Instant Race Car, Just Add Petrol.


If only it were that simple.

This evening has been rather strange... We got home from work and found a card on our mat confirming Karen's racing seat had tried to be delivered. So I set about preparing to retrieve it from a local parcel depot. before I managed to get very far, a neighbour knocked on the door and handed us another parcel. This turned out to be the 5 point Sabelt Harness. A little later another knock on the door from another neighbour. She was looking after a parcel for us, and when I collected the heavy thing from next door it turned out to be four new brake discs. Looks like Karen's going to be representing the local community at this rate.

Having sorted all that, I got to the parcel depot and collected the big box containing the seat. It wouldn't fit in the back of my Impreza! I had no choice but to remove the seat from the box and sit that in the front passenger seat. I was then able to deform the box enough to squeeze it across the back seats. Phew!

It's getting a bit crowded in our house, with boxes of bits everywhere. It's a good job we're buying a bigger house with a double garage and more room for racing gubbins. The only trouble is it means more stress. I've got a funny feeling everyone will want to move on the Easter weekend - The date of the first races!

More Than The Sum of Its Parts?


That's what we're hoping for the MR2 once we've completed work on it. Late this week most of the performance upgrade parts and the plumbed in fire extinguisher kit arrived. Unfortunately I was too busy dismantling the Nissan 200SX (in more snow and freezing conditions) in order to sell the parts. It's helping pay for the new items on the MR2.

Our study is beginning to look like a branch of Halfords. As I write this, I'm surrounded by boxes of various parts, racing safety wear, a new helmet, parts catalogues, etc.

Next weekend will hopefully see the installation of the uprated spring and shock absorbers, and the fitment of the brake upgrades consisting of braided hoses and Pagid pads. We'll be taking a look at how to fit the extinguisher kit and the routing of the electrical cut-out and possibly relocating the car's battery into the under-bonnet area for better weight distribution.

So much to little time.

It's Snow Joke! She's Now a Racing Driver.


Congratulations to Karen on passing her ARDS Test today at a snowy Castle Combe! (That's a Racing License Test to you and me).

Ok, the picture above is rather melodramatic, as she was actually driving a Ford Focus and the snow wasn't settling, but conditions were tricky. Anyway, I forgot my camera. Karen got a glowing report from her instructor and got 100% in her written test which is a fantastic achievement of which she's rightfully proud.

Now it's up to myself and our friends to prepare the car in time for the first race at Snetterton in the middle of April. You never know, it's just possible it could snow then too...

Virtually Finished? Hardly!


Here's a shot of Karen driving her MR2 around the Nurburgring. Actually, that's a total fabrication. It's actually one of several still captures from the GT4 game on the PS2, which the geeky bods at Priodev Media are using to help design the race cars vinyl graphics.

Karen has actually driven the full Nurburgring circuit several times in our Subaru Impreza Turbo, and had many passenger rides in various other cars including an Impreza 22B and a Honda S2000. Maybe one day she'll get to pilot her MR2 around there after all...

...Hot on the heels of Sabine Schmidt in the 'Ring Taxi?

Win Some, Lose Some...


We've won a couple of eBay auctions!

This means we've got an MR2 quickshift, and a Corbeau Sprint race seat winging their way to us via the mail. That made up for the disappointment of losing out on some other seats (see previous posting). I guess we must have caught everyone else napping. Mind you, being at work and using their broadband connection probably helped!

This elation has been tinged with sadness, as Karen's Nissan 200SX track car is now slowly being dismantled. The seats, harnesses, wheels/tyres, dump valve, boost controller, oil cooler, have all been sold and one of the biggest items looks set to be sold very shortly as well. A set of brakes that made a dramatic difference to driving the car on track. Massive 335 x 32 mm Brembo discs and some Hi-Spec Monster 4 pot calipers with Ferodo DS2500 pads.

Racing the MR2 using standard discs, and some uprated pad material will certainly be a challenge.

Buy It, Sell It, Love It!


I wish...

Ever keen to cut down the costs involved with preparing our car, we've been bidding on eBay for a suitable racing seat or seats for the MR2. Our experiences thus far lead us to believe that eBay may indeed be loaded with bargains, but apparently these are not available to:

a) Mortals
b) Anyone using a dial-up connection
c) Anyone not running dodgy software that outbids everyone at the last nanosecond

We'll keep trying until we win a suitable auction, or time constraints force us to pay over the counter for a brand new seat.

And Now a Word From Our Sponsor...


Priodev Media ( are sponsoring Karen by producing and maintaining her website. Currently, they are preparing an update to this initial version of her site to introduce further pages, such as Karen's Profile, Gallery, Downloads, etc. They are also designing and funding the vinyl graphics for the finished race-car. Be prepared for something special!

Priodev Media were recently involved in the production of the website for Gibbs Technologies who created the Aquada amphibious car.

(All Images copyright Gibbs Technologies Limited)

Please take time to visit the site:

The Man from the MOT Station...


...He say Yes!

Karen's intention is to race the car in the MR2C, but keep it legal to be used as an occasional road car. At least that way I may get to drive it now and again. It went in for an MOT this morning and passed without a problem.

