A passion for motorsport led Julian Godfrey to create his race engine building business back in 1989, success has followed ever since. Engines supplied by Julian Godfrey Engineering are used by many race winning drivers in Rally Cross championships in the UK and mainland Europe, as well as powering Julian himself to three British Rally Cross Championships, with his sights on a fourth crown in 2014.
It was in 1991 that the company became involved directly with European Rally Cross taking over running of the team for one of the sports major names at the time, Pat Doran. In its first season it finished second in the Championship. That connection continues with PatÕs son Liam, now a leading driver in what will become a World Championship in 2014. Julian Godfrey has provided engines for LiamÕs Monster Energy Citroen DS3 supercar and also developing a car and 875 bhp engine for LiamÕs challenge on the famous Pikes Peak hillclimb event in the USA. The more Ôrun of the millÕ engines that Julian Godfrey builds start life as a stock engine block to which he adds many modifications to create a power unit capable of delivering 550 bhp and 600 ft/lb torque. When fitted to a Rally Cross car they achieve 0-60 mph in around two seconds.
For many years Julian used sub-contract manufacturers to supply the machined parts he needed, but the pressure to deliver parts faster, and also to drive the continuous development of engine components, as well as suspension and gearbox elements, saw him bring much of his machining in-house. The machines he chose were supplied by XYZ Machine Tools and are an XYZ 1020 VMC vertical machining centre, with a 20 hp/8000 revs/min spindle and axis travels of 1020 x 520 x 546 mm, with control provided by the Siemens 828D ShopMill CNC control; this is complimented by an XYZ ProTURN SLX 355 lathe that features a swing over the bed of 360 mm, a between centre distance of 1000 mm, with power provided by a 7.5 hp/4000 revs/min spindle.
These two machines are being used to advance product development and reduce the lead times for components that have to be machined to strict deadlines. “Having in-house machining with these XYZ machines gives us much more control over design and manufacture. We are now in a much better position to modify designs, to further reduce weight, or simply experiment with new ideas, as we now have the capacity to do it, without the expense or reliance on external sources,” says Julian Godfrey.
One of the key factors when deciding on which machine tools to purchase was ease of use, as this was the company’s first foray into CNC machining. In fact, none of the employees had any experience of programming prior to the machines arriving. “We were starting from scratch and the ease of use of the Siemens ShopMill and the ProtoTRAK controls was a major benefit,” says Julian Godfrey. “Also, we are never going to mass produce parts, but we do need to know that what we produce will be accurate and of the highest quality, as component failure is not an option. This meant we needed a machine tool supplier that understood our needs. In XYZ we have a supplier with a range of machines, particularly the ProtoTRAK machines that are ideally suited to one-off and prototype machining.”
Prior to having the two XYZ machines many day-to-day tasks, such as machining cylinder blocks for wet liners and the machining of combustion chambers, would take days, if not weeks to manufacture. They can now be machined in hours, when they are needed without the reliance on external capacity. In the case of the XYZ 1020 VMC the company also specified a fourth axis unit, which it is putting to full use on the design of a new engine sump. These sumps are now machined from solid aluminium billets with complex strengthening ribs to overcome the problem faced by the original cast sumps, which were ‘blowing’ due to the increased power of the engines.
Making parts as strong and as light as possible is the ultimate aim for Julian Godfrey Engineering and, with the XYZ machines it is achieving that. A bonus is the fact that the spare capacity on the machines is being made available to other companies, adding a sub-contract capability to the high-octane motorsport machining that it is doing.
(Above) Julian Godfrey in action in the first round of the 2013 European Rally Cross Championship.
(Above) Liam Doran’s RS200 Pikes Peak Car, which was built by Julian Godfrey Engineering, is powered by one of the company’s 2 litre, 4 cylinder, engines developing a massive 875bhp.
(Above) A selection of components machined on the XYZ 1020 VMC vertical machining centre at Julian Godfrey Engineering.