of the things that really motivates Steve is the desire to come
up with something that other people haven't thought of. Working
on road cars wasn't really satisfying this need so when, in 1993,
he was approached by Roger Baird to build a hillclimb engine,
a 2.0 litre Vauxhall with 240bhp on carbs, the course was set.
Roger was a good friend of Roy Lane and word soon got around when
Roger went from midfield to a being a front runner. Similarly,
an engine for a Welsh rally competitor who began beating the works
cars also led to more exposure, so that by the end of 1993, SBD
were able to move into their own dedicated premises.
the early nineties, when programmable ECUs and throttle bodies
were still very new, Steve saw an opportunity to provide something
unique and affordable to the club motorsport market. SBD has already
been selling MBE's pre programmed systems, but decided to branch
out and have an ECU programmed to control fuelling electronically.
Working with Jenvey to produce taper throttle bodies for the Vauxhall
XE and Ecotec engines and putting a kit together, SBD rapidly
began to make a name for themselves.
has some interesting comments to make on the subject of throttle
bodies and the choice between slides, butterflies and roller barrels,
which also sheds some light onto SBD's philosophy. They have found
that some engines like Vauxhall, prefer butterflies; whilst others,
such as the Cosworth YB, prefer slides - probably due to the way
air breaks around the edges. Roller barrels have been found to
be prone to sticking when sleeve clearances are too great. Generally,
it has been found that roller barrels may give a few more bhp,
but are not so easy
to use and develop, or as driveable.
that there are so many factors and variables at play when building a
competition engine, that the theory doesn't really help. The SBD approach
is to try and control these variables through the continual refinement
and testing of a package of parts, which are proven to work in a specified
way on a particular engine. The results of all this is that they are
able to supply a kit including proprietary ECU, pistons, con-rods, throttle
bodies, cams, inlet manifolds, valve guides, dry sumps and even wiring
looms that are all unique to SBD.
SBD had largely stopped building engines themselves in order to concentrate
fully on R & D and supplying kits and parts. With the growth of
the Internet, sales to overseas engine builders and competitors have
taken off with Ireland and Greece being regular customers. The knowledge
and expertise that has been built up is put to good use by undertaking
projects for manufacturers and race series, such as Sports 2000 and
Caterham Graduates, and even training lecturers at colleges who run
motorsport engineering courses.
Vauxhall engine near the limit of its development and always looking
to do something new and untried, SBD have recently begun working with
the Duratec and Hayabusa engines. Steve is a big fan of the shorter
stroke Duratec engine; a longer stroke having limited potential unless
you increase valve size to get more air in, which can produce similar
power outputs to the Vauxhall, while retaining standard valves, although
this market is proving slow to take off.
his Westfield Vauxhall in 2003, Steve was surprised by the performance
of a Dax Rush fitted with a Hayabusa motor. At the time, a move to a
single seater was being considered and when he was approached to program
an injected - most were still on carbs, Hayabusa motor, another chapter
of SBD 's history was opened. At the time, the commonly held view was
that supercharging a bike engine wasn't going to work, so you can guess
what happened next.
2009 has been the blown 1300cc SBD Hayabusa which takes a standard motor,
apart from uprated clutch springs, and add an SBD kit, including rotrex
supercharger, SBD electronics, bracketry and induction, to produce 318bhp!
This engine has seen immediate success in Steve's own OMS sprint car
and on the hills in Jason Mourant's similar vehicle and is already turning
out to be a fantastic engine. It has been found to rev so quickly that
there is barely enough time to operate the paddle gear change and a
fully automatic shift, developed by SBD a few years ago, may be re-introduced.
Two other applications of the SBD Hayabusa are currently being built
and should be seen on the tracks next year.
ahead, Steve is always searching for something new to try and the introduction
of fly by wire electronic controls may not be too far away. Whatever
the future holds from SBD you can be sure that it will be new, different