R20 BTG - 200 Cup Track Car Blog

You hit the nail on the head there Iain, I'm more comfortable doing the chasing. I think it's because I'm always wondering what the person behind is up to and lose concentration! :sweatsmile:

Was fantastic to finally get a ride in the beast, as I've said to you before, it's a brilliant car and I enjoyed my passenger ride a lot.

I had a little giggle to myself when the wipers kept coming on, a testament to how stiff the car is!
Signing on was a bit of a chore, nothing to do with the organising but just the amount of people that hadn't read the pre-emails about the briefings,
Drives me mad!
I had an email, which quoted the email I had sent to everyone a week before the event, saying "I didn't get the sign on links, can you send them. 5 lines down on the email it explains exactly how to get them and the reason they may not have arrived!
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So, now onto the bad news. I noticed on the sighting laps that the gearbox was whining in 4th gear. This got worse over the course of the day and led to:

- Whining in all gears
- Syncro crunch in 3rd > 2nd downshifs
- Very rattly at idle, noise goes away when clutch is fully depressed

It sounds like something is rattling around inside the clutch casing. It's booked in next week to have the gearbox dropped and opened up to diagnose. FML.

Another long overdue update...

Last time I updated the thread was after the Croft track day in early May where I had gearbox problems. The car was dropped off at my local mechanic for strip down and diagnosis of the issue. The issue was clear pretty much immediately when the drain plug was removed and nothing came out. All symptoms point to the gearbox being run dry. Significant signs of overheating on 3rd, 4th and 5th gears, snapped 5th gear synchro ring and lots of teeth missing on the ring. The horrid noise in the video above was likely 4th gear scraping on the shaft as it tried to rotate around the shaft. The plastic cage holding the roller bearings had melted due to the heat.

Not sure where the oil was, because there is no sign of any leaks and nothing on my garage floor. :think:


Thankfully the clutch, flywheel and gripper diff were not damaged, so they were retained. Instead of trying to source replacement parts to repair this gearbox, and risk unknown heat damage to other components the decision was made to find a whole replacement gearbox.

Ben from the TrackBaguettes (@Lawton438) messaged me via Nathan (@RSRowe) to say that he'd acquired two gearboxes that he was planning to keep as spares. He said I could have one of them for the same great price he'd paid. Furthermore, he offered to open it up and do an inspection and refresh some parts for me, and build it back up. I'm very grateful for his assistance, so the Gripper diff was boxed up and sent to him, and an order was placed at Pure Motorsport and Renault:

- 3rd/ 4th syncros complete with hub slip ring
- new 5th gear synchro
- new input shaft bearing
- new shaft bolt
- new diff bearings
- new driveshaft seals

Ben assembled everything and I drove 1h30m to collect, and then dropped it back at my mechanic for reinstallation - this time with some gearbox oil in it.

Whilst the subframe was off, Josh Wheeler announced his first batch of solid subframe mounts so it made sense to do that at the same time.


Website description:

"This kit allows you to solid mount the front subframe on your Clio 3RS, achieving a much stiffer more accurate front end and adjusts the roll centre as per the factory cup racer cars which were raced in Clio cup series.

6 bush kit consisting of…

• 2 main rear bushes (CNC machined mild steel)
• 4 front bushes (CNC machined mild steel)
• 2 weld on strengthening rings (laser cut mild steel)

This kit is unique in the fact that it utilises the standard front subframe arms saving money and complexity. The kit is designed to replace all the impossible to buy new worn-out rubber bushes on your subframe. After completion of installing the kit into your subframe the subframe will bolt back up as per the OEM setup with original hardware.

The kit requires the old bushes to be pressed out and the new steel items welding in"

These were welded in and the subframe was given a powder coat:


I collected the car this weekend and gave it a wash after sitting in a workshop for 3 weeks it was a bit grubby.


I had my tyres mounted in advance of the Nurburgring trip and took the opportunity to test-fit the Braid Fullrace wheels:




Pretty happy with how it looks actually, gives it a nice refreshed look. With PS4 tyres these are now effectively my 'wet' setup. I also bought a set of MRF tyres from @NickD and had them mounted on the OZ Ultraleggera:


With the subframe being raised 4mm I thought it sensible that the geometry was re-checked so it is booked in with Paul Roddinson in Sheffield. Then it's the long overdue trip to the Nurburgring where R20 BTG can finally earn a 'Ring sticker.

All in all, a very, very expensive few weeks.
All those synchro parts rattling around explains the horrendous noises at Croft then! Glad you're finally sorted and just about ready for a trip to the Green Hell!

