Cheshire Racing & Restorations


A massive thankyou to Cheshire Racing & Restorations (CR&R), who installed our rollcage in double-quick time. That's a major plus in trying to get the car ready for Snetterton on the 14th April. Neil and Dave (CR&R) also gave us further hints and tips for our car preparation, to ensure it sails serenely through scrutineeering. At least, that's what we hope!

Currently, the rollcage is back out of the car, and the welds have all been prepared and painted over. We'll be removing the sunroof tonight to use as a template for a new GRP one being made for us by Terry.

The list of jobs to complete is still massive, but things are progressing and with the help of our friends we're hoping to be finished in time. We'd better be finished, as we're committing to the race by paying the race fees. So not being able to compete would also be a fiscal nightmare!

Pit Crew Progress Report


Today's report is brought to you by the word "Partial"...

On Saturday afternoon, I stripped the remaining interior out of the car. Then on Sunday Darren and I set about trial fitting the rollcage ready for Terry to weld up any stress plates next weekend. We now have some questions for Cheshire Racing & Restorations concerning the rollcage, but nothing too drastic. So a partial success there.

Darren looped into the ignition wire from the steering column, ready for the fitment of the ignition cut-out switch in the dashboard. We also planned the route of the pull cable, so that's partially completed.

We did some thinking about the trunking of the extinguisher cabling and pipework, and fitted the extinguisher itself in place. We also fitted a bracket under the dash pointing at the driver ready to take the interior extinguisher nozzle. So there was another task partially completed.

We also checked out the positioning of the racing seat, and decided we either need another cross-member welded in the interior or sandwich stress plates welded underneath the car for the rear mounts of the seat.



Thanks to Mark Baker, we now have a race transponder ready to fit to our MR2 for a lot less than the £240 originally envisaged. It's now another item in the list of things to fit in the decreasing amount of available time!

This morning, the Yokohama A539's from Steve Vince have been mounted on wheels and four of them are currently on the car. We also had the toe adjusted all round to the TRD recommended settings. We would have done the camber too, but were without a camber gauge, so I need to blag one of those and everything can then be re-set to account for the new camber.

I'll be working on the car for the rest of this weekend. So, can someone please tell me when on earth it's likely to get warmer!??! I've pretty much had my fill of lying under a car and freezing my wotsits off, whilst snow falls around me. Karen gets the easy job of driving this thing when it's ready!

Developing a Rubber Fetish?


Not exactly...

The MR2 Challenge control tyre is the Yokohama A539, and must be purchased from the series organiser Steve Vince at Red Dragon Automotive. Yesterday I ordered six tyres from him which would give us a full set and two spares.

We've got ten wheels in total, which means we can still have four wheels equipped with other tyres if we use the car on the road and save our race tyres. Having said that, we need to do a few hundred miles on the new race tyres just to scrub them in and remove any mould release agent, etc. All in an effort to ensure they have maximum grip available ready for the first race.

I'm hoping a friend of a friend will fit them for us, and will also set the geometry to TRD recommended settings. We'd otherwise been quoted £160 for just the geometry settings by a local tuning firm!!

Next on the shopping list? That'd be a transponder unit which is used to recognise when the car passes the start/finish line and to automatically formulate qualification lap times etc. That's another £240!

"May Require Some Assembly"


At last, the rollcage arrived today. It's vital that we get this fitted into the car as soon as possible. Then we can figure out the fitment of the racing seat, harness, extinguisher, and dashboard pull cables. We're going to be calling on the welding talents of my step-dad Terry, who had previously helped us with our Nissan 200SX. I can forsee an awful lot of beer-bribery about to take place!

The first race at Snetterton is on the 14th April which leaves us just over a month to prepare the car. It sounds a lot of time, but I can't take any holiday from work at the moment and we're all novices at this so the pressure is on...

Gratuitous Action Shot!


I thought it was time to add a little spice to the site with a decent shot of Karen behind the wheel. Here she's driving our Nissan 200SX at Hullavington airfield, on one of the great days organised by Motorsport Events (

The guys & gals at Motorsport Events organise really friendly events with great circuit layouts for bargain prices. Tutoring by experienced racing drivers is always available, again at fantastic rates.

What I wouldn't give for a bit of that summer sun right now when trying to work on the MR2...

The Pit Crew Get Busy.


(Pictured: Darren relaxes after a hard weekend under the MR2).

At the weekend, Darren, David and myself were hard at work upgrading the suspension and brakes on the MR2. It was bitterly cold at all times, but at least it was dry. Karen was kept occupied producing teas, coffees, chilli-con-carne, and bacon rolls which were very much appreciated.

Our first problem was trying to undo the top off the strut to release the damper unit. I had to blag some Stillsens (sp?) from my father. It still required an awful lot of brute force, hammering and swearing. Because the new units were gas dampers, we all fully expected the originals to be the same. Unfortunately they were oil-filled units which we only discovered when the first one poured it's contents all over our drive! Won't be making that mistake again...

David stripped out the front of the car and played go-fer for various tools and other items whilst Darren and I got down and dirty with the grubby bits of the car. Once back on it's wheels we found the brakes were very soft and spongy. So we got the car back in the air and bled the entire system again. This time it felt much better and we just need to get some bedding-in miles on the new discs and pads.

A big thankyou to Darren and David for their hard work and support so far!

Motorsport vs. Identity Theft!


One would have to assume the bods at the MSA (Motor Sports Association) have never heard of Identity Theft...

Otherwise they might not send out parcels which state in big bold type on the front "Your license is in here". They actually use the address part of the license shown in a window as the postal address. With things as they are these days, is that REALLY a good idea?

The licenses require a photo, but you have to attach that yourself. So if anyone intercepted the license, they would be free to impersonate you, or use it for other nefarious purposes.

Luckily, Karen's license arrived un-molested yesterday, but it did rather alarm us how shockingly naive the MSA are being.

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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