Profile – Connaught Racing Engines

There’s something pleasingly familiar when you step through the door of Connaught Racing Engines. The warm workshop heaters blowing on this cold, bright January morning boosts the smell of machine oil and metal swarf that I find comforting every time I step inside a traditional race engine workshop. Silver haired guys with black workshop dustcoats, complete with micrometer in the top pocket, go quietly about their work.

Established back in 1985 by Phil Price, after spending six years working for Minster Racing, Connaught has grown and developed into a diverse and experienced engine building shop with a wide ranging experience of many makes of racing engines from Formula Ford, through BDA and big block American engines all the way to Formula One DFV’s. Indeed when we visited there were several dozen engines in various states of preparation for clients across Europe.

Ford engine inlets

So why the diversity? “Well, an engine is an engine, really” Says owner Phil Price, “For sure, they all have their little characters and idiosyncrasies but in principle they’re all the same. Customers tend to come back to us regardless of what they decide to race. If they’re wanting to change to a different car, they’ll ask us if we’d continue to run them with their new machinery and it’s gone from there.” We spotted chassis and engines form everything from a big block Ford V8, various BDA’s, a Porsche 930 Turbo and a Hayabusa engined Radical all undergoing preparation.

Warrior Engines

Connaught has also acquired the manufacturing rights to Warrior twin cam engines. With the continued growth of historic racing and rallying, the engines are in demand both in Ireland and further afeild in the Safari rally and even New Zealand and Australia.

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The WARRIOR package includes: Fully Finished Cylinder Head, Valves and all Valve Train Components, Camshafts and Followers, Camshaft Carriers and Covers, Vernier Timing Pulleys and Belt, Inlet Manifold and Gasket, all Nuts, Bolts, Washers, etc. We can also machine valve pockets in customer’s pistons to suit the application, supply conventional or electronic ignition systems, carburettors and provide a complete build, setup and installation for your WARRIOR engine.

Example engine specification: Ford 2.0 litre Pinto, 2046cc, (bore 92mm), crankshaft: 76.95mm billet steel, forged steel conrods, forged alloy pistons, steel flywheel, dry sump (2 Gal), WARRIOR 16 Valve Twin-Cam Cylinder Head, 2 x 48mm Weber DCOE carburettors, DA 10 cams, Power 238 bhp at 7500 rpm, Torque 185 lbs.ft at 5500 rpm. With more radical cams and 50mm Weber DCOE carburettors 270 bhp at 8000 rpm and 205 lbs.ft at 5500 rpm can be achieved.

The WARRIOR Cylinder Head has proved both extremely popular and effective in Eire with competitors in the closed road tarmac rally championships. WARRIOR equipped engines are also successful in rallying and hillclimbing all over Britain, Europe and even Australia.In 2005 Connaught built a very special 2400cc engine which produced over 300 bhp and 230 lbs.ft of torque on full engine management.

CNC Machine in Connaught Engines workshop

The company isn’t just confined to engine preparation, however. As Phil said, they prepare and run complete cars for many customers across various racing series both in the UK and Europe, with workshop facilities able to cater for every aspect. With Phil entering his Porsche 930 Turbo into the Classic Sportscar Club’s Special Saloon Series this year, you’re sure to hear more about Connaught here. Watch for a full feature on his 930 Turbo soon.

Thanks to Connaught Engines
Text Neill Watson

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Author: Neill Watson

If you love the sound of the Cosworth V8 as much as the V12 Merlin, the smell of Jet A1 as much as Castrol R and admire the late Ray Hanna as much as Sir Stirling, you’ll find you’re both on the same page. Neill's love of art deco buildings means that his ideal home would be a brilliant white, 1930′s control tower in Southern France, with crisply mown grass, biplane parked on the driveway and a Ferrari 288GTO in the garage. This is something that those around him tolerate, though it does concern them from time to time.

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  • I have a question. I am currently racing in SA, in the HRCR championship.
    What I need info on is this, for me to be able to race the warrior head configuration I need to prove that this engine was raced in the day, say when was this engine first raced, was it perhaps a genuine Ford part, did Ford ever race this head on a classic Ford Escort, etc. I need to prove that it raced in the day….to be able to use it.
    I am led to believe that it WAS raced in the day ( 1970etc ), you comments please.
    I will need proof of the fact

  • Phil at Connaught Engines will be able to help you with that, I know he’s sold several along the same lines.