2 Wheel Drive Rallying Gets a Boost!

MK2 Ford Escort Rally Car

 

There is a problem in British rallying according to a number of people. Smaller teams are dropping out, events are getting less money and the issue seems to be caused by the treatment of 2WD cars, new and classic. However, the answer is here and everything is looking rosy!

The Problem

As it stands the 4WD cars race along side 2WD cars which also happen to include the classic as most of them don’t have fancy 4WD systems. This leads to a seeding issue where the 2WD cars, being slower for obvious reasons, get seeded at the back of the pack and have to race on poor quality surfaces. This in itself then causes more problems because not only are they feeling rather sidelined and having to deal with gravel that has been well and truly thrashed by the big boys but they are also risking damage. As the track surface deteriorates so it becomes more likely to break something on what tend to be more fragile cars. Small 2WD entries to rallies are often not a robust as the bigger teams’ cars and the classic car entries are certainly more at risk of damage and the resulting costs can be huge.

This issue has lead to a lot of smaller teams pulling out and this then effects the events themselves. The major players have huge budgets and money is really no object but the younger new comers and classic teams are struggling to afford to keep going and are also perhaps a little tired of running at the back end of events all the time. This is bad for the sport and bad for the fans!

The Solution

The plan is to launch  a 2WD rally which is split into a standard 2WD class and a separate classic class. These new events will run on the same days as the 4WD class but as a different race totally. The entry fees will be the same as will everything else so there is no second class treatment which should help support the smaller and classic teams. The upshot of this in terms of the track is that the 2WD teams will get to race at the front on much better track and let the 4WD teams handle whats left because it won’t effect them at all.

The Red Kite Stages, Mid Wales Stages and Rally North Wales are all planning on using this format next year; interestingly the Pirelli International Rally has actually already put something very similar into play!

If this plan works we should see more teams returning to British Gravel Rallying and that can only be a good thing. There could be a lot of 1.4 litre cheap and cheerful cars where young people can get a chance to enter the sport but also we might just see some more of the mighty Mk2 Ford Escorts and other classics!

Here at FEV we love rallying and are very proud to work with the Skoda WRC team in supplying them with their fire suppression systems. If you are thinking about getting into rallying, or maybe you have a 2WD car you are going to get back up to racing spec after a break then get in touch today. Our friendly team can help with anything from servicing your existing unit to choosing the right fire extinguisher for your racing needs.

 

Ferrari Sheild

Ferrari Badge

As everyone knows, well everyone who likes motorsport, the F1 world has been wrangling with itself on how to offer more head protection for the drivers. After the tragic death of Jules Bianchi the call for something more substantial has been bubbling away. Now Ferrari have tested a new option for this upgraded protection being called the shield.

No Need?!

There are some people out there that think this level of protection is not needed, they perhaps like the idea of racing being dangerous. They also probably look back at the “old days” of F1 and think it was all perfect. Sadly, that is not the case and a lot of people lost theirs lives. There is no doubt we all enjoy an element of risk in many things and it should not disappear completely but most normal people agree that deaths are simply not acceptable and a great deal should be done to make sure we do not see them in the future. The idea of safety is not a new one and the myriad of modifications that have happened since the dawn of motorracing go to prove that. This is just one more step along the same road.

Le Mans?

Taking everything said above into account there is also no way of escaping the fact that F1 is open top racing and the shield is one big step towards that no longer being the case. One social media comment caught our eye when the person mentioned it looked like the Ferrari car was about to enter Le Mans. This was a joke, of course, but the way it swoops back from quite far down the nose does make it only a small leap from a shield to a full cover.

