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Vehicle Performance Check

When developing and setting up performance kits or diagnosing faults, we use the latest technology from Lotus & KTM alongside our own in-house developed data logging platform.  This combination allows us to capture engine performance data from a wide range of sensors in real time during dynamic testing on the road or track.  This extensive cache of data can then reveal the overall health of your engine and help to locate any potential issues.

If you are concerned about the performance of your car and would like us to carry out more in-depth diagnostics than you will find at any main dealer or general service garage contact us today for further information.

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Suspension Geometry – Winter Specials

If you drive your car fast on the road or attend track days then you will know just how important it is to keep your alignment in check.

Poor suspension alignment will not only affect your cars handling, but also your tyre wear and braking – ultimately leading to higher costs in the long run.  We recommend an annual check of the suspension geometry and an additional check if you have driven through a pot-hole or clipped a kerb.

We have the latest state-of-the-art camera-based 4-Wheel Alignment System that is capable of adjustments down to 1/60th of a degree which means we are able implement your chosen setup extremely accurately. We hold in stock all spacers, shims and adjustment components so you can be sure that your car will leave us with the best possible ride and handling setup.

Winter special pricing is now on our website – CLICK HERE for details

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Christmas & January Online Sale

It’s that time again!  Our annual winter specials and online sale is now on!  Discounts are on all product lines featured in the store and are only available to registered online users.  You must be logged in to claim your discount at the shopping cart.  The sale ends on January 31st 2012 so you’ll have plenty of time to browse over the holiday season.

Click here to login to your online account and take a look.

Merry Christmas!!

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Top Gear Live – Come and See Us

The Annual Top Gear Live show is this year is coming from the Birmingham NEC and the London Docklands Excel!! These two amazing venues are going to be host to what can best be described as a unique show and exhibition. On the Lotus-Designed indoor circuit, two KTM X-Bow’s will be piloted by the Stig and other drivers in a race against the clock, before parading in the main arena alongside Clarkson, Hammond and May. With multiple track sessions, there will be some X-Bow action to see every day.

Hangar 111 & ABG Motorsport have teamed up to attend the event, providing cars and technical support as well as presenting the brand new 300bhp X-Bow R in the prestigious exhibition area.

If you are considering coming along we recommend buying your tickets fast – they are selling out in unexpected volumes!!

We hope you can make it along!

BIRMINGHAM NEC – 11th – 13th November

LONDON DOCKLANDS EXCEL – 24th – 27th November

General Event Information here | Details of dates and times here | Tickets are here

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The Race at Spa – 2nd In Class!!

Given the opportunity to put our newly constructed Elise into a race at what has to be the most challenging of all circuits for a standard production-class car, I was initially reluctant!   With the Elise Trophy and Lotus Cup series’ well subscribed for this year and the fact that our race car build has been delayed by about 3 months due to a busy workload, when Rob Clarke and I had the conversation about the race it got me thinking….

The Backstory

The race at spa (race-at-spa.com) is the brainchild of Graham Walken – a TVR enthusiast and racer who had a dream to race his TVR at Spa with a group of like-minded individuals who are open to the idea of an ‘all-comers’ race.  The format of the race is a 1 hour challenge with a mandatory pit stop for refuelling and/or a driver change if required.

So, after an evening of Rover K-Series Supercharger twiddling (more soon!), Rob C travelled with friend Martin Phillips to Castle-Combe for a test day where they were running Martin’s Radical SR4 in practice for the race (Rob and Martin were sharing a drive).  I was collecting a KTM X-Bow from the circuit and stuck around for the day watching varying degrees of rain gradually easing.  In the café, more talk of the race ensued and this set my mind to putting in the extra time necessary to get our car completed and tag along.

Rewind to a several weeks before when we bumped into our good friends Colin and Jo Hoad (CAT) at a family chill-out day at Silverstone.  During the day Colin introduced us to a friend of his named Andrew Bentley.  Andrew is an instructor at the Silverstone Porsche Experience and has raced in many single-seater formats as well as Renaults and other Sports Prototypes – a very experienced driver and an all around top bloke.  Andrew sounded like the ideal candidate for piloting the Elise in our first outing.  The only possible issue was the fact that Andrew had not previously driven the circuit – let alone in a Lotus!  Several phone calls later it was clear that Andrew would be driver #1.

The Car

So we had a car, a driver, hotels booked and logistics arranged.  After a last-minute switch-around with the roll-cage, the car was finally setup and ready for some testing.  Our local airfield played its part several times, providing a perfect setting for some tyre and suspension testing and a general shake-down for the car.

The car (a standard 2005 Lotus Elise 111R) was stripped and rebuilt as a standard production-class chassis with our favoured flavour of JRZ One-Way Adjustable Race dampers with adjustable front ARB, uprated rear toe-link kit and brace bar and some braking improvements from Brembo.  The overall specification of the car was built to meet the Lotus Elise Trophy regulations for the production-class Toyota-engined cars, combined with a number of observations made in the paddock at various Elise Trophy meetings.  Something to confirm early next year.  At least now we knew that the regulations were open for this race and we would resolve any minor non-conformances later.

