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GP Week : Issue 23
An Opel in the rough There’s a new Super 2000 rally car on the horizen, and with MSD doing the development, it could be destined for big things.MARTIN HOLMES writes THE latest Super 2000 car to be born is the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa S2000, which is about to see the light of day at the Milton Keynes workshops of the preparation company MSD. Project leader is David Whitehead, whose MSD company is back again working with General Motors, the manufacturer with whom Whitehead started his competition engineering career in 1975, and with whom he was active in competition car development in Britain and the company’s headquarters in Russelsheim until the mid 1990s. Following on from the MG ZR S2000 project that was started a year earlier, the Corsa is the second S2000 car that MSD has been developing. Chief designer on this project is again Nick Clipson, who had worked on Peugeot Touring Cars and then Hyundai Formula 2 and World Rally Cars, and who has been away from motorsport for the past four years. Chief engineers are jointly Nick and Paul Barnard. The Corsa is the eighth S2000 car scheduled to be homologated by the FIA. When the latest model of the mass production Corsa, the most powerful Corsa produced by GM, first appeared it was immediately apparent that the car had dimensions suitable for building into a Super 2000 car. The decision to start work on this project was made in early January 2008 and detailed design work began at the end of that month. Compared with the MG ZR the Corsa is some 40mm longer and the wheelbase 11mm longer, while the basic body is some 20mm wider as well. Many of the other features of the car follow the route of the MG ZR, particularly the use of Exe-TC dampers and Xtrac gearbox. Before and After: The Opel Corsa in its usual form, main pic, and some ‘spy’ photos of the Super 2000 version being built at MSD’s workshop in Milton Keynes, right. The chosen engine for the project had other implications, because the car was in production in turbocharged form in 2.2 litre size. The S2000 car is normally-aspirated by regulation and has a smaller 2-litre unit, so this means that there is the potential for the same engine to eventually be developed, if required, into S2000+ specification. The engine is the same unit that Vauxhall have been using in BTCC racing for the past four or five years, an all aluminium unit in which the inlet manifold is in the front of the car and the exhaust at the rear. This is an advantage as it brings induction air directly from the front of the car, and not first passing the hotter areas of the exhaust. Compared with the MG ZR engine, which had progressively been enlarged in production form from 1400 to 1800 and then finally for competition into two-litres, the Corsa’s engine is therefore basically 24