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27 August 2011

Is backwards the way forwards, and is it really backwards in any case?

TVR racecars are often going backwards. 400 bhp, circa 900kg and RWD mean that the cars often head off the circuit arse first, but that’s not what I’m on about here. What we are talking about here is the resurgence of the Rover V8. As another season draws to a close at Oulton Park (15th October) the drivers are facing another refresh or rebuild of their engines and cars and so parts and prices raise their ugly heads again.

As a Rover V8 racer chatting in the paddock, I was frankly amazed at the costs that the GpA AJP guys are facing. Cams and liners, pistons and heads are getting very expensive and to be frank, difficult to get hold of at all. TVR suppliers like Grantura Engineering, TVR Power, TVRcarparts and even Teams like Topcats Racing are doing a great job in having short runs produced to keep the AJP 8s and 6s going; but the relatively low numbers mean costs are high and when it comes to race parts like blocks and cams…seriously expensive. If the run has just run out…you might even have a long wait as well.

I’ve touched on this before in other articles and suggested that the Chevy route may be the preferred way, but now I’m not so sure. Several drivers has intimated to me that the Rover V8 is now well and truly back in the frame. It has several advantages.

1, Engine builders are not hard to find.
2, Parts are readily available…even race parts.
3, Lineage is good - Tuscans started with RV8s & GpB still use them.
4, Eligibility is good - GpB cars are now eligible for several other series/historics
5, Times are good - Campaigners like myself and Graham Walden are mixing with the GpA cars. (Though we do lack ultimate pace on the big circuits)

So you can see that it makes sense to look hard at the RV8 Tuscans. This was a major factor for me when buying my Tuscan. My dealings with Rovers in the Monster Griff meant I had a wealth of contacts, experience and confidence in the RV8 itself and infrastructure supporting it. I knew the racing would be keen with the other cars already out there and costs were a major issue – lets be honest. And so far I haven’t been disappointed.

In 2011 our pace has been good, the racing has been the best and closest I have experienced, and the car has been a joy to drive. Only time will tell if the Rover V8 Tuscan will make the full resurgence that I suspect they will, but with my experience this year and if the mutterings around the paddock continue…I reckon “B” will be the place to be over the coming years.

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