So far the BTCC Technical Blog has been very Honda biased, This is mainly due to the amount of behind the scenes photos which have been available, (courtesy of Matt Neal via @mattnealracing) and is not to do with any personel team preferences!
In this post lets take a quick look at a different team with a completely different brand of car, The Rob Austin Racing (RAR) Audi A4. This car was built for RAR by GPR Motorsport (http://www.gpr-motorsport.com/) the engineering company which was awarded the TOCA contact for designing, manufacturing and supplying the NGTC specified front and rear subframe suspension assemblies, (see my earlier blogs below) This differs to Team dynamics, who built the Civics themselves purchasing only the Front and rear sub-frame assemblies from GPR. Having taken delivery of the car, RAR reported that they found it to be over weight and have been continuously developing it. This has been continuing over the closed season, but if the front and rear sub-frames are a specified TOCA item what is it that RAR have been developing?
lets take a look at the below photo released by Rob Austin Via his twitter (@robaustinracing)
in point 1 you can see that it looks as though the cages verticle cross brace has been moved further to the rear of the car by what we can estimate to be about 200mm. The main reason for this was probably to move weight more to the centre of the car.
You can plainly see by comparing the seat position in highlighted point 2 (David Pinkney driving) its in front of the shells B-pillar in an almost standard cars seat position, as compared to the new seat position in the main image where the seat is obviously much further to the rear and is now located behind this B-pillar.
Moving the driver backward towards the rear of the car could result in ~75kg ( ~12 stone) for an average driver closer to the centre point of the car helping with the weight balance of the car and the center of gravity.
Being that the front and rear suspension are specified by TOCA and will be identical for all NGTC vehicles along with the engine the shell will be one of the differentiating parts between cars and as such it is important to ensure it is optimized a s much as possible.
The drivers controls of course will have to be modified to suit this new driving position, with the steering
rack Column (sorry typo) and gear shifter linkage requiring to be extended.
It is reasonable to assume that the cage has been completely redesigned to use only the minimum material required to ensure a safe ,stiff shell but to save as much weight as possible.
Item 3 shows the bespoke transmission tunnel which has been fabricated running from the front to rear of the car, its not clear in this photo if this has been modified over the closed season or is original from GPR’s build.
By carrying out this activity RAR should be able to ensure they have a competitive base which can continue to be developed through out the season.
Feel free to leave any comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also don’t forget to follow me on twitter: @btcc_technical!