NZ Performance Car - - Super Score -

Af­ter his street car was murked by a truck and sent to dereg-ville, Ross Burn re­birthed his RX-8 as a ded­i­cated track car. And, de­spite hav­ing given the 13B Re­n­e­sis all the usual love — turbo, ex­haust, etc. — over the years, it just wasn’t quite cut­ting it for Ross any more. The an­swer to what to do next was found across the ditch in the form of a blue oval-built en­gine. The now in­fa­mous Barra turbo packs four litres of de­struc­tion and prom­ises im­pres­sive amounts of power with lit­tle ef­fort re­quired. Teamed up with Ryan Phillips from Out­law Garage, a step-by-step plan was put in place to make it hap­pen.

“From then on, the fo­cus was to turn the car into a ded­i­cated mul­ti­pur­pose race car. I wanted it to be ca­pa­ble of com­pet­ing in all events — from time tri­als and rally, to drift­ing and hill climbs,” ex­plains Ross. “I teamed up with Aaron and Ryan from Out­law Garage to achieve that vi­sion.”

Ryan tells us that this par­tic­u­lar mo­tor was sourced from a Fal­con FG, cho­sen for its sump con­fig­u­ra­tion, which sees the pan at the rear of the mo­tor, en­abling it to clear the front cross mem­ber in the RX-8 — BA/BF Fal­con-sourced Bar­ras have the pan at the front. It also has the ben­e­fit of be­ing the strong­est gen­er­a­tion in­ter­nally, as Ryan ex­plains: “The FG ones [Barra] are just a bet­ter mo­tor. They are proven to han­dle 500kW with fac­tory in­ter­nals with­out break­ing a sweat. The BA/BF ones are only rated to around 450kW, with the rods be­ing the weak point. So, re­ally, all you need to do with these is up­grade the head studs, chuck on a bil­let oil pump, and up­grade the valve springs for the added boost, and you’re mak­ing power all day.”

De­spite the hefty di­men­sions of the Barra, no chas­sis cut­ting or fab­ri­ca­tion was re­quired to fit it into the en­gine bay, although Ryan did rec­om­mend flat­ten­ing the seam up to­wards the top of the fire­wall to get the mo­tor as far back as pos­si­ble for bet­ter bal­ance.

“You have to re­mem­ber that the Bar­ras are 800mm tall, so you might have to cut the bon­net, but that means not hav­ing to mod­ify the front cross mem­ber, and Ross’ mo­tor sits roughly 4mm above it,” ex­plains Ryan. “We did it this way so that, if he ever wanted to, he could put a fac­tory RX-8 mo­tor back in again with­out re­quir­ing mod­i­fi­ca­tions or a new cross mem­ber to do so.”

Ryan whipped up the en­gine mounts in house, and they are con­structed out of 5mm plate to create the brack­ets on the cross mem­ber and the mount­ing point on the block. Sched­ule 40 tube was used to form the main arm, while 32NB pipe houses a 30M No­lathane bush, so that the mo­tor isn’t solid mounted to the chas­sis.

“The Barra has an off­set val­ve­train, too, so, when fit­ting it, you need to cen­tre the mo­tor off the crank to the chas­sis, not the head it­self. It’s best to re­move the rocker cover and use a level to get the mo­tor up right,” Ryan ex­plains.

To help aid place­ment, Ryan has used a Wise­fab E36 kit that al­lows an E36 elec­tric power-steer­ing rack to be retro­fit­ted into the chas­sis, which was done us­ing cus­tom mounts and by sit­ting the rack lower for sump clear­ance.

Backed by a Tre­mec TR-6060 with an XR6 bell­hous­ing, the tun­nel is large enough to ac­cept the box and a cus­tom mount was eas­ily made — Ross’ uses a cus­tom chro­moly drive­shaft to link the box to the fac­tory RX-8 LSD. Ryan noted that they have used a bracket at the snout of the diff to sup­port it, as the fac­tory set-up has a torque bar be­tween the gear­box and the diff to keep it in line.

Work­ing on pa­per, the chas­sis bal­ance equates to roughly 52:48 with the new heart and prom­ises a whole heap more power. Ryan and Ross agree that it’s a worth­while con­ver­sion and rel­a­tively has­sle-free if you have some­one who knows what they’re do­ing when it comes to fab­ri­ca­tion: “The swap can be done quite fast. It was a to­tal of 16 outs to put the mo­tor in, make the mounts, and mod­ify the rear diff bracket. The only down­side is that the rear axles are weak and will only han­dle around 400hp [298kW] be­fore break­ing.”

BARRA TURBO ORI­GIN CHAS­SIS: Ford Fal­con (FG) CA­PAC­ITY: 3984cc CON­FIG­U­RA­TION: Straight-six turbo BORE/STROKE: 92.26x99.31mm COM­PRES­SION: 8.8:1 FAC­TORY POWER: 270kW at 5250 rpm / 533Nm at 2000–4750rpm WEIGHT: 195kg (bare) NOTES: Strong­est in­ter­nals, tran­sient 10-sec­ond over-boost bumps torque to 586Nm at full throt­tle, ru­moured to be un­der­quoted power fig­ures

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