RE: PH Competes: EnduroKA track test

RE: PH Competes: EnduroKA track test

Thursday 4th April

PH Competes: EnduroKA track test

Our racing KA has officially tasted the asphalt at Brands Hatch - and it handled brilliantly



So this is it. Our EnduroKA racer is ready to rock and roll. After its very (very) swift conversion from shopping trolley to racing car, we treated our white-wheeled machine to an open track day at Brands Hatch - precisely the kind which features cars with five times the power, big wings and semi slicks. Were we worried? Well, yes. Until recently Black Force One had known nothing more strenuous than a trip to the Co-op and back. And there's nothing like a proper pitlane to make a supermini look absolutely out of its depth. But once you're strapped in, gripping a suede wheel with a racing helmet on your head, even a humble KA is liable to feel the business.

And so it proved. Try dwelling on the car's humble origins when you're charging into Paddock Hill Bend as quickly as your sense will allow. Undeniably, it is quiet (it recorded 79 decibels in the morning sound test), its dinky four-pot made to seem all the more so by the close proximity of proper track day machines. But it is keen and revs to 5,000rpm with growing eagerness, and on the approach to Brands' daunting first bend it feels genuinely alive. There's not much speed to scrub off so the corner is negotiated with an extended dab of the brakes, but that helps get the nose in because the KA goes lovely and light on its hind legs.


Kudos to Ben and Olly for doing most of the chassis work, because the KA not only feels agile, but also composed on its new Bilstein springs and dampers. You can, of course, over rotate the rear end and bog the engine, but encourage enough back end slip to have the car pointing at an apex and then it's all throttle. And momentum. As we suspected, clearly this year is going to be about maintaining a high average speed rather than attacking kerbs and lobbing the car around. But this endurance racing so that's fine - and, come Saturday, it'll only be other KAs that we have to compare ourselves with.

Mid week, there were four of us - Ben, Olly, Pete and yours truly - on hand to drive, and despite vast differences in experience, everyone managed to settle in and (after no time at all) start taking some real pleasure from wringing every last naturally aspirated horse from the 1.3-litre motor. Truthfully, with its ultra-tight polybushed chassis and hydraulic steering feedback, the KA is so communicative that it took little more than a lap for it to start feeling familiar - familiar enough to start cocking a wheel over the inside kerb of Surtees, at any rate.


All of which means that we can decree the car's first test a successful one. Which is chuffin' useful because obviously this weekend heralds the official start of the EnduroKA season. To say we're excited is something of an understatement. It's a wonder we've got anything else done. And with at least 20 entries due at Donington Park the pressure is most certainly on. But if Brands is anything to go by, it ought to be giggle, too.

If you fancy coming along on Saturday and joining in the merriment - even in a pointing-and-laughing capacity - full details on the race weekend are available here. There'll be a bunch of Radicals and Formula 3 cars to provide noisy (and much quicker) support ahead of our race start at 13:55. Alternatively, if you prefer a little more structure to your free time, we'll be holding a Sunday Service at the next race at Snetterton on 16th June - so keep your eyes peeled for more on that soon.

Thanks to MSVT for having us along on the track day!






Previous reports:

PH Competes: EnduroKA

PH Competes: Enduro KA media day

PH Competes: Buying the EnduroKA

PH Competes: The EnduroKA build

Author
Discussion

B17NNS

Original Poster:

18,080 posts

187 months

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all
Cracking project. Spiritual successor to a classic Works Cooper if ever there was one. Light, small, low power and bags of fun. Leather bonnet straps, a rack and a brace of Cibié‘s? - hold on lads, I’ve got an idea smile

Gorbyrev

1,028 posts

94 months

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all
Great read and good luck. They are cracking little cars.

loveice

441 posts

187 months

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all
Great project. But seriously how does it taste? biggrin

Turbobanana

1,287 posts

141 months

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all
Is the flat-bottom wheel a control item or do you have a really, really tall driver you need to accommodate?

NDNDNDND

685 posts

123 months

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all
You should seriously look at de-powering the steering rack. Ditching the PAS on my MX-5 made the engine feel considerably more eager - you might find losing the parasitic losses has the same benefit on the Ka.

As for steering weight, it's a Ka on narrow control tyres... plus you'll be travelling at racing speeds so it won't be particularly heavy. You may even find the extra definition in the steering feel a benefit.

Although the MOT regs outlawed removing power steering a couple of years ago, you are still permitted to remove the power assistance if the car was available without it. As the Ka was available without power steering it'll remain road legal, if that's an issue.

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nicfaz

249 posts

170 months

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all
NDNDNDND said:
You should seriously look at de-powering the steering rack. Ditching the PAS on my MX-5 made the engine feel considerably more eager - you might find losing the parasitic losses has the same benefit on the Ka.

As for steering weight, it's a Ka on narrow control tyres... plus you'll be travelling at racing speeds so it won't be particularly heavy. You may even find the extra definition in the steering feel a benefit.

Although the MOT regs outlawed removing power steering a couple of years ago, you are still permitted to remove the power assistance if the car was available without it. As the Ka was available without power steering it'll remain road legal, if that's an issue.
I second this, if it’s within the rules. Parasitic loads make a huge difference to these tiny engines - turning the aircon on in my wife’s Honda Jazz makes it feel like you’ve lost a cylinder!

HardtopManual

1,108 posts

106 months

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all
Been pricing up an EnduroKa build myself - just need to convince our third driver that the funds are a worthwhile investment. Anyway, re depowering the steering rack, the regs say:

17 WHEELS / STEERING:
17.1 No modifications of any kind are allowed to the steering system.

So, to stay within the letter of the regs, you'd need the donor car to be one of the early Kas without PAS.

