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Reviews

Purpose Built Barrel Hunter

28th February 2017 — by Dave Cox

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At the time of writing, we are just days away from the beginning of the 2017 Fueltopia Barrel Sprint season. Test & Registration day has been and gone and we take this brief gap to bring you a close look at Mike Newland’s new purpose built barrel sprint s13.

This is not Mike’s first rodeo either previously he had a purpose built S14. A car that Mike has competed in for the last 4 years and spent tireless hours and effort developing. Sadly the S14 met it’s demise at Coventry MotorFest when it made a firm introduction with a concrete pillar underneath the ring roads. When life deals you such a poor hand it can be hard to get back on your feet.

Motorsport is high risk, leaving many grass roots racers with two options, All or Nothing. The impact the S14 had sustained was too much, the chassis was completely folded underneath the car meaning that it would sadly be beyond repair. For someone who had invested all they had into a sport they love the result was pretty crushing. Thankfully that was the extent of the damage, pretty much everything could be salvaged.

An S13 was sourced and Mark Young at Japs Motorsport set to work sand blasting the fresh shell before seam welding and inserting a full cage in preparation for transplanted parts. The decision to go for an S13 instead of an S14 was to step away from the norm on the field. Rear wheel drive class in Barrel Sprint is pretty much dominated by MX5’s and S14’s so Mike felt the need to provide a different body to keep things interesting.

Mark took a staggering 7 days to complete the transformation from a bare shell. I will let that sink in for a little bit. In an era where builds are getting turned around for shows in ever decreasing times, this is incredible. Not to mention that this isn’t a show car, this is a purpose built race car and it is fully functional! I have struggled to make decisions in 7 days, let alone build and complete a car.

The exterior also got a refresh thanks to Sussex Wrap Studio which closely mimics the colours scheme of the S14 as well keeping in line with the team colours.

After all the work was completed, the car was unveiled at the Wembley Qualifier for GRiD last year. Where unfortunately due to a lack of testing due to time constraints the car was fighting with him and not behaving herself. Due to this Mike came in 3rd place missing his spot at GRiD. Disappointing for Mike but still very impressive for anyone else.

The eagle eyed amongst you would have noticed that the lines of this S13 are slightly off, that is because the rear glass hatch has been removed and replaced with fibreglass flat bed. This was done to primarily reduce weight and lower the centre of gravity keeping the car light and nimble or “Smimble” as Mike affectionately calls it (Small and Nimble).

The obsessive weight loss spreads further than just the rear hatch, the bonnet is single skin fibre glass too,

The interior of the car is a spartan yet functional place to sit. A flocked dash obscured only by an OMP steering wheel houses minimal switch gear whilst a hydro setup help get the car round the barrels. Whilst a Corbeau seat helps keep the driver in place.  An Android dash allows Mike to customise what he monitors, keeping only the essential information on display.

As mentioned before, many of the components were transplanted over to the new chassis. Gold wrapping around the intake pipes help keep engine temperatures down. Mike is however developing a new expansion system to help lower intake temperatures and keep them constant which will mean he can go more aggressive on the map. Given that the car is already making 385bhp on a Nispro tune, it will be pretty lively.

Frustrated with his performance at the Qualifier, Mike sent the car to Walton Smith at Nispro to get the car’s alignment dialled in. This proved a wise choice as during the next FBS round, he beat his personal best time and then went on to finish 2nd in the championship.

I keep teasing Mike about the reverse rake of the car saying “just lower the front by a foot and you’ll be fine!” But I am told this is to help with balance and turn in. Seeing as I am at very best a spirited driver, I shall shut up and stop poking fun. (Will I f*ck)

The car is littered with small considered details, I’m particularly fond of the KODE rivets that secure the over fenders and duck tail spoiler . There are other touches too, like the JDM painted spokes. All of this is colour coordinated to tie in the with wrap this car has.

“The test day was an eye opener, After changing the suspension and the cars setup in the off season, it felt totally different. But not in a good way, I couldn’t get to grips with the changes and was struggling to go at my normal pace. After lots of messing around and tweaking I got it set perfect and produced some very nice runs. New front tyres needed due to the increased rear grip since last year due to Nispro’s awesome new setup.”

It is clear that Mike has spent the last 4 years honing his skills and working out what kind of setup he wants from the car. Finishing 3rd in 2015, 2nd in 2016 it only makes sense that he is setting his sights on 1st for this season.

After watching him most of the day and getting really up close and personal, I have little reason to doubt that he will be in strong contention for the win. I wish him the best luck for the season ahead. If you fancy going down and seeing him in action for yourself then you can get tickets from here: Fueltopia Barrel Sprint

Words & Pictures; Dave Cox (SHOOTINGDAVE)

Sponsors:

JAPS Motorsport
EBC Brakes
Corbeau
Adolescent Dogs
Advanced Lubricant Solutions
Dodo Juice
Just Jap
Nispro
Infamous Creations
Sussex Wrap Studio

Specs:

SR20DET
Owen Developements Turbo
LINK ECU
EBC brakes all round
Seam welded chassis & Roll cage
Custom Corbeau bucket seat 5 point harnesses
Driftworks CS2 Coilovers
Custom cooling and intake setup by JAPS Motorsport
1 piece prop shaft
Wisefab rear setup
Geomaster front setup

Reviews

It’s A Bugeye Life

13th April 2016 — by Fueltopia

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Photos & words by Dan Fegent

It’s not easy being ugly. Case in point right here, as when the bugeye Subaru Impreza rolled out of the factory as a follow up to the iconic ‘Classic’ shape, it was definitely an absolute clanger. Love it or hate it as the expression goes, well the truth is, most people hated it.

