Ford Cortina GT-2
2.3 Litre OHC
Twin 50mm Weber Carbs
SVO T-5 transmission
Ford Probe GT-3
2.5 Litre V6
Atlantic Motorsport Park
N 45.06660 W 63.71423
Elliott racing came into existence in 1971 with Gerald Elliott getting the "permanent racing bug" with the granting of his Regional Racing License at the Debert Area Circuit. Racing was continued sporadically at the Debert Circuit and Atlantic Motorsport Parek (AMP) until 1978 when the 1st retirement came into being - took the next 10 years off .
MARK & CORTINA
- 6th Overall in the 1990 Moosehead - Al St. John driving due to Marks motorcycle accident
- Marks crash in the 1991 Moosehead Grand Prix took the Cortina out for the next year
- Mark teaming up with Ingo Struckerjans in Ingo's Audi Quattro in the 3rdMoose head
- Mark again teaming up with Ingo in a rental at Mosport
- Bringing the Cortina back out in '93 &'94 for racing at AMP
- Mark driving Ingo's VW Fox (Gunter Schnidt) in 1994 in the 1994 Moosehead Grand Prix
- Marks final race in 1994 sharing a ride with Lucas Struckerjan in the VW Fox
- Due to work commitments, Mark, Gerald and the Cortina retired with plans to come back in the future.
MARK & THE JIM RUSSELL SCHOOL
- Mark was enrolled in the first class of 1991
- He took the F1600 ( won scholarship) and F2000 Mechanics/Race Driver course from April to August in 1991
- Mark entered in the Jim Russell Runoffs in Oct '91 placing 5thout of 30
THE NEW MILLENIUM
That future started in the fall of 1999 when it was decided to completely rebuild the Cortina from the ground up and plan to go back to the track in 2001/2002 - included new Roll Cage, Interior and Electrics - more details follow.
THE CORTINA GT- Now 32 years old
Body - original with the exception of fiberglass front fenders and rear flares
lightened steel trunk lid and hood.
Chassis - strengthened with all new roll cage tubing, tying all 4 suspension points together
- strengthened front sub-frame using 3/16"plate and front X-member
Rear Suspension - retained leaf springs as a locating device
- Spax adjustable racing shocks with coil overs
- all bushings are aluminum with stainless inserts
- Adjustable Panhard Rod
- Adjustable spline type rear sway bar
Front Suspension - retained the original MacPherson street configuration with adjustable Spax shocks and adjustable coil-over springs
- AFCO control arm modified for a 3/4"rod end (ball joint) and 5/8"rod end as the inner pivot
- front sway bar brackets welded to control arm and linked to modified sway bar with ½"rod ends
- Strut rod mounting brackets fabricated, the forward bracket incorporates the original sway bar mount and rear bracket attaches to control arm
Front Brakes - 10 ½ vented rotors with Willwood - Superlite II - 4 piston calipers - custom adapter fabricated to attach rotor to standard Cortina front hub Rear Brakes - 9"drilled rotors with Willwood - Dynalite - 2 piston calipers
Brake Control - Tilton brake pedal assembly, with twin master cylinders relocated behind firewall, Tilton balance bar system with remote cable adjuster.
Engine - The 1600 engine has been replaced with a Race Engineering/TRAC 2.3 Ford SOHC. The 1600 was no longer competitive nor reliable in ARMS GT2 (SCCA GT3) so a decision was made to run the 2.3. A lot of time was spent in the design and fabrication of the Engine &Transmission mounts, moving the brake masters behind the firewall, converting the clutch to cable from hydraulic, the remote oil system and a multitude of modifications. The partial 2001 season was run with a Racer Walsh S-shaped Weber intake manifold which turned out to be unsatisfactory. As we are using the Electro-Motive crank fire system, and did not require a distributor we had the room for a straight, short- run intake manifold. As no such manifold existed ,we fabricated our own design.
Transmission - T-9"Hummer" 5 Speed
- Tilton 7 1/4"Racing clutch
Differential - Mustang 7.5 with welded up 4.10 gears.
The result was 195HP at the fly wheel and 155 at the wheels, using a modified cast iron head with solid lifters a cast roller Cam from Race Engineering, with 12:1 compression and matched ports.
We were very successful in the 2002 season and won the GT2 Championship at AMP.
In 2003 , the Gremlins struck- The T-9 transmission basicly blew up internally, little things were breaking, clutch cable kept breaking, the differential broke its spider gears and to top it all off, the last few laps of the last race of the season we had a major accident in corner 9. As far as we could tell the right rear rotor and caliper snapped , locking everything up and the Cortina hit the concrete wall crushing the left rear 1/4 panel, twisted the leaf springs and destroyed the sub frame behind the sway bar mount. Then to make it worse, the front left then hit the wall, destroying the fender,strut, wheel, air dam and bending the front cross member.
Time for a major rebuild!!!!
The New Future
The rebuild took almost a year to complete as we made several major changes in the drive train including the engine, transmission, differential, plus rear suspension and body modifications.