EDIT: Regs state car must be a 2002-on, with standard PAS.

Edited by HardtopManual on Thursday 4th April 11:21

RumbleOfThunder

2,692 posts

143 months

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all
I know it's silly given how cheap and ubiquitous they are but I wish you'd got a tatty one to use, that looks like a really nice example. smile

Limpet

3,288 posts

101 months

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all
nicfaz said:
I second this, if it’s within the rules. Parasitic loads make a huge difference to these tiny engines - turning the aircon on in my wife’s Honda Jazz makes it feel like you’ve lost a cylinder!
I remember having a Ka courtesy car a few years ago, and turning the aircon on and off made an appreciable difference to the performance. At a 70 mph cruise on a level motorway with the air-con on, turning it off would add 5 mph without doing anything else.

RacerMike

2,204 posts

151 months

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all
Does look fun, but at the moment I'm not sure I'd choose this over the C1. The Citroen championship is mega competitive, the cars are crazily reliable and cheap to find, and there 100 on the grid at Silvertone for the 24hr at the end of this month!

SuperKA

3 posts

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all


we look forward to swapping paint with you wink

SuperKA

3 posts

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all
RacerMike said:
Does look fun, but at the moment I'm not sure I'd choose this over the C1. The Citroen championship is mega competitive, the cars are crazily reliable and cheap to find, and there 100 on the grid at Silvertone for the 24hr at the end of this month!
race suspension, grippy tyres, an extra 10hp (all counts) makes this a better option imo. Already 44 teams registered and it hasn't had its first race yet so those grids will be full. would like to see a 24hr race tho

SuperKA

3 posts

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all
nicfaz said:
I second this, if it’s within the rules. Parasitic loads make a huge difference to these tiny engines - turning the aircon on in my wife’s Honda Jazz makes it feel like you’ve lost a cylinder!
its not permitted in the regs - limited mods will keep the KA's all the same on track

SpudLink

2,400 posts

132 months

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all
SuperKA said:
RacerMike said:
Does look fun, but at the moment I'm not sure I'd choose this over the C1. The Citroen championship is mega competitive, the cars are crazily reliable and cheap to find, and there 100 on the grid at Silvertone for the 24hr at the end of this month!
race suspension, grippy tyres, an extra 10hp (all counts) makes this a better option imo. Already 44 teams registered and it hasn't had its first race yet so those grids will be full. would like to see a 24hr race tho
On the other hand, this is a great way for a few KAs to live out the rest of their days.

I’m at Donnington tomorrow for a trackday. I wonder if there will be many of these getting a last minute shakedown.

Mr-B

1,932 posts

134 months

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all
RumbleOfThunder said:
I know it's silly given how cheap and ubiquitous they are but I wish you'd got a tatty one to use, that looks like a really nice example. smile
Every time I see photos of it I keep thinking that, still looks too nice even now stripped down. By the end of the season I bet there won't be a panel without a dent.

Maldini35

1,973 posts

128 months

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all
Looks great lads!

(Although the flat bottomed steering wheel might be an error when trying to correct a tank slapper without losing position)

Best of luck at Donny.
I’ll keep an eye on proceedings via TMS live timing site.


RacerMike

2,204 posts

151 months

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all
SpudLink said:
SuperKA said:
RacerMike said:
Does look fun, but at the moment I'm not sure I'd choose this over the C1. The Citroen championship is mega competitive, the cars are crazily reliable and cheap to find, and there 100 on the grid at Silvertone for the 24hr at the end of this month!
race suspension, grippy tyres, an extra 10hp (all counts) makes this a better option imo. Already 44 teams registered and it hasn't had its first race yet so those grids will be full. would like to see a 24hr race tho
On the other hand, this is a great way for a few KAs to live out the rest of their days.

I’m at Donnington tomorrow for a trackday. I wonder if there will be many of these getting a last minute shakedown.
For me 90% of the fun is the lack of grip! And the C1s will soon be getting a little power boost with a new ECU map before Silverstone to ensure nobody is cheating....plus the C1 is a touch lighter than the KA so performance is basically the same.

Each to their own of course, and any addition at the bottom end of the racing food chain is good!

kaiowas

69 posts

216 months

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all
HardtopManual said:
the regs say:

17 WHEELS / STEERING:
17.1 No modifications of any kind are allowed to the steering system.
Best hope they haven't thrown the orignal steering wheel away then... wink

alfapork

216 posts

42 months

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all
SuperKA said:
race suspension, grippy tyres, an extra 10hp (all counts) makes this a better option imo. Already 44 teams registered and it hasn't had its first race yet so those grids will be full. would like to see a 24hr race tho
The power is the same or very similar at 70PS (Citroen 69bhp and soon to be more with the club ECU). And the min weight of a C1 is -40kg on the Ka at 910kg.

Your tyres are unshaved, slightly larger but with bigger sidewalls. Not going to make that much difference, especially as we can already keep on the bootlid of much faster race cars through high speed twisties.

Race suspension: C1's permitted to run a Bilstein strut and lowering springs, have wider club wishbones for more camber and the rear axle can be shimmed. Seems you get bushes and Billies on the Ka no adjustment.

And we get to race with world touring car drivers.

C1 for the win!!



Edited by alfapork on Thursday 4th April 18:04

Gallons Per Mile

327 posts

47 months

Thursday 4th April
quotequote all
Looks great fun! I'm a bit of a Ka fan, had several of them in my early motoring days, and even did an RS turbo conversion from a Fiesta in one of them...

Just been looking back at the pictures. This was 10 years ago eek