Well I'm resurrecting my build thread due to a few *small* updates and changes. I apologise for not keeping it up to date for a long time, buying a house. Moving 200 miles across the country and not really doing much with it meant lack of updates. But I’m back.
Having won 2 Championships with the Starlet as it was in 1.3NA form. I decided I needed more power and an update.
The problems I faced was if I just stuck a turbo on my NA engine were blowing it up as I got greedy with boost and it puts me in a class in the Toyota Sprint with other cars that would be far out of reach to even compete due to how the regs and engine sizes work.
Long story short… after spending a winter porting, polishing and getting it back together to find it just smoked badly, twice. I decided a different route was the only option. Having run out of time with only 1 week to go before the first Sprint, I decided to just get a stock engine and sling it in for now. I ran the whole year on a free engine I knew little history about and managed to win the championship again. But now I really was after more power and wanted to make sure the effort was worth it!
Doing some research and looking around I realised the best way to go class and regs wise was a naturally aspirated bigger engine up to 1.8. The Yaris T Sport 1NZ-FE engine was an option or a 5efhe. But this was almost impossible to find al the parts needed to make this happen. The only other real contender was the 2ZZ-GE from a Corolla T Sport. The 2zz-ge is also only around 10 - 15kg heavier than 4efe with it being an Aluminium block. With moving the battery to the rear, the front end weight wasn’t much heavier than stock.
I spoke with Fensport Performance and they agreed it would be a fantastic idea and were happy to take it on.
I sourced a MOT failure Corolla T sport with a failed clutch which I managed to get very cheap, it was low mileage, engine was in great condition and been serviced very well. Both cars dropped off at Fensport for some initial measurements, plans and different ways we could make it fit and work.
We decided to try and use as much stock parts from the corolla as possible. Being a sprint and track car it needed to be easy to fix, quick to fix and not use many custom parts. Also being a track car we didn’t mind widening the track a little bit and using standard Corolla drivetrain up front. So we could use standard hubs, driveshafts, mounts and brakes. Then running wider arches to cover the wheels that we’re now sticking out a bit. 50mm spacers and more aggressive offset wheels on the rear meant the back came out to match the front.
The initial plan was to use the standard management from the corolla to run the engine. But once we started going down this route it was starting to look like a lot of work, to even just get the original loom out, cut down and spliced in with starlet was considerable labour time. The ECU then needs to be sent off to be unlocked so the starlet immobiliser works. Or start swapping over ignition barrels etc. We decided to just go for a standalone ECU and new loom as this worked out far easier in labour but gave us much more flexibility. We could gain more power, some nice track features and safety. ECU we chose was the Link G4+ Monsoon. This gives us all the tuning we require and twin VVTLI control.
As with all these kind of builds and engine swaps it wasn’t so straight forward, a lot of custom fab work, fitting and adjusting to get it all to sit and align correct. Making sure everything was strong, safe and could take the impact of some serious track time. It did mean we missed the first 2 rounds of the Championship, however I had a spare car to use so managed to retain some points, plus you can drop 2 rounds as part of the championship anyway.
The time came and they told me it was ready, mapped and tested the day before the Anglesey round. We quickly got an MOT on it, insured and taxed I went and picked it up!
Driving it home on the roads was an absolute hoot. The way it picks up speed is just insane, it revs right round to over 8k rpm and just keeps accelerating, loads more torque low down than standard map in the standard car! Full Custom exhaust sounds incredible. I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so fast, I drove the Corolla T sport and was impressed but all the action seemed to be in lift above 6200rpm. But with the mapping and bringing in the lift earlier it's just a blast to drive now. With only around 850kg too it just picks up and feels epic. It tops out the stock starlet speedo in 4th gear and carries on pulling through 5th and 6th.
The next day at anglesey I went and beat my previous lap time by 11 seconds straight off. This was a damp lap with very limited seat time. Easily another 5 seconds in the car once I’m used to it.
It’s begging for an LSD now and some new tyres. Handling wise it was fantastic, other than the fact I was missing all my braking points and turn ins. The Anglesey back straight out of Church and up to Rocket with the 1.3NA I was hitting a top speed of around 90mph if I was lucky and the wind wasn’t against me at the top of the hill. This year I was closing on 120mph before I bailed and got on the brakes. Corolla brakes stopped it great but there wasn’t many corners I was getting right. Missed one corner completely and had to bail on the grass. But it’s a learning curve and with it being a wet day it was hard to really push and find where the grip and edge was. A little bit of understeer mainly caused by the extra speed I was carrying and the track being damp. An LSD should help a lot. Hairpins was just a riot for the inside tyre!
But I can’t thank Fensport Performance enough for their hard work, mapping and push to get it done. It realistically only had about 4 weeks work on it. Rest of the time was planning, ordering parts, awaiting workshop space etc. They’ve done a brilliant job, it drives fantastic, didn’t have to put a spanner on it all day and Tom Hudson at Fensport has done a superb job on the mapping! I’m actually tempted to put full size wing mirrors on it and drive it about on the road as a daily for a bit!
Below are some photos, a couple of youtube videos. Bare in mind the youtube video was probably my 4th time driving the car in anger on track and the first time I’d driven it on a *drying track*. My lines, turn in, braking points are all bad and a mess.
My Fastest (Still very messy) Lap.
And my small Whoops where I missed the breaking point completely. Realising I was doing 40mph more than I had been the previous years!
P.S - I’m now also trying to find a 6 point cage if anyone has one they want to sell, ideas on where to get one or fabricated. I want to try and avoid the 8-10 week deliverey, expensive cusco bolt in one.