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how it fits into the car. That’s all part of the challenge. Part of the fun is working out what I’m going to do when I can’t get the right bit. The sidepods were an example. It was just impossible to get the right ones, so I got a slightly damaged engine cover and sidepods from a later Williams-BMW and cut it up, modifying the sidepods to fit with the correct engine cover I already had. I have also taught myself how to do basic fabrication with carbon fibre – the wet stuff, which is resin based to help do things like this.’


VALUED ACQUISITIONS This approach has yielded some alarmingly good value acquisitions. Thomas is especially proud of the fuel cell – a genuine ATL F1 unit – that had been repaired by the tank specialists in Milton Keynes on behalf of BAR who then never fitted it to a car. In principal it’s worth thousands of pounds, but Thomas purchased


The £30 ATL F1 fuel tank was one of the best deals of the whole project


it for just £30. ‘I don’t just buy things from eBay. There’s a whole group of memorabilia sites and dealers around the UK, but also you start to build a network of contacts and they know you are looking for particular types of car parts. Then, when stuff turns


up, they let me know. I get one or two emails a week from people saying, “do you need a spare floor?” Things like that. Also I check eBay religiously every morning. It’s really immaterial what it costs as the people on there do not necessarily realise


the value it has to you. They think it’s just a worthless old control box from a Honda.’


KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS If this all sounds a bit too good to be true, Thomas is aware of the fact that he cannot seriously build every element of the car up himself, and that to get a car like this running is near impossible if all of the parts are F1-derived. He also knows all too well that running 3.0-litre V10 F1 engines are not cheap, and very hard to source, and that their complex hydraulics and air valve systems are really beyond the scope of the amateur builder. ‘I have got it to the point now


where I can pretty much get it rolling, but you could not drive it. The wishbones would probably snap on the first bend. In the next year or two, when I can find more of the correct parts, and some spares, I will get it properly rolling. At that point I will take it to someone to have it plumbed


July 2012 • www.racecar-engineering.com 25


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