Looking forward to our next outing, hopefully with mine having a few parts thrown at it, I'll feel more comfortable holding you up around the track :tearsofjoy:
Hopefully that’ll be the end of it now :tearsofjoy:

Looking forward to getting away. I’m hopeful we’ll get some good pics together
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That is a fine looking car Sir.:thumb:
Look forward to the Ring pics.
onwards and upwards
love the detail in the posts on this project - incredibly helpful for us amateurs trying to copy bits :smiley: (or avoid problems in the case of your gearbox...)

What's the wheels you're running on track? I've got the 200 cup wheels but they do seem a little lost in the wheel arches - when i bought the car it had spacers, i just didn't fancy using those on track. yours in the photos seem to look better :think:

Looks like lots of people are using one of the various renault types for track - which i assume would make the barrier to entry (cost) much lower vs brand new team dynamics etc.

I have three sets of wheels;

2 x OZ Ultraleggera (17 x 8J ET55)
1 x Braid Fullrace A (17 x 8J ET50)

I think this is the perfect wheel size for the Clio, no spacers required either on the hub or the stub axle and will take a 215/45, 225/45 or 235/40 tyre just fine.

I agree with you that the OEM wheels don’t sit well in the arches unless you space them out, which I didn’t want to do on a track car.

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Nurburging Trip July 2022

I'd had the CD track day booked since early 2021 but couldn't travel due to Covid restrictions. Finally managed to get out there for the first time with the Clio. Managed to blag a trailer upgrade to a RT6, total overkill for the Clio but looked the part.




Don't think I'll bother again, as whilst it was nice to have everything under cover and secure, I could feel the difference in drag. They're not aerodynamic at all and my fuel economy for the entire trip was 17mpg. Ouch.

Got there Thursday lunch and had an hour's kip before TF. The intention was to head out for a couple of steady laps to check out the circuit (haven't been since 2019) and get used to the Clio. That was all going to plan until a German registered white 200 came up behind me, and I decided to get on it. Best laid plans and all that...








The car felt amazing from the minute I was on track, I don't know whether it was the solid subframe mounts, roll centre correction, tweaked toe settings or the brand new MRF tyres (or a combination of all of the above) but the front end felt fantastic. Went exactly where I pointed it.

I had the German 200 pegged for pace but raindrops appeared on my windscreen halfway round the second lap, and with a thunderstorm threatening all day I wasn't going to risk binning it the evening before a full day track day so I backed off and let him past.

Coming into the car park I experienced a horrible grinding and catching sound when on the brakes at slow speed. I was convinced it was coming from the front so took out the pads and had a look. I'd fitted Pure Track titanium shims so thought it might be that. Took my mate out and he immediately said it was coming from the back of the car. We had a look and the rear caliper was missing one bolt completely, and the other one was finger tight. The caliper was rotating with the force of braking and catching the inside of the wheel. This could have been much much worse if I'd have locked a rear wheel on track. Lucky escape. I think I'll do my own checks from now on instead of relying on others to maintain the car.


R4R managed to source a bolt the same size and thread pitch so I sorted that in the hotel car park on Friday morning. Only had a couple of beers Thursday eve as I wanted to be fresh for Friday's track day.


Friday didn't start very well for someone. Immediately after the sighting laps there was a red flag. I didn't see the incident but I'm told an M2 lost it at big speeds through Tiergarten and took out an M3 in the process, bouncing along the barrier and dropping fluids on the right hand side of the track. It took the marshals about an hour to clean it up and reopen.

Here are my first three warm up laps. The rear camera decided it didn't want to work.

Lap 1 - There was another long yellow flag zone from the exit of T13 through to Hatzenbach where the marshalls were clearing up yet another crash where a Focus RS had stoved it into the barrier.
Lap 2 - This time a flying lap along the Döttinger-Höhe but still conscious of the fluids on the outside of Tiergarten. Slow zone from T13 to Hatzenbach still ongoing.
Lap 3 - Slow zone had cleared but still conscious of the fluids at Hatzenbach.

Bridge to Gantry (BTG) times:

Lap 1 - 9m 39s
Lap 2 - 9m 18s
Lap 3 - 8m 53s

Really chuffed I put in my first sub 9 minute BTG lap on only the third lap of the day. There's plenty of time left in this car!

My second session was only 2 laps long. Again the rear camera decided it didn't want to work, neither did the data logger. Yay.

Lap 1 - This was a lovely clear lap. I was a bit more confident that the the fluids on the outside of Tiergarten weren't an issue. I need to be braver at Mutkurve as this loses me a lot of uphill time. Yellow flag coming through the fast bit at Pflanzgarten slowed me right down which otherwise would have been a nice clear fast lap.

Lap 2 - Spotted @RSRowe coming up behind me on the Döttinger-Höhe so tagged onto the back of him for a lap. Lost quite a lot of time through Miss-Hit-Miss and Breidscheid due to another Clio. Lost more time through Brunchen due to traffic. Traffic through Pflanzgarten again, another Clio. Ended up being a 8m 46s lap.