Like all of them that were hit with this ugly stick, this one has been bullied for its appearance its whole life. However now it doesn’t want to be pushed around anymore, its been juiced up & it’s ready to smash anyone that wants to have a giggle at its quirky looks. Viper Motorsport have created a monster.

 

The continued successes of Dmitrij Sribnyj & Jake Archer in the field of Gymkhana & the Fueltopia Barrel Sprint have not gone unnoticed. A mass of AWD drivers sprung up last year & rose to the challenge, taking the battle to the veterans. Of this rising legion many showed huge promise, one in particular being Matt Miller.

For someone who has taken to the competition so naturally you’d never have guessed that last year was actually his first year competitively behind the wheel. In fact we only recently featured last seasons car on the build up to the 2015 Gymkhana Grid finals. One year in & he’s hooked already. We can see clearly from looking at this build, he’s ready to upset some people.

This year he is back with a vengeance & the off season has allowed him & Viper Motorsport to create a 500bhp+ animal. We managed to get some words from Matt about the coming season “I want to race wherever I can with this build & I’ll be confident taking on anyone with this thing. Viper Motorsport built this car to rise to the challenge Gymkhana & FBS offers in the UK & Europe as a whole, I’ve had this built to claim the top spot, I want to beat Dmitrij (Sribnyj)”

We cannot wait to see this machine & Matt taking on the competition during this years season. With some awesome purpose built FBS & Gymkhana creations ready to go & some impressive builds still underway, the 2016 season is shaping up to be a huge one.

Specifications:

  • 2.1 Stroker producing 520bhp & 500ft/lbs of Torque.
  • Syvecs stand alone engine management.
  • Stand alone fuel system.
  • Precision turbo charger.
  • 1000cc injectors.
  • 6 speed gearbox.
  • Stage 3 exedy clutch.
  • Brembo Brake Calipers.
  • Ebc discs and pads.

Reviews

Mrs Wrecking Ball

13th April 2016 — by Fueltopia

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Photos & words by Dan Fegent

Hooked after her win at the Barrelsprint ladies day last year, Amy is all set to bring the fight to all the rounds of the impending 2016 series.

Her car is a familiar one, driven formerly by her Fiancé Jake Archer & affectionately nicknamed ‘Doris’, it is now her weapon of choice. No insane engine builds here, just a healthy SR20DET ready to rev, rip & shred the tread taking on the barrels. More than enough to surprise the FBS veterans.

With the support of Eastcote Customs & Viper Motorsport Amy has been able to prep her 200sx S14a for the first event on the 5th of March at Santa Pod Raceway.

We spent some time with Viper Motorsport getting an up close look at some their plans & builds for this year & its clear that Amy is excited as any of the team to get underway & take on the competition properly. Given that she qualified 14th in her 2nd ever attempt at Barrelsprint is hugely promising, the field is tight & times needed to win are getting insanely tough, but we expect big things from Amy!

We are super stoked to see the sport attract more & more ladies this year, we’ve always said it but now its clear the word has got around, FBS is definitely not just for the boys.

Reviews

The Wrecking Ball 2016 Refresh

25th March 2016 — by Fueltopia

Pictures & words by Dan Fegent

Passion & love for what we do is a motivating factor for the majority of us. We want to be the best & we desire to be recognised for our achievements. Throw in some competition & you either rise to the challenge or crash & burn. This stands true for anyone involved in Motorsport on a competitive level, drivers who wish to succeed have no choice but to thrive on competition.

One driver who has certainly gained traction the past few years is Jake Archer, nicknamed ‘The Wrecking Ball’ for his history of track destruction across Fueltopia Barrel Sprint layouts & Gymkhana courses. He’s been mastering his craft of Gymkhana driving since the beginning of this growing sport & each year has proved to himself, sponsors & the internet that he’s a force to be reckoned with. Love him or hate him, he’s here to stay.

I managed to catch up directly with Jake on a recent visit, the Subaru Wagon is long gone, he’s risen to the ever growing challenge of the competition & stepped up his game for this years season.

 

“I’m so excited to be using a hatchback this year! I’ve wanted one for 2 years so this year we decided to go for it!!! Gymkhana is my sport and my life! Everything I do revolves around racing & the sport of gymkhana. Being there from the beginning, I’ve watched the sport grow and as any new Motorsport it needs help to progress. Along with my team we have ran events at Santa pod and with the support of Fueltopia helped create the brand new series Formula Gymkhana! 2016 is a huge year for the sport and with the help of this car & it being a lot newer & of a much higher standard of build than anything I’ve driven before, I hope it helps bring a new audience to FBS And FG. I can’t wait for the season to start and want to thank everyone involved that’s helped this dream become a reality!!! Always, dream too big!”

We are stoked to see so much passion & energy being put into a project, the Gymkhana movement has grown significantly over the past few years & this is just one of the cars that has us excited for what 2016 is going to bring.

Check out the video  to hear it all from Jake directly: