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172 Cup race car



Deano17

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172 Cup
I thought I’d start a thread for my 172 Cup race car.

I bought it x3 years ago after emailing as cheeky offer on EBay.
The guy had just sold his IT business and was buying a McLaren instead.
He was happy to take a lower offer just to clear some space.

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I used to race an E36 M3 in the Toyo Tyres Racing Saloons Series and made some good friends there so I decided to make the Clio eligible to their regs.

Aside from some good lads, and strict driving standards, the TTRS series tries to keep costs down so the cars can’t be made too powerful or too light. This prevents the chequebook racers dominating.

Fortunately the car was pretty much ready to go : Saftey Devices cage, Recaro seat, gripper diff, 197 cam, Ktech exhaust and Bilstein dampers.

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To avoid the hassle of a trailer I got the car through an MOT (it needed a horn). Amazingly the car passed without headlights- there is a thing called a ‘daylight MOT’ - who knew?

I entered a race up at Donington and just drove to the track, kicked the tyres and stuck a number on window.
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Unfortunately the cool headlight blanks weren’t legal according to the race regs (you must have working headlights) so a quick call to ECP had x2 headlamps delivered to the paddock an hour before the race.
Some quick spannering aided by a couple of mates saw us fit the lights in about 30 minutes.

This proved a good move as the second race of the day finished at 6pm so I’d be driving home in the dark. Headlights always useful in the dark.

I’d never raced a FWD car before so I was pretty bad but had some great battles in the midfield.

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Despite not knowing how to properly drive a FWD race car, I had a ball.

Now time for some modifications and driver training.

The main area for improvement were the brakes - I was getting some fade after a few laps. So I went for the Wilwood four pots upfront with DS3000 pads.

I booked a trackday at Silverstone to try them out.
What a difference!
With increased confidence I could really attack in the braking zones and Chuck the car into the tighter turns. Much more like it.

As it happens Chris Harris was on the same trackday testing a 650 GT3 car against a McLaren Senna!
As he went past me on the Hanger Straight I had to glance down to check I hadn’t left the handbrake on. That Senna is a proper car.
If you watch Chris’ video from the day, I’m just visible through his windscreen in the end shot. 😁

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More great data gathered from the day though.
Next stop - more modifications. The goals were: taking some more weight out of the car and improving turn in even more...

I’ll continue the story tomorrow.
 

Deano17

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172 Cup
So, modifications...

As I got more comfortable driving the car fast and pushing the limit, I started to understand where things could be improved.
First off I was 30kg’s over the minimum weight after the race. This probably adds a couple of tenths per lap.
After the Donington race I was at 1019kg (car and driver weighted straight after the race) and I’m allowed to run at 985kg.
So I went through the car removing any trim or bolts that were not needed. Despite the car being stripped out, I found a surprising amount of things I could lose.

Next came new parts.

A lightweight race battery seemed an obvious place to start.
I replaced the standard road car battery (13kg) with a Varley Red Top 20 (5.4 kg)
A useful saving of 7.5kg at the front.
I was concerned the new battery might not be strong enough but it’s been great. Still going strong after 18 months and starts first time.
The existing airbox (from a V6 I think?) was pretty tired looking and the hoses were perished. I replaced it with the KTech induction system which is simpler and a little lighter.

Before:
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After:
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Finally, I bought a glassfibre bonnet. I painted it Mondial blue with a rattle can (not a bad job if I say so myself) and asked my local garage/race prep guys to fit it for me whilst they had the car for it’s MOT.

Unfortunately the fit is terrible. The front of the bonnet hangs over the bumper!
looking at the hinge fixing points, there’s not much else the guys could do.
Given it’s a race car (and I’ll probably crash it at some point anyway) I decided to live with it.
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The better news is it gave me another big weight saving. The new bonnet was 5kg vs the standard bonnet at 12g.
Again, this was useful weight saved at the front of the car.

I decided to improve the driving environment next. Heel and toeing on the downshifts was tricky with the standard pedals and an uneven floor.
My solution was to fit a carbon floor plate under the pedals. I got it from Nicky Grist’s website. Not cheap (£90) but it’s a high quality bit of kit - light as a feather and beautifully finished.
To help me heel & toe I bought an OMP pedal extension and simply bolted it into the existing pedal.
It worked perfectly.
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Whilst I was looking at the interior I couldn’t resist replacing the badly cut door panels with some carbon look pre-cut jobs I found on EBay. A few self tappers is all it needed to fit them and it looks some much better. (I know, I’m a tart)
I also replaced the tired old foam roll cage pads with some new top spec black ones. It looks so much better.
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I did a few more events that year and slowly improved my pace.
However, I was still struggling with understeer. However hard I tried to trail brake the front end always washed wide forcing me to delay nailing the throttle on exit. It might only be a split second delay but it was long enough for rivals to get the jump on me and set up for an overtake.
After reading some threads on ClioSport I realised I wasn’t yet running a rear ARB! Schoolboy error. :oops:

I bought the Whiteline kit (£150) and to my surprise I fitted it in about an hour.
I say surprised because I’m not great with the spanners but thankfully there is a ‘how to’ video on You Tube for pretty much anything to do with the Clio. For the record I set mine to the stiffest setting.
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After fitting the ARB I couldn’t resist cutting the rear bumper to free the exhaust (it was touching the bumper and gentand perhaps help the airflow.
Not the tidiest cut but it’s a race car.
At the very least it saved some more weight...
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My next race was Brands Hatch GP. Probably my favourite track. It has everything, ups & downs, a long straight, a very technical hairpin (Druids) and a couple of mighty ‘balls out’ fast corners. It’s also beautiful in the summer as you drive through the trees.

This was our second race of the season at the Brands GP circuit so I could make a direct comparison to my previous lap times to see if these changes had made any difference.
Last time out I finished 3rd in class lapping at around 1.52.
The car was transformed. The understeer was massively reduced and car would turn in much more crisply.
I ended up cutting a couple of seconds from my laptime and winning my class.


Drying off sweaty nomex underwear after qualifying. Nice.
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Bothering a 4.0 litre Jag XK8:





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Happy days!
The best £150 I have ever spent.
If you want to make a big difference to your laptimes cheaply and quickly, get a rear ARB.


More to follow...
 

Mbeau

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172
I don't currently have my rear ARB fitted on my Cup track car as did a few wet track days and needed loosening right off. I also use the car fairly regularly on the road.

I then never bothered putting it back on as was unsure how much difference it made with uprated suspension. I have BC coilovers on mine that are fully adjustable height and damping on the front, fully adjustable damping on the rear and adjustable spring platform on rear.

Really interesting read this. Look forward to your updates 👍
 

Deano17

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172 Cup
I don't currently have my rear ARB fitted on my Cup track car as did a few wet track days and needed loosening right off. I also use the car fairly regularly on the road.

I then never bothered putting it back on as was unsure how much difference it made with uprated suspension. I have BC coilovers on mine that are fully adjustable height and damping on the front, fully adjustable damping on the rear and adjustable spring platform on rear.

Really interesting read this. Look forward to your updates 👍
Thanks.

You’re right about the rear ARB not helping in the wet - way too snappy!
I just disconnect mine from the lollipops if it’s wet. Removing x2 bolts only takes a few minutes and it’s dead easy to put them back in when you want.

My suspension is pretty basic - more a fast road than a race.
Your coilovers will probably be better at helping reducing understeer (depending on your spring rates).
I’m no expert in the dark arts of suspension set up but as a rule you want a stiff rear end (ooer) in a race car to help the car rotate in the slower corners by using the weight transfer whilst trail braking to drag the rear axle around.
A lot of guys run a higher pressure in the rear tyres to achieve the same effect. This makes for a twitchy car that is fast with a skilled driver.
Unfortunately I’m not a skilled driver so I prefer the car to be a little more forgiving. Driving every corner on a knife edge is not for me - especially when I don’t have a trailer and need to drive the thing home at the end of the day.

A set of race spec coilovers is definitely next on my list when funds allow.
I will need some advice as to which ones though. Iheard good things about Gaz, Ktech, BC & AST.
I’m hoping it can make as big a difference as the ARB!

Still so much to do...
 

Mbeau

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172
Thanks.

You’re right about the rear ARB not helping in the wet - way too snappy!
I just disconnect mine from the lollipops if it’s wet. Removing x2 bolts only takes a few minutes and it’s dead easy to put them back in when you want.

My suspension is pretty basic - more a fast road than a race.
Your coilovers will probably be better at helping reducing understeer (depending on your spring rates).
I’m no expert in the dark arts of suspension set up but as a rule you want a stiff rear end (ooer) in a race car to help the car rotate in the slower corners by using the weight transfer whilst trail braking to drag the rear axle around.
A lot of guys run a higher pressure in the rear tyres to achieve the same effect. This makes for a twitchy car that is fast with a skilled driver.
Unfortunately I’m not a skilled driver so I prefer the car to be a little more forgiving. Driving every corner on a knife edge is not for me - especially when I don’t have a trailer and need to drive the thing home at the end of the day.

A set of race spec coilovers is definitely next on my list when funds allow.
I will need some advice as to which ones though. Iheard good things about Gaz, Ktech, BC & AST.
I’m hoping it can make as big a difference as the ARB!

Still so much to do...

Nice one. Thank you for the detailed reply 👍 I don't reckon you are too bad looking at your times and results! Will dig my ARB out and have a play with it. Suspension set-up is not something I know much about and I generally play around with the settings depending on weather and how it feels. I could probably do with reading a bit more to get the best out of my set up.
 

Deano17

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172 Cup
The next race was on the shorter Brands Hatch Indy circuit.
We were again lucky with the weather and it was a glorious day.
I risked one more outing on my pretty worn tyres which turned out to be a mistake. I found out pretty quickly in qualifying that they were knackered.
The car didn’t want to turn in and I had a lot of wheel spin out of the hairpin.
Lap times were slow but hey, I was racing at Brands Hatch on a sunny day. Can’t be too bad.
I’ll upload a short vid in my next post.

I’ve been trying to decide on a race livery for a while but didn’t want to spend much.
In the end I decided to go for a homage to the Alpine Le Mans cars from the 60’s & 70’s and it just involved some white logos.
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Some trackdays next.

Decided to invest in a passenger seat to be a bit more sociable and let my mates drive my car - They were not going out in it alone!
I’ve seen and heard too many horror stories about cheap seats and safety gear failing in an accident- sometimes resulting in serious injury.
You really do need to be careful when looking at some of the temptingly cheap seats, harnesses and seat mounts on EBay. Cheap seats can snap in half, harness stitching tears and often the shiny bolts supplied with the mounting kits are made of cheese and will shear clean off in an accident.
As a result I stick to trusted brands and only buy from trusted sources like Demon Tweeks etc.
In the end I went for a Sparco sprint seat & mounts with Sabelt trackday harness.
It was relatively cheap and I trust it.

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Trackday at Castle Combe - torrential rain.
At least x3 other Clio’s turned up.
Not knowing the circuit very well, I wasn’t willing to push the car too hard on old NS2 tyres but the guys in the black Clio 182 were flying!

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Lockdown boredom meant finishing up a few jobs in the to do list.
I needed to fit a new extinguisher as my old 2.25 litre one is no longer legal and I need a 4 litre bottle.
I managed to attach to the existing cables so it was a pretty easy swap.

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I also was inspired by somebody’s car on the forum (sorry can’t remember who) which had a pretty cool air feed running through the headlight.
So, I measured the diameter of the rubber cap at the back of the headlight to allow you to change the full beam bulb.
I then bought some cheap hose of the same diameter of Fleabay.
Next was squeaky bum time as I attacked the front lens with a hole-saw.
Once through the lens I carried on with the hole saw to cut a circle through were the full beam bulb is normally found.
To finish it off I bought a cheap dash vent (also EBay) to tidy up the exterior.
Not sure why I’d ever want to close the vent but hey, it looks cool.
Then just feed the hose through the hole in the lens and attach the dash vent to the end (I used cable ties but there will be as tidier way).
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No idea if it will make any difference to the power but it kept me busy for a few hours and got me away from the kids.

Next stop to test it on the road...
 

Deano17

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172 Cup
Some in-car from the race around Brands Indy.
I was leading my class so what you can’t see is it was pretty busy in my mirrors.
 

Deano17

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172 Cup
Today’s job was to investigate the annoying tyre rub from the front wheels when cornering hard.

After a bit of searching on the forum I reckon it is the bumper mounting brackets that are to blame.

An investigation was inconclusive but I thought I’d give them a tickle anyway - just in case.

I tried to trim the downward facing lip of the bracket with a Dremel but I lost patience after breaking x4 cutting discs. So, out with the grinder!

It didn’t take long to trim and smooth the brackets - probably 5 mins each side - and hopefully it might have solved the problem.

some pics:

before:
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After:
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the other side (after):
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I’ll let you know if this fixed the problem when I next get on track - whenever that is :(
 

Deano17

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172 Cup
Decided to butcher my tailgate today.
All the metal I cut out weighed about as much as a Mars bar.
Bit of a waste of time really but it’ll do until I get round to fitting a fibreglass one.
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David172

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172 M135i
Nice read so far! I spot two patches of sound deadening in the rear quarters you could remove for maybe half a mars bar :D
 

Deano17

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172 Cup
Nice read so far! I spot two patches of sound deadening in the rear quarters you could remove for maybe half a mars bar :D
Great spot! 👍
I should take off the passenger door card and have a good look behind there too.
I’ve a feeling it still has lots of dead weight to cut out there also.
 

Deano17

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172 Cup
My next race date has finally been confirmed - Thruxton on July 5th.

Time to start prepping...

New coolant was long overdue. It looked muddy! Nasty.
Replaced with Water Wetter and I treated myself to a fresh new expansion tank.
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Bumper repairs next on the list.
The thing is hanging on by the side fasteners only and I’m worried the high speeds at Thruxton could rip it off.

I have a plan. Details to follow.
 

LukeSi

ClioSport Club Member
  Mondial Blue 172 Cup
My next race date has finally been confirmed - Thruxton on July 5th.

Time to start prepping...

New coolant was long overdue. It looked muddy! Nasty.
Replaced with Water Wetter and I treated myself to a fresh new expansion tank.
View attachment 1481129

View attachment 1481130
Bumper repairs next on the list.
The thing is hanging on by the side fasteners only and I’m worried the high speeds at Thruxton could rip it off.

I have a plan. Details to follow.
If you were interested I've got a mondial blue bumper fitted with aero catches on ebay currently. Open to offers on it.
 

Deano17

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172 Cup
In an effort to keep my front bumper I’ve tried a few DIY fixes.

First off a couple of brackets to help support the weight.
It was a long and detailed fabrication process that involved buying two pre drilled metal bars off EBay then whacking them with a large hammer to make a slight bend.
Project Binky this ain’t...

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There are already holes in the subframe so they bolt straight in.

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I’ll see how it fits tomorrow...

Next was an attempt to strengthen the broken spars on the upper part of the bumper.

This I’m not proud of and don’t hold out much hope for it as a repair but I just glued in some nylon bolts with washers.

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I’ll reassemble it all tomorrow and see if any of it worked.
If not I’ll buy Luke’s spare bumper before it goes.
 

