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Paul Deslandes - Caterham 7
Paul Deslandes/Paul Deslandes at St Goueno 2006 Paul Deslandes' Caterham Super 7 shown above at St Goueno in 2006 . Nearly 10 years of SBD support and still trying to go faster!

I originally bought the Caterham as a kit in 1995 with no particular intention of competing, although I had always wanted to race in some form since I was a teenager. The 2 litre Vauxhall engine on Weber carbs as supplied by Caterham Cars lacked any form of throttle or load sensing ignition advance so my introduction to Steve and SBD was when looking for an ECU to improve driveability.

I first entered the ACSMC Sprint and Hillclimb series in 1998 and realised that I was going to have to tweek things up to be in the least bit competitive. So, off came the Webers and on went 48mm Jenvey throttle bodies, a 956 ECU and a pair of high torque cams. In the course of 1998 to 2000 I achieved a number of event first-in-class successes and a first-in-class for the 2000 season. I then had a couple of years off from competing and came back in 2003 to find that I was well off the pace, not that I had slowed down particularly but everyone else was going faster!

Whilst the car had tremendous low and middle range torque, it was clear that things weren't optimised at the top end and this limited speed and general performance at locations like Goodwood with its fast sections.

In 2005 I added a Pace dry sump system which is reckoned to liberate 15 to 20bhp on a Caterham style engine with its shallow sump and lousy 'foam' baffle. It also stops the oil surge which can lead to loss of oil pressure and damage to the engine on long curvy circuits. I changed the cams to higher lift and longer duration but although this improved things still further at mid range, it did little for the top end performance. After discussion with Steve we decided the only way to get this engine to go properly was to port the head and, perhaps as importantly, take a good look at the inlet manifold. This is a standard Caterham type, designed for 45 or 48mm Webers but not designed for power much in excess of 200bhp.

Paul Deslandes engine 2005, picture Kim Kingham
The whole induction/head assembly was put on the flow bench and pronounced that this setup was never going to make much more than 210bhp as it simply couldn't breath at the top end. The main culprit was the inlet manifold. Aha! To cut a long story short the head was flowed and ported using a specially developed programme and an NC machine to increase overall flow by a massive 23.8%. After total re-mapping, this engine then pulled 253bhp at 8000rpm and 179lbft of torque at 6600rpm. In 2006 most of my times were more than 2 seconds better than previous years and I managed first in class for the 2006 ACSMC season.

Of course, one is never satisfied and, being most interested in hillclimbs, I decided that I needed more low to middle range torque, even if this meant sacrificing some top end power. Hills, like sprints, tend to be short and a quick getaway is essential. They also tend to have hairpins on steep slopes so, in fact, you can be making several virtual restarts in the course of one run, so bottom end grunt and plenty of starting grip are essential. With a new exhaust and modified solid profile cams from Steve we now have bags of torque from less that 2,500rpm whilst retaining more than 240bhp at the top end. This also makes the car incredibly tractable and great fun to drive on the road.

The 2007 ACSMC season will be interesting and will include a second trip to Brittany and St. Goueno as a guest 'demonstration driver' in the French National Hillclimb championships in September.

Car/engine spec: 1995 Caterham Super 7 2.0 litre Vauxhall C20XE
SBD steel conrods with ARP rod bolts
SBD intruder pistons
Ported head (12.3:1 CR)
Jenvey 48mm throttle bodies with Peco injectors
SBD dry sump
SBD solid profile cams
SBD lightened flywheel
4:2:1 exhaust

Quaife Prosport close ratio gearbox
Helix paddle clutch plate
4.11:1 diff with AP Suretrac LSD
AP 4-pot 'big brakes' on the front
Pagid brake pads all round
Currently on Yokohama 048R tyres

Paul Deslandes engine 2007
Wiscombe Hillclimb 25.4.09 1st in Class - 45.12s
Wiscombe Hillclimb 26.4.09 2nd in Class - 44.88s
Wiscombe 1.9.07 1st in Class - 43.21s
Wiscombe 26.4.08 1st in Class - 43.56s
Wiscombe 27.4.08 1st in Class - 43.96s
Gurston Down 20.7.08 1st in Class - 35.01s
Brighton Speed Trials 13.9.08 3rd in Class - 12.33s
Wiscombe 'Five Clubs' 7.9.08 1st in Class - 44.87s
2.0L Vauxhall Kits & Components
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