Engine- replaced the cast cylinder head with an Esslinger Engineering aluminum head, maintaining the cast roller cam. We had to fabricate a new intake manifold as they port layouts were totally different, but were able to use the same headers. When we tried to get the motor to run properly- go to 5000 rpm and then ran out of fuel as the 45 DCOE Weber carbs could noy keep up with the new head. Installed a pair of 50 DCO Webers and that immediately allowed us to go over 8000 rpm- Result 240 Hp at the flywheel.
Transmission- changed to a Mustang SVO T-5 transmission and mated it to the 7 1/4" clutch. This required a totally new design for the transmission mount. We kept the cable clutch for a few years, then reverted back to a hydraulic clutch- new pedals, correct master and slave cylinders. We modified clutch fork and its mounting system for greater reliablity
Differential &Rear Suspension- We got our hands on a Winters Mini 8 3/8's Quick Change rear with a 4.33:1 ratio, installed all new rear brakes and modified it for a 3 link suspension. Kept the rear sway bar and the Panhard rod. The outside lateral links were tied into the original front leaf spring mount and for the center lateral link, tied the forward mount into the roll cage
Body- the winter prior to the 2003 accident, we had designed and partially made up new plugs for an IMSA style rear fenders- almost as if we had a premenition of having to replace them.
We further modified the 1/4 panel plugs so that the tail lights were incorporated into the mould. We also had to replace the badly damaged rear valance, so we made up a plug for this as well. Jon Denny'shop in Stewiacke then made us the molds and new units for the rear 1/4 panels and rear valance, a new left front fender and a new airdam. We made up rear subframe from the sway bar mounts back using rectangular tubing and then a 1"tubular frame to mount the new 1/4 panels and rear valance which in turn were put in place using aircraft fittings. Fabricated a place to mount the fuel cell and battery and then installed aluminum panels in the trunk and up to the new center lateral bar. With the exception of the final fiberglass work and the paint everything was done in our own shop.
We ran the Cortina in 2005 to 2009 but could never resolve the handing problems, until we changed rear springs and the front caster from +2 to +4 by adjusting the strut rod . The results were amazing, dropping our lap times 3 seconds and no longer a major handfull to drive on the track. We tried a dry sump system at the beginning of 2009 and ruined a crankshaft and 2 Eagle rods. Went back to wet sump with a new C-line racing oil pan.
In 2010 the Gremlins struck again- lost 3rd gear in the transmission, Panhard rod mount at the frame snapped and the cast roller cam broke into 4 pieces at high rpm (without damaging the head and valve gear)among a lot of small things failing and of course an on-track incident bent the left front strut- resulted in the Hard Luck Trophy for the year.
In 2011 , at the May race, at the end of Saturdays practice, we had to pull the cylinder head, replace a new billet cam ( lifter came loose and scratched a cam lobe) and relap the valves and then accurately timed. The motor Thanks to the help from a good friend, the Cortina was ready for the next days racing. Not much competition that year, so our two drivers were competing against each other and the clock. In one of the later races that season in the morning GT race, the right front strut snapped off below the shock insert just as the car was going into Turn1, The only other damage was a tie rod end. We had a spare reinforced strut which we able to install before the last race of the day. Mark had the pole for the unlimited race and he pulled away from the rest of the field except for a Camaro ex stock car, who managed to get past the Cortina. After a long chase Mark was able to stay with the Camaro until it blew its motor and we took the overall checkered flag.
2012 was a banner year for us and we won the 2 GT@ championships. This included Mark winning a close fought race with a very fast Datsun 510, and settng our fastest time of 1:19. This was the 1st year we were equipped with race radios, a GPS lap recorder/timer and a Hero camera.
For 2013, we had to replace the short block except for the Eagle Rods. The 2.3 was completely worn out. The work was performed by iTrac in Memramcook, NB. We ran the full season with little problem, no competition in our class. Again we ran against the clock trying to improve on our lap times, but due to a poor choice in tires (Cooper 2000) this did not happen. The tires had a way too soft a side wall as they were meant for light weight Formula cars. The most memorable race was against a Datsun 240Z- the Datsun got held up until halfway in the race and then this much faster car started to catch up to the Cortina so by the end of the race it was a drag race for the checkered flag- the Cortina took the checkered flag for an overall win by a whisker.
2014 and 2015 were not good years for Elliott Racing, as the gremlins were back- the T-5 transmission became the biggest problem and required a total rebuild. The spare transmission turned out to be a a real dud, as both 3rd gear and reverse were totally destroyed. Again tires also proved out to be a serious problem. As reliability was very much in question, it was decided to take the Cortina completely apart including putting her on a rotisserie , full chassis clean up and repaint, weight removal, rebuild and improve the electrical system, rebuilding and painting the quick change differential and transmission, replace windshield with lexan, removing wiper system and fabricating a removable defrost system, rebuild brake system including changing the steel lines for new stainless steel braided lines. The 2.3 engine was in process of being checked when we discovered the #3 exhaust seat had come unseated and the valve drove it up into the aluminum cylinder head port- a very serious problem as the cylinder head would, at the very least , need to be welded and machined. The only other solution was to find a replacement head, which turned out to be very difficult. Would consider a used SVO head as Esslinger Engineering has just finished manufacturing the last 5 SVO cylinder heads and unfortunately all 5 have been spoken for. Also looking at a full race 2.3 Engine. but they are few and far between. Could mean a delay getting the Cortina back on the track for 2017. Everything else is set to go.