Kent Prather's Six Time SCCA National Championship Winning MGAOwner: Kent Prather
City: Wakarusa, Kansas
Model: 1962 MGA
Built by: Kent Prather, Prather Racing
Prather Racing's MGA
This MGA has been raced ever since it was bought for that purpose back in 1962. Since
1980 it's been owned and driven by Kent Prather of Prather Racing, and Kent has had a
tremendous amount of success with it. This particular MGA has been driven to victory in
more SCCA National Championships than any other production car in history. It topped
the G Production class in 1986, 1990, 1995, 2002, 2003, and 2005, and to this day it
remains the fastest roadracing MGA in the country, hands down.
Regrettably, SCCA discontinued the G Production class before the 2008 season. Competitors were obliged to move up to F or down to H, as classed by engine displacement. What to do? The Prathers are a very busy racing family with many irons in the fire. Kent's son Jesse won SCCA's 2008 E Production championship in his 1.8L Mazda Miata. A Prather-prepared 1.6L Miata won the 2008 F Production championship too. After one year of racing in F Production and after finishing sixth in the 2008 SCCA runoffs, Kent decided that his famous MGA would undergo a complete restoration to compete in vintage racing. Although the competitive atmosphere is a little more relaxed, this MGA will still be driven aggressively and with intent to win.
BritishV8 photographed Kent's MGA at The MG Vintage Racers' 2009 annual focus event, the Heacock Classic Gold Cup at Virginia International Raceway. Driving responsibilities that weekend were handed back and forth between father and son. (Does that happen at SCCA events?) The MGA circled the track in just 2:18.071, which is pretty darned quick. Only Jerry Richards and Les Gonda were faster in Saturday's "MG-Morgan Challenge Race", and they were both driving V8-powered cars. In Sunday's all-MG feature race, the MGA finished a very strong third place behind Les Gonda's 3.5L MGB GT V8 and Butch McKenzie's 1844cc MGB.
Features and Specifications
|Engine:||1622cc MGA engine (nominally 3.00" bore x 3.50" stroke) bored 0.040" over.
Dual 1.75" S.U. carburetors. Prather Racing "Stage 6" camshaft.
Electromotive XDI crank-triggered electronic ignition system.
Johnson HTP external oil pump (wet sump) and Jones Racing Products pulley system.
Mecca pressurized oil reservoir (a.k.a. "Accusump").
|Cooling:||Saldana Racing Products custom aluminum radiator and custom aluminum surge tank.
Electric cooling fan. 16-row Canton oil cooler.
|Exhaust:||custom 3-into-1 header into 2.5" exhaust system, with Flowmaster muffler.
|Transmission:||Saenz Performance model 840 4-speed racing transmission with dog ring gears
(for durability and for clutchless shifts) and 1:1 top gear.
Powertrain Technology 7.25" two-disc racing clutch. Custom billet steel flywheel.
|Rear Axle:||MGA banjo-type axle with welded spool.
|Front Susp.:||stock control arms and steering rack. Custom anti-sway bar.
|Rear Susp.:||custom 3-link rear suspension with adjustable coilover shock absorbers. (No rear anti-sway bar.)
|Brakes:||(master) dual Girling cylinders with adjustable bias bar.
(front) stock MGA calipers and rotors.
(rear) Wilwood disc brakes. SSBC cockpit-mounted bias valve.
|Wheels/Tires:||Spin Werkes Racing "Series 82" 15x7 9-spoke aluminum racing wheels (about 12.0# each)
wearing Hoosier "Speedster" P205/60R15 (D.O.T. approved, but made for vintage racing)
radial tires. Kwik Change Products quick release bleeders.
|Electrical:||Optima deep cycle battery. Gear reduction starter. No charging system.
|Instruments:||(left to right) Stewart Warner fuel pressure (1-10psi), Stack tachometer (0-8000rpm),
dual exhaust temp (400-1600F), Westach exhaust temperature (700-1700F),
Stewart Warner oil pressure (5-100psi), Stewart Warner water temp (100-265F),
and Stewart Warner oil temp (140-325F).
|Fuel System:||8 gallon ATL fuel cell. Dual (vintage) marine fuel pumps with integral filters.
|Safety Eqmt:||full SCCA-compliant roll cage. Safe-Quip 5-point link-and-latch harness.
