From part exchange to race car
This year Porsche will be holding a competition to restore and race a 986 Boxster S. Called the Porsche Restoracing Classic it will include a race series which will be run by PCGB.
The competition has been organised by Porsche and will enable all main dealers to purchase a 986 S and completely restore it into a track car which will then compete in 3 races throughout the year. This will culminate with the final race at the Brands Hatch Porsche Festival in August.
I have very kindly been invited to be involved in the project with the Jardine Group who own Porsche Cambridge,Colchester, East London and the soon to open Porsche Centre South London. They will be joined by the Porsche recommended body shop in Witham Coachworks who will carry out the body & paint work.I will be following the progress of the car's restoration from purchasing to the final race and will each month update you.
The criteria for the competition includes that the car must be a 1999 – 2004 3.2S model and must be modified or fitted with:
A manual gearbox and either 17” or 18” OEM wheels.
Porsche genuine hard top
FIA approved roll cage
FIA approved racing seat
FIA quick release fire extinguisher
Engine in 'standard' state of tune and turning out no more than 258bhp (at the flywheel)
Porsche OEM 986 brakes
Porsche OEM 986 suspension (standard or sports)
Car paint to be inspired by the Historic livery.
The competition is limited to 20 cars and the judging will be split into 3 elements. vehicle sourcing and preparation (mechanical & bodywork), marketing & display, and finally the racing itself.
Sourcing and stripping down
The chosen Boxster 986 S for the Jardine group entry was taken as a part exchange at Porsche Colchester in May 2017. It is a 2004 model in grey with circa 54,000 miles on the clock. Firstly the car has had to be stripped back to it's shell and this has been done at Porsche Colchester. In August, the shell was then taken to Witham Coachworks for preparation whilst the engine, gearbox and transmission has been shipped to Porsche Cambridge where it is having a full mechanical overhaul to make it track worthy. Finally, the brakes suspension,steering and ancillaries have all been sent to Porsche East London.
The colours chosen for the team car are the Martini inspired green,purple black and white livery .
After being dismantled at Porsche Colchester the shell was taken to Lancaster Witham Bodyshop to prepare it for the race competition.
On arrival the team had to research and design a colour theme. As previously reported the Martini theme was chosen and the livery was to be in green with purple, black and white stripes.
The complete body shell was then decontaminated inside and out with a jet wash. Next the removable parts including doors,bonnet, and engine sound insulation were removed. This left the shell ready for degreasing with solvent & glue removers.
Moving onto the condition of the car, a visual assessment was made which confirmed an excellent overall condition, however, a couple of very minor repairs were required and were made using a 2 pack filler. It was then ready for the body shell to be fully primed and manually sanded down ready for paint.
The main colour chosen for the the car was “Viper Green” and for an added touch of sparkle it was mixed with gold & green pearl. This was applied to the shell including the floor pans inside and out. The door panels,along with the bumper and roof were then painted and the first layer of clear coat was applied.
Once the car was reassembled and the panels refitted it was sanded down again and the Martini design graphics were then masked out. The main stripe was painted in “Pure White” ground coat which was then masked off . The “Ultra Violet” purple layer was then added followed by the “Schwarz” Black layer. With the masking tape removed the white coat was revealed.
The shell was then sanded down and clear coated twice more . Lastly the car was masked off one more time for a matt black paint “Schwarz” to be applied to the bonnet . To finish the design a “Lancaster “ centre stripe was added.
With the body work finished the car shell was put on display at Porsche Colchester and the next step was to deal with the engine and gearbox.
The engine and transmission assembly were supplied to us from Porsche Centre Colchester as one unit. In order to carry our initial assessment of the engine, gearbox and final drive the components were separated and passed to their respective technicians.
During the separation of the components it was identified that there was a hairline crack in the crank case close to where the gearbox bolts to the engine. This was duly noted for repair before reassembly should the rest of the crank case show no other signs of wear / fatigue. The next stage of the dismantle saw the inlet and exhaust manifolds removed. A number of the fittings were heavily corroded and this resulted in two sheared exhaust manifold studs in the cylinder head.
