Beemer Power at Doune

On Friday evening at Doune we had our 1st look at David Seaton’s beautifully built Pilbeam sportscar.

Pilbeam MP43 at Doune


Being based in the South, this lovely car had so far escaped our gaze this year as David competes in Northern & Scottish sprints and hillclimbs. Plenty has been written about it in Speedscene though and we greatly looked forward to seeing it.

The car is the 1st Pilbeam sportscar built (MP43-01) which was originally run by David Garnett in the mid-80s. It then passed through a variety of drivers hands until Barry Lines fitted a monsterous Rover V8 engine. Seaton bought the car as a rolling chassis from Lines and has installed a BMW M5 V8 engine which is mated to the Hewland FG transmission.

BMW M5 V8 Engine Installation

In order to get a benchmark on the changes that have been made, Seaton invited Lines to share the car with him at Doune. That was an offer that Barry was unlikely to decline!

Lines had a good run in the car, despite a FAIL on his 1st competition run on Sunday, and was enthusing about the driveability of the engine after the event.


  1. Andy Barton says:

    I think I [hope correctly] recall a conversation with Barry Lines about the MP43 twin turbocharged Raver installation at Shelsley Walsh; the engine/turbo package had required an additional 100mm. to added behind the driver, with a corresponding increase in wheelbase. I think it was probably too soon after this change to discuss any affect on the handling; insufficient time in the car at that point. I wonder if this wheelbase still exists in this car, and if so, whether it was/is felt to have changed the handling, perhaps on turn in. Remember Denis Jenkinson, and his musings on The Polar Moment of Inertia? But I have never been sure whether it is possible, as an onlooker, to draw any generalisations about handling differences resulting from changes in wheelbase; it probably is greatly dependent on the locations of all the significant masses between the axle lines, but long wheelbase cars tend, as a type, to have the reputation of wanting to go straight on at bends, do they not? Can anyone shed any light on this obscurantist MP43 topic?

  2. David Seaton says:

    It is generally considered that the extended wheelbase makes for a less edgy car, and is consequently much more pleasant to drive. This is partly on the basis that the original car was thought by many to have too short a wheelbase !
    Never having been in a shorter version it is hard for me to make a comparison, although I would suppose that the turn – in of the shorter car is somewhat sharper. I would not say that the turn-in on my car was by any means inadequate, which perhaps suggests that the wheelbase in its’ extended form has made little difference.
    Currently the car has the same wheelbase as it had in Barrie’s ownership – I am not sure that I would much fancy nearly 500 bhp in a short chassis in any case.

  3. David Seaton says:

    I should add that on my second timed run at Doune, I covered the first 64 ft in exactly 2.00 secs, which may be a side benefit of the slightly longer wheelbase !

    • Andy Barton says:

      Rambling through “back-numbers”, I found that my comment about wheelbase had brought a response, back in September. My thanks to David Seaton.

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