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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been working on a purpose-built race car this past year with the intention of competing in the newly formed "Sport Touring" (ST) class within the International Conference of Sports Car Clubs (ICSCC) here in the Pacific Northwest. I've also been threatening to document and share this experience much as Jes and John have over the years (although with far less technical detail), but never seem to find the time. I still don't have much time right now, but I thought I'd just start with a bit of background and a few pictures to get this thread going.

I'd like to also mention that I've been fortunate with this project in terms of support and guidance from some very awesome folks, including:

Group2 Motorsports <http://www.group2motorsports.com/>
Tele Veloce
425 Motorsports <http://www.425motorsports.com/>
Blue Dot Fabrication <http://www.bluedotfab.com/>
AJS Design
Copperfin <http://copperfin.com/>

The boys at Group2 Motorsports here in Seattle and I sat down last summer and discussed the possibility of building a couple of Milanos to run in a production or spec class within ICSCC. Chris Benny and I had gone through the ICSCC license process and rented a few cars last year, running in Pro3 (a spec BMW e30 class) and E Improved Production to get a sense for the cars that were competing. We were looking for a place for our Milanos. We thought perhaps the EIP class would be a good fit, but with our Girodisc brakes and RSR suspensions we were already outside the maximum requirements.

The Sport Touring class was just starting up last year as a provisional class, with very few limitations in terms of upgrades across the board but with a 10-to-1 weight/power requirement and absolute minimum weight of 2400lbs (now being changed to 2200lbs for 2012). This seemed like a perfect home for our Milanos. So, I found a donor car for me, and Chris was finally going to take his track car to the next level. I'll interject more of this class and conference info throughout the following posts, so let me get into the heart of the project.

I found a 1988 (or maybe it's an '87, can't remember) that was owned by a good friend and local Alfisti, so I bought it and rolled her on a trailer and parked her at Group2 as the planning and tear-down got under way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Tear-Down Phase

Wow what a strenuous, aggravating and dirty friggin job this is...! But the guys at Group2 were super generous with their shop space, their time, and their incredible knowledge. I practically live there (mostly still outside in the parking lot at this point) while I hacked and scraped, and tore everything out of that poor little Milano.

The car was finally allowed into the shop in order to remove the engine, TA and pretty much everything but the wheels. Then she was rolled down the street to be pressure washed inside and out and underneath.

Then we started really getting serious, cutting out as much weight as possible such as inner door skins, superfluous brackets and hangers, and extra metal where ever we could find it. Later, we make deeper cuts to weight by drilling holes in as many places as possible. This clean-up of extra metal was also done in preparation for the full cage and seam welding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Tear-down phase, cont'd

More cutting and then seam welding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Seam welding and cage building

Just a couple more shots of the seam welding, and then on to cage prep and building. Ben, Chris, and Rick helped a ton both in terms of their expert guidance (and crash course on those serious shop tools!) and their hands-on help. They brought in an amazing veteran race car builder from a shop down the street, Dean Starks. His approach to building cars and cages is mind-blowing, his skill is ridiculous, and he's a super nice guy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Cage building

More cage building.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Cage building, cont'd

With Chris and Ben's input on the particulars of the Milano chassis, intense study of the ICSCC rule book, and a bunch of creativity and skill, Dean set out to build a very strong, safe, and light roll cage... with a couple of very cool little unique flares.
 

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awesome pics, keep them coming!
 

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love the cage

+1

What is the thinking behind the welded in brace under the dashboard? Will that be tied into the cage? Are their any limitations as to what kind of cage the rules in your class allow?

~Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Thanks guys, I've got tons of pictures and plan to get as many up as possible, in chronological order and with as much commentary as I can.

Desmo, there are quite a few very specific criteria and regulations to building a cage per the ICSCC rule book. A great deal of the verbiage for most of the ICSCC classes is taken directly from SCCA safety regs, the basics being a maximum of 6 connection points within the cabin. The ST class is a production-based class, so the cage/safety regs are specific to production cars with a few specific allowances such as bars extending through the firewall into the engine compartment. The rules are so specific that the surface area of each pad has to be within a certain amount of total inches, but luckily there is always room to exploit even rules like this if you have a smart fabricator.

The horizontal bar below the dash I believe is a pretty standard requirement in most classes, as it acts as head-on and front corner collision protection particularly from front wheel intrusion. It also adds a ton of rigidity the way we decided to install it, spanning the entire width with the forward bars attached instead of the other way around (horizontal bar attached inside the forward vertical bars). If I recall, these two pads do not count toward the 6 connection points.

Mirko
 

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nice

Ok. I see what he had in mind. The last time I had a cage built, the class I was in only allowed a 6 point cage - it could only be attached to the unibody at 6 points. In the production and GT classes, competitors would weld the cage to the A and B pillars and suspension pick-up points to further stiffen the structure. My cage had a cross bar under the dash connecting the forward tubes, but we could not do what you did. That is going to add a ton of strength.

~Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Many hours later, seam welding and cage are complete, priming for paint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Paint and primer the interior

I decided to paint the interior white because the plan for exterior is red with all white trim/graphics (ala the 155 DTM car of Nannini #7). The engine bay and trunk are painted the standard grey.

Roll cage was extended into the engine bay through the firewall with two connection points (separate from cabin connection points per ICSCC rules), and pass-through attachments along the strut towers. We also cut out the trunk and fabricated a super cool fuel cell structure that is amazingly lightweight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Engine bay and trunk

We took some notes from the placement of JVR's forward bars, made a couple minor adjustments to suit our needs. We ultimately decided to drop the fuel cell flush with the trunk floor just behind the DeDion, taking advantage of the lower center of gravity vs the balance of mounting directly over the axle. This was a debate, and there probably isn't a wrong way between these two locations, ultimately just personal preference.
 

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Your car is starting to look a lot like Jes's car (Roxanne).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Your car is starting to look a lot like Jes's car (Roxanne).
Thanks, I absolutely will take that as a compliment!

Mirko
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Parts and Pieces

So the most amazing aspect of this whole process, as I look back on the various stages of progress, is the fact that I have literally removed, cleaned, repainted, refurbished, or replaced absolutely every nut and bolt on this car. Not to say that others before me haven't done this (and done it better and more thoroughly than I), but for a guy who isn't terribly mechanical and skilled with the shop tools I'm pretty happy with the work.

The car was a non-driver and sitting for at least a couple of years, so we had no idea whether anything worked and what condition any of the "usual suspect" parts were in (bearings, seals, gaskets, and assorted rubber, etc.). Well, we had a pretty good idea, it was all crap!. So all the suspension, driveline, TA/motor mounts, joints and such parts were replaced with new. Everything else was either sand blasted or hand scrubbed and repainted.
 

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Nice work!

Someday I will take apart my Milano down to the last nut and bolt...

~Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Parts and Pieces cont'd

A few more items.

Here are a few more shots as we refurbished shifter, and shots underneath as we installed the customized "GTV-6/short-shift linkage/rod. I bought the TA from Bill Sims who was using it for an Autocross Milano, and the TA, clutch and shift linkage were all done by Richard Jemison. More details on the TA to come.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Someday I will take apart my Milano down to the last nut and bolt...

~Chris
Yeah, it's been my dream for the street Verde too. But now knowing what I know, eesh...!

Mirko
 
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