11 days to the 2011 Dakar Rally
2011 Dakar Rally: Partner ZF Sachs since 2006 on board
When Volkswagen starts the Dakar Rally in January with four newly developed Race Touareg 3 and the driver/co-driver combinations of Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E), Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D), Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) and Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) the team around Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen can also rely on strong partners. One of these is ZF Sachs. The Schweinfurt based technology company is official Volkswagen partner in cross county rallying since May 2006 and equips the Race Touareg with high-performance dampers and clutches.
9,600 kilometres, including 4,600 against the clock through desert, scree, forests and canyons: The Dakar Rally unites in a mere 14 days the race distance driven in an entire Formula 1 season - however, at a merciless pace through the toughest terrain. The strong and economical five-cylinder TDI engine develops 228 KW (310 hp) of power and more than 600 Nm torque transmitted via a three-plate clutch. The module is designed to be particularly robust: 170 millimetre diameter, ceramic - this means carbon-fibre strengthened silicon carbide - as material for the clutch plates and high temperature steel alloys help to transmit the power even in extreme situations. Such as, should the rare case occur, when a driver gets bogged down and the clutch is subject to greater heat development when pulling away. A temperature sensor records such loads. They are logged electronically so that the Volkswagen technicians are warned of potential overloading when downloading the data.
The dampers must also manage enormous forces. The regulations stipulate a kerb weight of 1,787.5 kilograms for the Race Touareg. On top of this comes the weight of driver, co-driver, their equipment and the fuel load. Considerable kinetic energy arises on the bumpy ground and especially, however, on the jumps. It must be absorbed by the dampers from every compression stroke and converted into heat. The regulations allow the Volkswagen Race Touareg 3 250 millimetres of suspension movement per wheel. Every wheel is supported on the Race Touareg chassis by two dampers. In hard terrain it is perfectly normal that the dampers compress with a speed of six to seven metres per second. More than twelve metres per second have also been measured. The dampers convert kinetic energy into heat energy in the process. The temperatures of 200 degrees Celsius generated are compensated for by external reservoirs with ribbed housings and specific cooling air channels. Only thanks to special fluids and seals can the system survive such thermal loads lasting for hours.
"With ZF Sachs Race Engineering we've had a reliable partner at our side for years now," explains Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "We are delighted that we can rely on the performance of these partners in the Dakar Rally the world's toughest off-road competition."