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Author: Subject: Group C/ IMSA GTP/ Prototype style car
Dom9

posted on 16/1/08 at 01:26 PM Reply With Quote
Group C/ IMSA GTP/ Prototype style car

Hi guys,

Just wanted to introduce myself and my project, which is likely to take the next few years!

I have degrees in materials engineering and fluid/aero dynamics and have worked for Ferrari F1 and Lotus Motorsport previously but have been working in the oil and gas industry for the last 7 years.

I have always admired the Group C cars that used to race at Le Mans etc during the mid and late '80s and even the F1 engined prototype cars in the early 90's. I grew up in a Porsche 956 shaped and liveried bed with a painting of a Porsche 956 at Le Mans hanging over it... I think my parents must have been pre-conditioning me!

I have wanted to design and build me own Group C replica for as long as I can remember and the closest I have got was to scratch build a mid engined spaceframe chassis'd car when I was 19... Since leaving university I have mostly been travelling with work and so have never had the home to get on with a project but now we are back, living in London and settled, I have resurrected the idea!

I have been following the bodywork design thread here:
http://www.locostbuilders.co.uk/viewthread.php?tid=43112

but I feel that it might be easier to start with a body in GRP and construct a chassis using those dimensions than start completely from scratch.

I was offered the full bodywork for a Group C Jaguar XJR, in GRP about 5 years ago by Don Miles, who used to race a Jaguar XJR-5, but sadly I had to buy a flat and then start travelling again with work. I will try and get in touch with him again to see if he still has it for sale, although I doubt it! Some of his racing can be seen here:

http://www.groupc-gtpracing.com/racereportsspamay03.htm

The only other body I have come across is from Derek Smith in Canada and is an exact replica of the Porsche 962:

http://members.shaw.ca/p962/p2.html

He has offered to sell me a complete body at what I believe to be a fairly reasonable price, although it would need to be shipped over here, which may be expensive. I can see myself bombarding him with emails over the next few years, so I hope he doesn't get bored of mine! His project has really impressed me and is very similar to what I would like to achieve although I will reduce the complexity.

I did see a full Group C-style body in a kit car magazine in the UK a few (8?) years ago. It was towards the start, in the news section and was priced at something like 600! I wish I had jumped at that, but couldn't at the time. Does anyone recall that article or know of anywhere that I might be able to get such a body?

It looks like a few people have had the same idea as me over the last few years:

http://www.gurneyflap.com/gtprototypes962.html

http://www.slackmotorsport.com/Porsche_962.php

http://forums.autosport.com/showthread.php?s=64f7668cbc0d2a038eb42094a13f0eb7&threadid=98865

So hopefully there will be a lot of info out there and plenty of helpful souls! I have more books about car, chassis and engine design than a library, so I hope I am in a good position to get things underway. I have also ordered kb58's Kimini book, which ought to provide useful when the time comes to do some more research.

The basic spec will be:

Body - GRP Group C replica (possibly Porsche 962)
Chassis - Steel tube frame
Suspension - Hopefully use Ultima parts
Brakes - Ultima again hopefully
Steering - Yes, Ultima again
Engine - N/A Quad cam V8... Maybe Lexus

You will see that I am going to see if I can adapt the Ultima stuff to fit a bespoke chassis as I think this will cut down on time, cost and testing since the cars should be a similar proportion and weight etc...

Though I really need to see an Ultima, without its bodywork close up and take some photos - Does anyone have one under construction in the South London area?

I could probably just use the Ultima kit as a whole but I get the impression that the necessary alterations to the main chassis would be so substantial that I might as well save some cost and maybe even time by designing it from scratch (my missus, Lou, is a CAD operator!)... But I am pretty sure that I could 'copy' the front and rear frames of the Ultima, to hold the engine, suspension etc.

I just wanted to name check Fran Hall from RCR here as he has been talking to me and giving me advice over email and his car is something quite similar:

http://www.superlitecars.com/

Any thoughts, help or suggestions are more than welcome!

Many thanks,

Dom

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russbost

posted on 16/1/08 at 01:36 PM Reply With Quote
Sounds a really interesting project.

A couple of things come to mind, would Ultima sell you wishbones, steering etc. without a car - many manufacturers are very protective about that sort of thing.

