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Old 08-05-2018, 06:39 PM   #1
bigal_250
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BigAL's SP20 Track Car

I bought my SP20 about a year and a half ago, thought I'd start keeping a record of what I've actually been doing to it since then.

Short version of the story, I hope
My group of mates and I who run the Scout Motorsport Club in SA started getting involved in some track driving a couple years back.
For my first attempt all I had was my FG G6E (non-turbo), still a lot of fun, and faster than many people think, but it cooked its brakes in less than 5 laps and was just way too nice to subject to that sort of punishment.


So I started looking for what I might like to get out in, there were a few stipulations, it had to be much smaller and lighter, not a normal run-of-the-mill car you see everywhere, but also not so rare it's not feasible to find parts or mods, great handling & easy to chuck about, a nice bright colour, and no more than about $3000.
After a few months I found this on the ol' gumtrees, and after some quick fact-checking and review hunting, decided this would become my noble steed. Here she is when I picked her up.


By the time I got back home, I was already quite impressed, and started to think about the things I wanted to do


I'll add more posts with the stuff I've done since back then.
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2001 Mazda BJII 323 Astina SP20 The 'Racecar'
2012 Ford FGII G6E The 'Limo'
1985 Nissan Bluebird TRX The 'Rally car'

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Old 08-05-2018, 07:00 PM   #2
bigal_250
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This was near the end of 2016, so with no events coming up until the next year I just started driving it daily, to get used to the gearshift and just driving a FWD.

Shortly after buying it a couple of my idiot mates figured out that the 18" semi-slicks I bought for the Falcon would fit on the new car, so this happened:


Needless to say they didn't stay on there long, No amount of guard rolling was going to allow those to squeeze under the arches.

I had also recently moved into this property, so I was still grooving on all the room for activities.


To round out the year, he are a couple pics from it's first big outing, and getting to hang out with a whole bunch of other cool cars.



In our next episode, it really begins.
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2001 Mazda BJII 323 Astina SP20 The 'Racecar'
2012 Ford FGII G6E The 'Limo'
1985 Nissan Bluebird TRX The 'Rally car'

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Old 09-05-2018, 11:36 PM   #3
HAIGHIE
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Good stuff man.

Nice choice on the car, actually will make a great track car, suspension mods make an amazing difference to how these chassis handle. You will be suprised just how well they do hold there ground when it comes to corner work.

Look forward to seeing the pogression of the car.

And always happy to lend some knowlage about these cars. Be it brands that actually make parts, to just general run of the mill stuff, feel free to ask any wuestions

And welcome to AGT
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Old 10-05-2018, 02:02 PM   #4
bjk
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Hello, fellow Adelaide folk! Interested to see how this fares on the track, recently got into another BJ chassis earlier this year and am having a lot of fun with even just changing wheels and tyres.
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Old 10-05-2018, 08:21 PM   #5
bigal_250
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Start of 2017 now. No mods or anything yet, just a good service and a lot of 'getting to know it'


Our motorsport of choice is Modern Regularity, where the idea is not to be the fastest car on track, but to post the most consistent times every lap. It's a great way to level the playing field, someone in a Prius has just as much chance to win as a Lambo. It's really about the driver's ability, not the car.
The guys that run the competition in SA also run a 'Rookie's' series alongside the main game, for drivers with little or no track driving experience.

Here we are at our first event, car is still completely stock at this point.

All you need at this level is a fire extinguisher, and a few strategically placed stickers marking the battery and tow points. Really easy to get into, and it's actually a competitive event, making it even more exciting.

Ended up winning the second, third and fourth heats (and the round victory), and could not have been more stoked with what I had ended up with.

Just before this, I also bought my first 'mod' and nice new shiny set of semi-slicks. I wanted to know what the difference was going to be between the standard tyres and these, ergo racing on the normal tyres for my first outing.

For tyres I have been using the Nankang AR-1, we had all previously used the harder spec NS-2R and were very happy, so I decided to upgrade to the even softer, sticker version, and could not have been happier.
Huge amount of grip, reasonable wear and were quite a decent price (around $150 a corner).

And here's a family photo to round of this post. (The Excel belongs to Scout Motorsport btw)
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2001 Mazda BJII 323 Astina SP20 The 'Racecar'
2012 Ford FGII G6E The 'Limo'
1985 Nissan Bluebird TRX The 'Rally car'

A proud member of the Scout Motorsport Club SA.
http://motorsport.sa.scouts.com.au/
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Old 10-05-2018, 08:47 PM   #6
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It occurs to me now, I don't actually have a lot of photos that aren't in my back yard, normally too busy driving when I'm at the track. If I find some more, I'll throw them in at some point.

