Xtrac nominated for ‘Most Innovative New Motorsport Product of the Year’ Award

A new motorsport gearbox from transmission technology specialist Xtrac has been nominated for the “Most Innovative New Motorsport Product of the Year” award by an international panel of leading motorsport engineers.

The 516 transmission system from Xtrac is a high performance front wheel drive gearbox designed specifically for the World Touring Car Championship.

“We’re delighted that international peers from the highly competitive world of motorsport have decided to nominate our new 516 gearbox for this prestigious motorsport industry award, which is judged entirely by engineers,” said Adrian Moore technical director of Xtrac.

“The nomination helps put the spotlight on the excellent results achieved by this transmission in its debut season, which clearly show that we’ve achieved our design objective of delivering a reliable, lightweight and cost-effective gearbox solution. This is no easy design task given the tough duty cycle that a transmission sees in touring car racing, where the gear changes come fast and furious.”

In its first season the Xtrac 516 transmission has competed in all 30 races with no mechanical failures and achieved a remarkable success on the podium with cars equipped with the gearbox winning 15 races, while taking 14 second places and 14 third places for a total of 43 podium finishes

The main benefits of Xtrac’s new transmission system for teams competing in the World Touring Car Championship include a light, positive gear-change, an easily removable cluster for ratio changes and, similarly, an easily removable limited slip differential – which also features an externally adjustable pre-load. The internally driven oil pump has also been optimised for providing the correct oil flow, whilst consuming the minimum amount of power.

The 516 gearbox features an Xtrac ratchet and pawl gear-change assembly, incorporating the latest ‘polynomial barrel track’ design with a bell crank actuated low inertia rack, with the design improving how the gear-change feels to the driver and how the transmission responds to driver inputs.

The lightweight gearbox weighs less than 31kg (68lb) but has a 300Nm (221lbf ft) input torque capacity. To minimise size, mass and inertia it makes use of reduced centre-distance gear ratios derived from engineering principles employed in Formula 1 transmission design. The F1-style gear cluster is positioned low down within the gearbox, so it’s convenient for servicing and can be swiftly removed; even from a front-wheel drive transmission position underneath the vehicle.

The design of the gearbox has also lowered its centre of gravity, which is always an important consideration for vehicle handling. Once removed, the gear cluster is fully exposed for ease of inspection and rapid changes of different ratio gears.

The limited slip differential is an Xtrac cassette-type plate unit offering a choice of ramp angles, plate, disc and preload settings. For fine tuning of race settings, the pre-load of the differential is externally adjustable while installed in the gearbox.

The final results of the judging panel will be announced at an awards dinner to be held this week (Thursday 29 November 2007) at Rhodes House in Oxford. The ceremony is the highlight of a two-day ‘World Motorsport Symposium’ for motorsport engineers, organised by the publisher of Race Tech, Bernoulli and Moto Tech magazines. The high-level symposium is being held at Oxford Brookes University’s recently completed £8 million engineering building, built in the heart of the UK’s internationally renowned motorsport valley.