Where do I begin?

Everything you need to know if you are thinking about racing in 750 Formula

Where do I begin?

Postby classictinker » Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:34 pm

Hi everybody.

I'm keen to start some form of motorsport before I get too old lol. I've looked into 750, RGB and Locost. Although the screaming engines and sequential gearbox of the RGB is appealing I think it is likely to be too crazy for a novice like me. The Locost also seemed interesting but I had a quick look through the regs and they still seem to be using Cortina uprights and 1300 crossflow engine, both of which are getting hard to find. I build a few lowcost chassis around 14 years ago and I struggled to find the uprights back then so they must be a nightmare to find now. So I've settled on 750 as my final choice so here I am :)

The idea of building, racing and developing the car myself is hugely appealing but is it do-able? I'm very far from being a millionaire so the more I can keep costs down the better. If i give you a quick run down on my background then maybe you will be able to tell me if it's going to be possible for me to build a "middle of the field" car...my driving will no doubt keep it at the back of the field anyway lol. Ok so I'm 48 in June, I left school at the age of 13 to go and work in my uncles garage as a paint sprayer/panel beater. When I was 17 I opened my own bodyshop at York and obviously had to take on mechanical work as well so I am more than proficient in all areas of vehicle maintenance and repair. When I was 25 worries over what 2 pack paint was doing to my health made me decide to leave the motor trade and I went to collage and spent a year doing O levels and A levels, I then allied to and was accepted by York uni on a 4 year MPhys in computation physics. I have built a few Locost chassis both standard and my own modified design using round tube rather than square which had much better rotation rigidity. I have pretty much everything in my garage at home to build a racecar, Mig, Gas welding kit, Compressor, hydraulic press, every hand tool and power tool you could think of and most important a lathe :) Also my buddy who lives next door has an MOT garage and has a 4 wheel laser alignment do-dar.

So what do you recommend...is building my own car still do-able or have those days been and gone?
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Re: Where do I begin?

Postby pbove » Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:28 am

It is certainly do-able if you have the time and patience, you certainly have the experience and skills. Other options are to buy a project or source a kit from Racekits.

If you let me know where you are based I will put you in contact with someone local(ish) who can provide more detail of what's invoked. Alternatively, come along to a race meeting and have a chat to the guys. Key decisions are conventional or transverse and if conventional, what gearbox you're planning to use.
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Re: Where do I begin?

Postby classictinker » Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:45 am

Hi.

Thanks for your reply. I'm from Market Weighton kind of half way between York and Hull on the A1079. I do like the idea of a rear engine transverse set-up does the use of the standard fiat gearing cause any major issues or it is near enough for most circuits? Has anybody managed to run an independent rear suspension or does everybody stay with live/de dion set-ups? Croft is only up the road from me so I don't see any problems getting to that meet. What's the rules for spectators, can stay over night by camping at the track or will I need a B&B, is there parking etc? If I can "liberate" the funds it would be worth me buying an old 750 just so that I can get a few races under my belt so I have an idea of what is involved I'm sure that would be a big help.
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Re: Where do I begin?

Postby pbove » Sat Apr 09, 2016 1:22 pm

Hmm,

We have just chasnged the regulations to allow a 1:1 top gear for the Fiat and we are waiting to see whether that makes any difference. Billy Albone won the championship in 2014 with a tranny so it is certainly possible. We won't be at Croft (the club is there but we are not). The most northely meeting remaining is probably Mallory Park. Most cicuits have a camping area, equally, most are surrounded by a range of cheap B&Bs.

We have no-one particularly near you, there are a number around Manchester/East Midlands let me kow if you want any contact details, or by all means call me on 07775 81252.

Peter
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Re: Where do I begin?

Postby F1300Tony » Sat Apr 09, 2016 4:36 pm

It is possible to have independent rear suspension with a transverse engine.
I would strongly advise you to buy a 'known' car and run it for a year or two before thinking about building your own. That way you will know what a car should feel like, know how to drive, and know the circuits before getting to the task of sorting out a car. It sounds as if you have most or all of the skills required to build a chassis, engine and glassfibre bodywork. Allow at least 18 months spare time unless you have some very good help. Talk to all the drivers and keep the design simple!
Having said that, in my opinion racing a car you have designed and built yourself is just the best thing ever. And 750F is the best place to do it.
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Re: Where do I begin?

Postby ssc » Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:33 am

From someone who has tried both... You have to decide if you like the racing more than the building or the other way round. I love the racing and got frustrated when the time seemed to tick away and months turn into years. But if your not working full time or raising a family spending a few hours a day would be an advantage and you sound like you have the skills and the gear to do it only you can know. Buying a known car helps with the ''little problems'' that you may not be aware of when building your own from scratch. I've brought a car that is a runner but could do with lots of upgrades to run at the front and I look forward to racing it as it is then build in improvements to see how I get on.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

I have an early uno engine thats lightened and balanced with a lightened fly wheel I'm happy to give away if you would like to help you along.. I'm in Norfolk so it may not be worth your while but the offer is there. Just PM me.

