FIVE MINUTES WITH…
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”