Published Sunday, April 21, 2013 by Karen Phillips Racing.
A recent shakedown at the Curborough Sprint Track proved that the engine rebuild and modifications performed by Powerstation have transformed Karen's WRX. We're hoping the car will now be much more competitive in the GT300 class of the Nippon Challenge. Karen's really looking forward to her first planned race event of the year at Castle Combe on Bank Holiday Monday 27th May.
Published Saturday, March 09, 2013 by Karen Phillips Racing.
"Because Race Car" is a derogatory phrase mostly used to describe ill fitting panels, scuffed bodywork, or other bodges deemed acceptable because it's a race car. Well most of the time we'd tried to avoid this and have Karen's car turned out as best we could. However, we've now proudly joined the ranks of such cars by having only one working headlight. The other has been replaced by a duct to blow cool air over the new K&N air filter cone.
Having originally been nicknamed "Rexy", Karen's race car has now been called "Blinky" in honour of the new duct! Having completed all the over winter modifications to fit the Front Mount Intercooler and the new Induction filter it was time to give the car a shakedown.
Castle Combe was the venue chosen and our sponsors TenguDo Motorsport were also in attendance to give their car a run out as well. Unfortunately the circuit was covered in a blanket of fog. This lasted until well into the afternoon. Before that, However, Karen had driven out behind the circuit car to get some sighting laps in. After only one and a half laps she lost power and struggled to keep the car running as she limped back into the paddock.
There was a small amount of black smoke. Several theories were considered, including a boost hose leak, overfuelling due to a faulty fuel pressure regulator, etc. Certainly the car wouldn't idle but after leaving it for an hour it did idle ok so we assumed that it had overfuelled.
We had to admit defeat. The following weekend, the car was delivered to Powerstation in nearby Tewkesbury for full diagnostics. In addition we'd asked for upgrading the injectors, fitting of a fuel swirlpot setup and finally fitment of a Simtek ECU and a bespoke map to get towards the magic 300bhp barrier.
Unfortunately, the diagnostics revealed low compression in cylinder number four. With the engine removed it was revealed that number four piston had suffered Land Ring failure. The bore had only received minor scoring that a light hone would resolve. The solution was to fit a new piston and get it all back together again but it's never that simple, is it? The pistons could not be identified and were assumed to be some kind of aftermarket items. The only available solution was to replace all four pistons with a completely new matched set! Impreza P1 pistons were deemed a suitable OEM replacement and they're forged so should help prevent this ever happening again..."Because Race Car"!
Published Saturday, October 20, 2012 by Karen Phillips Racing.
Now the 2012 season has come to an end, it's time to begin modifying Karen's car to help make it more competitive within its class. Plans include a Front Mount Intercooler, bigger injectors and a new ECU with bespoke mapping.
The driver's side headlight is being replaced with a funnel to allow cool air to be directed to the new K&N cone filter with spun aluminium induction trumpet.
Richard has made a start on the installation of the Front Mount Intercooler, large Blow Off Valve and a turbo blanket with exhaust wrapping.
A Zero Sports hard pipe has been used to remove the induction resonator. Once the intercooler hard pipes have been routed the Mass Air Flow sensor can be plumbed into the induction pipe.
Plenty of work to do, but Richard is enjoying the challenge and is looking forward to getting the car running again. It's hoped that there will then be some opportunities for some practice over the winter and some further tweaks to improve performance and reliability ready for next season.
"Escape to the Country" is a property buying program on BBC2. People get to view several properties in a countryside area and also see items of local interest. Well this show was set in Worcestershire and they'd asked to film at our local Shelsley Walsh hillclimb. As members, we were invited to bring along our car to help with the filming...
Karen got to have two runs up the hill as the host Jules Hudson did a piece to camera. She was also in the paddock at the top of the hill as he walks past doing a monologue. Finally Jules interviewed a couple of chaps who were stood against Karen's car. One of these guys was Toby Moody who now commentates on the BTCC with Tim Harvey. ( http://www.tobymoody.co.uk ).
This program is currently expected to be broadcast sometime in early 2013.
Silverstone was bright and dry - Quite a surprise for a Summer's day! TenguDo Motorsport spent time in the morning ensuring the geometry settings were correct and then Karen was out qualifying. Unfortunately, the gremlins were striking again with the occasional loss of power and stuttering delivery. (This has now been diagnosed to degraded wiring between the Crank Sensor and the main wiring harness). Despite this, Karen qualified 12th overall and 5th in class behind some experienced drivers and very quick cars.
Karen didn't get a great start in Race 1, but after things settled down she she spent most of her race fighting hard against the #77 GT250 Impreza of Steve Harman. Steve seemed to have a power advantage but Karen's car had superior handling and better brakes. Karen finished 10th overall and 4th in class.
Race 2 was a much less frantic race which saw Karen start in 10th but finish in 11th overall and 5th in class.
At the end of race 2, Richard and the TenguDo Motorsport Team were worried to see Karen pull up in front of the marshals at the BRDC stand. They all feared some kind of mechanical problem, but as it turns out Karen had picked up a puncture just after the end of the race.
The marshals took great pleasure in helping out a damsel in distress and soon had the car hoisted onto a truck and driven back into the paddock. The front passenger side tyre had some kind of catastrophic failure/blowout. Everyone mucked in to get it swapped over for a spare and then loaded back on the trailer ready to go home.
Published Tuesday, July 31, 2012 by Karen Phillips Racing.
Karen was surprised and delighted to find out she'd been awarded the Driver of the Day award for the Castle Combe event!
