As we enter into 2017 we see the reintroduction of active centre differentials in the World Rally Championship; a technology that hasn’t been seen for many years in rallying but one which has been a speciality of Xtrac in Formula 1, rallying and high performance road cars since the company’s inception in 1984. The opening Monte Carlo rally sees Xtrac customers once again return to pioneering technology transmissions with radical and spectacular new cars.
Meanwhile, Endurance racing has continued to grow and this is evident with the multitude of 24 hours races being run in 2017, such as the Rolex Daytona 24 Hours, Le Mans 24 Hours, Nürburgring 24 Hours and Spa 24 Hour races. The FIA and ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) has introduced new LMP2 regulations for the World Endurance Championship (WEC) series, which are comparable to IMSA DPi regulations for Sportscar racing in the US. Xtrac are perfectly placed to supply proven transmissions which will allow our customers to fully exploit the possibilities offered with these new regulations. DPi cars using Xtrac’s P1159F transmission have already run thousands of miles in testing in the US, ahead of the Rolex 24 at Daytona at the end of January. The Xtrac P1159 was introduced in 2014, initially in LMP1 and then for LMP2, and has been specified in the Rebellion R One, CLM P1 and the Oreca 05. For 2017 it has also been chosen by Riley, Dallara and Oreca for the new LMP2 / DPi homologation.
Complimentary to the LMP2 / DPi category, Xtrac is the ACO-appointed supplier of the P1152 transmission used in the recently introduced LMP3 category. Globally, more than 100 LMP3 cars have already been supplied running in many series in Europe, Asia and the US. Furthermore, America’s IndyCar series, supported by Xtrac Inc. in Indianapolis, runs the 101st race in 2017 – the 18th successive year in which Xtrac have supplied the exclusive series-mandated specification gearbox.
Maintaining our position at the forefront of race car and automotive transmission design and manufacture requires continual investment in staff and equipment. Last year Xtrac implemented a second Klingelnberg G30 bevel gear grinder and two large Matsuura machining centres adding vital manufacturing capacity and capability. For the year ahead significant plant investments are underway with an Xstream super finishing process already commissioned in 2017 for high level components as used in Formula One, Formula E and the World Endurance Championship.
A significant expansion of our Indianapolis facility this year will also increase our US workforce and double the facility’s size to support our growing customer base in North and South America. This will provide increased R&D capability and a larger workshop – promoting our ‘Built in America’ capability for all transmissions used in the Americas. Back in the UK, Xtrac will be continuing with our award-winning apprentice and undergraduate training programmes which are vital to our future growth.
Xtrac starts 2017 with a world leading range of high specification transmissions with proven reliability across a host of major motorsport and automotive sectors. An ongoing investment programme and a highly trained and motivated workforce of over 315 people in the UK and the USA underpins our growth in anticipation for an exciting year ahead!