Second qtr 2017, we competed with the rest of our team in the CAMS Club Challenge hillclimb at Collingrove, and placed 6th of 16, not a bad effort. The next day I was back at Mallala, at the next Modern Reg meeting (now running the AR-1s) and I reckon I did ok.



I'd say the AR-1s have been good for about 2 seconds faster per lap.

Another quick shot out and about.


I had a go at clearing up the foggy headlights, and I've stuck some yellow film over the foglights. It's a requirement at CAMS events to have some sort of covering over all forward facing glass (exc. windscreen), so I figured I may as well use the excuse to get a little more JDM. :P


I also bought a Velo GP-90 bucket seat, colour matched (of course), which still needs to go in, once I figure out how to get it low enough in the car (read, get one of my engineer mates to figure it out) It'll end up in there one day, but the standard SP20 seats are pretty good on their own. I do also run a 6-point FIA harness which helps immeasurably.
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2001 Mazda BJII 323 Astina SP20 The 'Racecar'
2012 Ford FGII G6E The 'Limo'
1985 Nissan Bluebird TRX The 'Rally car'

A proud member of the Scout Motorsport Club SA.
http://motorsport.sa.scouts.com.au/
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Old 10-05-2018, 08:59 PM   #7
bigal_250
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We went along to the MCM meet at Mallala, which was a great day of checking out other mad cars.




Rounding out 2017, I competed in the last two Modern Reg Rookies rounds, won both, and was proclaimed the Rookies series winner, which came with $150 in prize money! Which immediately got spent of more mods.

For the last round of the year, I switched to playing in the main game, and placed a respectable 13th out of 36 entries.

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2001 Mazda BJII 323 Astina SP20 The 'Racecar'
2012 Ford FGII G6E The 'Limo'
1985 Nissan Bluebird TRX The 'Rally car'

A proud member of the Scout Motorsport Club SA.
http://motorsport.sa.scouts.com.au/

Last edited by bigal_250; 10-05-2018 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 10-05-2018, 09:23 PM   #8
bigal_250
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Starting 2018, I bought a lower control arm bar from Rupe, and bolted that in place (easiest mod I imagine I'll ever do)


First Modern Reg for the year was in Feb, where I placed 10th of 37.


Most of the rear interior has now been stripped, in pursuit of weight saving (didn't realise back then, but these actually aren't the lightest cars going around)

I've also now installed a custom made strut brace & harness bar, fully engineered to fit by a good friend of mine who is starting to do some work as a freelance engineer/fabricator. I'll get some better shots of that later.

I've now also had a Progress rear sway bar shipped from the US which will hopefully go in in the next couple weeks.


Just last weekend, my team competed in the Peter Hall Memorial 6-Hour Modern Regularity Relay. We had 6 drivers in 6 cars, all taking turns to get from start to finish. A few issues prevented us from getting higher than 13th of 25 teams. The Mazda decided it liked the taste of spark plugs, and burnt 4 by them by end of the day (seemingly from having to remove the rubber boots off 2 of the ignition leads, since I had to literally cut them out with a knife to change the plugs). One of our other cars (Pulsar SSS) was also involved in a nasty crash when an Alfa ran out of brake pads and t-boned him at the end of the main straight.



That's the story up to now. Immediate future plans are to keep working on suspension improvements (the previously mentioned sway bar), and maybe some stiffer springs/shocks. Get the race seat installed, and then possibly start thinking of a freer flowing exhaust and other things to make it a little happier on full noise.
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2001 Mazda BJII 323 Astina SP20 The 'Racecar'
2012 Ford FGII G6E The 'Limo'
1985 Nissan Bluebird TRX The 'Rally car'

A proud member of the Scout Motorsport Club SA.
http://motorsport.sa.scouts.com.au/
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Old 11-05-2018, 03:20 AM   #9
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Great hatchback you got there. Should post a video of it in action
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Old 20-06-2018, 08:09 PM   #10
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Very interesting thread, keen to see the results of this track build. 4 years ago I was going to start tracking my SP20 but decided not to as not many supporting mods for them as oppose to other cars out there.. So keen to see what it could of been!

Also recently got some Nankang AR-1s myself for my track car, good to hear they are good!
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Old 30-06-2018, 10:18 AM   #11
bigal_250
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The ups and downs of competitive motorsport: At the last regularity meeting I entered, the gearbox let go 3 laps into the first practice session. A loud crack on exiting the northern hairpin, and it decided it was only a 1-speed box of fourth.

