Escort GT Road Race Car | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)

Escort GT Road Race Car

Discussion in 'Autocross & Road Racing' started by drsheep, Aug 10, 2008.

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  1. drsheep

    drsheep New Member

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    I have a 1986 Escort GT that I plan to road race in the future. The current plans are to replace the broken glass, finish the conversion to manual steering, and get the clutch working as it should. Then I will get it out for a few autocrosses to shake it down before we reinstall a stock dash and get some serious rubber so I can join the Midwest Council ITB race class at Blackhawk Farms Raceway in Illinois!

    If anyone has any experience racing 1st gens any and all advice would be appreciated.

    [​IMG][/img]
  2. Conechaser

    Conechaser New Member

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    I don't have any exp. with 1st gen Escorts... but i'm an ex SCCA club racer (SSC and ITA Neon)
  3. aeronca65t

    aeronca65t Guest

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    I have been racing a second generation Escort for the last year.

    I built the car intending to run it in the Grassroots $2007 Challenge (which means I couldn't spend more than $2007 to build it). Due to work commitments, I never got to run the Challenge, but I have run it in a bunch of track days, enduros and general wheel-to-wheel sprint races (mostly with NASA). I ran a 4-Hour night event with it last Fall at Summit Point.
    To be honest, I have a lot less than $1000 in it and it has been great fun....great "bang for the buck" (I also vintage race an old Austin Healey Sprite which requires more maintenance, but is also fun).

    First: You have about the same garage space as I do (I'm always jealous when I see folks who have gigantic garages and tons of work space). :p
    One of my biggest problems woking on the car is "not enough room to do stuff". But I manage and you will too!

    Second: Why ditch the power steering? My power steering belt broke in one event and I drove for almost an hour with no power assist. I'm 6', about 190 lbs and reasonably strong. I was exhausted afterwards. It's your call, but I think it power steering may make you faster. Remember, all the NASCAR guys run power steering and most road course racers with front drive cars do too. This question reminds me of the Chevrolet Corvette factory team that ran the 24 Hours of LeMans last year. Those cars had air conditioning! It may sound kind of stupid for a race car to have air conditioning, but it made the drivers more comfortable and as a result, they drove faster. Don't forget: YOU are part of the package too...it's not just all about the car. Some years back, I was more of a junk food eater, especially on race weekends. No more! These days I drink plenty of water and juice and bring healthy snacks to the track with me....it makes me faster!

    Third: My car is largely stock. It doesn't even have a header. The thing I do to "race prep" my car is to check and double check stuff all the time. I'm always rechecking lugnuts, engine mounts, brake hoses, coolant level, etc. (the belt problem I had last year was a result of someone else working on the car....now I double check everyone else's work). Stick with *basic* maintenance and focus on that. Don't spend all your time (and money) putting in that double-wizzbang-turbo-what-cha-ma-call-it. A basic, stock Escort with decent tires will do fine for entry level track days. I am still running stock shocks and just cut-down stock springs.

    Fourth: One of my favourite add-ons is an adjustable shift light. From Summit racing (for about $33). I still have the stock tach but don't use it that much. When things get "busy" on the track (like when you are in the middle of about 10 cars) the shift light allows you to focus "outside" the windshield :) ....a Good Thing. And don't go crazy on RPMs. That won't make you fast. As a student-racer, concentrate on smooth style with good turn entry and ext. Keep your max RPMs to 5500 or so for now.

    Fifth: If you haven't already, learn to heal and toe......if you race against someone who can't do it, it's like having an extra 20 horsepower.

    I have a pretty decent digital manual of basic race driver techniques (from the BMW club). If you want, I can e-mail it to you

    To see my car, go here:

    http://liverpoolmotorclub.tripod.com/escort.html

    G'luck!
  4. drsheep

    drsheep New Member

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    Thanks for the advice!

    I have more garage space then what it looks. There is a whole single garage door side of the garage dedicated to the Escort, but it currently is being shared with the parts car. As soon as I get that stripped of what I want it is going to the scrappers.

    It was not my choice to ditch the power steering, it came that way. All I have done to the car is replace the fuel pump. Once I get the glass in and get my safety updates done my only plans for the car are to keep it reliable. The ITB class I will be running in does not allow hardly any engine mods, and I plan to run it as stock as I can.

    This is not my first race car, although it is the first one I will get to the track with. I owned half of a 83 GTI but was always to poor to buy safety gear and pay the track fees, so we sold the car. My step father also has a Spitfire that he races when he can getting it running well, stupid English cars!

