The World Rally Championship has been a stage for showcasing some incredible talent like that of Walter Rohrl, Colin McRae, and Tommi Makinen. There are many individuals that have placed themselves and their careers firmly in the record books. Although most of us simply sit back and watch these experts navigate the tracks, some of us may well have contemplated leaving our current job and turning to rally driving for a living!
Rally driving isn’t specialised to only huge sponsored events. There are many that don’t require such backing or even a rally licence. The modifications to your race vehicle are all that is necessary to compete. A bit of confidence wouldn’t go amiss either!
Here we share the various alterations needed to convert your vehicle to the rally championing vehicle it can be.
If you really want to get competitive power output from your vehicle, the drivetrain has to be modified dramatically. Most modern cars are controlled by an internal computer or membrane, which receives instruction from a chip. As standard roadworthy vehicles are configured to be fuel efficient and produce minimal emissions, much off the potential performance is restricted. With a performance chip, or tuner as it is alternatively known, vehicles can create an additional output of 100 horsepower in some instances.
Why and how does this work? Effectively, the replacement chip removes the restriction that has been implanted. In doing so, the instruction which tells the engine how much fuel should be released when the driver places his foot flat down on the accelerator no longer exists. With this comes maximum acceleration and similarly maximum throttle response, yet at the cost of fuel economy. You should also consider changing your intake manifold to one that produces low end torque. You could also replace the exhaust manifold with a header, which will enhance horsepower and the throttle response.
Even with this seemingly more powerful system, unexpected issues will still remain. Be sure to bring your jump starter, jack and anything else you would bring with you on the road.
We never actually plan on crashing, but when rallying, this is sort of inevitable. Therefore, taking numerous measurements to safe proof the car you are going to be driving is the most important process when constructing a rally car. The installation of a roll cage not only reduces the risk the driver and co-driver are at, but it also strengthens the car as a whole. Understandably, cars are built for use on roads and designed in a way to match a particular style of moderate driving. When you take your car rallying however, you are placing it under significant stress. A properly installed roll-cage carries as much worth as a building’s foundations.
The installation of a roll cage is not a simple one. The entire vehicle must be stripped until only the shell remains. All the body sound proofing material off the floor must be pulled out, before welding any seam in the vehicle. Once this has been done, the roll-cage is good to be installed.
Grounding your car is an awful experience after misjudging road bumps. This is something which every driver is more than likely to experience in their life, whether it was scraping the sump off the ground after gaining unintentional air or going over too steep a speed bump. Imagine when you’re in a rally car however, constantly hitting jumps — the sump of the car along with the engine casing would be destroyed within a matter of moments, causing catastrophic damage. That is why you must fit an aluminium plate, which protects the underneath of the car.
Just making it round the first bend of the track in rally would be an accomplishment for any standard road tyre. Due to the copious number of pot holes, selection of sharp rocks and stones, and uncountable collisions with curbs, it is no surprise that the tyres on a rally car need to be made of sturdier stuff. In a bid to avoid continuous punctures, manufacturers of rally tyres build them all with a thick sidewall. Some even contain added ribs on the exterior of the sidewall. They will all contain larger, thicker tread blocks, offering more grip during acceleration, braking, and cornering. Depending on the road surface, the temperature, and the length of the stage, you will also be required to pick a particular compound of tyre, either soft, medium, or hard.
If your see yourself throttling towards a career or hobby in rally driving, address some of these areas and get an edge in the race.