Design History of Bailey Cars
The Bailey GT40 was first designed and developed in 2002 by two top
Engineering graduates from the University of Witwatersrand, as well as several people
with vast experience in automotive construction and the motor sport industry.
It has been raced successfully since then with two Historic Class B Championships in
2006 and 2007, victory in the South African Tourist Trophy in 2004 and a total of 50
trophy’s for various podium finishes in both historic racing as well as Porsche Challenge,
which puts it against some of the latest machinery from Ferrari, Porsche and Lotus,
to name a few.
A total of only 17 of these chassis’ were built over this period and were sold to
enthusiastic customers from countries like Sweden, America, Belgium, Zambia
and south Africa.
The chassis worked equally well on the road with cars being “softened” with sound deadening, aircon,
extra heat isolation, interior upholstery and a different suspension set up.
Bailey has now designed a new chassis from a clean sheet but with the
experience and lessons of 6 years of sports cars racing and building.
The Bailey GT40 Version 2 has all of the positive aspects of the Version 1 car but with many improvements.
The new car still remains true to the original as it is now also closer in terms of looks to the original.
The chassis has an increased torsional rigidity but at the same time is 30kg’s lighter.
It has a bigger cockpit area which is now undoubtedly the largest of any of the recreation gt40’s available to day.
It will comfortably fit a driver as tall as 6 foot 5 inches with a helmet on! A sliding pedal box and seat ensures that
any driver will be able to feel comfortable and confident behind the height and rake adjustable original 3 spoke
steering wheel of the Bailey GT40.
The engine bay has been revised to make more space around the engine, to make working on the car
as easy as possible. This has made carrying out routine maintenance to either starter motor, alternator,
gear box or clutch changes in a short a time as possible and even made life easier when installing an engine as well.
The new chassis also has provision set in the engine bay for a 5 gallon Peterson dry sump and 3 stage oil pump for
full race car or air con unit and compressor for road car. By removing the air con from the cockpit even more space
was created for the driver and passenger.
An even larger development, due to the use of a dry sump and inverted type gear box, is the lowering of the
engine block by 150mm. This is huge in terms of centre of gravity of the car as the engine is the single
heaviest mass in the chassis.
Suspension geometry has also been completely revised with improved roll centres as well as many tricks that have
allowed the steering to have a lighter feel but at the same time giving greater feedback to the driver through
the non assisted steering system.
At the front, the all billet 7075 aluminum upright features quick adjustment for camber, castor and wheel alignment.
As well as quick change bearing hubs.
The rear also has much improved roll centres and “active toe control” that make the car allot more s
table on the edge of traction. The rear also has fully adjustable 7075 billet aluminum uprights, with quick adjustment
and easy bearing change. All this while decreasing the cars unsprung mass considerably.
The front of the chassis now has provision for small 40 Litre custom made overnight bags or narrow type spare
wheel as on the original GT40.
All these improvements and many more minor ones make for an exceptionally good quality and high performance
sports car which looks closer to the original gt40 yet incorporates 42 years of engineering improvements
Bailey added the famous Le Mans winning 917 to its range of models in 2007.
They are produced as close as possible to the original priceless racing cars of the mid 1960's and early 1970's.
The 917 was renowned for winning 2 years in a row - 1970 and 1971 - at Le Mans.
One of the outstanding features of the car was the top speed of 395 km/h (246mph) on the Mulsanne Straight.
This in comparison to the previous year's winner, the GT40, at 340km/h (which in itself was very fast!).
The Bailey 917 LM is based on the original drawings, with improvements to
enhance the safety, cockpit space and drivability of the car, using modern materials and equipment.
The chassis is built out of carbon steel instead of the aluminum used by the original.
The reason for this is the pure strength of the chassis. The original 917’s had a fatigue life that was just
good enough for a single endurance race. Thereafter mechanics would examine the chassis for cracks and
would have to re-weld and patch certain areas for the car to race again. We have used steel to ensure the
chassis is roughly 3 times stronger than the original in torsional rigidity as well as out right strength in an impact.
But at the expense of weight. But the 50kilograms added is neither here nor there when one thinks
about safety or reliability. But this is also including the welded in roll cage.
The chassis is completely 3d laser cut and TIG welded.
Other areas of improvement due the car being completely designed on Solid works are to the size of the
cockpit as well as trying to make the car driver friendly. It has adjustable steering and sliding pedal box.
It takes a few minutes to do but at least one size car fits all as opposed to the original car only fitting one size driver...
A small one.
Suspension geometry is only slightly changed over the original as the Germans were very advanced in this area.
One can see why the car beat the Fords from previous years at le mans when you study the finer details like
geometry and unsprung mass. We have tried to ensure that the suspension gives the driver as much positive
feed back through the steering so that one can really feel what the big good year slicks are doing on the road.
Uprights are all 7075 billet aluminum. Fully adjustable on the front and back of the car.
As well as all the necessary quick change parts required for maintenance in between races.
So far early testing has proved our 917 to be very quick on the race track. At zwartkops the car has achieved
1min 5.2 seconds by Oliver De Lais in his martini coloured no 22 car with a twin turbo 935 enghine.
Mike Nel in his normally aspirated 380hp 917 achieved a lap time of 1min 6.8 seconds
. Keep in mind a BMW M3 does 1min 18 and a Porsche GT3 cup 1 min 8 at zwartkops.
The cars are produced to full race specification and hence are not fully suitable for being driven on the road
as they are currently built and sold. To do this one would have to increase the ride height slightly and fit road legal tyres.
Other than that the car is pretty much ready to go for the enthusiast.