Mach 2 Racing Ford RS200 Evo Pikes Peak
Mach 2 Racing Ford RS200 Evo Pikes Peak
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WHO ARE MACH 2 RACING?
We are a British Motorsport promotions company formed in 1993, and after a successful period racing TVR Tuscans, decided to look at something international and just a little bit different. We commissioned the preparation of our car, a Ford RS 200 Evolution Ultra-lightweight, and in 2008 make a welcome return to the Unlimited class of Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. In conjunction with Geoff Page Racing and MDV Specialist Engineering, our existing race winning RS200E has been completely re-built for its latest challenge. Regrettably, our driver for many years, World Rally Champion, Stig Blomqvist, is not available this year however we have again been fortunate enough to attract RallyCross Champion, Mark Rennison as our driver.
WHAT IS A FORD RS200?
Background: The Group B Era
In 2009 the Ford RS200 celebrates its 25th anniversary. The first car was built in 1984 and was Ford of Europe’s response to the Group B regulations for the WRC (World Rally Championship) that the FIA announced in 1982. These regulations only required the manufacturer to produce 200 vehicles, in lieu of the 5,000 units/year required previously, and this encouraged much greater freedom in the design and engineering. Weight was kept as low as possible, high-tech materials were permitted, and there were no restrictions on turbo boost, which turned out to mean almost unlimited power.
The overall result was a new breed of super rally cars that were all designed specifically for the mixed surfaces found in WRC and they were the quickest, most powerful and sophisticated rally cars ever built. Group B was initially a very successful concept, with many manufacturers joining the premier World Rally Championship, and there was a significant increased in spectator numbers and media interest.
However, a series of major accidents, some fatal, were blamed directly on the outright speed of these new Group B rally cars. After the death of the Lancia driver Henri Toivonen and his co-pilot in the 1986 Tour de Corse, the FIA cancelled the class after only four years. The short-lived Group B era has acquired legendary status among rally fans.
The Ford RS200
The Ford RS200 featured a plastic/fiberglass composite body designed by Ghia, a mid-mounted engine and four-wheel drive. Power came from a 1.8 litre, single turbocharged Ford/Cosworth "BDT" engine producing 250 horsepower (190 kW) in road going trim and 450 horsepower (340 kW) in racing trim.
In order to aid weight distribution, designers mounted the transmission towards the front of the car, but this required that power from the mid mounted engine go first up to the front wheels and then be run back again to the rear, creating a complex drive train setup. The chassis was designed by former Formula One designer Tony Southgate, and Ford's John Wheeler, a former F1 engineer, led the development. A double wishbone suspension setup with twin dampers on all four wheels aided handling and helped give the car what was generally regarded as being the best balanced chassis of any of the Group B cars.
The FIA announced the cancellation of Group B in mid 1986. For 1987, Ford had already planned to introduce an ‘Evolution’ variant of the RS200, featuring a development of the BDT engine (called BDT-E) with displacement increased to 2137 cc and a potential power output up to about 650 horsepower. Upgraded brakes and suspension components were part of the package as well. The ban on Group B racing effectively took away any priority on the E2 model development. However, more than one dozen of them were successfully run in rallycross throughout Europe.
Mark Rennison, Mach 2 Racing’s Pikes Peak team driver for 2009, won the 1987 British Rallycross Championship title driving a Ford RS200. He won every one of the seven rounds of that championship - an achievement that has never been matched. He went on to win the championship title again the following year in the same car. Norwegian Martin Schanche claimed the 1991 European Rallycross title also driving a Ford RS200 E2.
The Mach 2 Racing RS200
Engine builder Geoff Page was involved with the BDT-E engines from the start in 1987 and has assembled the engines for almost all the competition RS200s ever built. There are only a handful of specialists in the world who can build these engines, and Geoff is the best of the best. He built the engine and serviced the Mach 2 Racing RS200 that was driven by Stig Blomqvist in the 2002 and 2004 Pikes Peak Hillclimb. From that experience he knew that to beat the elusive 10 minute barrier he would need to find more power and find a solution to the power loss at high altitude.
The 2009 engine has greater capacity at 2,400 cc, the Garrett prototype turbo delivers more boost with greater control at different altitudes and the LIFE ECU is better able to adjust the engine management settings to cope with variable air pressure. This combination with high octane racing fuel delivers 950 horsepower. Finally, 70 litres of Nitrous Oxide gas boosts the power output to 1,150 horsepower for the equivalent of three minutes.
MDV Specialist Engineering have considerable experience with RS200s and earlier this year they stripped the car down to the bare chassis. Their main task was to loose as much weight as safely possible. Using all their race and rally experience they managed to beat their target of 100 lbs. The 2009 car now weighs in at 2,315 lbs (1,050 kgs) ready to race, with a full fuel tank and with the driver on board.
The Mach 2 Racing team now believe that they have the fastest off-road racer of all time and they are all totally focused on beating the 10 minute barrier.
FORD RS200 - TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION
Geoff Page Racing 2,400cc Inline 4 cylinder Ford Cosworth BDTE racing engine.
Cylinder head: DOHC 16 valve.
Compression ratio: 8:1
Turbocharger: Prototype Garrett altitude compressor. Max boost pressure = 35 psi
Management: LIFE F88
Fuel: 116 octane race fuel
Max Power: 950 bhp (PS-DIN) @ 8,000 rpm
Max Torque: 750 lbs ft @ 5,500 rpm
Power booster: 70 litres of Nitrous Oxide gas gives a boost equivalent to 3 minutes at:
Max Power: 1,150 bhp (PS-DIN) @ 8,000 rpm
Max Torque: 850 lbs ft @ 5,500 rpm
Four-wheel-drive with 50:50 or 63:37 torque split (rear:front)
Gearbox: FFD 5-speed manual
Clutch: AP Racing twin plate paddle clutch with cerrametallic linings.
Gearbox ratios: 3.23 / 2.14 / 1.68 / 1.36 / 1.14:1
Transfer ratio: 1.15:1
Final drive: 4.375:1
Independent, double wishbones, single coil-over dampers, adjustable anti-roll bars front and rear. Rear adjustable toe control link.
Rack and pinion, hydraulic power assistance. 1.8 turns lock-to-lock.
13.0 ins (330 mm) diameter ventilated discs. AP Racing motorsport calipers.
Ford magnesium alloy, 8 x 17 in rims
Avon rallycross tyres. Choice of full slick or cut slick.
Dimensions and Weights
Length: 157.5 ins (4,000mm)
Width: 69.0 ins (1750mm)
Wheelbase: 99.6 ins (2,530mm)
Track (front/rear): 59.1/58.9 ins (1502/1497mm)
Weight: 2,315 pounds (1,050 Kg)