The machines are completely manufactured in-house, using FK8 shells taken from the Swindon production line. They’re acid-dipped to ungalvanise the metal and remove glue from the mounting joints, then taken to the fabricators to be strengthened and fitted with a new rear end and roll cage. Around 1000 hours of work goes into each car before the shell is painted. An on-site machine shop makes parts and spares, based on CAD data direct from Honda, and the team is increasingly 3D printing parts to save time and costs.
Two full-time mechanics are assigned to each BTCC car, with the vehicles stripped down, checked, cleaned and rebuilt after every race. That process takes around two weeks, accounting for around 20 weeks’ work – and that, according to team manager James Rodgers, leaves 32 weeks of time for other projects.
Honda UK has huge expectations and Neal insists “the main focus is always the BTCC” but, so long as it doesn’t suffer, he says the car maker is “cool” with Dynamics undertaking other projects.
Those are undertaken on a limited scale, largely through word of mouth. Dynamics has previously run cars in the Mini Challenge for Neal’s twin sons, William and Henry. It now runs an old-spec BTCC Civic Type R for Henry in the new British Touring Car Trophy and an Audi S3 TCR for William and other drivers in selected endurance tin-top events. The S3 TCR gives Dynamics experience of a growing pan-European formula. “The BTCC won’t go to TCR rules, but it’s good to know about the cars,” says Rodgers.
It’s not all modern touring cars, though: Dynamics is particularly proud of its expansion into historic racing in recent years, building and running Lotus Cortinas – and now a Lotus Elan – for the likes of touring car hero Steve Soper.
“People told me for ages that historics was a huge market, but I didn’t get it,” admits Neal. “Then I was invited to the Goodwood Revival, walked through the gate and went: ‘I get it’. It was so different. The BTCC paddock is a competitive place. You get a lot of crocodile smiles. You go to Goodwood and people smile at you, say hello and help. It made me remember why I fell in love with the sport.”