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FIESTA ST RACE CAR: THE RIGHT STUFF

FIESTA ST RACE CAR: THE RIGHT STUFF

Posted by Matt Bell on 2nd September 2020

This Mk6 Fiesta ST race car has the pristine appearance of a show-and-shine winner – but make no mistake, this super-light, super-powerful race car is incredibly serious. A fact proven by the way it just can’t stop winning races…

Power, it’s often said, is a matter of perspective. Across the generations, different manufacturers have approached the question of power from alternative angles; tweed-clad chaps in draughty hangars in Norfolk would espouse the virtues of ‘simplifying, and adding lightness’ by paring back mass to optimise the power-to-weight ratio, while sweaty men with hammers over in Detroit were shoving as much horsepower as they physically could into bulky two-tonne barges. But what if you were to combine these two approaches to create a vibrant automotive culture clash? You’d find this effervescent Fiesta race car sitting squarely in the middle; distilled down to a bare-bones weight of just 900kg all-in, it’s not exactly troubling the scales. This would be more than enough to make vivid use of the stock ST’s power output of 148bhp, but this particular car’s snorting out more than double that; 315bhp in fact, giving it a power-to-weight ratio of around 350bhp-per-tonne – the same as you’d find in a 911 GT3 RS.

Fiesta ST Race Car

“This car was originally built in 2010-11 by Anderson Racing Engines,” explains its owner, Phil Caza. “It was raced only a handful of times before being put into storage.” Phil was the perfect person to pick up the mantle, having a strong personal history of haring about in hot Fords: “I’ve owned them all my life,” he says. “I had a Mk1 Escort Mexico, a Mk2 Escort RS2000 custom, I wish I still owned them… I’m just a big petrolhead.”

So why a Mk6 Fiesta this time, after those old-school rear-drivers? Well, a large part of the decision-making process was informed by the ready availability of M-Sport parts for the platform, as Phil knew from the off that it would be a serious race car. Indeed, that’s what it was bought as, with further development work being subsequently carried out by AutoPro Motorsport.

Fiesta ST Race Car

The beating heart at the core of this racer is its jewel-like Anderson Racing engine, which doesn’t use forced induction to extract those galloping horses, but instead cranks it up the traditional way. The top end sports a fully worked race head with one-piece valves, Piper cams ground to Anderson’s unique specs, and a set of hungry Jenvey throttle bodies with a fat ITG foam filter. Below decks lurk forged Wossner pistons and steel rods, wedged crank and a comprehensively uprated fuelling system, including baffled tank with swirl pot and twin pumps. The motor sits on M-Sport mounts and barks through a Milltek race system; governed by an Omex 600 ECU, it was mapped for Sunoco race fuel by Chris at EFI Parts to produce its mighty and reliable numbers. “Chris really knows his craft when it comes to mapping cars, his attention to detail is second to none,” Phil assures us. The rev limiter’s currently set at 8,700rpm, although it’ll happily go to 9,200. This is a thoroughly impressive motor, built strong for maximum attack.

Fiesta ST Race Car

As part of the car’s evolution at AutoPro, Phil was keen to have a Quaife sequential transmission fitted and set up. “This was one of the biggest hurdles of the build,” he recalls. “This, along with the Geartronics flat-shift with load sensor and Geartronics gear indicator, had never been fully developed for this car to flat-shift the gearbox… but with the input of Mike at AutoPro and Chris at EFI Parts with the setup and mapping, this really brought the car alive. When you’re pulling 8,700rpm and you pull the lever to flat-shift, you really feel the power – and as you’re basically strapped to the rollcage, in the seat with full harness and neck brace, it’s a pretty visceral experience.”

The thing sounds completely insane – and it looks it too, thanks to M-Sport’s rally influence. The S2000 (or Super 2000) Fiestas were built to FIA specs for the WRC, and their aerodynamic and competition-bred developments translate very well to circuit racing too, as you can see by the fact that Phil’s car now runs an S2000 roof scoop as well as a full-fat S2000 rear spoiler. Gorgeous items, undoubtedly, but crafted for function rather than form.

