Defender 90 V8 by WSR

The French Aurelien Sagar and Jeremy Gauche won the 2018 Ultra4 Europe European Championship in the Stock category aboard a Defender prepared by WSR. In this article we will discover the secrets of this 4×4 and also how easy it is to compete in this type of race in the Stock class.

Can the Defender 90 V8 be a good platform for building a 4×4 for the Stock class in Ultra4 races? This is the question we will answer thanks to this particular Defender made in France by Nicolas Montador’s WSR.

The first question is: why?

Why build a vehicle for the Stock category while Nicolas Montador is known mainly for his Unlimited prototypes; class in which he runs in the Ultra4 Europe championship. Nicolas replied simply because “many off-road enthusiasts think they need a stratospheric and very expensive car to race in Ultra4 races. I just wanted to show that you can participate in these races and have fun even on a limited budget.”

For those who don’t know him, Nicolas Montador is the owner of WSR, where he designs and builds off-road vehicles, in particular 4×4 racing. He himself runs in the Ultra4 circuit since the beginning of this specility in Europe. The idea of building a 4×4 for the Stock has always been his desire to show the versatility of his business.

The Ultra4 Stock Class

I personally believe that this category is underestimated and this is a shame as it allows many people to compete without having a high budget. It can also be seen as a good opportunity to join an important international level.

What are the specificities of the Stock class?

The idea is to run with an unmodified or slightly modified 4WD production vehicle.

  • The 6-point safety cage is mandatory. The dimensions of the tubes vary according to the weight (1.5 “x.120” up to 1600kg, 1.75 “x0.120” between 1600 and 2200kg and 2 “x0.120” for 2200kg and beyond).
  • Racing seats with FIA / SCORE specifications and 5-point seat belts are required.
  • Helmet with HansS device and fire suit.
  • 2 fire extinguishers (one internal and one external), 2 battery switches (vehicle and winch), a horn, a first aid kit, a couple of signs (OK and SOS) and plates for the race numbers (blue background).
  • The vehicle must be a production vehicle (with at least 1000 units built), keep the chassis and most of the bodywork (no trayback type modifications).
  • Doors can be cut (half doors) or replaced by pipes, but they must open and close.
  • The bumpers can be changed.
  • The standard front lights are mandatory, the fins are not important as long as position and stop lights are fitted.
  • The engines must remain one of the available variants mounted on the original vehicle from the factory. For example, you can install Rover V8 in a Defender 300TDI.
  • The position of the radiator can be moved 6 “compared to the standard one.
  • The transmission must remain standard.
  • The reducer is free, which means that it can be replaced with any other from the same manufacturer.
  • The steering must remain completely mechanical, any steering box can be replaced with the stock one, but the position must remain 4 “from the stock one.
  • Bridges can be reinforced or replaced with others.
  • The suspension must remain as standard, that is, the geometry and shape must not be modified. The position of the shock absorber is free as long as 1 is mounted per wheel. 2.65 “diameter x 14” stroke is the maximum size allowed.

The engine of this Defender:

The engine is a 4.0-liter V8 (from a 50th anniversary Defender). It has a stroker crankshaft to push the displacement to 4.6 (note that the only difference between a Rover V8 4.0 and 4.6 is this particular crankshaft). The injection is managed by a Sybele control unit, with a mapping made by one of Nicolas ‘friends: AccessCars’ Yannick. The exhaust is handcrafted by WSR, while the air entering the engine is filtered by a conical filter.

The automatic transmission is a 3ZF 4HP22 (built for racing). The gearbox remains the standard one: an LT230.

Bridges and suspensions:

The bridges of Discovery 2 have replaced the original ones. The front axle has a 100% air differential lock, while the rear axle is spooled. Both have a 4.75 ratio.

Terrafirma springs and Fox 2.5 “shock absorbers with external tank manage the suspensions.

The rear struts have been custom built to use the heims instead of the bushings. The wheelbase has been extended by 3 “, bringing it to a total of 96”. The front struts are from Discovery 2 which have been modified to adapt them both to the frame and to the ends of the axle.

The transmission shafts were custom built by Nicolas.

The steering box is standard but brand new.

The cage and the interior

The cage was built by WSR and is an intelligent mix of interior (4 rear points) and exo-cage (2 front points). As safety was his main concern, no corners were cut and 25CD4S steel was used, although a more standard material such as DOM could be used. An A bar was mounted on the front bumper which also includes an underlying protection.

The interior is high-end with a carbon fiber dashboard that includes an AIM race display to keep an eye on the different information coming from a series of sensors (pressures, temperatures, speeds, etc …). This unit also acts as an alarm (low pressure, high temperature, etc …).

The seats are OMP.

The tailgate has been removed and the interior houses a huge ATL fuel tank needed to feed the thirsty V8.

Finally the tires are Toyo OMPT 285 / 75R16 installed on steel rims.