FireBottle centralized Halon fire extinguisher system.
|Performance:||approximately 170hp at 7200rpm.
|Weight:||1850# before adding ballast (to meet rules) and without driver.
|Racing Class:||currently races in SVRA's Group 3. (Formerly raced in SCCA's G Production class.)
1622cc MGA engine bored 0.040" over.
Custom aluminum coolant surge tank.
Dual Girling brake master cylinders with adjustable bias bar. (At left: "Seals-It" firewall grommet seals.)
Distributorless precision! These are the coils for the crank-fired Electromotive ignition system.
Gear reduction starter. Note: an alternator has been omitted. Per SVRA rules, omitting the charging system is
permitted, with a 25# weight penalty. In place of the alternator, an external oil pump has been mounted.
Dual 1.75" S.U. carburetors.
Nifty custom fabricated aluminum carburetor heat shield.
Modified MGA grille.
Saldana Racing Products custom aluminum radiator.
Electric cooling fan. Note also the toothed drive belt.
Custom 3-link rear suspension with adjustable coilover shock absorbers.
Lower front suspension mount on the body, plus radius rod and Heim joint.
Dual fuel pumps on either side of the driveshaft and the rear suspension's "third link".
Superior Performance Products "500" steering wheel hub (welded to another, different, newer wheel).
Stewart Warner fuel pressure (1-10psi), Stack tachometer (0-8000rpm).
Westach EGT (700-1700F) plus oil pressure (5-100psi), water temp (100-265F), and oil temp (140-325F)
gauges. Below the roll cage tube you can see the SSBC (Stainless Steel Brakes Corp.) brake bias valve.
Safe-Quip 5-point link-and-latch harness.
Doesn't this MGA cockpit look especially comfortable!
Knobs on the XDi ignition controller facilitate easily tuning ignition advance characteristics.
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Saenz Performance model 840 racing transmission shifter.
Yes, the custom throttle pedal extension looks like a church key. It actually isn't one. Thirsty?
The elegantly fabricated aluminum transmission/driveshaft tunnel doubles nicely as an armrest.
(clockwise from top) Mecca pressurized oil reservoir ("Accusump"), Homz 8Qt. SnapLock storage container,
FireBottle Halon fire extinguisher, and Attwood "Sea Guard" marine battery case.
Full SCCA-compliant roll cage.
Nice little detail: roll cage padding covered in smooth white tape.
Jesse Prather prepares to drive his dad's MGA. (Notice the very slick custom rollcage camera mount!)
Don't these fender flares look great! They're "specifically not allowed" according to SVRA rules for the
MGA model, but SVRA wisely and routinely makes exceptions to keep historic cars like this one racing.
Track width is also wider than stock, which is of course the point. The wider stance and the 3-link rear
suspension (along with the crank-fired ignition system) are significant competitive advantages.
Fiberglass deep-section front apron. (SVRA normally wouldn't allow this "unlisted fiberglass body part" either.)
Turn signal lamp holes are now used for brake cooling ducts.
Prather Racing (sponsored by Moss Motors Ltd.)
1600 Mk II MGA fender badge.
Talbot Berlin mirror.
Spin Werkes Racing "Series 82" 15x7 9-spoke aluminum racing wheels (about 12.0# each).
Interesting detail: all four wheels have their position (e.g. "LF") stamped next to their valve stem.
Hoosier "Speedster" P205/60R15 D.O.T. approved radial racing tires. (Wilwood disc brakes are just visible.)
Another interesting detail: about two inches to the side of the regular Schraeder valve, the Prathers have
installed a second valve which automatically bleeds off air pressure beyond a preset threshold. Whether
the tire is filled with air or nitrogen, it will increase in diameter as temperature (and thus pressure) rises.
More commonly seen in circle track racing, these valves remove a variable from suspension tuning.
All photos shown here are from June 2009, when we viewed the car at The Heacock Classic Gold Cup at
Virginia International Raceway. All photos by Curtis Jacobson for BritishRaceCar.com, copyright 2009.
All rights reserved.
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