"Saving Ford's hot hatch from becoming a fridge"
A resource site for owners of the Mk1 & 2 Fiesta

Project Bobcat Ford Fiesta resource site

Yellow Track Mk2 Fiesta XR2 Project

Robert Saunders

Author: Robert Saunders | Photographer: Robert Saunders

XR Owners Trackday at Castle Combe

I had another trip out onto proper track last saturday, as I went to the performance car action day at Castle Combe. Booked it in with the XR Owners club for there XR only session at midday. But I had a problem on the way which caused me to get there to late, and miss this session.

I was driving round the M25 and I could hear a knocking sound coming from the back of the car which I had'nt heard before (this was with ear plugs in as well. I kept looking round thinking it was the buckles on the harness hitting the metal work, but eventually I spotted what it was. The o/s rear shock looked as though it had come loose from the top of the bodywork inside. As the car hit a bump the shock came up with out the body... Pulled over on the hard shoulder and had a quick look and thought the nyloc nut had come loose. So we drove back to south mims services to call out the AA as I had not got any tools with me this time. But while we were waiting, we had a look and the nut was done up tight on the washer which was tight on the shoulder of the shaft?. So we though the shaft prehaps had come loose at the bottom inside the body of the shock.


Thanks to my mate Kev for the above picture. Atleast the AA van was the right colour. When the AA chap had a look underneath it was found that I was missing the matching washer from the lower shoulder on the shaft. So Leda had supplied me with not enough washers, and I had not realised and fitted them anyway. Why it started knocking then I dont now (bumpy M25 I guess, as I spent the previous weekend driving quickly round a airfield. So the AA bloke found a temporary washer in his van and got me going again.

Eventually I got to the circuit and had the car sound tested straight away as it was all warmed up. Thought it may not pass as it's got to be under 100d(b)A measured at 4500rpm on a static test with the meter set at 1/2 meter from the exhaust outlet. Well I was pleased to say mine just scrapped thru at 99 decibels.

As I missed the 12.00pm xr session I had plenty of time to get the car ready for the 1.30pm session which I was booked in next for. Set the tyre pressures for the track, as I was running the alloys with the Avon bc10's on. First session went really well after I took it easy for the first lap. Overtook quite a few cars and came back into the paddock feeling very pleased with the car. Though when I got back my mate kev said I went round with my brake lights on all the time. Turns out the switch in the pedal fell out.


Second session was for 3.00pm and again I checked the car over etc. Went out in the middle of the pack. Noticed I had a quick looking jap car behind me. So as we pulled out onto the circuit, I waved him past as I wanted to take the 1st lap easy again. So coming back round to start the 2nd lap I go for it and soon close up on the jap car, and now sitting on his back pumper . Then realise its a N-reg skyline and theres nothing in it even on the straight. Infact in the bends if you were allowed to overtake, I probably would of had him. We were like this for the complete session. The amount of grip I had out there was amazing, and these avons worked brilliant.


After the session back in the paddock a chap came up to me and asked what I had under the bonnet? Told him it was a 2.0ltr zetec and he goes 'oh that explains it then'. Turns out he was the driver of the skyline, and was amazed this little fiesta was glued to his back bumper for the whole session.

I do have video footage from inside the car of the 1st session, but I need to upload that onto my computer and edit it before posting it up.

Anyway the car is back home in the garage now. Im currently getting the two missing washers made up at work and will be fitted once done. Will speak to pro alloy about the fuel tank, though at castle combe I had no issues with fuel surge/pick up though I did have almost a full tank of fuel.

The only other news I've got to mention is that I've had a invite to join PF Dave on his stand for Performance Ford magazine, which I've taken him up on. So I wont be joining you all on the xrtwo.com stand now. Im sure you can understand my choice here as this year is the first year of it on show, and it nice to be invited to feature the car as much as possible. I will be on the xrtwo.com stand as much as I can anyway to say hello durring the show anyway as I want to catch up on people and there cars.

More Track action photos

I found a few more pictures on various forums of the yellow xr2 from Castle combe last saturday. These are two of my favourite pictures i've found.

Image Image

Never noticed before how bright the brake lights are on the car look, especially in bright sunshine. The main lights are just a circle of light due to the led bulb, but the extra ones at the top make up for it.

Split polybush disocvered

Like a lot of people on here i've been getting my XR2 ready for FITP. So yesterday I started to clean the underside of the car, just incase someone had a peak underneath. Suprised how dirty it had got, but soon came up as new again with a good wipe round. Now one thing I was suprised to see was a split bush.