Lewis Hamilton and the FIA

The sports governing body have made it clear the shield is their preferred option for additional driver protection compared to the “canopy” and the “halo”. However, multi world champ Lewis Hamilton does not feel quite the same! He was quoted as saying it’s the “worst looking modification” in the sport’s history. That is certainly a strong statement. We would love to post a picture up to show you but sadly the few people that took a snap during testing are rather keen on keeping ownership of their images. However, here is a link to a news story in case anyone had not seen it yet – The Shield 

The Future

It remains to be seen if this latest solution to a very talked about problem will be seen on track in 2018 but it’s worth remembering its easy to talk about it when we are not driving at over 200 mph so maybe the drivers should be the ones to comment. As a company that plays a big part in F1 fire safety we are always supportive of ways to keep the drivers safe as well as embracing the spirit of the sport.

If you would like any info about fire safety in motorsport and how FEV can help you chose the right suppression system for you then get in touch today.

Barn Finds and eBay Treasures

Barn find car wreckThe term “barn find” has certainly become quite a big one in car circles these days. This is, in no small part, down to the way people now share images online. 30 years ago a rare car would be found in a lock up and it would go straight to auction and then a collector. These days, while the process is still the same, the images end up all over the internet and this undoubtly plays into the auctioneers hands as the public interest is sparked. As well as the auction house route there is also the mighty eBay as a location for these gems and on a rare quiet moment we we often have a little look around to see what rare classics have popped up.

Bonkers MK1 Cortina – Click Here

OK so this is perhaps not one we would call a gem but the underlying car is certainly a classic. The MK1 Cortina was always the coolest version of this long running family car. This one, however, have been modified to a certain extent. It is labelled as an 80s survivor but it seems more like something from the original Batman series in the 60s. The fins at the back are horrific and the extra lights are not just for show! The wheels are almost acceptable but really this car’s piece de resistance is the exhaust system; it really is quite special.

AMC Gremlin – Click Here

According to some reports this car was one of the worst American cars of all time. By all accounts the Gremlin was hastily created to beat Ford and GM in the race to release a sub-compact car. The designer basically chopped the back end off of an AMC Hornet and that left this car looking odd to say the least. Apprently it was faster than its competitors which was something but the handling and suspension were so awful we are not sure you would want it to go much faster than standing still. This car doesnt have an engine or running gear so it is certainly not one you can drive away. The advert suggests it could make a great drag car; and why not? Maybe tearing down a 1/4 of mile strip with a V8 shoe horned in might make it a bit better than it was originally…you never know.

RX-7 – Click Here

This one really does qualify as a “find”. The RX-7 is fast becoming a true classic. It might not have the style and heritage of some of the British classic cars but it’s rotary engine and rear wheel drive arrangment makes it a very interesting car. These are being used for drifting a great deal but many people are just getting them up to concourse condition with perhaps some mild modifications to the engine. If the mileage is correct at 33,000 then this car makes the perfect project and could turn a solid profit.

 

Whatever your tastes in cars we are able to offer advice and guidance on the right fire suppression systems for you. We do a lot of work with classic and historic car owners from racing set ups to subtle fire extingsuishers for that extra level of safety. For more information get in touch today.

 

Billy Monger – Crash and Fundraising

The whole British Motorsport world is thinking about Billy Monger this weekend after his terrible crash at Donnington last Sunday. Alongside the terrible concern about Billy and his future we have been so proud of the motorsport world and how it has reacted to support the family.

The Crash

The crash itself has been well covered via many YouTube videos and the ITV footage. It seems as though Billy has the back of  an almost stationary Patrik Pasma with devastating effects. The impact was nothing short of huge and despite the awful injuries suffered by Billy it was great to see the main safety structures around his head and torso did their job. Anytime a driver suffers that kind of crash the risk of more serious injuries or death are very real as we have seen all too recently.

Injuries

After around 100 minutes in the car Billy was carefully removed from the wreckage after Pasma had already been taken to the medical centre. He was flown to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham where sadly he lost both of his lower legs. Every effort was made by the medical team but neither limb could be saved. There is no further news on Pasma but by all accounts he is in considerably better shape. According to Monger’s family he is doing as well as can be expected, he has been able to communicate and has had the breathing tubes removed.

