Garagista: Alfasud Sprint Veloce

In an ideal world Geoff Gordon’s restored ’Sud would have raced by now, but motor sport is very rarely straightforward

I guess the reality of the situation dawned just after the Raceworks Motorsport guys returned from a busy weekend at the Hungaroring in early October. I said that we’d have to make a decision about taking the ’Sud to Paul Ricard a couple of weeks before the event – and [Raceworks partner] Pete Johnston replied, ‘There are only a couple of weeks to go before the event!’

That pretty much confirmed that we wouldn’t be able to make it, but I knew that was always a possibility because the team had to cope with a string of racing events that came up thick and fast towards the season’s end. On one hand it’s disappointing not to have travelled to Ricard, but on the other I have the whole winter to look forward to racing the car next spring. And it would have been a mistake to rush things – you really need to do a bit of testing to make sure that everything is running correctly before you dash off to any race meetings, particularly when they’re a long way from home.

The car has been progressing since my last report and all the bits are now in situ for assembly to start. We are really pleased with the way the oil tank has turned out, given that we started with only a grimy old black-and-white photo. From that, Pro Alloy Motorsport created a polystyrene mould and the finished article looks fantastic – particularly when you bear in mind the shortage of decent reference material.

The building process will accelerate now that the season is winding down and, once that’s done, the car will be taken to Brunswick Racing’s rolling road to get the engine set-up properly. It’s the first dry-sump boxer engine that Brunswick’s Dave Ashford has prepared – and that was another reason not to rush things. We all want to make sure things are done properly.

I don’t yet have a date for our first test, but in all likelihood we will shake the car down at Donington Park. It’s an ideal location for chassis set-up, because it has a good range of very different corners. Test days are sometimes unsilenced, too, which is a bonus, though that aspect doesn’t matter too much. We do have a straight-through exhaust, but we also have a couple of add-on bits that enable us to restrict it to 105 decibels.

Beyond testing, there was talk of a Peter Auto event at Marrakesh in January, but that seems to have gone quiet and as we speak the 2018 calendar has still to be confirmed, so I don’t yet know where our Heritage Touring Cup campaign will begin. It would be easy to relax as the racing season unwinds, but I’m not going to use that as an excuse to throttle back – it’s the perfect time to press on and get the car finished. By this time next month, I hope it will at the very least have been on the rolling road.

Next month: Patience (probably) rewarded and looking ahead to the 2018 Heritage Touring Cup season
Thanks to: Geoff Gordon; Raceworks Motorsport