Thorney Motorsport has been in the business of tuning cars for over 20 years and its fair to say we have seen our share of 'snake oil' products to emerge promising all kinds of performance gains. Oil additives, spurious petrol claims, engine flush treatments, pretty much all of them are there to expand the pocket of the garage rather than improve your car.
We are delighted to be able to support Ignacio Casale in his entry to the 2019 Dakar in his Yamaha YXZ1000 by supplying one of our FIA approved and certificated race cages. Ignacio, a Redbull supported athlete chose our cage to ensure the stiffest chassis as well as being in compliant with the notoriously awkward regulations.
We wish Ignacio and his team the best of luck in this grueling race and will be updating everyone on his progress here and on our social media pages.
Good Luck Ignacio!
For details on these FIA cages see here
To reflect the enhanced support we have had from Badgers Oak this season we decided to host a fun day out for them at Bruntingthorpe Training Ground. Bruntingthorpe is basically an airfield where you can use areas simply for fun and also a short course track to both try out cars and do some testing.
We decided to take Callums M3 as well as invite some of Badgers Oak guests along to have some fun in their own cars. Well the weather was not kind - it rained all day and the whole track had standing water everywhere but despite that everyone had a great time. We also got the chance to shake down our new Citroen C1 race car which will be racing next season.
Thanks once again to Badgers Oak and their support this season.
2018 Season report - BMW Racing
Over the past few weeks we've had a few people ask why we've not been releasing race reports this year and whilst we dont want to disappoint our followers we did have a couple of reasons why we havent.
The first reason is that Goodwood Festival of Speed and our Yamaha racing operation really did take a lot of time from us in terms of competing, we continued to support the other Yamaha drivers and teams of course and continued to develop the Dakar spec FIA race cars but it left little time (or budget for Yamaha racing).
The other reason was that our regular driver, Callum was jumping from a 120bhp Production BMW E30 to a 320bhp E46 M3 and if we are being honest we didnt want to put any pressure on us (or him in terms of results) for the first season.
Well we didnt need to worry, the season has been fantastic, not only in terms of Callums adapting to the higher weight and power of the E46 chassis but also in terms of what we wanted to achieve.
As well as a new car we were also trying different race series with the plan to move to longer distance racing (which suited Callums racing style) so we entered the 750 Motorclub Cartek sports series as well as a couple of others.
Overall the season has been excellent, Callum quickly got used to the car and other than an engine failure at Rockingham the car hasnt put a foot wrong which is always a question mark over a new build car, but we needn't have worried.
We have been trying different tyres, different set ups and generally using this season to get back used to the E46 M3, its been a while since we built 10 or so for the CSL Cup.
Last race of the season was the best, Callum went out in the pouring rain at a miserable Snetteron and whilst nervous he really made great strides in getting the best out of the car - as the race progressed you can actually see him getting quicker and quicker, it was a delight to watch.
So now we move to stage 2 of the plan, for this year the car was a basic spec, low power, high weight and no aero at all, over Winter the plan is to upgrade the brakes, add aero, drop some weight and then for 2019 enter the MSA Track Day Championship a series we enjoyed racing in before so are looking forward to it already.
Thanks as usual to our partners, this year Avant and Swift came on board (mainly for Goodwood FoS but stuck around for the circuit racing) and our growing band of shooting related partners via Silverstone Shooting Centre but special thanks to Badgers Oak, again mainly for the Goodwood support but their interaction has helped us open new areas of development that we would not have thought of.
2019 will be here before we know it and this time we cant wait.
We love sorting engineering issues, its part of the fun of what we do so when we come up with something that just cant be explained we do love a challenge.
Mclaren 12c (same applies to 650s) has a dry sump oil system with a catch tank that just happens to be buried right up behind the firewall next to the chassis, its hard to even see let alone get to. So when we get a 12c in with an oil leak from that area we are loathe to tell the owner that to get to it means the engine has to come out – 18 hours of work.
Anyhoo to cut a long story short the engine has to come out for another reason so when we take a look at the tank this is what we see – a nice neat hole.
Now it really does look like somehas just hole punched it, or its been pulled in from inside like a reverse alien but there is nothing around the area at all, its completely enclosed. Stumped.
Then the replacement arrives, hmmm, there seems to be a nice little seam weld at the exact point the old one has a hole in it – that seems a little suspicious. We send a few images off to a few people to be given blank looks and ‘oooh, whats that then’ but nothing back, so we move one.
