Success is an Xtrac Standard Product
Tuesday 18th December 2012
The 2012 racing season was a landmark in Xtrac’s history as we now have more of our ‘standard’ transmissions running with customers around the world than ever before. Over the past 10 years the Motorsport Industry has changed beyond recognition, the larger budgets of the 1990’s have gone, meaning that in the world of transmissions, many race series need to use ‘standard’ off the shelf gearboxes rather than entrants having to fund a bespoke design for their own car.
The word ‘standard’ is a bit misleading, as our range of off the shelf transmissions are designed and built to the same high quality as our bespoke transmissions with our own special aerospace grade materials, and subjected to vigorous validation testing in our state of the art equipped R&D laboratory including using our fully dynamic oil gimbal rig and our quasi-transient differential test rig – both industry leading pieces of equipment. A ‘standard’ transmission is designed to suit several customers and applications, and thus the cost of design, tooling and development is shared amongst several customers, and parts are carried in stock, thus meaning that the investment by the customer in spares is minimised.
The year started with victory by Stéphane Peterhansel in the X-Raid Mini in the Dakar rally, equipped with our P522 differentials, our 18th winner in the last 20 Dakar rallies, one of the toughest events in the world for proving reliability. In the USA the IndyCar series used the new Dallara DW12 car with great success; with close racing, a dramatic Indy 500 win by Dario Franchitti and a championship decided at the last race with American Ryan Hunter-Reay taking the honours. Our new P1011 transmission complete with an integrated MegaLine assisted gearchange system designed to precisely suit the needs of the series, ran faultlessly all season in every car, completing over 344,000km (215,000 miles) trouble free. Our IndyCar transmissions are built in America at our Indianapolis facility, and it is a testament to the quality of the design, the parts and the build that the cars ran so reliably.
Our P1046 and P1080 front wheel drive and rear wheel drive touring car transmissions were extensively used in the World Touring Car (WTCC) and British Touring Car Championships(BTCC). The WTCC factory and customer Team Chevrolets and BMWs were joined by the Ford and Hondas in 2012, all equipped with Xtrac gearboxes, with Chevrolet winning the driver and Team championships for the 3rd year running. Gordon Shedden won an emotional 1st BTCC championship in his Team Dynamics Honda at the final Brands Hatch round. A total of 24 different drivers took part completing over 65,000km (41,000 miles) over all 10 rounds in front of large crowds proving that the Next Generation Touring Car (NGTC) format is producing exciting racing that fans want to watch. The NGTC has also brought many exciting new teams and drivers into the series with several drivers such as Frank Wrathall Jr and Aron Smith gaining their first wins in 2012. In the USA the premier touring car series, the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge Speedworld GT class, was dominated by the Xtrac equipped Pratt and Miller Cadillac, and the GTS class was won by the Real Time Acura with our P426 endurance touring car gearbox. Our P426 transmission also continued to provide reliable service in the Argentinean Super TC2000 series, now racing with V8 engined front wheel drive cars.
The GT3 class has grown to be truly global, with multiple championships across the world featuring many major manufactures of a high racing pedigree. Notable highlights for Xtrac equipped BMWs with P427 gearboxes and P247 differentials include an exciting 2nd place in the FIA GT1 World Championship after being pushed off the track by the eventual championship winning Mercedes in the final race, overall victory in the Italian GT championship and individual race victories in Brazil and Japan. The BMWs and the Alpina also enjoyed reliability and race success in the German ADAC GT Masters series in Germany. 2012 was the first year of racing for the new Aston Martin GT3 with our P600 transmission which has already been proven in their GTE car, with many Aston Martin customers gaining good results around the world, including GT3 victory at the Nürburgring, and GTE victory in Shanghai.
The 2012 Le Mans 24 hour race saw 32 cars with our transmissions and differentials, with 26 entrants using a ‘standard’ transmissions with the majority of LMP2 runners using our P1059 or P626/672 family of transmissions and the Corvette and class winning Aston Martin GTE cars using our P529 and P600 gearboxes. The Corvette also won the drivers, manufacturers and team championships in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), achieving great reliability and consistent performance for the whole season.
From national touring car and sportscar events, to international events on the world stage such as the Indy 500 and Le Mans, Xtrac has become the default choice for reliable, high quality off the shelf transmissions, supported by our extensive track support operations which this year has travelled to Europe, China, Japan, the Middle East, Australasia and North & South America.