There was a complete Ultima kit for sale in Kitcar or Complete Kitcar, can't remember which for about 6k, if you bought that & could sell the shell on that wouldn't be bad money as that would give you everything needed to build the car, once you'd done with the chassis that could be sold on too - just a thought.

Good luck with it, do keep us informed of how it all goes.





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Dom9

posted on 16/1/08 at 01:41 PM Reply With Quote
I haven't asked although I don't see buying the suspension etc from Ultima beinga problem as they have a price list with the cost of spares etc although I may go to the factory one weekend and have a look round and a talk with them... The car obviously won;t be in competition with theirs!

I didn't think that that Ultima kit came with the body, I thought it was just the stage 1 chassis, although I think you might be right if a baragin like that came up again... May be worth using as a development tool!

thanks for the support!

Dom

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speedyxjs

posted on 16/1/08 at 02:14 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dom9
I was offered the full bodywork for a Group C Jaguar XJR, in GRP about 5 years ago by Don Miles, who used to race a Jaguar XJR-5


OMG
Sorry im a jag nut

[Edited on 16-1-08 by speedyxjs]





How long can i resist the temptation to drop a V8 in?

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Dom9

posted on 16/1/08 at 02:24 PM Reply With Quote
I thought of you the other day speedyxjs... After reading some of your Jag V12 engine threads I remembered that in the same lock-up that Don used for all his bodywork, he had vast amounts of spares incluidng Group C spec heads and blocks that had been completely unused! Think you might have drooled over them just a little!

I actually have an excellent technical book with loads of photos about the Jag XJR Group C cars, which you would like, but I can't remember the title off the top of my head but a quick Amazon search would throw something up I'm sure!

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beppesignori
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posted on 16/1/08 at 03:06 PM Reply With Quote
Go for the Lexus Engine instead of some stoneage american technology

I have toyed with the same idea, ever since I saw the bodyshell (or a replica) of one of the Le Mans winning Mazda's, hanging on the wall of a Dundee Mazda dealership.

http://www.fd3s.net/787B/index.html

Just wrap it in clingfilm and create a mold

I know when Dauer did their 962 road legal cars, they modified the design a little bit, reducing the drag from the original 0.5, to 0.31. I assume they just reconed that you dont need 1000 kg of downforce on a road going car..

There are so many stunning formula C and Le Mans Cars from that era, and to be honest, the don't look that hard to replicate in GRP.

This is the one I was concidering:

http://www.mulsannescorner.com/tomlumpy.html

Or with a little more work, the prettiest of them all IMHO:

http://www.mulsannescorner.com/RX-792P.html

That website has got a lot of pics and illustrations of many of the Group C and Le Mans cars as well.

Hope to hear and see a lot more of your project in the future.

[Edited on 16/1/08 by beppesignori]

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Dom9

posted on 16/1/08 at 04:05 PM Reply With Quote
Thanks Beppe

I'm a big fan of Mulsanne Mike's website and have it bookmarked on every computer I have had at home or at work for as long as I can remember!

There are lots of dimensions and technical detail there... Easily enough to design a body in CAD and then cut out the templates... But all of that would take months whereas buying a body would take one swipe of the credit card, so to speak.

It's interesting the point you make about the replica mazda hanging on the wall of that delearship. There must be hundreds of these things around the world, being used as promotional tools or just collecting dust in a garage... Probably not worth a lot to some but worth a lot to me! The Jaguar bodywork I was referring to was used as a promotional tool as well...

One assumes virtually every Group C car was replicated in GRP for this purpose at some point... these bodies or moulds must be somewhere!

I believe the 600 body I am referring to above was also a Toyota Tom's from the '80s... They banged out some cars!!

Out of interest, I had a job interview at the Bentley Le Mans team... they had some awesome stuff at their factory in Norfolk, the old Audi/ RTN factory I think!

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andygtt

posted on 16/1/08 at 04:33 PM Reply With Quote
If you need Ultima suspension parts let me know as having had a car I have plenty of contacts to get the bits. IME The factory are very unlikelly to sell you the parts if they know you are not intending to build their kit.

I havn't gone that route though as it is expensive for what it is and unless you are building an Ultimas its not really worth the cost....

As for bodies there is plenty of choice if you know the right people.... I do know a guy who does a car body similar to the porsche GT1 racer.... its not cheap though at around 7k, but that does include the glass etc.
Then of cause there is the option to get bodies similar to the Ultima and various other supercars.

sorry edited to add that unless the body you get is the same dimensions as the Ultima then you can't really use the suspension and steering.

[Edited on 16/1/08 by andygtt]

[Edited on 16/1/08 by andygtt]





Andy

please redefine your limits.

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Dom9

posted on 16/1/08 at 04:42 PM Reply With Quote
Hi Andy, I have read your threads on here and Pistonheads and I hide in the Ultima forum on PH quite regularly and have posted in there before...

I assume you are talking about Arash? I spoke with him a couple of weeks ago as that is the body that I really wanted for a road car but he said he won't produce any more of them, or if he does then they will be one-offs at extortionate cost 20k+ I think, without diving back into my emails!

7k is certainly in-budget so to speak, although I can't help but think I missed out on bargains with that body for sale in the magazine all those years ago and the Jaguar body. The Porsche 962 bodywork from Derek is certainly that order of cost too... But may not come with the 'glass' and if it does, it's only perspex, which would not be road legal. This isn't a priority but it would be nice to think it could be taken out on the road.

I think what you have done so far and what you are building is fantastic. I believe you used Porsche uprights and purpose built wishbones etc... For simplicity's sake, would you not recommend the Ultima stuff?

If you have any more specific leads about bodywork, feel free to get in touch via the board or on PH (also Dom9). Also, if you ever feel like putting on a garage tour, I would love to come and see your car.

Thanks,

Dom

Edited to add: I would check the suspension geometry and it may need a re-design but I would expect dimensions to be fairly close for width, but that would be the benefit of getting at an Ultima with a tape measure... Once I have got a body and know the dimensions! I could design and weld it all up myself but I am an impatient sod at times!

[Edited on 16/1/08 by Dom9]

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Rogue Se7ens

posted on 16/1/08 at 04:45 PM Reply With Quote
Dom, I see the biggest problem with you pursuing this project is, man it makes me want one. I have always fancied the group c cars. What do you have in mind for glass? This has always been something the held me from from focusing on this type of design.

[Edited on 16/1/08 by Rogue Se7ens]

[Edited on 16/1/08 by Rogue Se7ens]

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andygtt

posted on 16/1/08 at 04:55 PM Reply With Quote
Well you would be more than welcome to come around.... I also have a good mate reasonably local to me who I'm sure would let you see the chasis and take dimesnions.

As a guide I paid someone 3.5k on development of the geometry and help with the chasis design... and yet dispite that the rolling chasis still ended up costing me less than my Ultima chasis cost..... in fact it cost me less than my mates Aeons rolling chasis cost.

This is an idea close to my heart as it was my intention to use Ultima stuff, until I found I could do better for similar money.


more editing to add that the 3.5k did include bits like making the wishbones and some of the uprights etc.

[Edited on 16/1/08 by andygtt]





Andy

please redefine your limits.

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Fred W B

posted on 16/1/08 at 05:05 PM Reply With Quote
Wayha - middy section is waking up again with new projects starting.

I will follow you progress with interest Dom

I have quite a few ultima running gear / chassis pics I pinched from a very detailed build diary someone did a while ago, it was a red car. If you don't find it let me have your email and i will send them to you

Some on this thread

Cheers

Fred W B


[Edited on 16/1/08 by Fred W B]





You can do it quickly. You can do it cheap. You can do it right. Pick any two.

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posted on 16/1/08 at 05:09 PM Reply With Quote
As you can tell, the interest in cars from the Group C era, and cars from before Audi bought LeMans, is massive. I am sure if you commision the Missus to make the drawings, and you spend the time making a mould, you would have people cueing up to make use of it. Sure you would make the money back in no time.

You could then publish the drawings of the chassis on here, and in no time we would have a new forum called LeMans styled cars

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Dom9

posted on 16/1/08 at 05:20 PM Reply With Quote
Thanks for all the advice and support guys!

Andy, we will have to organise a visit when it is mutually convenient as, in many respects, you have done a very similar thing and it looks like you may have done a lot of the thinking/ research for me! 3.5k doesn't seem like bad money at all to be honest, especially if that included some fabrication work... Not to talk too much about money but taking a week off would 'cost' me almost 3k so I wouldn't mind paying someone to do a lot of the work for me if it means I don't have to take time off... Although I would still like to keep a large hand in the design!

Glass could be tricky Rogue as there is very little (none?) available in that style and I have read the other threads about glass with interest... It may have to be a perspex 962 windscreen and stay off the road, though that is not ideal!

Thanks for the info and kind words Fred, as you know I am an admirer of your work and it was mentioned over email the other day! I will let you know if I need those Ultima files!

Beppe... The CAD work would be fairly easy and I am sure I could afford to get a foam mould milled/ made by a yacht company (my step father has contacts) near Southampton and then get a female made, but I'm not sure I have the time or energy to do it as a business as what I do now is full time and fairly lucrative for me... Plus, my missus would go spare if I poured our house savings into a commercial project...

However, if I bought a body, I'm sure we could arrange something if there was enough interest or if I have to make my own, then maybe it wouldn't be too much hassle to sort other bodies out! I might require Fred's help though!

Thanks guys,

Dom

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Delinquent

posted on 16/1/08 at 05:23 PM Reply With Quote
With regards to the glass, there is a company in Australia that can produce E marked glass to your pattern for not much more than (or in some cases less than...) the cost of a screen in the UK - getting 3 or 4 made up and included on an existing shipment begins to look very attractive!

I'm looking for their contact details at the moment, but my file of contacts has somewhat spread from a single binder to the entire spare room!

[Edited on 16/1/08 by Delinquent]

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andygtt

posted on 16/1/08 at 05:26 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Delinquent
With regards to the glass, there is a company in Australia that can produce E marked glass to your pattern for not much more than (or in some cases less than...) the cost of a screen in the UK - getting 3 or 4 made up and included on an existing shipment begins to look very attractive!

I'm looking for their contact details at the moment, but my file of contacts has somewhat spread from a single binder to the entire spare room!

[Edited on 16/1/08 by Delinquent]


sounds promising, especially as I recently found that the toyota screen I am using is over 500 from autoglass





Andy

please redefine your limits.

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Delinquent

posted on 16/1/08 at 05:31 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by andygtt
sounds promising, especially as I recently found that the toyota screen I am using is over 500 from autoglass


Andy - don't whatever you do buy Toyota glass from autoglass!!!

They wanted something near 600 for the screen for mine - Toyota main dealer wanted 185 +vat. I phoned Autoglass back to check they didn't actually mean 64 - they laughed, I told them how much Toyota sell it for, was put on hold, on return the helpful sales chap said "in that case we'd like to offer you 40% discount"

erm ?! still put it at almost twice the price of Toyota...

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Dom9

posted on 17/1/08 at 09:45 AM Reply With Quote
The glass issue could be a big problem especially if I want to take the car on the road but how much really does it cost to get a one-off windscreen made? 1000's? I guess you would probably want at least 2 or 3 though, to make sure that you have spares if/ when one becomes chipped or broken!

How did Dauer (sp?) get their 962's road registered if they didn't have e-marked glass windscreens? Can you just leave the perspex windscreen out for the SVA and 'pretend' it does not use a windscreen?

Frankly, this is probably the least of my worries at this stage!

I got home to find kb58's Kimini book at home... have had a flick through so far but I haven't read anything in depth... Will probably start ploughing through it this weekend!

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Delinquent

posted on 17/1/08 at 11:22 AM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dom9
The glass issue could be a big problem especially if I want to take the car on the road but how much really does it cost to get a one-off windscreen made? 1000's? I guess you would probably want at least 2 or 3 though, to make sure that you have spares if/ when one becomes chipped or broken!

How did Dauer (sp?) get their 962's road registered if they didn't have e-marked glass windscreens? Can you just leave the perspex windscreen out for the SVA and 'pretend' it does not use a windscreen?

Frankly, this is probably the least of my worries at this stage!

I got home to find kb58's Kimini book at home... have had a flick through so far but I haven't read anything in depth... Will probably start ploughing through it this weekend!


surprisingly not. The prices I was quoted were in LOW hundreds - think it was around $400 Au. Shipping for 3 or 4 screens was around another $400 Au. They can take moulds you make and use, or can make them there (which was expensive - several $k Au )

Still trying to find the bloomin details for you of the company though!