Now we hear of another one, similar miles (40k) so we are now even more curious – will keep you posted.
We’ve been an independent operation since we started nearly 18 years ago and whilst we were a Vauxhall franchised operation for a while we’ve always enjoyed the freedom that being independent gives you from the manufacturer and their rules and fees. The downside to this of course is the suggestion (always made by the manufacturer or their dealers) that somehow being an independent means we dont have the skill or knowledge to work on their cars and our response to this is always the same – absolute garbage.
The reason why we can be so confident in what we do is that we have to, we live or die by our last customer, we either do a great job or we disappear and of course some do, but nearly 20 years in this business I think means that we do our job well. However what we dont have is access to manufacturer training programs so we have to learn the hard way – from experience, which is why we own our own 12c Spider, we bought it over 3 years ago and we used it to learn the cars without the need to learn on customers cars, within a week of owning ours we had stripped it down to a bare tub and built it back up, we know these cars.
Which of course is great news when we encounter a car that needs a lot work doing to it and the work is the sort of stuff that dealers have never attempted before – a front and rear lower chassis replacement.
The Mclaren range is pretty bullet proof, the carbon tub, the front and rear chassis members are astounding in their stiffness and design, its one of the reasons we got involved; sheer respect for the engineering so to have a car that has damaged front and rear sub frames (and which one of Mclarens main dealers didnt even notice when servicing the car!) means its a lot of work and requires you to know what you’re doing.
Well, 27 hours later and here is what you get, pretty much a brand new car underneath, the engine had to come out (not for the subframe but for the hole in the oil catch tank) and the whole front end comes down to replace the front chassis member. Interestingly the Mclaren instructions for doing the work are woefully inadequate and in part a complete waste of time, for example for the front sub frame Mclaren state you must drain down and remove all the front suspension, the steering which mean complete re-programming whereas all we did was keep that in place and drop the front chassis member down without disconnecting anything. The rear subframe is the same, Mclaren state engine out (17 hours) but in fact you can do it simply by supporting the engine and dropping the lower part down. Mind you, due to the fact the oil catch tank had a hole in it and thats mounted so deep into the chassis that the engine has to come out anyway we did that at the same time.
The net result for the owner is pretty much a brand new underside of the car, new front and rear lower subframes, new oil catch tank, all new undertrays and diffuser (remember the car was seen by at least one dealer who said there was nothing wrong with it – the rear subframe was so bent it had hit the gearbox!) and all covered by the owners insurance. At the same we replaced all the hose clips for motorsport specification ones and carried out a full inspection on the car so we could cover the car under our warranty.
These are great cars but they are being let down by poor after sales support and to have a dealer not notice over £20k of damage to a car that they have in for work is downright criminal. We wont name and shame the dealer here, thats not our job but we have reported what we find to Mclaren, no reply as yet.
The reason for the post is not to shame a dealer but more to show that we have a huge understanding of these cars, that not being a dealer has zero affect on our technical skill and product knowledge and that owners have other options for aftersales than the dealer network which combined with our Mclaren warranty means you never need visit a Mclaren dealer again. 🙂
For 2016 Thorney Motorsport are Yamaha’s official YXZ1000 race team and technical partner. In this multi year deal we will be responsible for Yamaha’s official team YXZ1000 race cars for the UK and for devleoping the international, FIA approved, race cars for competition Worldwide.
This partnership brings Yamaha’s expertise in UTV design and manufacturing together with Thorney Motorsports extensive experience in developing and racing competition UTV race cars. In addition to developing and racing the factory YXZ1000R cars we will also be responsible for the Yamaha YXZ1000R Experience days where members of the public are able to race the cars round our specialy designed off road race track near the famous Silverstone circuit and also for the promotion at shows and events of the new YXZ1000R cars. The relationship goes back to the tried and trusted partnership in motorsport – win on Sunday, buy on Monday.
As part of this partnership Yamaha are supporting all new drivers of their YXZ1000 race cars in a new Yamaha Driver of the Year competition; any competitor of a UK supplied YXZ1000R car is automatically entered into a competition where their race results are collated accross all the eligible championships with the most successful drivers winning Yamaha prizes including a pair of VIP tickets to the MotoGP.
Full details of the Yamaha YXZ1000R Racing program, the YXZ1000 Experience and Yamaha Driver of the year can be found on this dedicated website:
As well as Yamaha we are lucky enough to welcome back some long term partners of the team as well as ome exciting new partners to work with. All of our partners support the team either financially or we are fortunate enough to be able to use their parts and products as an integral part of the cars development. Whilst we are now fully funded, we are always interested in creating new partnerships, the costs are not as large as you’d expect.
