Class 6 is an unlimited front wheel drive class in the oval dirt racing of Autograss. In 2006 we decided to return to the sport after 8 years out in this class. At the time the class was dominated by Vauxhall Novas / Astras and a few other small hatchback cars. The usual idea is to take a small car, and fit it with a big engine. Therefore most of the class uses the Vauxhall red top (cx20e) engine. A 2000cc 16v power plant that was plentiful as Vauxhall fitted it to most of their middle to large car range, and with 150bhp in standard form with cheap options to tune, it was easy to see why it was, and still is a very common engine in the sport. So we decided to take this route when an engine came up for sale local to us at the right price. We were lucky enough to buy an entire cavalier so we had gearbox, driveshafts, hubs etc, everything we needed. The rules of autograss were much different to what they are now back in 2006. We couldn’t build a space frame chassis back then, the car had to retain the original floor and bulkhead with very few modifications to them. So squeezing a 2000cc engine under the bonnet of a 1275cc mini was quite tight.
The fuel injection manifold was far too big, so it forced us into buying a set of carburettors. Luckily for me, my uncle had a pair of delorto 48’s sat on his shelf from his older days or racing a Vauxhall Viva Magnum. When these were fitted they sat just above the rail that the mini had across its bulkhead. The main problem was the width of the car. We widened the car with some 4” arch spats which were the maximum allowed at the time, but even then the wishbones we had to construct were very short, which was one of the cars downfalls for the entire 8 years I raced it. We also found that we had mounted the engine a bit too low, and this also gave us ground clearance issues which could only be fixed with a complete re-design and build. No easy fix for that one. Another observation was that the larger cars in the class were always happy to go door to door contact with a much smaller mini. It wasn’t long before the other competitors gave up on that, when they realised I was stupid enough to always give it back x2. We continued with the Vauxhall engine for 2 1/2 seasons although it wasn’t the original engine we started with. We managed to blow up 5 engines in less that 3 years. This was mainly because I refused to spend money upgrading the engine. I realised very early on it wasn’t a contest to see who was the fastest really, but a contest to see who could spend the most money. Everybody on our league was using the same engine, and it was very apparent they always finished in cost order with me at the back. I had decided that we would need to move away from the Vauxhall onto something that gave me reliable high power on standard form. I do this using the 5 cylinder 2.3 turbo engine from an ex police Volvo 850. I will go into that on my next post, but that decision I made in 2009 is one I haven’t gone back on.