Since shopping for it brand-new in 2013, Alan Shepherd at Airtec Motorsport has tuned and developed his Fiesta into probably the most hardcore ST180 builds ever…
Characteristic from Quick Ford. Phrases: Simon Holmes. Pictures: Jason Dodd.
The method of evolution happens over time. It’s how the pure improvement of one thing turns into higher suited to its setting. And nowhere is it extra apparent than the tuned Fiesta ST180 monitor automotive pictured right here.
The proprietor of the automotive is Alan Shepherd, director of Airtec Motorsport in Essex; he purchased this Fiesta ST180 brand-new. It was one of many very first of the brand new STs within the UK, the truth is, having arrived in early 2013.
Inside days, the modifications started. It’s since served as a rolling testbed, quick street automotive and monitor weapon, having modified components, look, and efficiency ranges a number of occasions. It at present boasts its finest specification but, because of 300bhp-plus, rigorously chosen chassis modifications and a light-weight composite food plan that has seen each physique panel swapped besides the roof pores and skin.
The story started again in 2012, when Alan heard Ford was to launch a brand new Fiesta ST, and promptly put his title down for one with out figuring out a lot in regards to the new mannequin.
He says, “We already had a Mk3 Focus ST that we have been growing components with, so it made sense to get a Fiesta as a result of they’ve all the time been good enjoyable.
“When it arrived, I bear in mind considering what an enormous leap ahead it was, and never only for Fiestas, however from something Ford had performed earlier than. However we instantly set about bettering the automotive.”
An induction package and intercooler have been the primary merchandise to be developed, and because the undertaking gained tempo, it served as a month-to-month undertaking automotive on this very journal. From there, its evolution and improvement mirror Airtec Motorsport’s personal success and progress. In consequence, Airtec has examined dozens, if not a whole lot, of merchandise utilizing this very automotive, on the street and monitor.
Though it served the corporate effectively by road-test improvement, Alan discovered himself utilizing it extra on monitor, so it naturally started to transition right into a full-on racer.
“Early on, it proved to be a really assured automotive on monitor, even with primary mods. There weren’t many individuals utilizing them as devoted monitor vehicles again then, so we determined to push ahead with it,” Alan remembers.
After some success testing on occasions across the UK, it didn’t take lengthy to be a magnet for the organisers of the Time Assault sequence, who requested if Alan can be serious about competing within the new Pocket Rocket sequence, which helped introduce modified sizzling hatches into the sequence.
So, with the assistance of Lee Charnick at Satan Developments, the automotive continued its transformation right into a fully-fledged racer, full with a fancy weld-in roll cage, Lifeline fireplace extinguisher system and a rise in energy because of a bigger GT25 turbo, together with a number of different upgrades.
Even so, Alan is eager to level out that the automotive has all the time remained road-legal, full with an MOT.
From there, the automotive developed once more, because it was pushed throughout the next season’s Time Assault by varied car-related celebrities, comparable to Ben Collins and drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr.
This introduced on new experiences for the automotive and the staff, and the Fiesta acquired a number of important chassis upgrades alongside the way in which, together with the AP Racing brakes and a number of Summit chassis braces, turning the automotive right into a vastly succesful machine.
It went on to win a number of rounds in its class in Time Assault occasions, however three years in the past noticed the automotive’s subsequent main evolution.
Alan says, “We launched a spread of high-quality arch extensions with the intention to permit clearance for a lot wider wheels and tyres.” To assist promote them, in addition to supply a extra critical choice for track-car house owners, light-weight composite fibreglass bonnet, entrance wings, doorways, complete rear quarter panels and tailgate have been additionally developed and fitted to this automotive, that are available for purchase.
When fitted, Alan took the chance to shed additional weight by reducing the rear quarter panels again to depart only a seam across the edge; this permits the panels to connect, which didn’t have an effect on rigidity because of the excellent roll cage.
To match the brand new look of the pumped-up arches, the Airtec Motorsport Clubsport entrance splitter and rear wing have been additionally developed on this automotive, and to complete the look, a customized rear diffuser was constructed in-house. On the identical time, the boot flooring was reduce out and changed with a flat part, which additionally helped to avoid wasting weight.
There have been many excessive and low factors through the years with the automotive, however just a few stick in Alan’s thoughts higher than others, as he explains: “The excessive factors have been letting the varied celebrities drive the automotive, as that was an awesome expertise, and so was beating rival – and buddy – Rob at SCC in his tuned Fiesta ST180 monitor automotive at a Time Assault occasion.
“I suppose low factors embody one of many celebrities having a minor off that broken the entrance wing. And shedding to Rob at SCC in his ST monitor automotive on one other occasion.”
The final modification to the unending undertaking was the fitment of the stand-alone SCS ECU, which opened extra tuning choices for the automotive. Alan admits it’s hardly turned a wheel for a while, though he’s itching to get again out and use it as soon as once more.
He says, “Clearly, any plans we had to make use of the automotive have been hampered by latest occasions, however we’re going to get again on monitor with it quickly.
“It’s nonetheless my favorite automotive to drive on monitor in comparison with the rest we personal, because it’s simply really easy to drive quick and it’s loads of enjoyable. Plus, it’s vastly succesful; it might nonetheless embarrass loads of costly vehicles on monitor.”
As for plans, that’s like asking how lengthy a chunk of string is; the Fiesta ST180 continues to be a well-liked mannequin for Airtec Motorsport, which implies merchandise are nonetheless being developed regularly – the newest of which features a new alloy radiator.
Alan says, “The automotive will develop, simply as the corporate will proceed to. It isn’t going anyplace, for positive.
“It’s performed numerous laps of nearly each monitor within the UK. It’s gained Time Assault occasions, been taken on monitor on the Nürburgring, and been to a whole lot of reveals and meets. It’s served the corporate effectively through the years, and I don’t suppose I’ll ever promote it.
“It’s earned its place right here at Airtec. It’s one of many staff.”
Tech Spec: Tuned Fiesta ST180
1596cc EcoBoost, Airtec Motorsport Stage 3 induction package, Airtec Motorsport Stage 3 intercooler, Airtec Motorsport huge increase pipe package, Garrett GT25 turbo, SCS Delta stand-alone ECU, Airtec Motorsport customized side-exit exhaust system
300bhp-plus (proprietor’s estimate)
Fiesta ST Durashift B6 six-speed gearbox, uprated clutch, Quaife LSD, Airtec Motorsport quickshift
Entrance: Bilstein coilovers and adjustable prime mounts, Summit higher, decrease and subframe braces; rear: Gaz Gold coilovers, Summit higher and decrease braces, nook weighted
Entrance: AP Racing Professional 5000+ four-pot callipers with 315mm floating discs, track-spec pads, braided traces; rear: Fiesta ST 253mm
discs and callipers, track-spec pads, braided traces
Wheels & Tyres:
8x16in Japan Racing JR11 alloy wheels in ET30 with 225/45×16 Nankang AR1 tyres
Auto Specialists Clubsport composite fibreglass light-weight bonnet, entrance wings, doorways, rear quarter panels and tailgate, Airtec Motorsport rear wing, Auto Specialists Clubsport entrance splitter, Airtec Motorsport customized rear diffuser and flat boot flooring, bike carbon fibre mirrors, Aerocatches, customized graphics
Customized stitched carbon Corbeau bucket seats, five-point harnesses, Momo steering wheel, customized weld-in roll-cage, polycarbonate home windows, Lifeline fireplace extinguisher system