With all other ancillary components removed the cylinder heads were removed and then fully stripped for inspection. With the valve seats in good order the cylinder heads were sent away for the broken studs to be removed and then aqua blasting to give an as new finish.
With the cylinder heads away, close attention was paid to the crank case. It was identified that the original, smaller intermediate shaft was fitted. Taking this into consideration along with the hairline crack previously identified the view was taken to replace the bottom end of the engine with an exchange assembly from Porsche. This comes fully assembled with crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons and oil sump pan.
New valves were lapped in to the valve seats and once complete the cylinder heads were fully reassembled with new valve stem oil seals, oil scavenge pumps, spark plugs and genuine Porsche coil packs. With the cylinder heads reassembled they were fitted to the crank case and timed up accordingly.
Other components such as the starter motor, alternator and oil separator were cleaned, masked and spray painted to be in keeping with the other components.
To complete the reassembly the flywheel was refitted with a new clutch kit in readiness to fit the transmission.
The car had been road tested prior to dis assembly by the Team at Colchester Porsche and the gearbox had performed fine on the road. The track however will prove to be a very different prospect so this was kept in mind during our inspection.
The gearbox was dismantled in the following order: -
Rear casing and differential cover removed
Gear selector forks removed
Differential and output shafts removed
With the gearbox now in this position a thorough inspection could be carried out on the gears which all looked to be in excellent condition. Looking at the syncromesh assemblies and bearing, they also looked and felt fine. As mentioned previously the car will be driven hard and in a harsh environment, an environment that cannot be replicated on the bench.
With the gearbox casings away for aqua blasting the view was taken to replace the syncromesh assemblies on all forward gears which involved a full strip down of the gear shafts. During the reassembly of the shafts with the new syncromesh assemblies a full set of bearings were also fitted to ensure longevity and maximum reliability on the track.To complete the rebuild the gear assemblies were fitted back into the freshly aqua blasted casings. Once assembled gear selection was tested on the bench in readiness for the unit to be fitted back on to the engine.
One of the competition rules was that the car must be driven by two employees from the groups dealerships. At the time of writing Harry Gasson from Porsche Colchester and James Cannon from Porsche Cambridge have been nominated as designated drivers and both have been heavily involved with the restoration work.
STEERING, SUSPENSION & BRAKES
Stripped down front subframe axle and removed both front shock absorber struts, steering rack, radial arms & lower control arms, Brake caliper, pads & disc.
Stripped front hubs, removed wheel bearing, drilled out broken bolts for brake disc back plates & ABS sensors
Stripped steering rack tie rod ends, removed Gaiter’s to check rack and seals not leaking.
Examined all Front bushes and joints.
Stripped down rear stub axle and removed both rear shock absorber struts, radial arms & lower control arms, Brake caliper, pads, disc, park brake shoes & handbrake cables.
Stripped rear hubs, removed wheel bearing, drilled out broken bolts for brake disc back plates & ABS sensors
Examined all rear bushes and joints.
Sent stripped stub axles, wheel bearing hubs and front subframe away for sand blasting and powder-coating.
Sent brake calipers away for reconditioning with new seals & bleed nipples replaced.
Rebuilt front & rear suspension with following new parts as follows:
Fitted new all four wheel bearing and new ABS sensors
Fitted new park brake shoes, shoes spring kit & handbrake cables
Assembled Tequipment sports suspension kit front & rear with coil springs and top mounts.
Refitted suspension struts to wheel bearing hubs
Replaced with new parts: Both front Lower control arms, radial control arms
Replaced with new Steering tie rods ends, gaiters & ball joints.
Reused steering column shaft
Examined Drive shafts, cleaned and refitted.
All bolt, nut, washers & eccentric bolts were replaced.
Prepared front and rear suspension ready for marriage with vehicle.