With the proliferation of insurance scams and ‘crash and run’ schemes designed to rob you of your insurance bonus there has been an explosion of dash camera systems available to protect you in the event of a crash on the road. With so many available its hard to know what to pick so we are grateful of the support of Dash Witness. Dash Witness specialise in supplying the best choice and quality of dash mounted cameras for road, race and commercial vehicles, we fitted them to some of our vehicles and the safety net they provide in the event of an incident is invaluable. We now offer the complete range for fitting to customer cars and run them in the race cars.
Badgers Oak Stud
Whilst it may appear strange to have a stud farm as a team partner the relationship makes a lot of sense when you consider our new extensive corporate entertainment side to the Yamaha relationship. As part of our Yamaha role we are running a series of driver days and corporate events using the YXZ1000R race cars, these events, obviously off road in nature fit perfectly with the high end corporate World of eventing. With Badgers Oak Stud we are able to cross promote the brands and mutually particiapte in corporate events to a new group of potential customers, partners and friends.
Stealth eMountain Bikes
A new subsidiary of Thorney Motorsport, Stealth are the manufacturers of the most extreme electric bikes on the planet. Most ebikes are, well, dull – 250w, pedal assisted power units limited to 15mph – not exactly exciting, however the Stealth is on another World – 50mph, full off road mountain bike with a 50 mile range and (in road mode) completely road legal with no requirements for insurance or number plates. They are in effect a hybrid of an MTB and a MX bike – one that can go anywhere.
Why did we get involved in eMTB’s? Well, come and ride one, if you’re not mentally trying to work out how to buy one after 30 seconds on one then you have no pulse.
Another Thorney Motorsport subsidiary and one that has grown entirely out of motorsport partnerships. With all of our corporate partnerships as part of the deal you get a ‘partners day’, this is a day out with some team members experiencing some of the race cars and we usually simply did this at a track day. After a few years of doing this in all got a bit samey so we decided to create a unique day out as a thank you to our partners where they got to race about in our Artic Cat Wildcats and Yamaha ATV’s round our own offroad race track as well as blind fold driving and combined that with some dynamic shooting – run and gun as its sometimes called where you run about with firearms shooting targets that blow up, fall over etc.
After the first few days like this every single partner asked if they could buy more days and use the event as corporate entertainment or team building and 4x4xgun.com was born. The days are arranged for groups between 5 and 20 at a time and you can have a full day of driving race buggies about as well as shooting semi-automatic rifles and shotguns – it really is as fun as it sounds.
Toyo have long been a favourite of ours for both our road cars and our off road models but last year some testing on the Arctic Cat Wildcat created the impetutus for us to persue Toyo for a partnership deal – they really worked that well. For all of our UK competition we will be running the Toyo All Terrain tyre and each official YXZ1000R race car will be supplied with a full set – ready for competition. On circuit our BMW and Vauxhall GTC Astra race cars will run on the new R888R tyres and our track cars – BMW M4, BMW M3 and BMW X5M will all run the new R888R tyres.
HRX are one of our new partners, supplying race seats, race suits and team wear for the team and the official Yamaha YXZ1000R race car upgrades. Their seats are custom made for us with specific detail on the arduous nature of competition and retaining full FIA homologation. Each YXZ1000R Race car comes complete with a pair of HRX team seats. HRX race suits are another godsend for us, previously we sturggled with suits that offered fire protection but could not withstand the mud, dirt and dust we race in, the HRX suit is not only lighweight and flexible but can take it all and still look like new after washing.
We’ve used suspension from nearly every manufacturer you can name and we keep coming back to Bilstein and this time we are here to stay. They’ve worked with us in developing the E46 and E92 Clubsport suspension and we run it on every car we own – road or track. A no quibble warranty, full support and a technical team based in the UK on hand for assistance and feedback is invaluable to us. Bilstein are the chosen control supplier for the Astra GTC Cup race cars.
