Status Replies posted by mcoppola
Just wondering about your experience with your SVT..I have two at home as daily drivers...one has the Jackson racing supercharger...
Thinking of chumping them...currently in a Nissan Sentra running Chumpcar Canada.
I can't say enough good things about running the SVT Focus as a Chumpcar, (or WRL, etc.)
In pretty much stock form, we were very competitive in our debut race last Fall at Pittrace. Our FTD was in the 2:10 range, just 3 seconds off the pace of a very fast E30 (GWR Racing) that dominates in our area. There were a few outliers that ran a few seconds quicker, but the 2:10 put us in good company with many BMW's, RX-7's and others who are typically Chumpcar frontrunners. Our major mods at the time were running on cut rear springs to lower the car, and we fitted the stock Ford SVT monotube front struts with coilover springs to enable lowering the front. Cutting the rears increased the spring rate slightly, so we increased the front rate slightly to keep the balance neutral. We guessed well and the car was a breeze to drive, even in very wet conditions the first day. We were in fact 6th fastest in the wet conditions at a 52 car Chumpionship event in the East Region, where some say Chumpcar racing is the most competitive.
The SVT is a very easy car to drive fast, and has proven to be very reliable. My friend has a salvage title SVT that we've tracked a lot, and it ran 3 races in 2010-2013, before we built our current car. Neither car has had many problems with breakage, other than times when it was self inflicted. The stock brakes are plenty good. We run Hawk Blues up front with parts store pads in the rear, using Centric High Carbon Alloy (read: cheap) rotors. We've talked to the guys at Frozen Rotors and they've said there's no need for exotic rotors on the SVT due to their large stock diameters and pad size. Said we'd be wasting money buying their rotors. A seasoned Spec Miata racer that has driven with us, has in fact complained that braking is TOO aggressive with the Hawk Blues, and we should look for a less aggressive pad.
We've learned the SVT can't go 2 hours on its' 13.1 gallon tank, so we installed a 15 gallon fuel cell for this year. We had teething problems with it, mainly due to old foam clogging the fuel pump's sock filter inside the tank. The cell I used was for another project and sat around for 20 years. Dumb me figured the foam would be ok, since it wasn't ever submerged in fuel...
I've done a lot of reading about the Focus, and SVT, in the Focaljet and Focus Fanatics forums, and have found
that a lot of cars have suffered front hub failures, with a loss of a front wheel. There are also cases of a local ZX-3 team, and a team in the Pacific Northwest who have had similar woes in Chumpcar. When this happens, it also snaps the end of the axle shaft off, and sometimes causes rotor and caliper and brake hose damage. The radiator and header are also vulnerable, as they sit very low, and are unprotected. I felt this needed to be fixed BEFORE we had this type of problem. I did a LOT of research and found there were 2 different shops that built 4340 billet front hubs for the Focus, 5-8 years ago. Others have also adapted the Contour/ Cougar hub, and yet others have adapted Mazda 6 parts to alleviate the hub failure issue. This past winter I contacted both shops. Each one wanted an order of at least 10-12 hubs in order to build a batch. I relayed this info to both Chump teams I mentioned, as well as my friend with the SVT. Nobody else was interested, so I went back to the 2 forums I mentioned asking for any interest there. Only one guy bit. He's from the East coast and also runs a Jackson supercharger on his track car. He also runs something like 275/40/17 tires on 9-10" wheels. He is the guy that contracted one of the shops to originally build the billet hubs for him, and he bought 10 of them 5 years ago. He has never had one of he billet hubs break, and swears by them to be bullet proof. He has sold all but a set or 2, and now wanted more for new cars he is building. He and I went in together and had another 10 hubs built. He bought 4 and I bought 6 of them. There is talk currently on the Focaljet forum since I tried drumming up interest, of other owners trying to get another batch built up by the other supplier. I haven't looked to see if that's gained any momentum, but they all missed out when I got mine built. Sorry to be so long winded about the hub issue, but I feel that is the number one priority for anyone looking to run any serious amount of grip in a Focus.
I figured I'd save you a lot of research time, or at least point you in the direction I researched when looking to race a Focus, and find its' weaknesses.
Other than hubs, the SVT is vey good right out of the box. I would highly recommend building one for endurance racing. We have bought Bilstein B8 shocks/struts last winter, and are looking into increasing the spring rates quite a bit, now that we have shocks that will handle the increased rate. I hope to get that done in the next week or so, and plan to enter Pittrace again in 2 weeks. I can give you a report on how we did there if/when we go.
We are a very new team, with only 2 races experience, so we have a lot to learn. But as far as car choice? I think we made a good one. In summary, very little modifications are needed to put it near the front of the pack, and there are no major durability issues, other than the hubs. An oil cooler and power steering cooler are MUST HAVE items. Other than that, a very good platform in its' stock form. Hopefully we can find ways to make it quicker as we get more time to develop the car.
I am very open to helping out anyone who is looking for additional info. I'm no expert, but am a very capable mechanic/fabricator that has spent a great deal of time working on a couple of SVT's the past 5 years. I've found that I like them a lot. Let me know if you have any specific questions, I'd be glad to share what we've learned.
We are looking at maybe purchasing Richie's car. Thanks for letting him know and appreciate your insight on SVT's. Do you think the car will be considered an SVT by rule 4.6? Can you confirm that SVT value is 425? Do you think 6'3" is too tall for a Focus?
Thanks in advance for any help! We are a new team and trying to get up to speed as fast as we can.
Hi. I posted in the thread you started asking about the SVT value. I'll forward the email i got from Mike Chisek and Phil M. about it. My teammate is close to 6'3" and somewhat heavy too. He has no problem fitting in our car.. The Focus has a very large, high occupant compartment. We've used a seat mounting adapter/bracket that Sparco makes to fit a race seat and adjustable tracks in the Focus. However, teh seat could easily be dropped 2-3" lower than this bracket provides for, if we were to make up our own mounting system. So 6'3" would be no problem.
Richie wrote back to me, and said he's upped the price, due to some recent upgrades. I hope things work out for you. I can't say enough good things about these cars. I'm doing my best to try to become an expert on them, but don't know everything. however, I would be happy to share any info i could that might help you out.