    I have not done any heel and toe but it is a skill to learn, I should start while driving around town in the beater. From my experience with autocrossing I never even used the tack, nor do I use it in day to day driving, but with the other cars on track I would not be surprised if I was unable to hear my own car well enough. I have a 5" tach in the car that mounts on top of the dash maybe that will be enough?
  5. piercemotorsports

    piercemotorsports FEOA Member

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    What a great car!! I too have raced the second gens but would consider a first gen---I like the body style. I wish you were closer to California, I would have done a cage for you cheap to get you going. I actually like the cars without the power steering---we get the pwr steering rack because of the quicker ratio-leave a little fluid in it and loop the lines together. We run a 225x45x15 tire in the front and none of us have any issues with doing an hour and a half stint during our enduro's. During the 12 hour last year I drove 4.5 hours of 6 and that was a little much, but doable. The gentlemen above lost his pwr steering during the event which makes it very difficult to steer because you have to move the fluid around through broken components- but with everything removed it takes the same effort as manual. For ITB I'd get the thing as lite as possible and then ballast it up to the minimum weight. See if you can find some 15 x 7's (I can't remember if they are legal??? Maybe 15 x 6's) and a 205x50x15 hoosier. It's all about momentum!!!!

    There's a first gen racecar hear on the forum built and driven by Diane or Dianna (?). I talked to her about shocks once and she was sharp and helpful. Also Buddy from wizard racing (also a second gen) may know how to get a hold of her/ or may have some ideas.

    Good luck!

    Jim
    www.piercemotorsports.com
  6. aeronca65t

    aeronca65t Guest

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    Yes, very true Jim.
    (assuming you have pretty much the same gear ratio for manual and power steering, that is)

    Anyway, I took some pictures of Don Z's first gen Escort running at the Duryea Hillclimb (in Reading, PA). I'll post them in another (new) thread.
  7. Number36Car

    Number36Car New Member

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    Building, racing a 1st Gen EGt

    Nial gave you some very good infor and advice there in all respects. he has, what, 20+ years racing experience, so, it can be trusted.

    As I am now 2.5 years into racing my #36 EGT, I can pass on some recent experiences with this generation, and, even set-up sheets for Blackhawk!

    tips:

    1. Organize everything. Your shop, tools, supplies, parts. If money is available, make duplicate sets of tools -- one for travel to the events, and one at your shop. At least, if you can't, put tools in rolling so you can transfer between event mechanics and home/shop work.

    2. Get and organize your camping gear. Same strategy. It really helps to have everything "together" when you need to travel and you know wherer everything is.

    3. Undoubtedly during each event you'll think of many things the car needs -- try and note them all and get to them ASAP once you get home. I have found if I wait a while before making repairs, adjusting things, improving stuff, suddenly it's the day before I need to leave and it seems nothing got done on it. Make each a 3-day weekend, using Monday as the repair day.

    4. remove all the excess weight from the car as rules allow. I need to lose 40-50 pounds from the driver's seat, myself ;)

    5. These cars can be made to handle. It takes coil-overs and good struts. Decent tires. Alignment. Proper set-up. Frequently a fellow driver on track will comment to me later how awell my car did in the turns. (slow as mud on the straights, though)

    6. You may need to get the factory service manuals, depending on your race club. I can guide you to these.

    7. An inexpensive code scanner helped me solve tenscious engine problems. Consider one.

    More later.
  8. Shaggie

    Shaggie FEOA Member

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    re building a 89 gt myself as well got the same auto crome cage i see as well i'll get some pics of the progress
  9. SgtRauksauff

    SgtRauksauff New Member

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    Pretty much everything's been said by others who know more than me.

    I'm just piping in because I've done a ton of lapping days and Time Attacks at BHF. I may very well even see you out there at some point in time this year, and if I do, I'll be sure to swing by and introduce myself. where are you located? If close enough, I might even be able to help out with some wrenching if you need it.

    The only thing I can say about racing at BHF, is make SURE you have enough oil in your pan to survive turn 3 at 70. At least for me, dead-nuts on the Full line was not enough to prevent a spun bearing on cyl. 1. :(

    But on the good side, it DID lead me to putting a GTX engine in the wagon, which is freakin' awesome!

    --sarge
  10. Racin_G73

    Racin_G73 FEOA Member

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    I'm going to revive this old thread, as I'm currently building an '82 EXP into a road racer.

    I'm planning to do the above-described power steering 'delete' (loop the line). And I've already stripped out everything from the interior but the gauges, steering wheel, pedals and wiring.

    I've got some time to work on other things, like bushings, bearings, brakes, etc.

    And I'm curious what tips any of you might have on setup. For example, is there a decent camber plate available for the US First Gen Escort/EXP/Lynx/LN7? What would you recommend for front camber? How about the rear?

    I saw mention of coilovers and struts... got any budget recommendations?
  11. Tracer-X

    Tracer-X FEOA Member

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  12. JOEG5982

    JOEG5982 FEOA Member

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    Just get a manual rack for the EXP. They are fine on a race car.
  13. Kurt Schriewer

    Kurt Schriewer FEOA Member

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    Did you ever get the car onto Blackhawk with all of the good advice above? I used to race a Fiesta in ITC in Michigan - weight reduction was the key. I used Shelby club track days for test and tune and they had no idea how a small front drive car could outhandle them on Waterford Hills, north of Detroit) - weight and BFG Comp TA tires with a little suspension tuning was the key.
  14. 93scortluv

    93scortluv Administrator Staff Member

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    well since the original poster has not been here since 2010 and this is a very old post. it's being locked. because it was bumped. it seems twice.
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