After the frustrations of not being able to race the Lancia at Snetterton and the running out of fuel on the last lap we turned our focus to the next race at Silverstone. With the new engine all ready to go we booked a test again at Snetterton for a bitterly cold and wet day. After running for over two hours in total, oil pressure was good and steady throughout and we headed over to Northamptonshire for the first weekend of scorching hot weather.
The Lancia was out first thing in the morning with the temperatures already in to the mid-twenties, we set out to put some good lap times with the new engine. Watching the oil pressure number like a hawk after a few laps the same pattern as before repeated its self. With the pressure down to 5 bar on power we pulled in to the pits and checked for obvious things like oil leaks and blown gaskets. All was clean and another 5 laps out on the circuit confirmed a repeat of the previous behaviour with the pressure dropping to just under 4 bar. We pitted the car, dropped the oil and found tiny pieces of metal in the bottom of the pan. Back at the workshop we found on dropping the sump, the main bearings had failed again and ruined the bottom of the engine.
This time something had to be done differently as clearly there was something fundamentally wrong with the engine. To this end the engine was stripped, the head pressure tested, skimmed and checked. A new block was also sourced, honed, checked and machined and re-built ready for being put in to the engine for yet another shakedown. As the engine needed running in this time around to bed in new piston rings, we took the car to the dyno. After an hour of gentle running, the boost and revs were increased and the bar beasted for another hour. The good news is that all the numbers looked good, the pressure remained high and it looked like we have solved the problem.
Before our trip to spa we invited a YouTuber called Petrol Ped to come and drive the Lancia. Ped had produced an excellent video driving three Lancia Delta’s back to back with one another; a limited-edition yellow Evo 2, a rally prepared 16v and another black Evo which had some modifications to the engine. I thought it would be a good way of getting a comparison between a standard, fast road, a rally prepared and then finally a race prepared car. We split the day in to two parts with Ped driving the race car in the morning, also acting as another shakedown, and then the afternoon we focused on a better dry weather setup. Petrol Ped’s video is up on YouTube and if you search for his channel you should find it easily enough. The good news for us was the car performed faultlessly and we were confident of having a good trip to Belgium without any issues.