XTRAC ENTERS 2011 RACING CAR SEASON WITH FIVE NEW GEARBOXES AND HIGHEST EVER ORDER BOOK
With a plethora of new engine regulations being introduced by virtually all the major international motorsport series, the industry's leading supplier of high performance transmissions, Xtrac, is launching five new gearboxes at the Autosport International Racing Car Show, which gets the race season underway at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham this week.
"The requirement for more fuel efficient engines has increased the demand for new transmissions leading to our highest ever order book with more than 60 per cent of our contracts coming from overseas markets," says Xtrac managing director Peter Digby. "This includes brand new products developed to meet the latest technical regulations in endurance sports car racing and touring cars."
"In addition to our core motorsport activity, we also continue to be selected as a technical partner for the development of more energy efficient road vehicles with a growing number of commercial contracts involving prototype and pre-production vehicles, while our engineering design and manufacturing skills are increasingly being sought after by the aerospace, defence and marine industries to similarly help develop advanced new products."
Xtrac's application of its motor racing know-how to the development of hybrid and electric vehicles, and the transfer of its technology to other transport sectors has helped the Berkshire based company to receive a number of recent and prestigious UK Manufacturer of the Year Awards. The transmission specialist took top honours in the Advanced Manufacturing category and, as well as being overall runner-up, was also shortlisted as a finalist for the Innovation and Design, Leadership and Strategy, and Best Small and Medium Enterprise awards.
A pioneer for more than a decade in energy efficient motorsport initiatives, Xtrac will make a significant contribution to the Motorsport Industry Association Cleaner Racing Conference, which will be held on 12 January 2011 the day before the exhibition. Xtrac technical director Adrian Moore will join a discussion panel of experts to speak about the company's successful journey from world class motorsport supplier to helping mainstream vehicle manufacturers develop innovative powertrain technologies.
"The global motorsport industry is playing a critical role in the development of new technology" says Moore. "A good example is Xtrac's CVT which we are using in several applications including innovative flywheel-based kinetic energy recovery systems and for engine ancillary drives."
Xtrac's technology showcase at Europe's largest dedicated motorsport exhibition will be presentedon stand number E141 in Hall 9 throughout the two trade days of the show on 13-14 January 2011. The Autosport International Engineering Show gets this year off to a flying start for Xtrac with its announcement of five new gearboxes:
Xtrac '1046' transverse FWD gearbox developed for Next Generation Touring Car specifications
The Xtrac '1046' front wheel drive transverse gearbox is destined for the UK's biggest motor racing series, the British Touring Car Championship (BTTC). Xtrac has designed the transmission specifically to suit the new Touring Car Association (TOCA) regulations for the Next Generation Touring Car (NGTC) and also offers a longitudinal variant for rear wheel drive cars.
The 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship will see Xtrac as the officially appointed transmission provider and technical partner to the series, which is the second time this race series has nominated Xtrac as the sole supplier, adding to the plethora of championships where Xtrac is already an approved or exclusive supplier - including the recently awarded Argentinean Top Race stock car series and the Brazilian TC2000 touring car series.
Work on the new transmission began in May 2010, when Xtrac proposed a torque target of 450Nm to suit TOCA's aims for its engine regulations. The resulting six-speed, sequentially shifted gearbox, with externally adjustable differential, is housed in a cast aluminium alloy casing. The longitudinal variant of the gearbox which uses identical internal components but housed in a different casing to suit the RWD cars was designed at the same time.
The '1046' gearboxes are also suitable for the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), which remains an open market for gearbox suppliers but imposes minimum weights of 35kg (77lb) for FWD transmissions and 30kg (66lb) for RWD. Both gearboxes have been optimised to exactly hit this regulation minimum. The '1046' gearbox had its first test run in a WTCC car in September 2010. The WTCC regulations change for 2011 with the adoption of the 'Global Race Engine' which is a turbocharged 1.6-litre power unit with performance comparable to TOCA's NGTC engine.
"There has been a lot of interest in both of these new lightweight gearboxes by teams competing in the WTTC," says Xtrac development director Cliff Hawkins. "This suggests they will follow the success of our previous touring car transmissions."
Xtrac '1059' transverse transaxle gearbox is designed to meet latest ACO sports car regulations
For 2011, Xtrac is launching an entirely new transverse gearbox designated the '1059' which is designed to meet the new Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) LMP technical regulations. The new transmission will benefit from Xtrac's latest developments in casting technology, differential and gearchange philosophy and weight reduction all within very tight cost targets. The gearbox has also been designed for ease of installation of kinetic energy recovery systems and is particularly suited to the Flybrid flywheel system.
The '1059' transmission is housed in a generic main case designed to suit various engine and chassis configurations. With the primary objective of delivering excellent reliability and the ultimate performance, the new gearbox delivers a cost-effective solution and has also been designed for ease of servicing and assembly. The design has been optimised for maximum efficiency by ensuring the minimum number of gear meshes, and its inherent reliability stems from the proven configuration, while its light weight and low centre of gravity have been achieved through mass optimisation of the internal components and main casing.
With an input to output length of only 288mm (excluding the separate bell-housing) the transmission is as short as possible for increased rigidity and minimum packaging dimensions. It also retains the ability to change the gear cluster, which is positioned ahead of the differential, without disassembling the rear of the car.
The 6-speed transmission's dog engaged sequential gearshift has been engineered to suit the latest MegaLine 'Family 2' or 'OEM 2' Assisted Gearchange Systems (AGS) and is compatible with other popular AGS systems.
Xtrac '600' longitudinal transaxle gearbox for GT race series
Designed to suit GT1, GT2 and GT3 applications the new Xtrac '600' rear mounted longitudinal transaxle gearbox features a manual sequential gearchange. Tested during the latter part of 2010 and with orders already received, it will race in earnest with a number of teams during the 2011 season.
This new six-speed gearbox complements Xtrac's very successful 386/396 gearbox, which is the approved transmission for the Grand Am Daytona Prototype and GT series and is the specification transaxle for the Brazilian Stock Car Championship.
The gearbox main case and cluster cover is cast in cost-effective aluminium, but the casings can also be cast in magnesium. The main case and cluster cover can also be integrated into a single casting, allowing further enhancement of the overall packaging dimensions.
Xtrac '426' derivative RWD GT gearbox
Xtrac has also developed a new gearbox for GT2 and GT4 endurance sports car applications, requiring a high level of value engineering to meet the strict cost constraints within this formula.
The RWD transmission is based on the FWD '426' transverse six-speed sequential gearbox which was primarily designed for use in front-wheel-drive touring cars with high torque engines and was recently specified as the standard transmission for the Argentinean and the Brazilian TC2000 race series. The '426' gearbox has an input torque capacity of 650Nm (480lbf ft) and a competitive weight of approximately 43.5kg (96lb).
The pedigree of this transmission can be traced back to previous Xtrac gearboxes developed for the WTCC. The new design has the benefit of a low centre of gravity combined with a light, positive sequential gearchange, while the encapsulating cluster casting makes it easier to remove the cluster for ratio changes. Customers using the '426' gearbox have already secured class wins in endurance races such as the Nurburgring 24 Hours and the six hours of Vallelunga .
Established in 1984 Xtrac has become a world leader in the design and manufacture of gearboxes, differentials and driveline components, which are used throughout international motorsport and in particular within F1, IndyCar, Touring Car, Rallying, Rally Raid, Grand-Am and many forms of sportscar racing including a major involvement in the Le Mans 24 hours, Daytona 24 hour and Sebring 12 hour races.