McGarry to build VX220 for British and Irish rallycross

by Hal Ridge |

Irishman Peter McGarry will swap his Peugeot 205 Super National car for a Vauxhall VX200 towards the end of the 2016 season, using a chassis that was first started by former Irish Rallycross Champion Michael Coyne, prior to the experienced driver emigrating to Australia before the car was completed.

Chassis already has roll cage and fibreglass bodywork. ©

Successful Stock Hatch driver McGarry competed in both the standard production category in the Irish championship in 2015, and the BTRDA Clubmans Rallycross Championship in the UK, where he introduced his supercharged version of Peugeot’s 205. The Dubliner will now use the same concept in the VX220 chassis and is targeting the front of the two-wheel drive category in both the British and Irish rallycross championship.

“There have been many tried and tested ways to get the Lotus Elise and VX220 to move a bit quicker. With the layout of the car, it really allows for a blank canvas. The most popular conversion is the K20 Honda engine, which has great reliable power,” explained McGarry. “We’re going down a different road, and are going to fit the supercharged Peugeot engine from my Super National car. We have the engine held back a bit in the 205 as its front-wheel drive, but in the VX220 we should be able to let it go a bit which should see it being able to compete at the front of the class. We have already mocked up an engine and gearbox in the VX220 and are in the process of making mounts for it, in the back of the car.”

Peugeot engine will power Vauxhall chassis. ©

Having previously had a plan to move to a rear-wheel drive car in 2017, McGarry says that although the opportunity to build a rear-drive car came earlier than expected, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity. “The purchase probably came 12 months early. I had planned to race my 205 in 2016. After competing in the full BTRDA championship in the UK in 2015, I’m confident we have ironed out the problems we had throughout the year so we can have a good go at the IRX Super Modified championship. I will work away on the VX220 and race the 205,with a view to a full attack on the Irish championship in it in 2017.”

McGarry says that [Michael] Coyne has been instrumental in his rallycross career to date, and he would like to follow in the footsteps of his VX220’s former constructor, by racing at the sharp end of the competitive Super National category in the UK as well as Ireland. “Michael was the reason I first started in Irish rallycross. He persuaded me to buy my Stock Hatch car and continued to help me in my early days in the sport, together with his brothers Willie and Brendan. I knew Michael had started to build a VX220 before he left for Australia and while chatting with him over Christmas, he mentioned he might sell the car so it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

“Michael had fitted a cage and a full fiberglass rallycross kit from Paul Waldron to the car already. Hopefully it will be finished towards the end of this year, possibly sooner if I have the time to work on it. Over the past few years, we have raced at pretty much all of the British Championship venues aside from Lydden Hill, so that is definitely high on the ‘bucket list’. The Coyne family have been the backbone for IRX for many years, and have developed a wealth of knowledge of rallycross in general. Any car with the Coyne stamp of approval is sure to be a good package, even in my hands.”

Turpin also ran supercharger on his VX220. © Whittington

Two VX220s have competed in British rallycross previously. Former British Rallycross Champion Mike Turpin raced a supercharged version of the machine before moving to sprints and hill climbs, while Lincoln’s Gary Dixon debuted his version of the car in the British series last season.





« »