UPCOMING EVENTS & THE LATEST
NEWS FROM THE STIGWORX TEAM
Car-Only Track Days:
Zwartkops Raceway's next Supertrax Sunday takes place on April 5, with the following one on May 10. According to their calendar, similar events take place at Red Star Raceway on the last Sunday of every month which by our reckoning means March 29 and April 26. We're available to coach you up to speed on all those dates - it is as simple as dialing 083 274 1139 and asking for Adrian.
Adrian Burford :
083 274 1139
Adrian Burford's Twitter
First touch of the new PerformanceBox!
The PerformanceBox is the stuff of legends and thousands of motorsport competitors have cut their teeth on the much-loved "PB". In many cases, it would've been their first experience of track datalogging.
But it is time for the next generation...
The PB Touch from VBOX should be available locally by March/April and we hear that pricing will be around the 12/13K mark, though a lot depends on Brexit and what happens with the Pound in the next few months.
It will continue to log at 10hz, but will apparently be multi-constellation - which means much better satellite lock, as it will access both the GPS and GLONASS satellite networks. New, sophisticated algorithms also mean more accurate results.
With over 600 circuits pre-loaded in a database, this is a friend you can take anywhere and thanks to Circuit Tools, you can use it as a live (delta-time & delta speed) lap timer and also for post-session analysis!
Talk to Adrian on 083 274 1139 or firstname.lastname@example.org about ordering yours!
WRX Goes Electric!
The Norwegian team, Holten Motorsport AS, are the first to announce their commitment to Projekt E and will enter the inaugural 2020 electric series with a Ford Fiesta-based Projekt E race car.
Projekt E is a collaboration between STARD (Stohl Advanced Research and Development) and IMG, the promoter of the FIA World Rallycross Championship and will feature as a support series at select European rounds of the world championship weekend.
As the progression to electrification in motorsport gathers momentum, Holten Motorsport AS were keen to be among the first to make that move.
“Projekt E is a ground-breaking undertaking and enables private teams to enter the world of electric motorsport with an unmatched level of road car electric powertrain relevance thanks to STARD´s technical concept which is as simple as it is innovative and affordable,“ Team Manager Svien Bjarte Holten said.
“We are delighted that Holten Motorsport are the first team to officially announce their participation. Projekt E is here. We were not talking two years in advance - you can buy the kit and race in 2020. It´s as simple as that," said Michael Sakowicz, CEO and Founder of STARD.
It's A Double Whammy!
Now more than ever there’s good reason to restrict late braking, tailgating, opposite lock slides and the occasional nudging to race circuits...which is of course where they belong.
Not only will it hit your licence – costing you points under the new (well, not so new) Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act but you’ll also pay in Rand terms. The Automobile Association has described it as yet another stealth tax – when people take your money while they’re taking your money, if you get what we mean.
“With regards to the Infringement Penalty Levy, the regulations directly imply the imposition of a tax. In this case, it refers to a fee payable for every infringement notice issued to motorists. On our interpretation of the draft regulation, this means an additional R100 is added to each fine issued, regardless of the value of the fine or its associated demerit points. In other words, if a motorist receives a R200 or R2000 fine, an additional R100 must be added for the Infringement Penalty Levy, which amounts to a tax for actually receiving the fine,” says the AA.
The Association says that assuming that 20 million infringement notices are issued annually, this would amount to a R2 billion windfall for the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA), with a single line of legislation.
“A good analogy would be to consider SARS charging every taxpayer a fee for submitting their tax returns. It’s an unacceptable fee, and in the case of minor infringements, may nearly double the fine payable,” notes the AA.
Apart from this fee, the Association says it is unconscionable that private motorists must pay up to R240 simply to enquire as to the status of their demerit points, and noted with concern that the enquiry fees for companies run into thousands of Rands.
“One would expect that an easy online system (unlike the current system used for licence renewals) be made available to all motorists for demerit point checks to be made. Sadly, no provision is made for online enquiries within AARTO’s draft regulations, meaning the system is complicated and cumbersome,” notes the Association.
The AA says that upon further review of the draft regulations, it remains convinced that they are geared more towards revenue collection than actually dealing effectively with road deaths, or creating a safer driving environment in South Africa.