Support

The support shown by the motorsport world has been amazing. Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton have both been showing their support on social media and financially. With the help of everyone in the community the fundraising page created has already raised a staggering £653,214. This money will be turned into a trust which will help Billy move towards regaining an active and happy life. Many people are suggesting he will still play a strong role in racing. Nicolas Hamilton, who races despite suffering from cerebral palsy, is very keen to speak with Billy and help him on his journey back into racing.

We would like to encourage all of our customers to donate if they can to help this talented young man rebuild his life just as he is becoming an adult. These injuries would be devastating to anyone but at 17 years old there is no doubt they will be a huge challenge.

The team at FEV want to wish both Billy and his family all the best and we are looking forward to hearing about Billy’s recovery.

 

So Many Different Ways to Race

Drifting

Sometimes the racing world can be guilty of focusing on the top level of motorsport like F1, LMP and BTCC. While doing this many people then seem to forget that there is so much more going on in motor racing than just the big races. There is so much going, in fact, we thought we would take some time to highlight some of the main types of racing people do in the UK.

Types Of MotorSport

There are 11 main types of motorsport in the UK according to the MSA website.

  • Autocross
  • Autotest
  • Circuit Racing
  • Cross Country
  • Drag Racing
  • Hill Climb
  • Karting
  • Rallycross
  • Rallying
  • Spring
  • Trails

Even just taking a minute to look at this list and then think about how many different classes and events go on in each type is mind boggling. For many people motor racing simply involves circuit racing, they are not even thinking about the other 10 types of racing. This is a shame as there are 1000s of people entering, enjoying and winning all the time across this wide range to types.

Open to Everyone

There are a number of more entry level types of motorsport that are just perfect for people to get involved in without perhaps investing the huge sums of money often associated with motorsport. Hill Climbs and Autotest are both examples of this kind of racing. Of course you can get very involved and spend a great deal to be the best and compete for national titles. However, there is also a huge amount of fun to be had by just joining a club, getting a basic car set up and taking part. Autotest for example can cost as little as £700-£1000 per year to enter and you do not even need a special car. Sprint is another type of racing that can involve a near standard car but, as with most types of racing can also involve some very specialised and expensive vehicles.

Where It All Began

There is no doubt Karting is the place where legends are created. Most F1 drivers have spent time in karts and, in fact, a huge number of successful drivers in other classes have done the same. Karting can be perfect as a cheap form of motorsport with the rise of the “arrive and drive” style kart tracks. However, to start racing in your own kart things do get a little more expensive and can very easily get pretty serious. It may seem like child’s play to those who are not in the know but never under estimate how serious karting is!

Dirt

If you like living on the edge and you don’t mind getting a bit muddy then rallying is the way forward. This is certainly not a low profile motorsport but there is a lot going on that doesn’t make it onto TV. You do need a car that meet regulations and this would include a fire extinguisher and you also need to pass the BARS exam but it is far from a closed sport reserved for only the best. Rallycross is fast becoming the hottest thing in racing and this is partly due to the accessibility but also due to how much fun it is! Using both dirt and tarmac makes for a whole lot of action for spectators and drivers alike.

The Bold and The Brave

OK let’s face it, drag racing is not for the faint hearted and the costs and technology involved in top level racing is extreme to say the least. However, there is a whole host of events where people can attempt the famous standing quarter mile in road cars or that are only lightly modified. So called “run what you brung” events at places like Santa Pod can make it very easy to get involved. That being said, once the bug bites people do tend to start spending more and more chasing the elusive personal records. The move up to full drag racing is a big step and take more than money, it takes a whole lot of guts too but thankfully people go for it otherwise we would not get to watch these insane cars doing their thing.

The above list is really just a taste of the wide and varied world of motorsport. It is open to everyone and at the same time closed to all but the best and those with the biggest pockets and it is this mix that makes it so much fun. We provide fire extinguishers systems for all types of motorsport from simple handheld units for track day and autotest cars to fully fledged rally systems for top level teams and even F1 teams. There is one level throughout all the levels of motorsport and that is safety, no matter what people are doing if it involves racing then it has to involve safety and it has to involve proper fire suppression systems.  Get in touch today if you would like to find out more about how FEV can help make sure you have the right system in place for your type of racing.

