Ralt announce new Formula 3 car for 2002
Race car constructor Ralt have announced that they will run 2 cars in the British F3 Championship in 2002 after an absence of almost 8 years in the British series.
When no teams expressed any serious interest in running a Ralt car in 1999 things looked pretty bleak for the Oxfordshire based company. Luckily the Formula 3 market opened up in the States when a series was announced for 2000. Only one team, DM Racing, bought a Ralt, with the others opting for new Dallaras. The lone Ralt was on pole for it's first race, went on to win the next 3 and ultimately the Championship.
Many of Ralt's UK suppliers, keen to see something built in the UK, have given their support to the programme, including MIRA (Motor Industry Research Association), who are playing a major role in the aerodynamic development of the new car, mainly in the windtunnel with the 40% model (pictured).
"MIRA's technicians are really great to work with, and their commitment to seeing a totally British effort succeed is second to none" explained one of the Ralt engineers.
The new Ralt, almost a secret until now, will feature many improvements made during testing & development in the USF3 series. With it's extremely light & compact gearbox, it should be around 10 kg's lighter at the back end than the opposition, along with cleaner lines around the diffuser with none of the obstructions in the underfloor airstream, associated with the much bigger Hewland units. Car 1 should be completed within about 3-4 weeks
2 cars will be run by a current, experienced team who can develop the new car with Ralt in the background providing technical support, although a decision has still to be made as to which team. "We're talking to a some serious investors and a couple of good drivers who have the talent." commented Ralt boss, Steve Ward.
[Nuneaton, UK, Wednesday 4th July, 2001]: Members of MIRA, the Motor Industry Research Association, today voted at their Annual General Meeting to change the company's name to MIRA Ltd. The change takes immediate effect.
John Wood, Managing Director of MIRA Ltd, said: "Our change of name reflects the more commercial stance we are taking these days and the strong emphasis we are placing on our product engineering services and our engineering design capabilities. We will, of course, continue to provide world-class testing services and facilities as well as research into new products.
"The structure of MIRA remains the same. We remain a non-profit-distributing company re-investing all our surpluses in the business and we will remain an association of Members without shareholders."
Mr Wood explained that for more than a decade the company had traded simply as `MIRA' which it would continue to do.
"To a great many of our customers at home and around the world, the old name is not the name by which they have come to know us," he said. "Coupled with this, the former full title could be confusing and could give the wrong impression to those who don't know us. When the Motor Industry Research Association was formed in 1945, the vast majority of the world understood the word `motor' to mean a car or other vehicle. Today, the world regards `motor' as another term for an engine."
The proposal to change the company's name follows a significant change in the tax status of MIRA _ and a number of similar organisations _ at the end of 1999. At that time, the Department of Trade and Industry changed the qualifications for tax exemption. From 1 January 2000, the start of its next full financial year, MIRA became liable to Corporation Tax.
Said Mr Wood: "We have to move with the times. In order to provide the best services to our Members and customers we have sought to become a more efficient and commercially aware operation. This is why we are actively growing the product engineering and engineering design facets of our business.
"Engineering design is something we have long been able to offer although previously it was as part of product development when we were working on existing designs produced by other organisations. Today, MIRA can generate the concepts and the designs as well as taking the entire project through development to completion and its public unveiling."