Motorsport: Big things from a small workshop
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Tucked between Glenfield’s industrial area and State Highway 1 lies one of New Zealand’s most experienced and successful motorsport workshops — Edgell Performance.
It has become synonymous with V8 touring car racing, thanks to father Randell and son Tim engineering and racing in pits and on tracks around the world.
Randell’s engineering career has seen him wielding his spanners on open-wheel racers at the famed Macau Grand Prix, and rally with Pikes Peak Hill Climb legend Monster Tajima’s twin-engined Suzuki Escudo in the US.
“I started in rallying in the early 1970s and then got involved with Formula Pacific and Formula Atlantic, which took me to Europe and Asia,” said Randell.
“From there we ventured into the Group A era.”
Randell and Tim Edgell have been engineering and racing cars all around the world. Picture / Simon Chapman
Group A allowed teams to tweak production-derived vehicles for power, weight, technology and cost, aimed at ensuring a large number of privately owned entries in races — the perfect platform for Randell’s skills.
“I’m an automotive machinist by trade. I learned a lot of the engine-management side and the ECU [electronic control unit] maintenance. We were there very early on when the electronic era started.”
The family firm is now 30 years old. Tim manages the operation, Randell is the engine specialist and mother Janice works in the office.
In the workshop, muscle cars, Formula 5000s, drag racers, and speedway engines are common. Much of Randell’s experience lies in touring car racing, more than two decades with V8s.
Randell also explored the Australian Touring Car Championship, working with Robbie Francevic, Michele Delcourt, Larry Perkins, Paul Radisich and others.
For Tim, his motorsport career began with karts. “I started at 13 at Mt Wellington Kart Club,” said Tim, who then convinced his dad to join him behind the wheel.
Now the pair compete in the BNT NZ Touring Cars series.
“Once we won New Zealand titles and Grand Prix titles we moved into Formula Ford.
“When I came out of Formula Ford, NZV8s had 40-odd cars, so that was where I wanted to be.”
Since starting in the premier NZV8s tin-top class, Randell and Tim have run a family team out of the Edgell Performance workshop.
“Compared to two or three of the professional teams, ours is purely done by volunteers and helpers.
“We try to make a living during the week to go racing on the weekends.
“As a smaller team we don’t have the budget of the big teams, so testing is a little bit limited for us. The top two are pretty strong in this class — they’re both professional outfits — but I definitely think there’s a chance for a top-three result.”
Tim says there are benefits with the in-house operation.
“We do everything ourselves, engine-building to gearbox rebuilding, so that’s definitely an advantage for expenditure. We know the cars mechanically well.”
Adds Randell, “You’re always updating, and always trying to keep on top of the game. And then we try to prepare our own car and hopefully get truly competitive.”
The Edgells will be aiming to snatch second place in the NZ Touring Car Championship at this weekend’s season finale at Pukekohe Park Raceway.