Xtrac, the UK-based engineering design and manufacturing company, specialising in vehicle transmission and driveline technology, has received the “Most Innovative New Motorsport Product of the Year Award” for its pioneering work developing a state-of-the-art gearbox for race teams competing in the World Touring Car Championship and other touring car championships.
The unique capabilities of Xtrac were singled out by an international panel of high level motorsport engineers, who selected its innovative ‘516’ transmission system from a total of 23 worldwide entries nominated for the awards, which included new products from among the world’s leading high technology suppliers to the automotive and motorsport industries.
“The judging panel felt that Xtrac had clearly achieved its design objective of delivering a reliable, lightweight and cost-effective high performance gearbox for touring car racing,” commented William Kimberley editor of Bernoulli and Race Tech magazines, which organised the annual awards dinner held at Rhodes House in Oxford yesterday evening (Thursday 29 November 2007).
“It’s a real honour to receive this coveted award on behalf of the company,” said Adrian Moore technical director of Xtrac, who attended the awards ceremony. “There was tremendous teamwork involved in bringing this new product to market and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Xtrac for their significant contribution to this project. The award caps a highly successful debut year for the 516 gearbox and is a superb way of ending its first season on the highest possible note. I would also like to thank all of our customers who have supported this gearbox.”
The Xtrac 516 transmission has competed in all 30 rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car championship races this year with no mechanical failures and achieved consistent success on the podium with cars equipped with the gearbox winning 15 races with 14 second places and 14 third places for a total of 43 podium finishes.
The championship winning VX Racing Vauxhall Vectra prepared by Triple Eight Racing Engineering was one of the cars utilizing the 516 transmission. Ian Harrison team principle of VX Racing and managing director of Triple Eight, which assisted Xtrac with initial prototype development, believes the transmission’s performance and low weight contributed towards making the Vectra the package to beat in the championship.
The new gearbox applies Xtrac’s longstanding expertise with Formula One transmissions and adopts the same design principles to minimise its mass, size and inertia. Particular attention in the design was paid to improve gear-change response and feel, and differential performance..
The awards ceremony was the highlight of a two-day ‘World Motorsport Symposium’ for motorsport engineers, organised by Race Tech, Bernoulli and MotoTech magazines and held at Oxford Brookes University’s new motorsport engineering building, built in the heart of the UK’s internationally renowned motorsport valley.
In addition to receiving the award, Moore was also a guest speaker at the conference where he described the company’s groundbreaking work to design and manufacture a continuously variable transmission (CVT) for a mechanical flywheel-based kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), which is permitted under new Formula One regulations for 2009. The system is rapidly gaining a lot of attention from automotive engineers interested in applying the technology to road cars because of its potential to significantly reduce vehicle CO2 emissions.