With the front crossmember all modified and back from the powdercoaters, this month I could turn my attention back to the front-end suspension set up and tick off another huge step in getting this car race-ready.
The car was already running some rather fancy magnesium front uprights, along with adjustable TCAs and compression struts, but these all worked with the original road-spec front hubs which, you guessed it, weren’t what the RS500 Touring Cars used back in the day so are not allowed under the rules and regulations of historic racing.
However, finding 30-odd year alloy hubs, and all the supporting suspension components and rose-joints that haven’t taken a beating over the years and are still serviceable in a race car today takes some doing. Thankfully, though, there are companies out there who faithfully remanufacture alloy hubs (and all the supporting TCAs, compression struts, uprights, and damper inserts) to original Group A specs. So, we don’t have to worry about racing around on 30-year-old parts; these are all brand-new, but built to the same specs as the originals which means they pass scrutineering come race day.
To go with the new aluminium alloy hubs, I’ve also sourced new coilover-type uprights, new adjustable tubular TCAs (with the fittings for the Group A-style bladed anti-roll bars we need to run), new eccentric alloy top mounts, new race-spec coil springs (and assister springs too), and also brand new Bilstein inserts too. The ‘Billies’ are, once again, faithful reproductions of the original units used back in the late ’80s and early ‘90s, and as the genuine race cars didn’t have adjustable dampers, neither do we. Back then the only way to change the damping rates was to swap out the insert for a different one, so that’s the way we have to play it too. Thankfully, though, the tracks we’ll be racing on are all very similar these days; so I’m hoping not to have to swap the inserts for each meeting.
With that little lot all compiled on the workbench it was time to assemble the front suspension. I love working with nice new clean parts like this, as everything (hopefully!) just slots together as it should. It’s all very rewarding and satisfying.
With that now on the car I can start to look at other parts of the build I need to tackle. I will need to return under the front arches (and rears for that matter) a bit later when I fit all the new braking system, but next up I think I’m going to have a look at the fuel system. This all needs replacing with Group A stuff too so that’ll be my next job, but at least I feel like it’s starting to get there now.