The p/s rear half of the front tie bar bush had split, infact it had about a 10mm gap. No idea why it's gone like that. I've had sets of Deflex bushes before, and never had any problems with them, especially only after 1,000 miles use. These were the heavier duty compound bush they did for special orders, which may have something to do with it. I say this because I popped into Burtons this afternoon to get a replacment set, and this make of the bush has more give in it. So prehaps the harder defex compund polybush is the problem?


Anyway the new bush is fitted, and the underside is looking good for the show.

On the main straight the car starts to struggle with low power, this was down to fueling when it had 1/3 of a tank or less.

Spherical top mounts

I thought it was about time I updated about my car. Some off you may remember it, others new to the site may off never seen this topic.

The cars is finally back up and running. And got its first propper run down at the Performance Ford track event at Snetterton on the 24/7/08. Car went really well considering I only just finished putting it back together on the Monday due to a gearbox failure (more on that later). Car went really well out on track with no problems at all.

So now I can concentrate on taking areas a bit further, as now I have made my mind up to not use the car on the road anymore.

Ive been looking into improving the suspension setup on the car. Starting with the front I wanted to get some more castor. I made up some modified tie bars, but even with these I couldnt get it set to what I was aiming for.

I then had a pair or spherical top mounts made for it.

spherical top mounts for Mk2 fiesta spehrical top mounts inside fiesta turret Mk2 Fiesta strut brace and spherical top mount

Made from solid alloy with a speherical bearing borred 10mm off center. Ive fixed these in so the top of the strut is laying towards the bulkhead. When I get time I will refit the modified tie bars, and hopefully I will have the facility to adjust castor.

I also re-made my dash layout. Im still using the racetech oil pressure, oil temp, water temp and volt meter with the Elliot rev counter. But now ive added a Spa design digital speedometer, small warning lights and in the right hand side of the dash I have the fog light switch, tailgate release, and fan overide switch with warning lights. These have all been mounted into a thin alloy plate which is fixed to the upper section of the high spec dash.

XR2 custom instrument panel elliot rev counter

At the moment I'm not running with a fuel gauge. Bit of a pain, but when I get round to having a tank made for it, I can then fit the correct sender/gauge. Im also going to fit a shift light into the area below the Spa speedometer which will help out on track.

I've changed the yellow rocker cover, to a satin black one which looks better in the engine bay

stain black zetec rocker cover

I've since fitted my headlamp air scoops. One is fitted with alloy tubbing to the carbs, whille the other is left open into the engine bay. Not sure if they will make much difference, but a bit more air flowing into the bay must be good.

Fiesta XR2 headlamp air scoops meshed headlights

Also modified a MK4 Escort alternator heat shield. The Escort and Fiesta uses a different alternator bracket. So the Escort sheild isnt a straight forward fit. So with a bit of cutting and extending, it bolted up to the xr2 bracket. I've now got a heat sheild covering the alternator and starter.

Escort heat shield heat wrapped exhaust

Final thing is the standard S2 LSD gearbox I was running suddenly lost reverse. All the other gears were fine and no unusual noises.

Anyway the car is now booked in for Fordfair for three sessions. Car will be in the track car section of the show with my mate who now owns my old imperial blue xr2 which now runs a 2.1 zvh (n/a). So pop over and say hello.

Snetterton Track Action

p>Here are a few pictures from the track evening at Snetterton. Thanks to Kev for the photos.

XR2 cornering at Snetterton Side shot of yellow Fiesta XR2 Fiesta XR2 kicking up dust at Snetterton race circuit

And below PFDave coming along side me out off Russell bend.

Fiesta XR2's battle for first place

Ford Fair 2008 Track Time

Well I guess most of you didnt see the car at Ford Fair this year, as it was parked right over in the furthest area of the Paddock from the show. But it was close to the entry and exit points to the track so not all bad.

Couple of pictures from the paddock with both the headlamp air scoops fitted, and my new smoked front indicators. The blue xr2 is my old imperial blue one now running a 2.1 n/a ZVH. Had major oil breather issues on the day, so wasnt performing well.

Fiesta XR2 solid panel sunroof Pair of Fiesta XR2's at Silverstone race circuit

Had a great 3 sessions out on track in the afternoon. No real issues apart from fuel surge coming out of some bends in the first two sessions, and causing the engine to missfire. This was just down to not having enough fuel in the tank. Ive got to get a baffled alloy tank made, and get rid of the original tank and setup. The final session was really good. Had plenty of fuel and it was flying. Just a shame like the previous two sessions it was red flagged because someone had pulled of onto the side of the circuit, or dumped a load of oil.

