What It Takes: Turning A Hatchback Into A Race Car

We’ve spoken a lot about building race cars here at Hackaday, but what does it actually look like to go out and do it? The boys from [Bad Obsession Motorsport] dived into that very question with their Bargain Racement series last year.

The CityCar Cup championship aims to keep entry costs low and racing competitive by racing cheap hatchbacks with a strict ruleset. Credit: Nankang Tyre CityCar Cup

The series follows the duo as they build a Citroen C1 into a competitive race car to take on the City Car Cup, an entry-level racing series focused on keeping the field competitive and the racing close.

Even at this level, there’s plenty to do to prep the car for competition. The rollcage needs to be installed, seats changed out for race-spec gear, and plenty of wiring to do as well. [Nik] and [Richard] have plenty of experience in the field of motorsport, and shine a great light on how to do the job, and do it right.

All in all, building the car cost £5995 pounds, starting from a used £850 Citroen C1. However, actually going racing costs more than that. Between race suits and boots, a helmet, club memberships and race entry fees, it cost a full £8273 to get to the first race. It’s steep, though much of those costs are upfront. Keep the car off the walls and year on year, you only need to keep paying for entry fees, memberships and consumables like fuel and tires.

It’s a great look at everything from building a race car, to testing and then actually competing as well. It serves as an excellent real-world example of what we talk about in our series on how to get into cars, which just recently touched on prepping a car for endurance competition. Video after the break.

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How To Get Into Cars: Endurance Racing Builds

Many an automotive enthusiast finds themselves at a track day eventually. Typically, this involves competing against the clock to better one’s laptimes in short sessions throughout the day. Such events are fun, but it often creates a perishing thirst for a greater level of competition.

Regularity and endurance events are often the next step up for a lot of people. These events involve long runs at race pace that stress a car to (or beyond!) the breaking point. Careful preparation is required if one is to see out the race to the chequered flag. Let’s break down what you’ll need to consider.

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The Rise And Fall Of The Fan Car

The advent of aerodynamic wings in motorsport was one of the most dramatic changes in the mid-20th century. Suddenly, it was possible to generate more grip at speed outside of altering suspension setups and fitting grippier tyres. However, it was just the beginning, and engineers began to look at more advanced ways of generating downforce without the drag penalty incurred by fitting wings to a racecar.

Perhaps the ultimate expression of this was the fan car. Mechanically complex and arguably dangerous, the technology offered huge downforce with minimal drag. However, the fan car’s time in the spotlight was vanishingly brief, despite the promise inherent in the idea. Let’s take a look at the basic theory behind the fan car, how they worked in practice, and why we don’t see them on racetracks today. Continue reading “The Rise And Fall Of The Fan Car”