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Swindon Engines - special feature

By MJP Media | 30 May 2012

Swindon Engines, the power behind almost half the cars in the 2012 British Touring Car Championship, give an insight into their work with the TOCA NGTC engine.

Swindon Engines - high performance engine specialists
Swindon Engines - high performance engine specialists

We were recently invited to Swindon Engines, the company who manufacture the control TOCA NGTC touring car engines. Cars are able to run either this control engine or a manufacturer engine of similar specification. In the 2012 British Touring Car Championship, almost half of the cars are using the Swindon Engines unit.

Swindon Engines have been producing specialist high performance racing engines from the same premises for around 40 years now and have an unrivalled reputation for bespoke engine builds and the refurbishment of existing engines. Managing Director Raphaël Caillé told us "For the TOCA engine project, we built it from scratch. We have 3 full-time Computer Design Engineers whose job it was to design the engine and produce the specifications for the components. Once they were happy, we manufactured a lot of the parts in house". It is then that Swindon's team of 6 in-house technicians are responsible for the assembly of the engines. "Each engine is completely hand built, whether it be the TOCA control engine or a bespoke engine for another customer." Raphaël explained.

A fully assembled Swindon engine
A fully assembled Swindon engine

The engines are then tested on the bench to ensure that each one provides exactly what the customer wants in terms of power delivery, overall output, torque curves etc. With rigorous testing of tolerances and over 60 different data streams, each lovingly crafted engine will leave the Swindon Engines factory 'ready to go', however, the their input to the engines doesn't end there. Reliability is important as each BTCC car is allowed only 2 engines per season.

At every BTCC meeting, there will be a team of Swindon Engines specialists helping to get the teams the maximum performance from their engines. This backup includes software and hardware engineers working closely with the teams to analyse the data and make adjustments directly. Swindon Engines also provide this package for team test days. As Raphaël emphasises "The build is only a part of our commitment to the teams. We are there for them every step of the way".

Crank testing
Crank testing

The great thing about Swindon Engines is that their expertise is highly concentrated within a small team of around 20 staff. About 50% of their business is in the UK and 50% in the USA and Worldwide. The Swindon Engines built TOCA engine has, of course, already proved its worth, powering James Nash to the 2011 BTCC Independent Driver and Independent Team championships, but as Raphaël says "Motorsport moves on very rapidly and you have to adapt or fall away". Looking at the evidence at the factory and the results on track, Swindon Engines are a remarkable success story, eagerly embracing the future and the challenges it presents.

Photographs courtesy of Swindon Engines

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