Fiesta XR2 drive by Silverstone track day fiesta XR2 in pit lane

My 2nd session was also ended because a mk3 or mk4 escort dumped all it's oil on a bend. Me and a RS focus were behind it, and the RS Focus spun 360 deg on the oil infront of me. Luckly the RS was ok, and got going again. The idiot that dumped the oil drove back onto the circuit and tried to continue on. The marshal run onto the side of the circuit waving the red flag at him like a madman!!!!!

But the car is going a lot better this year, a lot of it is down the how it handles now. It's rides so flat, and just grips lovely round the bends. And yeah, the fiberglass bonnet does flap about a fair bit right at the front

Brands Hatch

Small update time. I've not done to much to the car at the moment, but got some plans for the winter period.

One item I have changed is the standard size battery, for a small racing battery. Make is Odessey (American company), and purchased it new thru Ebay.

odyssey racing battery lightweight race battery in alloy cage

Already had a alloy battery tray for it, but this was to big for this size battery. So I made up some brackets to hold the battery central in the tray. Secures in the same position behind the passenger seat as the original battery. Starts the car with plenty of power, and whats even better is ive saved a few kilos in weight as well.

The car was taken to its last outing for the year as I did the Performance Ford track event at Brands hatch on the 13/11/08. Very good even. Mixture of Fords on the day from Anglias right up to the latest range of ST Fords.

Fiesta XR2 at Brands Hatch Retro Fords lined up at Brands Hatch

Car went really well. Had one breakdown out on track when my mate Kev was driving. The heat shield between the exhaust downpipes and the starter snapped its bracket. This caused the shield to come into contact with the terminals on the starter earthing the battery out. Which caused the engine to cutout on the circuit. So only a minor hiccup, so nothing to worry about. The starter worked fine without the heat shield, so wont be going back on anyway.

XR2 towed at racing circuit

Once the car was towed back into the pit garage and the shield fully removed. Got it going with jump leads and we were back out to play.

XR2 holds off Mk2 Focus ST Additional brake lights fitted to Fiesta XR2

And finally. For those who are thinking about getting a fiberglass bonnet skin. Take a look at this final picture.

fibreglass bonnet lifting in the wind

This is what a skin looks like when the wind gets under the front. Not very attractive . Only item on the whole car I dont like. Wish I had now gone for one with the internals. Im going to have to look at maybe fiberglassing something to the underside at the front to add some weight to stop it lifting.

weight loss, track car on a diet

Just a update on the progress on the racer from the last few months.

Over the winter period I put the car on another weight loss program. Started by revising the dash layout, and whille I was doing this I removed all the redundant wires from inside the car.

wiring weight loss

The total weight of just the wires was 2Ib.

Then on top of the the above wires. The blower assembly and ducting, and various bits of plastic from behind the dash was removed. I even cut down the air vents as they wont be used now to channel air.

cut down fiesta Mk2 air vents

Below is a picture of the pile of removed items when I had finished!

removed plastics and heater unit

This came out at 8lb 90z. So almost 11Ib in total, which all helps

I also removed the rear fog lights, and made up some alloy mesh to fit in there place. Sprayed satin black.

rear fog light mesh

Behind were you can see the rear panel has been painted back, which looks a lot better.

meshed xr2 fog light hole

I also fitted a brand new later black plastic rocker cover on the engine. This saved a fair amount over the standard alloy item. Had to modify the top section of the timming cover as it doesnt sit the same against this plastic rocker cover.

blacktop zetec plastic rocker cover blacktop zetec engine top view

The latest revised item is the headlamp air scoops which now incorporate the side indicators as well. I got a standard pair of indicators. Cut the fronts off, and removed a fair amount off the back, but keeping the original areas so it still secures in with the spring. I then recut more alloy mesh which covers both the headlamp and indicator in one piece. Then the complete units were sprayed satin black, and refitted back into the car on the original fittings.

meshed fiesta headlamp and indicator

The passenger side one has ducting from the headlamp to the carbs.

headlight duct for Mk2 Fiesta

The drivers side is just left open.

meshed drivers side Ford Fiesta headlamp

Im currently 2/3rds of the way thru fitting a Rutland Performance modified adjustable rear axle, which has had the mk3 Fiesta stub axle modification carried out on it. It also comes with the adjustable rollbar, and rose jointed drop links. More on this when I finish it, and get some pictures.

Add a Comment

Page Last Updated: Saturday 18th of May 2024