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tvr Racing has a future again.at last!
This stunning racecar started life as a “tvr Tuscan Challenge” car, built for the one-make race series, which thrilled spectators home and abroad throughout the last 15 years.
The Tuscans were the fastest one- make series in the UK, utilising tvr'S own 450 bhp AJP race unit, providing the lightweight Tuscan's with top speed's up to 190mph and 0 to 100 mph in 6.9 secs. Sadly, by the end of 2004, after dwindling racing entries and a change of ownership at tvr (Owner and Tuscan race driver, Peter Wheeler sold tvr to young Russian businessman, Nikolai Smolemski) the Factory withdrew its support for the series They sold off their own works race cars and effectively brought the original “tvr Tuscan Challenge” to an end.
One of the main reasons for the demise of the series was thought by many, to be the ageing look of the Tuscan's (although in themselves, an brutal, iconic design). They bore no resemblance to sharp and sleek 2000 Tuscan Road car, or any of the current tvr Range. This meant that, dealers, new sponsors and race teams were difficult for the series to attract, having little in common with the “new” tvrs. There had been plans in the latter years, of re-vamping the series with fresh body designs from the road Tuscan, the T350 and later on, the newly introduced Sagaris (originally design for Track/Race in any case). The idea being, to link the new race cars visually to the products available in showrooms, by offering stripped out versions (less engines) which teams could build into race cars. In fact the factory went so far as to build a one off "race" Sagaris to promote this concept, even though in reality, the car was basically a (Speed Six powered) road car with stripes and sponsors racing decals. At about the same time, some of the loyal tvr racing community were toying with the idea of re-bodying their original Tuscan racecars, with up to the minute Sagaris shells.
What you see on these pages is that idea made real.
This is the second car built by Tim Hood (others are in build), a seasoned Tuscan Race Driver and owner of Mallory RaceTech, one third of the triumvirate that makes up the "T" in "GTF Motorsport" along with Terry Lee Mallory Race Tech's co owner and demon racecar builder. The "G" is Gavin Beech, an ex Design Engineer for tvr for many years, and latterly tvrs Chief Engineer. He is now Director of ProMaster Developments Ltd - more of which later. The "F" is Fred Tonge, fast bike and car Track Day enthusiast, budding race driver (competing in the last round of the “Challenge” at Oulton Park last year in this very car!), Land Developer and Mastermind behind GTF Motorsport. (Gavin-Tim-Fred, not too far from TreVoR or Al-John-Peter is it?) The concept was simple and one, which most people in the know have discussed at some point. Take an ex Tuscan Challenge car (many were redundant in '05 due to the factory withdrawal from racing), clothe it in a Stunning lightweight interpretation of a late tvr body shell, the Sagaris body is ideal - suitably re-designed to fit the well proven Tuscan chassis and V8 engine configuration- add down force from the rear wing/front splitter and add extra grip due to wider Dunlop Racing slicks and finally a strong bespoke roll cage from Roll Centre (themselves experienced tvr Racers).
The result is an awesome racecar, which combines the strength and phenomenal power to weight ratio of the original Race Tuscan, with more mechanical grip, more down force and the intimidating beauty of a Sagaris on Steroids. The car runs a challenge spec Borg Warner T5 Dog Gearbox and sits foursquare on specially cast Compomotive race wheels. Not only has the Tuscan chassis been proven on race tracks for many years, the GTF has- in the hands of Tim Hood who raced the first example all last year - been thoroughly tested in many race wins in the current Dunlop Tuscan Challenge.
With the closure of the race dept and the current upheavals at tvr it seems very unlikely that we will see a factory-produced racecar. Mr Smolemski himself stated that he would like to return to racing, but only in support of independent teams (see our news article “Mr tvr wants to go racing”). There were only around 60 Tuscan Challenge cars ever built, their rarity, and legendary status means that sourcing parts for the tvr AJP race engines and running gear is becoming more difficult, and the parts that are available are needed for the Tuscans still racing. So an entirely new car is required.
GTF Motorsport has been inspired to create a solution.
Later this year will see the unveiling of the first GTF 600R.
Utilising a new Tuscan inspired chassis, the 600R will be an evolution of the car shown here. The whole drive-train, engine, gearbox, differential have been modified specifically for the GTF 600R by ProMaster to ensure maximum power and reliability, with a secure and cost effective supply line for the future. Up front there will be a Chevrolet LS2, modified 6 litre V8, producing in excess of 500 Very Reliable BHP with torque curves to match. With an all up race weight of 900Kg, performance will surpass even that of the mighty Tuscan. A dry sump system is being fitted and engine power is being transmitted through a low inertia twin plate clutch, the standard Chevy flywheel is discarded in exchange for a much smaller lightweight component. This allows the LS2 to spin more quickly and its smaller diameter has allowed the engine to sit much lower in the car than would otherwise be possible improving cornering speeds with a lower centre of gravity. The 600R will be fitted with a Six Speed Sequential gearbox, designed for competition use and capable of transmitting 600Nm of torque. A prototype has already been fitted to Tim Hood's car, has endured a full season of racing - with zero failures. A second generation ‘box has been designed and is now production ready. This features its own internal oil pump, which allows oil to be circulated around a cooling system to keep oil temperature at an acceptable level. This is particularly useful for some of the endurance races for which the car has been designed to run. Finally, a bespoke Differential has been designed for the car, using the Ford 9" crown wheel and pinion, which are readily available allowing almost any ratio to be chosen. The casing has an internally driven oil pump; again for endurance racing and a viscous type of limited slip unit has been developed for the differential by Ricardo Transmissions. Tests with this unit has proved very successful, giving the car excellent turn in at high speed and allowing early application of power without the front end of the car pushing on.
Can you get one?
Not at the moment. The current Sagaris by GTF Motorsport and the first GTF 600R will be continuing their development, where it matters, on the Circuit in 2007. The cars can be seen racing in the “BRSCC Dunlop Tuscan Challenge” plus selected endurance races this season. So check out the calendar for an event near you and go along and see them in action. They look and sound superb…and really shift.
So you want one? Of course you do! So where can you get one? Well you can’t just walk into your local showroom and put your hand in your pocket! Obviously, a race/track car with the level of performance of the 600R gives no quarter to the novice driver. There are still no driver aids, and that is how it should be with a racecar. 500bhp, a world of torque, slick tyres and no TC or active controls. This is serious.
To test one of the cars, you must first pass drivers assessment to ensure that this is the right car for you. It is generally acknowledged, “Driver talent, unfortunately, doesn’t increase with the thickness of your wallet!”
Phase 1 will be an Assessment test in one of EasyTrack's track cars. Something easier, with only around 300 bhp!
Phase 2 would see the driver being assessed in a full on 500 bhp plus 600R.
So how much? Prices obviously can’t be finalised until the car is fully developed and production ready. The numbers mentioned to me so far are very encouraging and realistic. In fact, for this level of power and grip (not to mention charisma!) it should be very attractive indeed! Sufficed to say, that if you drive a Porsche or a Sagaris…you can probably afford one. Lucky you!
EasyTrack Cars will be handling enquires. Email firstname.lastname@example.org Ref: GTF 600R
The Red car BELOW (Fred Tonge’s red Sagaris bodied Tuscan Racer) will be at this years “Autosport International Show” on the Track and Race Cars (magazine) stand 8300, which can be found in Hall 8 at the back near the bar! So if anyone can make it come along and show your support for this terrific project. You never know, I might even buy you a pint!
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