EXCEL ENGINEERING – SPORTS SEDAN BUILD

One car making waves on the motorsport scene in 2015 is the absolutely bonkers Hyundai Excel Sports Sedan of Victorian Liam Hill. While the car itself can divide opinion in the paddock, no-one can deny that it has been a bit of a giant killer in the few outings the car has had so far.
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Though, as Liam says, few would know that the Hyundai almost didn’t become a reality. “The chassis actually started life being built under a dat to 1600. We may of stuffed the body shell welding the roof, but building something from scratch with a 1969 body shell was probably a bit silly anyway. So we went off the the wreckers looking at BMWs and all sorts of exotics. Nothing had us aroused until we saw this little pink Hyundai sitting there. Dad and I knew instantly that this was it. Turns out the dimensions of the car internally was the same as the datto, so the body fell straight over the top of the chassis. Most people either love it or religiously hate it. Brings a good laugh to the team”.
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While the exterior look may bring a good laugh, under that bodywork Liam has put together a serious package. “The engine is a Nissan sr20ve,” explains Liam. “The ve is a more desirable head, as seen on a lot of time attack cars. It’s overcome the tradition problems of sr20’s throwing rocker arms off due to it having shaft mount rocker arms on top of that it had variable valve lift built into it. The rest of the engine is pretty much just your typical race engine. It has been dry sumped and retains all of the traditional internals. Though it runs a little bit more compression than you’d normally see in a turbo car. Bolted to the engine is a Rotrex centrifugal supercharger, which at the moment only runs moderate boost, but the option is there to bring it right up. Turbo smart supplied all the intercooler hoses, wastegate and associated other parts around the engine, thanks to Richard for that!”
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Despite having an engine is certainly looking to pack a punch, you also need to have running gear that is up to the task. “It’s running a Holinger sequential box, which is possibly the best investment I’ve made in the car, it’s a truly beautiful piece of work,” says Liam. “Yet, this should be the last outing for the diff. It’s a r200 Nissan piece which has been a bit troublesome, so we’ve got the plan of putting and its 9″ in the car soon.”
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Now the car is into the on track development stage, Liam is happy to be reaping the rewards of what has been many years of hard work. Though, as so often happens with race car builds, he also says this car got a little out of control. “Well, the build itself took 5 years, all the chassis work was done in the shed at home with my old man, until we took it down to Riverside for the finishing touches. It was never meant to be what it’s ended up, we were aiming for a cheap little thrash around sports sedan. A under 2 litre Datto with a bit of a fat chassis, SR20 with Webers and a T5 gearbox,” says Liam.
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Still, we probably wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s these sorts of cars that makes Sports Sedans such a cool category. Anyone can turn basically anything into a s Sports Sedan and go racing. The only real constraints are your imagination and budget.
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In case you were wondering how much of a giant killer this Hyundai has the possibility of being, check out the below onboard footage from the opening laps of the Sports Sedans race at Phillip Island last year. Just check out the cornering ability of this car.
Still laughing now? Yeah, we didn’t think so.
If you want to see this car in the flesh, head out to Winton Motor Raceway this weekend (July 4/5 2015) for the Riverside Racing Victorian Sports Sedans Championship third round. There’s going to be plenty of great racing on offer from a diverse range of cool cars.
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