FIVE MIN­UTES WITH…

Performance Vauxhall - - CONTENTS -

We take time out to chat with Dan Rob­son, joint man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at RnD Mo­tor­sport.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Dan Rob­son. I’m one of the Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tors at Vauxhall tun­ing spe­cial­ist, RnD Mo­tor­sport.

Pleased to meet you, Dan! When was RnD Mo­tor­sport es­tab­lished?

My busi­ness part­ner, Mark Ri­ley, and I laid the foun­da­tions for the com­pany six years ago. It be­came our full-time pur­suit two years later.

Where is the com­pany based?

Our work­shop can be found in Tholthorpe, just north of York.

How many peo­ple work with you at RnD Mo­tor­sport?

I take care of most of the me­chan­i­cal work, map­ping and fab­ri­ca­tion. Mark is re­spon­si­ble for any­thing elec­tri­cal, such as wiring and ECU in­stal­la­tion. We’re joined by our em­ployee, Will, who man­ages the parts sup­ply side of the busi­ness.

How has RnD Mo­tor­sport changed over the years?

The kind of work a tun­ing busi­ness gets al­ters wildly over time. When you start out, you get small-scale jobs un­til the qual­ity of work you pro­duce earns a rep­u­ta­tion strong enough to en­cour­age big­ger com­mis­sions. To­day, RnD Mo­tor­sport has grown to a point where we have a large cus­tomer base tak­ing ad­van­tage of our in-house ser­vice, main­te­nance, di­ag­nos­tic, map­ping and ma­chin­ing ser­vices. In short, we can take a stan­dard road car and turn it into a full-on race car. We man­u­fac­ture our own parts and map our own builds.

How has RnD Mo­tor­sport’s cus­tomer base changed?

As tech­nol­ogy pro­gresses, the de­mands of our clients in­crease ac­cord­ingly. For ex­am­ple, if we tune a car to 600bhp, the next cus­tomer wants 610bhp. The chal­lenge we face is to en­sure we keep on top of tun­ing trends and de­vel­op­ments so that we can meet the needs of Vauxhall own­ers want­ing high horse­power. That said, we’re equally con­cerned with en­sur­ing the cars we tune main­tain ex­cel­lent ge­om­e­try un­der dy­namic load. Pre­ci­sion han­dling is cru­cial re­gard­less of en­gine out­put, hence our bespoke range of bush kits and spher­i­cal bear­ings.

What’s the big­gest chal­lenge you face as a Vauxhall tuner?

Tech­nol­ogy moves fast. What was cool six months ago might be old hat to­day. We have to en­sure we’re in a po­si­tion to con­tin­u­ally pro­vide new and ex­cit­ing prod­ucts and ser­vices to our cus­tomers.

What’s your favourite Vauxhall?

Triple Eight Rac­ing Mk4 As­tra Coupe.

Tells us about your own 888 project

It suf­fered an en­gine bay fire. I was faced with the choice of scrap­ping the car or re­viv­ing it. I re­mem­ber be­ing im­pressed by V6-pow­ered Omega drift taxis at PVS a few years back. I liked the idea of con­vert­ing the As­tra to rear-wheel drive and fit­ting a six­cylin­der en­gine. I soon re­alised the power I wanted would be close to im­pos­si­ble with an old-school Vauxhall V6, at which point I took an in­ter­est in the tur­bocharged 2.8-litre V6 as fit­ted to the Vec­tra VXR. I bought a donor en­gine and in­stalled it in the rear end of the As­tra!

What power is the donor en­gine pro­duc­ing to­day?

Close to 630bhp, and that’s on stock in­ter­nals. The only hard­ware up­dates have been bolt-on up­grades, in­clud­ing air­flow pipework, en­hanced cool­ing equip­ment, a stand­alone ECU and a GTX3582 tur­bocharger.

The next big thing?

It’s not a new con­cept, but where it was once the re­serve of race cars, stand­alone man­age­ment is be­com­ing the norm when it comes to heav­ily tuned Griffins. In part, this is be­cause the power be­ing pro­duced by to­day’s mod­i­fied Vauxhall en­gines is very high, but it’s also be­cause stand­alone man­age­ment of­fers lev­els of pro­tec­tion fac­tory ECUs sim­ply don’t pro­vide. I’m a great ad­vo­cate for the prac­tice of ex­haust­ing stan­dard man­age­ment for all it’s worth, but you can achieve a lot more with a stand­alone ECU in the same time as you’d spend tweak­ing a per­for­mance Vauxhall’s fac­tory ECU.

Can we fol­low RnD Mo­tor­sport’s ad­ven­tures on­line?

Per­for­mance Vauxhall read­ers are in­vited to visit the RnD Mo­tor­sport Face­book page and the com­pany web­site, which can be found at rnd­mo­tor­sport.co.uk Thanks for your time, Dan. It’s ap­pre­ci­ated!

“Pre­ci­sion han­dling is cru­cial re­gard­less of en­gine out­put”

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