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Dom9

posted on 17/1/08 at 03:21 PM Reply With Quote
Truth be told, I know absolutely nothing about making windscreen moulds, but assume it's not that far removed from making a mould from GRP?!

I have been talking more with Derek Smith, who can supply the P962 GRP body and have asked him for all-in cost for the body including perspex windscreen, light covers, shipping etc... Will post the results when I get it all figured out, but I think it's surprisingly good value.

I have also asked him for some dimensions, or better yet a plan view and side view of the car with dimensions so I can start working out my chassis... If I design the chassis around this body though, I pretty much have to use this body!

My reservation is that, although a chap in France has ordered a complete body from him, there isn't one in this country to go and have a look at etc - I really would be working blind and even though the cost looks bearable, it seems like a lot of money to spend on something you have never seen before. I am guesisng that the total price will come in at around 8k and I wouldn't buy a car off eBay for that without going to look at it.

I have no doubt about the quality of his product as the engineering on his website looks fantastic and he seems like a very smart and nice guy, it would just be nice to have something in this country I can go and look at with a camera and a tape measure before putting pen to paper... On a cheque (check for our friends in the US) that is!

Where are all these Group C promotional GRP bodies??? I am guesisng that Beaulieu will have some cars... In fact, I just found this picture of a Jaguar XJR on their webpage:



Perhaps I need to get up there with a pen and tape measure and get Lou to CAD one of those up... Then again, I did get offered one of those bodies a few years ago, perhaps I need to put more effort into tracking that down again!

Speaking of which, I have some photos of Don's lock-up from when I went for a look. If and when I dig them out I will post them up here.

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Puk

posted on 17/1/08 at 03:32 PM Reply With Quote
Dom9, with respect to your wariness about spending 8k on an unknown product, would it be possible to specify the key elements of the body so that the supplier is made aware of your acceptance criteria. A couple of easy ones to define would be weight of materials used, quality of surface finish, basic dimensions. Then it starts to get tricky. You could inspect other similar products from the same supplier or agree an "inspection schedule". If you have a background in petrochem engineering then I expect that you'll recognize the approach.

Cheers,
Puk





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Dom9

posted on 17/1/08 at 03:43 PM Reply With Quote
Puk, I am actually in no doubt that the body is exactly what I want. I am sure that the material he uses and the quality of the product are superb and probably way beyond 'necessary' fo rmy project as I know he supplies many parts to guys running 'real' 962's... That in itself speaks volumes.

It's more that I would like to see the body first hand, have a look at it from every angle, see how he has fitted it onto his chassis, get a feel for how it goes together etc I don't think my worry has anything to do with the fact that it's quality may not be up to much, it's more that I would worry about having a guy send it all the way here in 2 crates and I don't really want to have any reason to send it back...

Plus, since I still haven't put any effort into looking for anything on this side of the pond (recently) I should probably do that first before committing to buy something from so far away. However, there is always the option of taking a holiday in Canada later this year!

If I used my oil and gas project experience to do this... It would come in way over budget and extremely late

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Puk

posted on 17/1/08 at 03:52 PM Reply With Quote
I see your point.

Being allowed a bit of scope creep and so coming in over schedule and budget is half the fun of a hobby project!

As long as her in charge hasn't been given the role of project sponsor ;-)





Before you judge a guy, walk a mile in his shoes. Then when you judge him, you're a mile a way and you've nicked his shoes.

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Dom9

posted on 17/1/08 at 04:02 PM Reply With Quote
LOL!

You should have seen her face when I opened kb58's kimini book... She was not too impressed - "You're not building that are you?"...

No... She is yet to see what I am building, but I am my own project sponsor as long as I pay the bills etc at home! However, I am pretty sure that this project will never be allowed to obstruct our holiday fund... Or house moves etc etc!

Since we would like to buy another house towards the end of this year, I don't see this project getting far beyond the drawing board and information gathering stage before we have moved... Unless a deal on a body comes up that I can't turn down, in which case I will have to find somewhere to hide that...

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Puk

posted on 17/1/08 at 04:09 PM Reply With Quote
You should see my project, its now turned into my living and is what is funding my "hobby project"...

So if you need a pair of quality prescription glasses then pay us a visit prescription glasses





Before you judge a guy, walk a mile in his shoes. Then when you judge him, you're a mile a way and you've nicked his shoes.

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