 

2017 F1 Cars

McLaren M7C

 

Well, it’s nearly time to kick of the 2017 F1 season and as always at this time of year the motorsport world is awash with discussions about the new season’s cars. Wider tyres, shark fins and more….but what does it all mean for the sport?

The New Age

No new car changes will ever be as major as the move to hybrid engines. Many still mourn the loss of the howling engines of a few years ago; the FEV team included. However the 2017 cars do look quite different and there are some interesting new ideas being implemented. One of the major things we are not going to be seeing is the “halo” safety system as it was first shown. It seems it was just too much in terms of a change so it will be interesting to see the discussion starts again as we look ahead to 2018.

Wider Tyres

OK so it’s not exactly the giant rear tyres of the 70s but the new larger rear tyres do look good. They are apparently to help the cars cope with extra down force and higher speeds. There are claims that we will be seeing 3 second drops in lap times compared to 2016 so there are some big aims if nothing else. The new wider rubber does look substantial when seen in the workshop and off the cars but even on the car the whole stance is more aggressive and generally wider.

Shark Fin

As more of the cars are unveiled we are seeing different levels of use when it comes to the shark fin design. The aero bodywork behind the top air intake seems to vary a lot. Mercedes have chosen to move away from what other cars seem to have embraced so it remains to be seen how this will affect results and if they move to join the crowd. The “fin” look is certainly a hit with the fans and continues to build the aggressive and sleek look of the new cars.

Wing Mirrors and everything else

It is certainly the case with the Mercedes car that the wing mirrors are a location where a lot of change is happening. They are much bigger than 2016 and seem to contain more cameras; it is thought these are to allow more detailed monitoring of tyre temperature. It looks as though the rear wings are a lot lower this year but with more complex aero designs around them. Also the front splitters seem to have got even more complicated than 2016.

Orange?

There is no doubt the new cars look great, not one that we have seen so far looks bad and that is great news because a couple of years back things were not so easy on the eye. However it is fair to say McLaren have stolen the show with a bold move to black and orange livery. It is a throw back to many years ago but we cant help but think they went too far back and missed the great 90s livery we all loved so much. We all hope 2017 is a turning point for the team.

Get in touch if you would like more information about our racing spec fire extinguisher systems. We have been building systems for all types of racing and road car for 30 years and are happy to offer advice on the right system for any car.

Going Up Against Hamilton?

As the excitement for the new F1 season really starts to boil up it was really interesting to hear Lewis Hamilton’s father making a few comments about not only his son’s career but what might result from challenging him.

Bottas

Valtteri Bottas

Even those people who only carry a mild interest in the world of F1 were aware of Rosberg’s shock departure and the ensuing gossip around his replacement. They are also likely to know the a certain Mr Bottas got, the now famous, second seat at Mercedes for the 2017 season. There are rumours the contract is only for a year but nonetheless Bottas now has a serious shot at really making his already good name into something special. Mercedes clearly have their engineering well sorted and everyone assumes 2017 will be yet another year of domination. This means any driver worth their salt would want to have a crack at the title in Bottas’s position. As a Fin, Bottas certainly carries that air of cool about him when it comes to racing, even when he had a couple of run ins with his fellow countryman Kimi Raikkonen but will it be enough to cope with a title fight. 

Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

There is no doubt at all that Lewis Hamilton is a great driver; one of the greatest, in fact. However, he is not without his critics in terms of his attitude and apparent separation from much of the social and sportsmanship aspects of racing. His father is certainly a big driving force behind him and has been since a very young age; no doubt many of Lewis’s career moves have been done after some serious consultation with his dad. Winning three world championships is clearly not enough for Lewis, though, and he will be pushing hard to make sure 2017 sees him take a fourth.