Lap 1 - 8m 59s (yellows at Pflanzgarten)
Lap 2 - 8m 46s

Session 3 was fun in true track baguette fashion :french::german: - I've done a few days with @RSRowe now and I think we have a very similar skillset and we're starting to trust each other in close proximity so I had no problem driving close. A bonus is that the rear facing camera and data logger had sorted out their shit and decided to work. These were probably the clearest laps of the day (but still time left on the table due to traffic).

Lap 1 - Chased by Nathan who had to back off early in the lap due to an in-car issue. He caught up again when I hit traffic at Aremberg. Stuck my hazards on at Adenau Bridge as there had been a crash and stoppage earlier and a lot of fluid on the track. This was the first time through this section after lunch so was a bit cautious as to the grip levels through this section. Traffic again through Pflanzgarten!!

Lap 2 - I let Nathan lead on the Döttinger-Höhe so I can have a chase lap. Lost a lot of time coming through the Foxhole and into AF. Again just taking it easy through Adenau Bridge due to the fluid/sand debris on track. Again hitting traffic at just the worst time through Pflanzgarten.

Lap 3 - I keep behind as the chase car again. Nathan lets me through just before Flugplatz. Yellow flags out into the Foxhole for a Clio 182 that has had an incident through the fast section. We catch a Megane R26 and I manage to squeeze through after Miss-Hit-Miss. Nathan wasn't so lucky and got stuck behind for the rest of the lap. Not cool.

Bridge to Gantry (BTG) times are below.

Lap 1 - 8m 46s
Lap 2 - 8m 47s
Lap 3 - 8m 58s

Session 4 was my first one with a passenger. The extra weight is noticeable and manifests itself as understeer and lack of pace on the uphill sections. Rear camera didn't work again! Pretty messy laps due to yellow flags.

Lap 1 - Pretty light traffic until the yellow flag approaching Klosteral this was for a breakdown at Hohe Acht. Track went green after Hohe Acht. Caught the BMW at the entrance to Pflantzgarden then some questionable decision making by the driver through the fast section, you don't want to be braking there!

Lap 2 - managed to negotiate traffic without too much time loss. Again I need to be much braver at Mutkurve! Yellow flags were still out at the Karusell for the a stopped car at Hohe Acht plus the slow moving recovery which we caught at Brunchen.

Bridge to Gantry (BTG) times are below.

Lap 1 - 9m 16s
Lap 2 - 9m 09s

Session 5 was my final one as the track day came to a close at 4.30pm. I'd been trying to get out with Lewis in his genuine X85 Cup Racer (R200 BTG). The footage is funny as it shows me doing two back to back laps with the intention of coming in, but then I spot Lewis and Terry (ZeroPointOne Golf) heading out for a lap, so I do a last minute diversion and chase.


Lap 1 - A nice uninterrupted run for the most of the lap. Got blocked by the red Golf just as we entered Pflantzgarden!

Lap 2 - best lap of the day. Lovely little slide on the brakes into Aremberg! Yellow flags at Ex-Muhle for the recovery truck which cost a few seconds. I can't keep with the M140 uphill but manage to catch up again on the run through Wipperman and Brucnhen but them get help up through Pflantzgarden again! What is it about that section and traffic! Seems to be my nemesis.

Lap 3 wasn't planned but then I saw Lewis going out in his X85 Cup Racer and decided to have a chase. "Sorry, but I've gotta do it".

Terry (ZeroPointOne) joined in his Golf GTI. I had a close call between T13 and Hatzenbach with a Cayman, I hadn't seen him and was taking the racing line left and he thought I was letting him through and stuck it up the inside. A last minute swerve saved any contact. The X85 Cup Racer is quicker out of the bends due to the Sadev box and shorter gear ratios but I can reel him in on the brakes and through the corners. He was on slicks, I was on ZTR. I lose them both up the long drag to the Karusell, but then we meet up again and have a good chase through the last bit of the lap. Held up by a Civic Type R at, you guessed it, Pflantzgarden again!

Bridge to Gantry (BTG) times are below.

Lap 1 - 8m 46s
Lap 2 - 8m 44s (best of the trip)
Lap 3 - 8m 58s

Watching the footage there's definitely a sub 8:30 lap in the car. I need a clear lap without traffic, no passenger and just to be a bit braver in a couple of places. I'm super happy though to be lapping consistently under 9 minutes.

I did a couple of laps on the Saturday night TF session but it was too hot, too many dickheads, far too many crashes and they shut the track early. I loaded the car up, got on the beers and celebrated a mega trip.



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Great trip. Me looking through my excuses book for being slow….


I’d kinda lost a bit of love for the Clio recently. But all I wanna do now is spend more money and join you out there in October.
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