Karen would like to thank Steve Vince, organiser of the Red Dragon Race and Track Club and Nippon Challenge for selecting her for the award. Karen is also very grateful to Nippon Challenge sponsors Scalextric for their fantastic prize of a "Turbo Flyers" Scalextric set.
Most importantly, Karen would like to thank her own sponsors TenguDo Motorsport. Not only did they lend Karen their own car for the event, but following the under bonnet fire they worked extremely hard and pulled out all the stops to get the car repaired for the second race of the day. It was during that race that Karen drove from 24th and last to finish 12th overall.
Published Tuesday, July 24, 2012 by Karen Phillips Racing.
Karen was re-united with her own car at a recent shakedown session at Keevil airfield. The morning was very wet and immediately the car was running roughly and within a few laps of the circuit layout a Check Engine Light (CEL) was showing. This was quickly diagnosed as a problem with the Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF). The air-filter had become sodden and water was getting onto the MAF element causing the car to run roughly and go into limp home mode.
TenguDo Motorsport mechanic Mike installed some tubing to prevent water ingress into the induction system. However, this was still allowing in water, as the circuit was just so wet. A quick re-think saw the tubing within the engine bay. This meant hot air was being breathed in, but at least it was dry!
This saw the car running perfectly and Karen was extremely happy. After lunch things began to dry up and Karen got some decent running in her own car for a change. Power was good and torque was strong. Everyone was enthused and the plan was to enter the upcoming Silverstone races upon the return home.
Having returned home, it soon became apparent that when trying to remove the car from the trailer it wouldn't start. We feared the cambelt had slipped again! Various checks were performed but it all pointed to the timing. Mike came to the rescue again on the following weekend and proved the cambelt was fine. The brand new crank sensor was replaced with a 2nd hand item and the car started without trouble. After less than a day of running the new part had failed, which was very surprising, especially as it had no moving parts and was just a glorified magnet!
Following this, a Silverstone entry was duly sent. Richard then spent some time on the Sunday fitting a larger bonnet scoop and an intercooler spray system. Here's hoping these improvements help Karen get the best out of the car at Silverstone and she enjoys a couple of trouble free races -It's about time!
Published Thursday, July 12, 2012 by Karen Phillips Racing.
Karen attended the Japfest 2 event and spent the day giving paying passengers thrill rides around the circuit. Unfortunately, Karen's own car was still being worked on and so TenguDo Motorsport provided their #29 car for her to use.
The weather forecast was for heavy rain and so the car had been prepared with a soft suspension setup and Federal 595 RS-R tyres. the day had started dull, but then the sun came out and the weather was glorious! A fantastic time was had by all members of the Red Dragon Race and Track Club who had brought their cars for static display or for passenger drives on the circuit.
Published Thursday, June 21, 2012 by Karen Phillips Racing.
Karen’s sponsors TenguDo Motorsport had kindly loaned her their race car as they were about to investigate the engine problems she’d been having with her own car. The Saturday trip to Castle Combe was less than pleasant due to inclement weather with plenty of wind and rain. However, Race Day Sunday dawned sunny and dry.
Karen was nervous about using the TenguDo Motorsport #29 Impreza WRX RA as it had recently been fitted with all new suspension and there hadn’t been time to test. Although she’d driven the car before, that hadn’t been for a while. The suspension was all new and the amount of grip available from the tyres on the damp circuit was a concern.
Qualifying proved that she needn’t have worried. The TenguDo guys had done a fantastic job of the setup. Karen was enjoying the car and although having to drive through lots of traffic due to a combined session with the MR2’s, she was beginning to bring her times down. Watching from Camp Corner, Richard and the TenguDo Motorsport crew were horrified to see a large under bonnet fire!
Image copyright Marc Lawrence. Used with kind permission.
Karen noticed the power steering was getting stiffer. She drove another half lap before being shown a “Car on fire” sign at Quarry Corner. She duly pulled over and the marshals put out the remnants of the fire and recovered the car to the paddock. Despite this, Karen still qualified 13th out of 24 runners.
The flexible part of a power steering pipe had melted against the turbo and the escaping fluid had ignited. There was no other discernible damage and all that was required was a replacement for the pipe. Unfortunately neither Richard nor TenguDo carried a spare with them. No-one in the paddock had anything suitable, so a call to Martin White TenguDo Team Principal saw him despatched to their workshop in Cwmbran to get a replacement and bring it to ‘Combe. Meanwhile, Karen was forced to watch Race 1 from the track-side.
Image copyright Marc Lawrence. Used with kind permission.
When Martin arrived with spares, it took little time for the repair to be completed and #29 was checked over and fuelled ready to go. The car was taken to scrutineering again for a check and was safe to race again. Due to missing out on Race 1, Karen was forced to start Race 2 from the very back of the grid.
Image copyright Marc Lawrence. Used with kind permission.
Knowing what she was up against, Karen was determined to use the 4WD advantage of the Impreza at the start and gained several places when the lights went out. After that she was busy making her way through the glut of GT150 cars until she was clear. Unfortunately, the rest of the grid made up of her own class of vehicle and higher had already made good their escape and there was no chance of catching them. Having started from 24th Karen finished in 12th place overall and 2nd in her GT300 class. It was a great result from a day that could have ended in tragedy…
Many thanks to the Marshals and officials at Castle Combe for all their hard work. Thanks also to TenguDo Motorsport for supplying Karen with their car, letting her set light to it, and for then repairing it and getting her out for Race 2!
About Karen Phillips
Karen races her Impreza WRX in the Nippon Challenge, a race series for Japanese and Asian cars. Karen has now been racing for six years having started in the MR2 Challenge.
Please check this site regularly for updates on Karen's progress through the season and developments with her race car.