Danboy66

ClioSport Club Member
  172 cup
Keep it up mate bet you can't wait to get out in it

Where did you get the expansion tank from



Sent from my VOG-L29 using Tapatalk
 

Deano17

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172 Cup
I got the tank of EBay.
You can find them cheaper but I didn’t want one with a dodgy cap.
This one seems ok so far.

CEC12A17-E5A1-496B-84A2-40BA73FD9C3A.jpeg
 

Danboy66

ClioSport Club Member
  172 cup
I'll have a look cheers

I'm just about to do a coolant change and want to freshen up the bay with the manifolds painted and so on so it makes sense to change it

Sent from my VOG-L29 using Tapatalk
 

Deano17

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172 Cup
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Update: The bumper went back on no problem and the new mounts really help keep it secure.
I added a couple of rubber washers to the bolts securing it to the bumper to soften any vibration as I reckon if it’s too stiff it might crack the plastic at the bottom of the bumper.

Next job to fit my new doors with lexan windows I bought of Mark (Mbeau) last week...
 

Deano17

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172 Cup
Update.
New doors fitted with lexan windows.

Fitting a door by yourself is not easy as I found out. Had to rest the bottom of the door on a plank which I then jacked up to the right height and slid into the hinge bracket. Took ages to line it up so that the bolt would drop through.
Still, worth it now as it looks great and saves a couple of kilos.
 

Attachments

Deano17

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172 Cup
New battery.

More lockdown fiddling - new lightweight battery.
Not cheap at £230 but it only weights 2kg!!!
That’s a saving of 6kg on my old one.

I also moved it to the passenger floor whilst I was at it.
It has a built in charge check which is pretty cool .

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Deano17

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172 Cup
I entered a race at Snetterton back in September.
One last outing before 2nd lockdown misery I thought.
I drove the car to the circuit, bolted on the race wheels and unbolted the rear ARB as it was raining hard.
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Quali was great fun as it was an ice rink.
Cars sliding about all over the place.
The Clio real excels in these conditions and after some significant muppetry I managed to get in a half decent lap to put me 15th of 32 on the grid.
Not great but not terrible considering I was in class D and managed to sneak in front of a few cars from Classes B & C.
I did have a lap cancelled for exceeding track limits but I was half way to Norwich wrestling a huge tank-slapper so I don’t think I gained much advantage...
A few more tweaks before the race (upping the rear tyre pressures to generate some heat in them) and I was ready to go.
If I got a good start I could jump a few places before the first hairpin.
Then this happened...
 

Attachments

Deano17

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172 Cup
Turns out my diff lunched itself.
Great.
After a mate towed me home I booked the car into Mark Fish to get it properly sorted.
It was due belts and a clutch so I bit the bullet and got the lot done. Ouch.
Turns out Mark didn’t recognise my diff - not Quaife or Gripper. Hmmm
- if anybody recognises it from the 1st pic, please let me know.
I went for a Gripper as a replacement as other drivers all recommended them for track work.
A couple of pics of the gearbox strip down and diff rebuild.
 

Attachments

Deano17

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172 Cup
I’ve only had the car on the road but so far it feels great.
One last day at Bedford on the 7th before it’s tucked up for Xmas....if we are let out of lockdown.
 

Deano17

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 172 Cup
Hi Rob,

I race in the Project 8 race club in the Toyo Tyres Racing Saloons.
Great mix of cars - normally 2 or 3 Clio’s - good driving standards and some great lads.
Been racing with them on and off for a dozen years.
How about you?
Deano
 

Rob Quantrell

ClioSport Club Member
  Clio 182
ah nice! I did a round at Brands with the TTRS last year, good bunch! Got punted at the start of race 2, but that was by a production BMW!

I'm in Trackday Trophy and Championship, with the occasional round of 750mc Roadsports - been a weird year with Covid etc but hoping for a longer season in 2021!
 


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