Locost: The Six Week Dash

It been a while since I last posted on OgilvieRacing. Life has been pretty hectic for the family since the end of February, and sadly there has not been a whole lot of time for toy cars. In fact the rest of this year is likely to be a quiet one, as I will be changing jobs and location.

I would like to do a track day at Castle Combe before the end of the year, and I will be sure to fill you in on that and the reliability upgrades I have planned for the Locost. However, I promised a run down of the build up to Snetterton, and that’s what your going to get.

Here are some of the many mini-projects that got completed in a time period I like to call: The Six Week Dash.

Rear Arches and Lighting

Having molded two rear light pods out of fibreglass (see here for details), I made cutting templates from the cad drawings and made the required holes in the rear arches. The pods’ were then clamped in place and fibreglassed from the back, which would then allow me to blend them in from the front.

Given that the rear lights were now positioned correctly I could run the loom from the centre console back to the lights. I 3D Printed a little switch panel which mounted to the tunnel and gave me quick access to my light controls without cluttering my vision while driving. It was very satisfying to have the brake lights come on when pressing the brake pedal and seeing the dashboard light-up when the side lights were on.

At this point, approximately a week and half into the ‘Dash, the rear arches were put aside. I had really hoped I would have the time to clean them up a little before Snetterton, and the process of adding epoxy-filler to blend in the light pods would make them far stronger and less likely to break.

I decided to dig deep in the final two weeks, staying up late and popping home in my lunch breaks to get these blended in and painted in primer. It was worth it because they ended up taking a hammering around the track.

 

Front Arch Brackets

Most trackdays do not allow “Open Wheelers”. This is to stop people bringing single seaters and full on race cars to what is mean’t to be a fun day out. Subsequently you must run some form of wheel arches on all four wheels; so getting the front arches mounted to the car was super-high-priority.

These turned out to be deceptively complicated components to create. I started by making brackets that mounted to the front upright caliper bolts and tie-rod bolt, to give somewhere to weld tubes too. This required a little artistic flair.

The left and right versions of these were made. I then positioned the arches on the wheels, with their own bracket-strips already attached and cut and shaped tubes to join the two together.

There was a lot that could go wrong , and positioning the arches laterally and radially on the wheels was difficult; nothing wanted to stay still! In hindsight I probably should have made some form of quick-wooden jig for this, but ultimately the final mounts turned out straight enough. I even think they look good. I cut away a lot of unneeded material and ended up using only two mounting points; the top caliper bolt and the tie-rod bolt.

These pictures still don’t do justice to just how much work these mounts took to make…

The Bane Of My Life Sump

I’m trying to remember how many times this sump went in and out of the car, but due to some form of post-traumatic stress (or my terrible memory) I can’t recall. It was at-least three times. I really struggled to get this to seal to the block correctly and after leaving it for a while and having a proper think, the problem was obvious.

I placed the sump on the relatively flat floor of the workshop and it was clear that it was bowed. If the front of the sump was going to seal, the rear wouldn’t, and vice versa. The rear flange was especially bad. At some point I must have welded it without bolting it down block (doh!).

So, as time was starting to get tight (week four of six) I decided I would do the correct thing and hammer the hell out of it until it was flat. I cut, ground, re-welded, added gussets, and did whatever was required to get this to keep its shape. In the end it was good enough for use with a cork gasket and hasn’t leaked since.

I’m very proud of this piece of kit and it performed well on track, however I think I will eventually install a dry sump for total peace of mind.

Data Logger

This has probably been one of the most enjoyable projects I have ever undertaken. I worked as an Analysis Engineer for two years and have really grown to appreciate data, sensors and processing; so to take that experience and apply it to the Locost was greatly enjoyable.

In my previous Snetterton post I referred to the data log for each of my runs on track. It gave me a another level of understanding of what the car was doing and how the engine was performing. As I add more sensors and systems to the car this is going to become invaluable.

The logger was probably not super high priority, but I snuck in an hour here and there throughout the ‘Dash to make sure I got this on the car; I just enjoyed building it so much. As you can see, this required some Micro-Controller Programming, 3D Printing and Electronic Design; pure engineering bliss.

Tyres

I made sure I got a new set of tyres for the Locost, as the Yokohama A539s were getting on a bit and were as hard as glass. Also having just blasted them with a ton of UV when welding the Front Arch Brackets they weren’t in a good way.

I ordered a set of Nankang NS2R’s and had them fitted by a local tyre shop. Again, this required lots of running around in lunch breaks and burning the candle at both ends.

Thermostat

Having only ever driven the car in short sprint-like events it had no real need for a thermostat. Now that it was going to be doing far higher speeds, for longer periods of time, it needed much better thermal management; so it was important to make sure one was installed.

I installed an in-line thermostat in the top hose leading to the radiator; which was probably the easiest job on this list. I like the look of it, however I will eventually weld it into the top rail to get rid of one of the flexi-hoses and clean up the installation. Oh, and I will match the clamps, blergh!

Rear Cover

With only two days to go until Snetterton, it was getting rather tight to get the car finished. My brother had arrived and was working on installing the passenger seat, which thankfully gave me the time and space to focus on cutting and installing the rear panel. This turned out to be no small job.

I had budgeted the Saturday to cut the three carbon panels to shape, bolt them in place and add the quarter turn fasteners to the centre. However the carbon fibre blank had tapered sides, so absolutely nothing lined up with the car. Once the two sides were done it took a substantial amount of measuring and fettling to get the centre section correct.

Also fitting this around the seat belts and fuel filler, in a neat and tight fashion, was time consuming. In the end it took me a day and a half, leaving us just enough time to load up the car and get some sleep.

 

Conclusion

I was fairly broken after doing all of the above, and I have appreciated a short break from the workshop. The Locost has come a long way in the last twelve months and I’m proud of what I have achieved so far. In-fact, almost exactly a year ago I rolled it out into the sun in full light-weight AutoSolo trim, to get the engine up to temperature and give it one last blip before pulling it apart.

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