All that remained was to gather up the relevant tools and equipment for a weekend at the circuit and sort out insurance for the event (REIS – £353 for full cover).  This was arranged on the Thursday before the event so we were all set.  I forgot to mention that attempts to find another driver were unsuccessful, but Andrew was happy to run the
whole race and this was fine with us too.

The Team

Our driver Andrew had been at the circuit since Thursday to check things out and try to hook up with a few of our customers who were in attendance at the LOT track/test day in an effort to get some closer knowledge of the circuit.  This proved to be a highly valuable activity!

After an uneventful trip to Belgium via the tunnel, we reached Spa at about 1.30pm on Friday.  This gave us time to setup the paddock and get comfortable as Rob and Martin made their way over to meet us.

Andrew greeted us in the paddock mid-afternoon.  Thankfully he managed to get some time out as passenger in an Elise on the Thursday, so he had at least gained an idea of the circuit layout and specific areas where he would need to address quickly during qualifying.

The MSA scrutineer for the event met us in the paddock to check the cars over.  After such a long time building the car, this was a tense few moments but the car received a clear pass and a few of my questions regarding specific elements of the car were all  answered.

By about 6pm we were all ready for a restful evening at the hotel.

Saturday – Qualifying

Saturday’s weather was clear and sunny with early morning dew which lingered to around 9.30 in the shaded areas of the paddock.  This was duly noted – especially as our race started at 9.10am on Sunday.  A few final checks on the car were performed to make sure driver and setup were good to go – which they were. Qualifying at 11am so both cars rumbled from paddock to the track which was this time via Eau Rouge.

Rob and Martin had a driver change to do during qualifying – something we didn’t need to consider so after 20 mins to get the car hot and driver dialled in, Andrew brought the Elise into the pits for some tweaks.  Car was basically performing a little soft and tyres were a little hot, so a few adjustments later Andrew was out of the pits and making use of the last few mins on the track.

Rob Clarke & Martin Phillipson – Q1 in Class & Q1 Overall
Andrew Bentley – Q2 in Class & Q8 Overall

Andrew’s final report on the car post qualifying was that the final changes made in the pits were a big improvement to the car and that gave us some confidence that we would be well positioned for the race – especially with a Q2!  Our target times were those of the Elise Trophy production cars who were also entered into our race.  The Radical was always going to be fast, but in the right hands (e.g. Martin & Rob) it was incredible to watch – so much grip!

The rest of the day was spent analysing the vast amount of data we captured from the car’s datalogger and discussing tactics for the all-important pit stop during the race. With a 7am start and a 9am race the three drivers retired early while the rest of the team discussed the race.

The plans were set for managing the pit stops.  Basically we needed a pitwall spotter/timer, someone to put out the pit board and a Nomex-clad bod for carrying out the fuelling.  Refuelling required that the activity was covered by a member of the team holding a fire extinguisher as fuel was dispensed.  For further safety, an earthing strap (or 2 jump leads) was also required to connect the car roll bar to an earthing post on the pit garage wall.  This is all normal practice at an endurance-style event.

Sunday – Race Day

So an early start for us all and final checks over the cars before the we moved over to Eau Rouge once more for entry to the track at 9.10am.  It was to be a rolling start with a run around the track to the start line to get everyone lined up on the grid.  Torque checks were permitted on the grid so the wheels and panels were checked and final words with Andrew before the start. This was it!  The Radical sat looking purposeful with Martin at the helm in P1.

The atmosphere was superb.  Andrew was off to a good start with consistent lap times that suggested he was comfortable with the changes we made to the car towards the end of qualifying.

Lap 10: 27 minutes
By lap 10 we were 1st place in class and 5th overall, leading the rest of our class by 13.6 seconds.  A comfortable lead – we were pleased as you can imagine!  The car was working, the final changes proving themselves useful to Andrew who was putting in supremely consistent lap times.

We originally planned to run the Elise down to a fuel level which equated to around 40-45mins of driving.  This aligned nicely with the plans of Rob and Martin in the Radical who would swap drivers at 30mins so we could cover each others backs during the pit stops.

One of our fellow class racers in car #68 had left the track in a big way.  At this point the yellow flag came out along with the safety car and suddenly everything changed.  We had briefly discussed the chance of coming in under a yellow flag for the mandatory 3min 30sec pit stop, but weren’t completely prepared for the volume of cars that arrived at once!  As we were at the mid-way stage in the race most drivers chose to come in and with only 8 pit-garage lengths available for the pit stops (minus 2 for the drive-through penalty ‘blue’ box) things became a bit fraught!