Bottas vs Hamilton

Whoever took the second Mercedes seat was going to be put under immense pressure from the media but there are two ways the situation could be approached from a driver point of view. The first would be to simply accept that Hamilton is in charge, will win, and just use this chance to play it steady and come out looking solid and safe. The second is to go head to head with the 3 times world champ and take whatever consequences come!

It is this second option that Anthony Hamilton seems to have been warning against when he made some comments recently at a charity event. He essentially said that Lewis may be getting older but he is actually just entering his prime as a driver. The thought that Hamilton has so far not been at his best is quite a staggering one and it leaves us all thinking what he might be capable of. The next point Anthony made was perhaps a little less constructive; He suggested that anyone going up against Lewis could be making a potentially career ending move. It was not clear if he meant literally anyone racing against Lewis, and in that case the entire grid is at risk or if he meant a team mate. Delving deeper into that last point we are not sure if he meant simply being a team mate is potentially career ending or just being cock sure enough to try and beat Lewis was the potential problem.

We can only presume Anthony was not suggesting Hamilton would in some way purposely end a competitors career and just that Lewis is simply so good that attempting to beat him would end in disaster. Whatever the situation the general feeling is that Bottas may seem calm but is very unlikely to be ready to play second fiddle to anyone and that means a very exciting 2017 season at the front yet again!

From the point of view of the team here at FEV we work with a large number of the teams on the F1 grid and, as with many F1 fans, we love to see great racing. The winner is certainly important but it is the excitement and love of the sport we enjoy so we will certainly be wishing both drivers the best of luck this year!

If you would like any information on our fire suppression systems then please get in touch. We make car fire extinguishers for a huge range of vehicles across a huge range of racing classes and types.

FEV at the Autosport Show

FEv stand at autosport show

Due to the fact we are always somewhat swamped with orders the team at FEV do not “get out much” so the Autosport Show is one of the big highlights of the year. However this year may well have been one of the best yet for a number of reasons.

Stand out!

The first really exciting part about this years’ stand was the fact it looked so good! It may be terrible for us to say that but seeing as we didnt strictly design it we think its OK. The look and layout of it was designed by Tom Packer who did a fantasic job as many people seemed to agree. It meant we could show off a huge range of our various fire suppresion systems including our new FIA Approved 8865 system.

FEv products at autosport show

Visitors

There is not much point in having a stand at Autpsport if you don’t get anyone coming over to speak to you. Thankfully, we didnt have to worry and had some great discussions with customers old and new as well as a number of people finding us for the first time. It was particulary good to speak to Mike Brewer and Ed China from Wheeler Dealers who were looking into fitting a system to an upcoming build. Of course, this would not be the first time an FEV system will appear on the show as the guys used one of our extinguishers in a previous build too.

FEV extinguishers at autosport show

Porsche Seem to Approve!

We often see our systems in all sorts of cars and certainly get enquires about anything from a Hillman Imp to a Ferrari 458. But it was particulary pleasing to see that on the Porsche stand, 3 out of the 4 cars there had our systems in them and the one that did not was a purely road car. We have done a lot of work with Porsche and Porsche owners over the years but it is always nice to see our systems being shown off on our behalf.

FEV produts at autosport show

 

Skoda Rally Team

It wasnt just Porsche that were showing off our fire extinguishers either! The Wales Rally Stand had a rather stunning Skoda Fabia Rally car set up with our new 8865 system in it too! This amazing new system will be put through it’s paces this season and hopefully many more after that.

If you could not make it to the show but you would like to talk to us about your own motorsport fire suppression needs then get in touch today. We work with teams from a club level to F1 as well a private owners too.

Bottas, Mercedes, Felipe and Williams – it’s all going on in F1 this week.

Mercedes F1 Logo

After the tense season finale and Rosberg’s subsequent shock retirement the team at FEV were expecting things to go a bit quite in the world of F1. Not a chance! With constant talks of the open Mercedes seat and who will fill it as well as Hamilton’s future in the sport things seem to be hotting up not calming down.

