Utah: Corsa Motorsports test day preview

Corsa Motorsports Ginetta-Zytek 09 hybrid Update Engineers and crew worked well into the morning hours Friday in preparation for the first full-on test run of the Corsa Motorsports Ginetta-Zytek 09 hybrid prototype race car. Test laps will...

Corsa Motorsports Ginetta-Zytek 09 hybrid Update

Engineers and crew worked well into the morning hours Friday in preparation for the first full-on test run of the Corsa Motorsports Ginetta-Zytek 09 hybrid prototype race car. Test laps will happen at 12:20pm and 3:10pm today.

Officially, the test laps will be called a demonstration run. Steve Pruitt, owner of Corsa Motorsports and the man behind the hybrid race car, recognizes it as the first step in a ''long road ahead.''

"Everything is just so new. We just don't know, at this point, what to expect. We're trying to take our time to make sure we do it right rather than run the risk of doing something wrong,'' he said from his garage at the Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.

The hybrid race car was designed and built by engineers at Zytek in the United Kingdom over a 13-month period. It made a single lap under electrical power in England last week and was then shipped to Utah for entry in the American LeMans Series' Larry H. Miller Utah Grand Prix this weekend.

Part of the car's power will come from a 4.0 liter internal-combustion engine. The second half will be a Zytek-designed electric motor.

The electric motor has the capability of running at 16,000 RPM and produce between 35 and 45 kilowatts of power, "which is plenty of power to get the car up to the high speeds necessary to race at this level,'' said Pruitt.

"But, it's not at full song, yet. For one thing, we don't have all the bells and whistles necessary for the battery management system to increase voltage.''

Under this system, electricity begins life as kinetic energy, which is then converted to thermal energy, which is then converted into DC electrical energy stored in an on-board 140-volt lithium-ion battery.

When the electrical power is called upon, much like turning on the switch of a flashlight, it passes through an inverter that converts it to the required three-phase current.

The large size of this electric motor requires that DC current generated during braking be converted into three-phase current.

"At this point it's a matter of anticipation. We're interested to see what will happen. We obviously hope it's going to work, but we'll know a lot more after the test run today,'' said Pruitt.

The car, sponsored by the Salt Lake Hilton, will be driven by Johnny Mowlem Friday. He will share driving duties during qualifying on Saturday and during the race on Sunday with Stefan Johansson.

-credit: cm

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Series ALMS
Drivers Stefan Johansson