Our friendly MOT Tester remarked on what a pretty car it was and what a lovely standard interior it had. We didn't have the heart to tell him it was all going to be ripped out and the poor thing thrown around race-circuits for the rest of its life!

When we got the car home, I set about swapping the gear knob and steering wheel over for items from our 200SX track car. Now at least, we've stamped our mark on the car. Hopefully next weekend will be spent fitting some of the other parts we've been waiting for.

MR2 Challenge Press Release 10/02/2006


The latest press release from the MR2C contained the following:

"The MR2 Challenge would like to welcome Karen Phillips and Ady Stimpson to the fold. Karen will be the fourth Lady Racer to join the series since its inception, and has forsaken her reserve position in the 2006 Formula Woman series to join us, while Ady has decided against entering the more expensive (and seemingly over-crowded) AVO Ginetta series for a proper assault on the Challenge."

Putting Karen Behind Bars - Priceless!


We had rather a shock yesterday. I chased up our order for the rollcage and was given the full price. We had been expecting something in the region of £500, but the actual price turned out to be £725!

That's a serious percentage of the original cost of the car itself. Our previous order of many parts came to pretty much the same. We've actually spent several hundred pounds more on parts for the car, than the car cost us in the first place.

We still need to spend a large amount of money on a decent racing seat, subframe(s), and a 5/6 point harness.

I think I need a lie down...

The 2006 MR2 Challenge Map of the UK.


Karen's brother Derren has kindly set up a "Wayfaring" map of the UK, with Points of Interest (POI's) set up for the circuits to be used in the 2006 competition.

Click on the map above to see the full version. This allows you to zoom in and see the circuits and check your routes, etc. The current race calendar has also been added, and will be kept up to date. It may also be possible to add (rough) geographical locations for each entrant, which could prove interesting.

Sacrificed in the Name of Racing...


This is Karen's Nissan 200SX, that was our road legal track day car. Due to constraints on available space and money, the Nissan was to be sold to make way for the MR2. Unfortunately, the market doesn't seem prepared to pay what the car is really worth. Therefore, we've had to make the heart-breaking decision to break the car up and sell the parts separately.

Larger Turbo, ECU Upgrade, Coilovers, Massive brakes, etc. It's all got to be removed and sold off. Hopefully, someone might want the other parts, such as the doors, glass, and even the shell.

We were going to save the Sparco Sprint seats and harnesses for the MR2, but have decided to go with 5/6 point harnesses for safety. This means we need a new seat and harness as well.

Take it from us - There's no such thing as cheap motorsport!

What's the Number For?


I think it's time to explain the significance of the number 14, as shown above. This is Karen's designated racing number. She was given the choice of which number to choose and luckily her favourite was available.

Why 14? It's the date of her birthday within a particular month...

Karen's Car.


Here's a picture of Karen's car as a pristine standard Mk1 MR2. The car was purchased from our good friend David. It's through David that we learnt of the MR2 Challenge when it began. We were originally thinking of racing our 200SX, but it would have been in a class up against some monster machinery. The MR2C looked like the best form of motorsport for a novice, in terms of cost and close/fun racing. Thus our decision was made...

Two of our first items arrived yesterday in the mail. A Momo steering boss which will allow the use of a slightly smaller steering wheel, and an FIA/MSA approved LED rain light which is one of the required items to make the car legal for racing.

We're now awaiting the arrival of uprated suspension, brake pads and brake lines, plumbed-in fire extinguisher kit, electrical cut-off switch, bonnet-pins, safety stickers, etc. After that we need to get the rollcage, sunroof panel, seat and harness!

My job with the help of some good friends, will be to strip the car of its interior and fit as many of the new components as we can. We might have to farm out some of the jobs we can't manage, such as the rollcage install and the suspension fitting and alignment.

I can't wait to get started. Karen's looking forward to a minor power upgrade, and the handling/braking improvements.

Welcome to Karen Phillips Racing.


This is the first post on the site dedicated to keeping you all up to date with Karen's progress in the 2006 MR2 Challenge.

Currently, Karen's MR2 is a totally standard, fully road legal, 1989 model, Mk1. MR2. We are awaiting the arrival of lots of components ready to begin converting it into something more akin to a race car. Before that, however, it needs to pass the dreaded MOT on Saturday 11th February!

Karen's booked in for her ARDS race license test on Thursday 23rd February. The only problem is she needs to have the medical sections of her license application completed by a doctor for the test. Unfortunately, she's been rather let down by her own doctor, so were trying to find another who will be able to do this for her in time.

Please take time to visit the sites of our sponsors. Special thanks must go to Marc from Priodev Media, who is helping to create and maintain this website.

Make sure to return regularly for updates as they happen...

About Karen Phillips

  • Karen races her Impreza WRX in the Classic and Sports Car Club (CSCC) Modern Classics series, with her husband Richard as a 2nd Driver. The races are mini-endurance events involving a driver-swap. Karen has previously raced in the Nippon Challenge, a race series for Japanese and Asian cars. Karen has been racing since 2006, 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.

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