The above offer goes to anyone whos thinking of building a car and reading this thread.
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Re: Where do I begin?

Postby epither » Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:21 pm

Hi,
There are lots of good points on here already made, but I think the key one for me when we went into our project was the time building verses racing. Certainly the building, then getting the reliability can take longer than you think. Especially with 2nd hand cars and the falcons available, it's a big head start and still there will be plenty to do.
I have done some locosts and now the 750; I'm also in the West Midlands (north east of Coventry), so if you would like to meet for a beer and a chat to see if you can find some useful info and some motivation please PM me.
Best regards
Ed
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Re: Where do I begin?

Postby classictinker » Mon May 07, 2018 6:08 pm

Hello again :)

1st may I say a big thank you to those who took the time to reply to my post and I apologise for the 2 year delay in my reply :oops: I decided that if I was going to take the "build a race car project" seriously I had better get my life in order 1st and sort through my "to-do" list. Two years later and I can finally say that the tenant from hell is out of our old house, the wife and I have gutted it and redecorated it top to bottom and it goes on the market next week :) This means I am now free to spend the bulk of my time (and free cash shhh the wife might be looking) on the "build a race car project" :)

I'll be 50 next month so I'm no spring chicken but hopefully I have a few years left in me yet. For the past 2 years I've had to make do with coming to the 750mc race meetings and watching you and also the Locosts bombing around the track but this has at least helped me develop some patience. While working through my to-do list it was important that I didn't become distracted so the only "progress" made on the race car front has been to absolutely definitely without any shadow of a doubt make a definite decision to build a Locost...probably :shocked: so I've collected together an axle, 4.125 crown wheel and pinion, a couple of close-ish ratio type 2 gearboxes, front hubs, disc, calipers, quick rack, single piece prop shaft and a couple of 1300cc x-flows. Over the last fortnight I've rebuilt the diff and fitted the 4.125 c&p, rebuild one of the gearboxes and have just finished stripping and cleaning the 2 engines ready to take the best block, crank and head to the engineers shop for regrinding, skimming and reboring. It was this afternoon while trying to decide which of the two heads had the least horrible casting lumps and bumps in the ports that my mind wandered back to the 750 Formula and how the idea of designing, building and developing my own race car was so appealing especially now that I know how high cost Locost actually is.

So before I commit to spending my hard earned money on having the machine work done to the x-flow I thought I had better decide for certain which car I actually should be building....Locost or 750???? To make sure impatience doesn't influence my decision I have deliberately (ye sure) swapped my former svelte stomach for a Jaba the Hut style beer belly which I now have to loose, so it will be at least 18 months before I can fit into a race car without snapping it never mind making the minimum weight limit.

I appreciate the comments above regarding buying a completed car so I can learn what a race car should feel like and from the build it yourself point of view the Locost would be the simpler route as the chassis design work has been done but I still can't shake the feeling that saying "sod it all" and going for the design, build and development route will be the most rewarding. I know the car will probably be rubbish but at least it'll be "my" rubbish race car which is still a million times better than where I am now, sitting on the grass watching you all go racing.

I should have at least 5 hours per weekday and the whole weekends free for the project so spare time shouldn't be an issue and due to the overall build time money should be to much of a problem assuming I start "basic" and replace with more exotic parts when my understanding of them develops over the years.

As always comments and recommendations are always welcome. I'll be coming to Mallory Park later this month to have a closer look at your cars and pinch your ideas :)

Rich
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Re: Where do I begin?

Postby Martin Kemp » Mon May 07, 2018 10:44 pm

With your background it would be a shame not to build your our car.

Don't worry about your age. I started racing when I was 47 and I started this, my 22nd season, with a second row grid position so you still have plenty of time to go racing, but you can expect to spend a couple of years building the car and the first season getting it to work. Bodywork is usually the biggest part of the job so you need to have a clear idea how you are going to tackle that at an early stage.

Getting to know people at Mallory is a good start. There is a lot of variety in the design of 750 formula cars and every configuration has won races so there is plenty of scope. Stiff chassis, favourable weight distribution, good suspension geometry, and efficient aerodynamics are the characteristics you need to build into the car at the design stage to make it fast. You will also want to make it easy to work on and repair.

There are a lot fairly standard design solutions used in the formula that can save you some work on the detail design and it is worth discussing these with the drivers. However we have 2 races on the day so some guys may be to busy to talk for long - so if there are a lot of tools and bits of car spread about it might be best to talk to someone who looks more relaxed.

Martin

Martin
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Re: Where do I begin?

Postby pbove » Tue May 08, 2018 8:49 am

What Martin didn't mention was that buying a kit and building from there is another possibility (I guess not that different from the Locost approach). Martin has both transverse and north/south options available and the Falcon kits are remarkably competitive, as Mark Glover showed at Brands Hatch. Dan Welsh has developed his further by modifying the rear suspension, so the kits give you a good starting point and the ability to get on track relatively quickly and very cost effectively.
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