Bottas

The rumour mill has been in overdrive of late with talk of Bottas wanting to move to Mercedes and the team certainly wanting him to do so too. However, Williams were not so keen by all accounts and the general feeling in the fan community was that Valtteri was likely to be somewhat frustrated by the situation. With Mercedes form over the last few years there is no doubt almost every driver on the grid would like a seat with them even if it meant going up against Hamilton.

Massa

Felipe Massa has been in F1 since 2003 and has certainly seen his fair share of on and off track challenges. So it was no real surprise when he announced his retirement a month or so ago. His Williams seat was then up for grabs until rookie Lance Stroll was brought in. With Massa leaving Williams really needed to keep Bottas to avoid having two new faces for the 2017 season.

Un-retired

The big news this week is that a provisional deal has been agreed to bring Massa back out of retirement to partner Stroll IF…and it is a fairly big “if”, Bottas goes to Mercedes. The Finn will now be free to make the move and most people think he will go ahead and do so. Massa will then be on hand to help steer Stroll around his first season and hopefully grab some points along the way.

Mercedes

It seems the endless debate about Merc’s empty seat may be coming to a close. After discussions about Alonso and even Button taking the spot it seems Hamilton will have a very skilled and very determined Bottas to deal with next year and we all know what a Finn can do in a fast car!! Bring on 2017!

 

You may not run an F1 team..but if you do want to find out more about our range of motorsport fire suppression systems then get in touch. We are very proud to supply a number of F1 teams with our systems as well as a huge range of other racing teams and driver from every level or driving.

 

A Few New Classic Cars

By LemmusOwn work, Public Domain, Link
Here at FEV we love working with classic car owners and supplying various fire suppression systems for either road or track use. The idea helping keep these great cars just a little bit safer is rewarding but we also just love the variation of cars we get to see and hear about. The classic car market is still buoyant and shows very few signs of slowing down but the types of cars that fall into this group is always changing and there are a fair few new kids on the block.

The 80s

Where it was once the preserve of 60s and 70s cars or older we are now seeing various 80s and even 90s cars in the classic car market. Some of these newer cars are still a bit “marmite” but they are all great in their own way and many will get better with time. The Ford Sierra, for example, is a car that seems to be increasing in value and one that many people still don’t look to fondly on. It was certainly a game changer after the last incarnation of the Cortina but for many it was simply not the car Ford had hoped it would be. It initially suffered issues with cross winds as well as claims the self correcting bumpers actually hid crash damage. Later versions were much better and sales did eventually start picking for a car that was dubbed the “salesman’s spaceship”.

These days prices for the rather brilliant Cosworth versions and even the XR4i’s are starting to go up with the former commanding £30,000 in some cases and even a 2.0 litre estate on over 100,000 miles will cost you over £2000!

Another 80s car that is now a classic is the Peugeot 205, although not in its normal form. The 208 GTi was certainly always a desirable car but prices are now looking at topping £20,000 in some cases and there are certainly only going to go one way. Even the less popular 309 GTi’s are making £10,000!

British Style

Most people in this country like at least one Jaguar, a lot of people like many different models but the XJS is not always at the top of the collective wish list. It was, like the Sierra, a bit of a design gamble and followed a very “futuristic” feel throughout. It also suffered somewhat in terms of timing as it was launched during the fuel crisis. That being said the V12 was a great engine and a rare one in all but the most expensive Italian supercars at the time. After a number of years in production there were a lot of different variants and not all really make the classic list but prices for the good ones are moving upwards by all accounts. While the XJS may not quite make the legendary status of the mighty E Type it is a cool car and one that we would very happily work on or drive!

Regardless of whether or not your chosen classic is actually considered a classic by the motoring press and the like we would still welcome it with open arms. Our friendly team will be able to advise and help you choose the best fire suppression system to suit your needs. You may just want to know you have that extra bit of protection a handheld unit provides in case of a small electrical fire. You may, however, want something a little more substantial because you plan to do some events and track days. Whatever you are planning to do with your classic car the team at FEV are able to help make sure you are well prepared for the unlikely event of a fire.

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