The shifter still works normally for the most part, it just doesn't translate into any cogs being moved about. Though attempting to pull reverse the shifter physically jams into place and requires some serious rev matching to extract it. I figure something inside the box has come loose and bound it all up.

Getting it onto a trailer with only fourth gear is a lot of fun! ...

Anyway, went to get a replacement box from U-Pull-It (how good are DIY wreckers by the way), and found a couple of guys already half-way into removing the engine from the intact SP20 in the lot. They were planning to transplant it's FS-DE into a 1.8 323 and already had the gearbox, so I got my mates around and we all got the engine out together, go teamwork! , they took the engine, and I got the gearbox, win-win!

Next step will be to pull off the old box and find how how borked it is, and get the car back into running condition.

So while the car is off the road with it's engine half-out here is the list of stuff I want to do:
Replace gearbox with one slightly less broken.
Swap OEM clutch for Exedy HD unit
Remove front 3 engine mounts (2 of which are fairly broken) and fill with polyurethane (partially because OEM mounts are not cheap, but also for fun-sies)
Maybe try to fit the random set of extractors I found at another wrecker
Bolt on the fat sway bar mentioned earlier (two of the bolts are badly stripped, so some grinding will likely be required)
And anything else I think of that might be fun
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2001 Mazda BJII 323 Astina SP20 The 'Racecar'
2012 Ford FGII G6E The 'Limo'
1985 Nissan Bluebird TRX The 'Rally car'

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http://motorsport.sa.scouts.com.au/
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Old 30-06-2018, 10:01 PM   #12
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You can rotate the front shock top mounts for a little more castor.

As for the box, might have been a selector fork. It's *that* not uncommon.
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Old 17-02-2019, 01:16 PM   #13
bigal_250
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Update:
Since my last post many things have happened!

Found a black protege /w a manual at U-Pull-It (our local DIY wrecking yard, how great are they!), and a couple of guys already most of the way through pulling the engine out, thought, well damn...
But they were engine swapping a 1.8 and had planned to bolt an auto on it. I got my mates over to help, and a plan was quickly hatched that we'd all finish getting the whole thing out, they'd take the engine and I'd get the gearbox. Winning!
Since I've no idea what sort of condition it was in, I got it to a manual specialist (who had a bright orange charger race car in his shed, a good sign), got him to pull it apart, check it all out, and replace the seals and bearings and whatever else. It got a clean bill of health, and then sat in my shed for 4 months waiting for me to be bothered to do it.


Finally got the new box bolted on in December and so far so good.
While on stands I also got some more stuff bolted on:
- Exedy HD clutch kit
- 22" Progress rear sway bar, with Whiteline HD end links.
- AWR Racing polyurethane engine mounts (3 out of 4, just could not get the rear to part company)
- Also messed around with the stock intake a bit more, and removed that ressy that hangs down under the airbox.

Got it's first test out at The Bend in January, as we were running hot laps for 800 odd kids, and I decided we needed a course car!


Probably only got in a dozen laps or so, over the week (that's not a typo ) not enough cars going off and dirtying the track, but no apparent issues. It was seeping some trans fluid out of the outer seal, but that seems to have bedded in now and stopped. (yes I have been checking the fluid level regularly).


For those interested, we were running on the East layout of The Bend, which is by far the best for smaller less powerful cars with good handling. Lots of mid - high speed corners, lots of elevation changes, blind apexes, multi-apex bends and no long straights. If you get the chance to have a go on it, I can't recommend it enough!

I also got to drive a few laps in a Circuit Excel racer, that was a lot of fun

Real test will be Regularity Rd 1 next Sunday at Mallala! Might try and get some video footage this time.

Plans for short-mid term future mods
- Full sports exhaust, with the mystery extractors I found (that I think kinda look like hurricanes), 2.25" or 2.5" (haven't decided yet, since noise isn't really an issue) and whatever decent flowing muffler I can find.
- Cold Air Intake, assume I'll get an Injen with a K&N pod of some sort.
- Coilovers, I had seriously thought about the set of lowered springs/shocks that got advertised late last year, but I'll end up going to coilovers down the track anyway.
- Fit the Velo bucket seat from earlier (might have to loose a few inches off the waistline first :P)
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2001 Mazda BJII 323 Astina SP20 The 'Racecar'
2012 Ford FGII G6E The 'Limo'
1985 Nissan Bluebird TRX The 'Rally car'

A proud member of the Scout Motorsport Club SA.
http://motorsport.sa.scouts.com.au/
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Old 19-02-2019, 08:35 PM   #14
project.r.racing
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1.8 box is different to 2.0 box though???
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