day improves immensely—Jekyll and Hyde is among us! A father, husband, tax professional, and race engine builder, Mark Burch (48) has been around sprint car racing for 32 years and been building 360 engines since 1999. Adjacent to his home is his race shop where he spends his free time: evenings and weekends. Is there a common link between the two callings, you wonder? “Numbers,” he bridles. Significantly, it is the contrasts—the uncommon links—where the attraction lies. “Building race engines is so different from working at my desk,” admits Burch with marked pleasure. “In fact, it’s the perfect therapeutic escape, especially during tax season.” One of Diamond’s most enduring sprint car customers Three-sixty sprint engines use 23-degree-valve cylinder heads, which present challenges and thus opportunities. “Diamond engineers,” says Burch, “helped me develop my own billet piston. Their initiatives contributed greatly to my engine program. Before switching brands, we were lucky...