Fiesta ST Race Car

“I raced the car in 2017 at a handful of meetings, knowing it was competitive,” Phil continues, “and after the further development work at AutoPro I raced in the 2018 Sprint Championship, coming in 1st place in every race I entered, and 3rd overall in the Speed Championship.” That’s a pretty astonishing set of results, and it’s as much down to the car’s stellar spec sheet as it is Phil’s skill and finesse behind the wheel. Underpinning this hot-to-trot drivetrain we find AST 2-way suspension, a comprehensive polybushing with Powerflex Black Series goodies, and AP Racing 4-pot brakes. These work with a Tilton pedal box with AP cylinders, and the rest of the interior is really a who’s-who of high-end race car essentials: within the lightweight fibreglass dash is an AiM MXL2 dashlogger, fed by the ECU to provide all the vital readouts. The sturdy rollcage is a pukka M-Sport affair, and what’s really impressive is how fastidiously clean it all is. It’s easy for race cars to fall into a pure function-over-form lifestyle, as they’re built to do a job rather than just looking pretty, but Phil’s impressively achieving both here. From some angles it’s almost hard to believe that this car ever finds itself launched into the filthy hellstorm of circuit racing, as it’s clean enough to be a trophy-winning show car. But rest assured, it gets used very hard indeed. And there’s something very cool about seeing a Mk6 hunkered down over little 15in wheels with slicks, isn’t there?

“I run these 19/57 Michelin slicks in the dry, or 185/580 Dunlop wets if need be,” he says. “Both tyres are mega; I can run the car flat in the rain, nothing touches this thing in the wet!”

The Fiesta certainly has huge presence, as evidenced by the endless stream of dropped jaws as we shoot the car in the garages at Ford Fair. “Everywhere I go, this car gets respect,” Phil grins. “It’s clear from all the attention it’s getting here at Silverstone, this Fiesta will out-drive most cars on the circuit – and that includes GT-Rs, Porsches, these high-powered Focuses… and all from a naturally-aspirated engine that sounds like a Hayabusa. No turbo required here, N/A all the way!”

Fiesta ST Race Car

The winning element of this car is that it works holistically as a perfectly refined package. The focus of the project hasn’t been purely on power, or on weight, or on any one element, but to ensure that everything works efficiently with everything else. It’s impressively powerful and very light, and the chassis has been carefully developed to ensure that it perfectly suits the power and allows Phil to deploy it to devastating effect. The relentless 1st-place podium finishes are testament to this: the car’s been built right, with the right parts, by the right people. It’s this inherent rightness which makes it a winner.

Tech Spec: Fiesta ST Race Car

Engine:

2.0-litre naturally-aspirated Anderson Racing engine, Wossner forged pistons, steel conrods, Jenvey throttle bodies with ITG foam filter, fully worked race head with one-piece valves, Piper Cams to Anderson Racing spec, wedged crankshaft, baffled fuel tank with 1-litre swirl pot, high- and low-pressure fuel pumps, large Mocal oil cooler with mini race fan, blue silicone race hoses, Airtec aluminium radiator, M-Sport engine mounts, Milltek big-bore 4-1 race manifold with race backbox (98db), Omex 600 ECU, mapping and flat-shift setup by Chris @ EFI Parts – mapped for Sunoco FR (E10) race fuel

Power:

315bhp

Transmission:

Quaife sequential transmission (Geartronics flat shift with load sensor/Geartronics gear indicator), AP race clutch pack, lightweight steel 7/14 flywheel

Suspension:

AST 2-way suspension, Powerflex Black Series bushes throughout

Brakes:

AP Racing 4-pot calipers, 295mm front discs, Mintex race pads, Tilton brake bias, Tilton pedal box with AP cylinders

Wheels & Tyres:

15in OZ Racing Ultraleggera wheels, 19/57 Michelin slicks or 185/580 Dunlop wets

Exterior:

Custom livery, M-Sport S2000 rear spoiler, M-Sport S2000 roof scoop, ACW Motorsport anti-scratch windows, modified air intakes

Interior:

M-Sport rollcage, AiM MXL2 dashlogger (with GPS timing, oil pressure etc – Omex 600 ECU feeds to dash for RPM, TPS, air temp, coolant temp etc), full race wiring loom – with fully functional lights and wipers, lightweight fibreglass dash, Recaro Apex bucket seat, OMP 6-point harness, M-Sport fibreglass front doorcards, OMP steering wheel, Touring Car quick-release steering boss, OMP aluminium fire extinguisher, Aliant lithium race battery

Feature taken from Fast Ford magazine. Words: Dan Bevis. Photos: Matt Woods

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