Lap 10: 30mins (PIT STOP)
With the yellow still active, Andrew came into the pits at short notice. Our first problem was that I didn’t have all my required clothing on for the refuel!  I was still pulling on my balaclava when the car stopped! With power off and driver out Rob C dived in to connect our earth strap to the roll cage and refuelling commenced.  We managed to get about 18ltrs into the car in a sporadic fashion as the polerne pump was not working as it had in practice so this took a little longer than anticipated.

Lap 10: Appx 36mins (PIT STOP)
We were ready to send the car out when the engine wouldn’t start! The kill switch triggered and Andrew reset it, but the ignition wouldn’t turn the starter.  Concious there might be a penalty for a push-start I quickly asked Rob H to lift the engine cover so we could connect the battery to our spare and get things started.  However in a split second I reversed this decision as the battery pack wasn’t quickly accessible.  We pushed the car into life and Andrew left the pits with the race still under a yellow flag and the safety car was still out.   In summary – the pit stop was a little chaotic!  It was after all our first time as a team and under the surprise of the yellow flag, so we couldn’t be too disappointed to be honest!  Lots of lessons learned and notes taken for next time around.

Lap 14: 50mins
Still under the yellow flag, the safety car maintained the field until a red flag was finally displayed appx 10mins from the end of the race proper.  Had we done enough? Did we have a penalty for the push start?

The Results

Due to the yellow flags and the race being stopped early, there was some work to do by the timing guys to establish the final standings.  This took some agonising hours to complete.  By our rough estimates and memories of the timing screens on the pit wall we believed we could actually be in 1st place.  When the results came down to the paddock, we did in fact receive a 10 second penalty for the push start.

For comparison purposes I am concentrating on the Lotus entries in the race as my interest was in how competitive our car and driver were against the more experienced Lotus Cup and Elise Trophy teams.

Steve Quick took 1st place in class with a total time of 44:53.24s at the end of lap 12.  Andrew finished with a total time of 45:06.75 including the 10s penalty, leaving us with 2nd place in class (and 8th overall).

Some analysis of our car and driver alongside the Lotus Cup UK entrants revealed some interesting and pleasing data.  In general looking at the lap times of the other Production-class Lotus entries of the weekend, we were delivering lap times that would be very competitive within the production class.  This is obviously great news for our first time out.

CLICK HERE for full results tables for race-at-spa.com, Lotus Cup UK, Lotus Cup Europe and Dutch Supercars

Steve Quick was recently crowned the winner of the Lotus Cup UK Championship (Congratulations to Steve – fantastic achievement!!).  We met Steve and Ken Savage when they dropped by our paddock to say hello on the Friday afternoon prior to the weekends racing.

Epilogue

The driver of car #68 was taken to hospital with neck and back complaints but was released soon after with 3 broken ribs.  It must be noted that the circuit marshals and controls in both the pits and around the circuit were exceptionally efficient and highly effective when it counted most which was very much appreciated by all the teams.  Although our race was finished early, the knowledge that the driver of #68 was in good hands was very welcome news.

As you probably realise by now, we are more than a little proud of the result!!  Our first car build, first race, first time at Spa and first time for our driver.  We have prepared some highly advanced track and road cars over the years, combining durable horsepower with rewarding ride and handling.  To know that we are also capable of building a competitive race car using only a fraction of our knowledge and experience of the 111 platform is certainly gratifying!

2011 has been one of our busiest years yet here at Hangar 111 so this sort of thing doesn’t happen quickly without the help of some very significant friends and family.  Special thanks go to many of our suppliers who sponsored us generously and helped me to create a number of the bespoke parts we needed to make the car as good as it could be.  My thanks go to Marianne for putting up with all the late finishes and my plundering our stock!  Our Senior Tech Rob H for working hard to get the car setup and the very early starts (and wearing the ‘peep show’ camera during the race!).  To good friend Rob C for inspiration and assistance at many levels – and donating some knuckles to the efforts when installing the roll cage;  To Mike for painting and hours of sympathy; Steve Jones for our cameras and data logging over the race weekend; and to Andrew Bentley for helping us get the car working during a very short qualifying period and piloting it to prove we have ultimately constructed a competitive car first-time out!

The race car build and the prelude to our development and testing of the car will feature in a more detailed overview of the car which will appear in our Motorsport blog shortly.

STEVE’s IMAGES FROM THE WEEKEND |   TIMING SCREEN ON THE PITWALL |   PITWALL VIDEO

Greg @ Hangar 111

THE RACE AT SPA |   CLICK MOTORSPORT |   ANDREW BENTLEY

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Race Car Project Elise #001

During a busy 2011 we built our first race car from the ground upwards, putting into play all our experience and knowledge from suspension to braking, engine performance to driver exeperience and more. The production class nature of our ‘first born’ means that we have not yet applied our usual 300bhp+ setup to it’s Toyota 2ZZ engine, instead we have developed this car for out-and-out ride and handling.  After a successful first race at Spa, we are sure that next years activities will be worth reading about!

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