Team Dynamics Wheels
Matt Neal and his team have been partners of ours for nearly 10 years, and try as we might to find a lighter, stronger wheel for our race cars we really cant, so every year we try and negotiate a better deal all the time knowing they have us over a barrell!. This year is slightly different, for the YXZ1000R race cars we have adopted Team Dynamics Pro Rally wheel rather than the Pro Race version. The Pro Rally is stronger and has build in disk protection so they will be able to withstand the rigours of competition in Wales, Scotland and the Dakar. We’ve moved to a 15″ size (up from the standard 14″) to allow us to use the new Toyo all terrain tyre and futher increase ground clearance. Each YXZ1000R comes with a full set of Pro Race wheels.
Continuing on from 2015 our turbo charger devlopment continues with Owen Developments. Our new Insignia VXR Garrett turbo is the latest development but more plans are on their way. Owen have jointly developed with us new turbo upgrades for the Corsa VXR, Astra H VXR and now the Insignia VXR as well as being the chosen partner for the GTC VXR model and Astra GTC Cup race cars. Current plans extend to the X5M and the new BMW M4.
We have no real reason to list Polstore really, when we were in the BTCC they kindly supported us with new cabinets for our new workshop as well as rolling tool cabinets for the race team but that deal ended in 2013. They are here as 2 years on the workshop cabinets still look like new and the rolling cabs still roll despite being dropped off tail lifts, dragged round every track in the UK (and half of the Forestry Commission tracks) and even hit by a car and they still work like new – that deserves respect. if you want some new cabinets in your garage and like to park by touch there is no better choice.
Tim and his company Mobile Centre have supported us in parts and expertise for quite a few years but we dropped out of contact in the last year or so. A chance meeting at the 4×4 Show at Donington Park where he was exhibiting and we were launching the Wildcat at the BCCC stand and we got chatting about lighting. The issue with off road racing is that there are precious few facilities and it tends to be pitch black at night. Mobile Centres’ solution was astounding – 6 LED light fittings which give off enough light to land a plane by and all powered by 2 x 12v car batteries. We tried them out with an old battery from a 1M and an M3 that were replaced on customer cars as they were too low to run the BMW battery diagnostics (so they were due to be thrown away) and they ran all these lights, full power for 12 hours! Thanks Tim!
Co-owner Rick will be surprised to see his company’s name here mainly as we’ve offered to have him as a partner for years and we’ve just never got round to it. Rick and his team have done our race and road car liveries for over 10 years and there is no-one else we will trust, we’ve tried others every now and then and they just aren’t as good, ever. Vinyl Creations did all the race cars wraps, the Tesco livery, the BTCC livery and all of our trucks (2 x artics, 3 x 7.5t and several vans) as well as all of our BMW TMS liveries, a fully wrapped Gallardo and supply all of our VXR-R livery packs and TMS stickers, all without issue and without compare as to quality. The fact we’ve stuck with them even though they have to drive up from Sittingborne in Kent every time we need them is testimony to their work.
We are honoured to offer our continued support for the Mclaren Owners Club at their 2018 Annual meet at the Silverstone Classic.
56 cars and over 100 owners all arrived to the Silverstone Classic and were treated to a hog roast under the shade of a nice marquee courtesy of fellow member Alex Reade.
Prior to the meet we hosted a BBQ as an ice breaker for all the members as a nice way for everyone to get to know each other which we hosted at the Silverstone Shooting centre. 42 members and 20 cars – made for a near £4m car park in our workshop yard!
Delighted we can continue to support the Mclaren owners club, surely one of the most friendly car clubs out there.
In 2017 we were the first racing UTV to be invited to attend the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed event where we joined the other off road race cars in the Britpart off road arena. We had a great time and clearly Goodwood thought so too so for 2018 we were invited to run a few cars and provide passenger rides for the guests. Our brief was simple – make it exciting, give the public, noise, excitement, adrenalin and a lasting memory to take home from the event.
First off we needed an area to run in, the Britpart off road arena already had a great group of off road race cars attending and there wasnt the room for us to run passenger rides on the same track and also we wanted jumps, lots of them as thats one of the things UTV’s do well – jump. So with Audi Allroad having vacated their site we took over their track and set about redeveloping it for the Yamahas.
First thing we did was extend the track into the woods, this meant arriving with our Avant mini loader fitted with its 3 in 1 bucket to grade and landscape the turns inside the woods, the Audi’s couldnt make it through here so we had to effectively clear the track, cut back trees and move in hay bales to protect the cars (and the trees) from impact. It wasnt easy moving hay bales that weigh up to 850kg each but our Avant did its job as always.
