BTCC Car Won't start

Published on 14 September 2023 at 18:58

My mate Malcolm phoned me to say that his Daughter's BTCC car wouldn't start, it was turning over but not firing. Russell had taken the plugs out and cleaned them but noted that they were dry so we were pretty sure we were looking at a fueling problem. Obviously everything is very different on these cars to any road going Astra so a bit of familiarisation was in order.


After having the head under the bonnet for a few minutes it started to click in to place and the main fuel feed line had been identified, as had the return. The plugs and coil packs were put back in place, that all looked fine and dandy with all plugs etc being properly secure. We spent a short while marveling at the engineering, it is truly superb, no wonder these cars cost so much money even back then. Anyway, first thing after all that was to crack open the fuel line coming up from the tank, our gut feel was that there would be no fuel getting through - turns out we were right, it was virtually bone dry in there. We had put plenty of rags around it as these things run significant fuel pressure and the pumps are high volume so if it had come out it would have done so at tremendous velocity. We also decided against checking for spark as sparks when combined with petrol could have caused significant heat related issues. I think Malc would have had us both flogged too.

So, next port of call was the back of the car where the fuel tank lives, the fuel pump sits inside the tank, there are numerous solenoids and valves to stop fuel leaking if the car goes upside down, there is also a manual valve to stop the fuel from the driver's seat. We could hear the pump running but when we cracked open a joint immediately outside of the tank and before the filter there was no fuel there either. It was while I had my head back there in the dark that Russ pointed out that two resettable fuses had popped. One was marked lp, the other hp, I assume these mean low pressure and high pressure. We reset both fuses, turned on the ignition, set the pump to prime for a few seconds and then switched it over to the run position. Russ did the honours and pressed the starter. It took a few seconds for the pressure to come up on the line but sure enough it burst in to life in it's usual shouty manner. We let it run for a few seconds and checked it responded to throttle before switching it off and calling it a day.

I love days like this - I learned something, had a challenge and it all worked out splendidly, in a couple of weeks the car will be going to Donnington Park for a special Vauxhall  event, we will be taking the v8 Monaro as well. Jason Hughes will be there in the Jason Plato Astra, he was a great laugh at Silverstone earlier in the year so I am really looking forward to that one. Malc will be there, we are expecting a few ex BTCC and super tourers there. The car won't be going round but I strongly suspect it will be fired up. If that is done at the same time as the rest of them it will be a great treat for the paying public. Video of today's malarkey is available here -

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