Despite being scheduled to debut its brand new Mitsubishi Mirage RX in the second round of the 2017 Toyo Tires MSA British Rallycross Championship earlier this month, Spencer Sport had to withdraw its entry due to a head gasket issue during testing.
Having revealed the car’s new livery on Friday morning, driver James Grint took to the circuit to shakedown the car. However, after just a few laps, the engine started to lose power and, having returned to the paddock, the Spencer Sport engineers reported that the head gasket was leaking.
After further inspection by engine builder and supplier Julian Godfrey, it was found that the cause of the problem could not be accurately established. Therefore, not wanting to cause any additional issues or consequential damage, the decision was taken to pull out of the event.
Following the decision, Spencer Sport team manager Charlie Jukes said: “After all the hard work that’s been put in to get to this point, it is of course disappointing to have to take the decision to withdraw from Monday’s event. However, this is a brand new car with a brand new engine and issues are bound to come to light so early in the development process. But from what we’ve seen so far in testing, we know that the Mirage is going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
Albeit understandably frustrated not to be competing on Monday, James Grint was philosophical about the decision to pull out: “It’s a great shame not to be able to debut the car on Monday, but these things happen in motorsport. At least we have time for some development and testing between now and the next event, so for round three we can really hit the ground running.
“Of course, missing the first two rounds of the season will make our bid for the title more challenging. However, you can drop two scores, so all is far from lost and, with a bit of luck on our side a podium position is definitely on the cards.”
Once the engine has been rebuilt and tested, the team will embark on a series of tests with the car and then set its sights on round three of the championship, which takes place at Pembrey Circuit on 25th June.