Next up was to re-design the track to bring the action further down the hill so the guests could more easily see the fun and excitement happening so with some help from Goodwood we built a new jump which was suitable to get the maximum airtime for the cars. The end result was a 2 minute lap with 8 bomb holes, 6 jumps, 1 large jump and 12 tight turns which would both show off the Yamahas but also give the maximum excitement for the passengers.
With such a large amount of work required as well as needing extra staff for the duration of the event (and the days before) we turned to one of our senior partners, Swift Leisure so that we could stay in comfort, so with their help we managed to get 18 staff nice and comfy in our own Swift Kontiti motor home but also in their Basecamp and even the Airstream units – a lot better than Premier Inn! To promote their involvement we arranged for a small display for the guests to see as well as one for Avant to show off the range of units as well.
The event itself was simple, run as many passenger rides in the Yamahas for the guests as we could over three days of the event, to aid this we brought in our usual team drivers; Callum Noble, Chris Price, David Livesey as well as our two senior technicians Tom Samples and Tom Goodman and also got in some other Yamaha race car owners to both run their own car but also sub into our cars when the lines got too long, with a few issues of cars not being ready Justin Brooks ably stepped into the breach running his turbo charged Yamaha YXZ1000. John was on other duties, my job was to run the supercharged FIA, Dakar spec Yamaha YXZ1000 down the famous Goodwood Forest Rally stage – the first time ever a UTV has ever competed on the stage, an honour for both the car and us.
Over the next three days we had so much fun its hard to describe, over 700 passenger runs, 1200 laps, 1500 jumps and more smiles, shrieks and whoops of laughter you couldnt imagine. The conditions were tough, 30 degree heat, clouds of dust but the whole team performed admirably. The cars couldnt have done more, we used Thorney Motorpsport SxS Championship raced prepared cars, all were Sportshift models fitted with our stage 1 ECU upgrade with sports exhaust, wider track from our spacer kit, 15″ pro Rally race wheels, mud terrain tyres and extra harnesses and they were brilliant. Over the three days all we had were a couple of bent track rods from some overly exuberant driving, amazing.
However the highlight for us were the guests, the sheer look of fear as they started off their run with a 5 foot drop off out of our race awning to the shrieks of laughter over the jump as they came back in, it was impossible not to be swept up in the good feeling of it all. However there was one guy, he comes in with his father, he had down syndrome, his dad comes up and says to me ‘keep it slow, no jumps, he’s too scared but he really wants to try’. So I send him out with Tom who dutifully gives a nice gentle ride and when he arrives back he has a smile so large the whole place was trying not to show emotion. They both say thanks and off they go. Two hours later they are back, dad comes up and says “he wants to have a go with all the jumps now!” so I send him out with David who drives like a lunatic (again) to bring him back and if we thought the smile the first time was big this time he came back with a grin that would make anyone smile with him. None of us will forget them, something I hope we have in common.
And the rally stage? Well, I wasnt allowed to drive at full chat, as the only UTV to ever run the stage it needed special insurance just to let it run so crashing wasnt an option but it was great fun, very very smooth chalk that a lot of the rally cars went out on tarmac tyres so our mud terrain tyres werent perfect but it was great fun. Even with some sensible driving we got a 3.09 time which was quicker than a lot of rally cars so I think we showed off the car and its class well. This was reflected by the interest the car got at the start, lovely to speak to so many rally drivers who all said the same thing ‘I bet thats a laugh to drive’ – it is. Importantly for us we were running the final configuration of stage 3 supercharger, nearly 2 years in development the car didnt put a foot wrong, 300bhp in one of these cars is just hilarious and despite the abuse the power upgrades were perfect, I’ve now signed off on it for sale as a result.
Huge thanks for all the support we needed to pull this off, our corporate partners Swift Leisure, Avant and Jung Heinrich (without whom we simply couldnt have got the cars there), to Goodwood for trusting us we could do it, to Yamaha for building the YXZ1000 – the toughtest most exciting UTV on the planet. So many individuals we need to thank; Tom, Tom, Keith, David, Callum, Justin, Chris, Carl, Matt, Simon, Ethan, Daniel, John, Raimo, Andy, Jenn, Nyah and my wife, Esme, who kept us and all of our guests fed and watered for the whole week. Thank you all. Goodwood have already said they want us back so we are now planning for 2019 and how to make it bigger, better and more exciting, pretty sure we can do that.
Oh and to the gentlemen I mentioned earlier, get in touch, no idea of your names or who you are but it would be nice to give you something extra for you coming along, its certainly a memory for us and I appreciate that.