The first two NMA students joining us for work experience were Lewis Taylor and Zach Lynskey.  We decided to split their efforts across the Honda S2000 and S1 Lotus Elise.

Lewis would be working with us both the Saturday and Sunday, and being an experienced heavy transport mechanic we felt his skills would be ideal to help with a full engine / gearbox swap and clutch change on the S1 Lotus.

Zach was to be around for the just the Sunday, and so he’d be busy fabricating the front air box and splitter for the S2000.

The reassuring aspect about a full engine and gearbox change is that it also gives us the opportunity to check for wear and fatigue, replace consumable items like clips and fasteners and generally give everything a clean and tidy.

Once we’d got some less critical tasks like bodywork and undertray / diffuser removal out of the way, Lewis pressed on removing the rear dampers, upper suspension wishbones and driveshafts (whilst we carried out more proprietary tasks like detaching the throttle and gear linkages and unbolting the engine mounts).

The first surprise of the strip-down was announced by Lewis asking “...I assume this isn’t supposed to be like this?” as he unbolted the clutch slave cylinder from the brace below which spreads the load across the mount point to gearbox bell housing.  Students take note and have a think about what you may have learned about stress raiser points in your first year!

A key area for inspection in the engine bay of any race car is fluid hoses.  The photo below shows where a coolant hose runs very close the starter motor housing.  The protective arrangement being a section of tough rubber fuel hose placed over the coolant hose and held in place by heat shrink where abrasion is likely to occur.

Whilst it may look bad, closer inspection reveals that the rubber hose is untouched, and all that has happened is a split forming in the heat shrink section under tension.  Nonetheless this (and no doubt several other hoses) will require redress before racing again.

Across the other side of the workshop Zach was busy with large sheets of engineering-grade Polypropylene (PPC) and a jigsaw fabricating the parts which would form the airbox and front splitter.

The original airbox (below) was full of rusty spirenuts, undesirable holes for components which were now removed and generally not fit for purpose.  We needed something much more robust which would also work in conjunction with the quick-release front bumper.

The redesigned arrangement would be a much more solid and airtight arrangement of two ppc end cheeks fabricated and bolted to the chassis rails by Zach. The leading edges of which are profiled to the front bumper shape, and when combined with the front splitter form an encompassing airbox maximising flow through the radiator and oil coolers.


Lewis and Zach cutting out the front splitter:

Front bumper (above) now fitted with the PPC front splitter. This is a first basic version which is conformed to the underside of the bumper.  There will be an extended version made with a 3" lip to use where series regulations allow for greater aerodynamic development. The splitter also forms the base of the new airbox arrangement.

Until next time...

Andy Napier - NMA Student & owner Napier Racing.