DENVER, N.C. (April 14, 2003) -- Since moving to the United States from their native New Zealand in 1980, Max and Jan Crawford have been pioneers in the development of sports car technology. They built the first composite sports car in America in...
DENVER, N.C. (April 14, 2003) -- Since moving to the United States from their native New Zealand in 1980, Max and Jan Crawford have been pioneers in the development of sports car technology. They built the first composite sports car in America in 1990 with construction of the Mazda RX7-92P GTP car and today own and run Crawford & Crawford Composites where they specialize in composite design and research as well as wind tunnel modeling and testing.
They also own Crawford Race Cars and in 2000 debuted the beautiful SSC2K SportsRacing Prototype for the Rolex Sports Car Series, with the car earning its first victory at Virginia International Raceway in September of 2002. As the staff at Crawford's Denver, N.C. shop work on the company's latest creation, the Crawford DP03 Daytona Prototype, they are applying the knowledge gained from those earlier projects.
"We definitely learned some lessons with our last car," Max Crawford said. "As we design and build a car, we want everything to be optimal. You work and work on the shape and the airflow to get things just right. With the extensive wind tunnel testing and actual track time we have on the other car, we are able to apply much of that to the Daytona Prototype."
One of the first companies to announce plans to construct a Daytona Prototype for the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, Crawford submitted its initial chassis plans in May of 2002 and its first bodywork plans the following June. The company did its initial wind tunnel testing last August. While several other companies have completed construction of one or more cars, Crawford chose a more deliberate approach and focused on a 2004 debut. The next step in that process is to test in the wind tunnel again in mid-May.
"We are right on schedule now and are quite certain our car will be at Daytona for next year's 24-hour race," Max Crawford noted. "Right now we're paying particular attention to the drag figures. We've put pressure taps on the whole body to learn where the air is flowing and how it is pushing on the car. We'll use this next test to confirm some changes we've made or possibly add another tweak or two."
The company has a Crawford DP03 chassis at the shop that it is using to perfect the insides of the car. What is commonly referred to as a "seating buck", it is fitted with a race seat, pedals, a steering wheel, suspension and other components and is there to help customers get fitted for a car. "We just had a very serious customer in the other day to climb onboard," he said. "It is very helpful at this stage to have this chassis here so people can get a feel for what it is we are offering."
The first Crawford DP03 to come off the production floor is likely to be fitted with a Chevrolet engine. With Daytona Prototype rules requiring head and taillights that match the engine brand, the company is reworking the corners of the car to incorporate the proper lights and still maintain the airflow characteristics it has been working so hard to achieve.
"This has been a very exciting project for us," Jan Crawford added. "The things we have learned over the years are all being applied to this new car. We see a bright future for the Grand American Series and are proud that Crawford Race Cars will be part of it."