“Over 50 years ago, the AA called for a demerit points system to be introduced and we continue to support this notion. Based on evidence from other countries this type of legislation can be effective in making roads safer. However, the recent Amendment Act and these new draft regulations do not convince us that AARTO, in its current form, is that intended legislation,” concludes the AA.
Blade Runner versus the Whine Merchant
There have been some great stories from the world of speed recently and they truly cross the span from the sublime to the ridiculous!
In the one corner and wearing an impressive suit of high-tech blue and charcoal and chanting a mantra of “Here’s To The Future Of Motorsport” is Volkswagen’s ID.R. In the other – in a mix of red and a slightly agricultural grey – is Honda’s Mean Mower V2. The mantra here is – well, we don’t really know but probably something like “The first cut is the deepest…”
The common thread is that they both companies needed to measure something and both turned to VBOX, a brand which is synonymous with accurately recording vehicle performance. The new(ish) VBOX Video HD2 was the choice for Volkswagen to measure their car’s pace around the Nurburgring, while not too far away at the Lausitzring, Honda strapped an identical device to their supermower in a bid to set a new Guinness World Record.
The records tumbled at both tracks.
Volkswagen ID.R is now credited with the fastest emission-free lap of all time on the most difficult circuit in the world with a time of 6:05.336 minutes. In the process, multiple Le Mans winner Romain Dumas averaged 206.96 km/h and beat the previous record by 40.564 seconds.
This is the third record set by the ID.R in 12 months. On 24 June 2018, Dumas went up Pikes Peak in 7:57.148 minutes and just three weeks later he achieved a new best time for electric cars of 43.86 seconds at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
While not as high-tech as the VW effort, Honda’s new record does get the nod on the silliness scale. Oh, and the driver was far prettier too.
Headline numbers included a 0 to 160 km/h time of 6.29 seconds, and a top speed of 243 km/h. With 150kW courtesy of a 999cc engine from a Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP (why reinvent the wheel?) a power to weight ratio higher than that of a Bugatti Chiron was achieved. The record was set at the Dekra Lausitzring, near Dresden, with experienced stunt driver, kart and car racer Jess Hawkins at the controls.
Under the regulations of Guinness World Records, the mower must also ‘intrinsically look like a lawnmower’ – no argument there.
While the official acceleration figure was measured using a VBOX the device was fitted, set-up and verified by independent and accredited timers, Timing Solutions Limited. To meet the requirements of Guinness World Records, the mower had to record the same run, in both directions, within an hour – with the average acceleration of these two runs taken as the official time.
Check out the action in the video here –
The Current Champion
Jaguar’s electric tech is best “engine”
Not to diminish the achievement, but Jaguar’s I-PACE whirring away with a pile of silverware at the International Engine + Powertrain of the Year Awards was a foregone conclusion.
For the record, it won the Best Electric Powertrain, Best New Engine, and the 350 to 450PS category.
A panel of 70 expert motoring journalists from 31 countries took into account key characteristics including performance, driveability, energy efficiency and refinement. These three titles recognise the technical excellence of the I-PACE’s zero emissions powertrain, which was designed and developed in-house.
Ian Hoban, Powertrain Director, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “We’ve used all the benefits of state-of-the-art battery and motor technology to create a world-class electric vehicle. As well as zero emissions, the all-electric powertrain delivers an ideal balance of performance, refinement and range, together with outstanding responsiveness, agility and day-to-day usability. I-PACE is a true driver’s car, and above all a true Jaguar. We set out to make the world’s best all-electric performance SUV: these awards reflect that and are fitting recognition for what the engineering team has achieved.”
The I-PACE combines a range of up to 470km with a 0-100km/h in just 4.8 seconds. It’s also capable of charging from 0-80% in a maximum 72 minutes using a 60kW DC charger – remarkable facts by any standards.
I-PACE has received 66 global awards since it was revealed little more than a year ago, including 2019 World Car of the Year, World Car Design of the Year, World Green Car, European Car of the Year, and German, Norwegian and UK Car of the Year.
Aston’s Engineering Tour de Force
Aston Martin has just revealed some of the details of the normally-aspirated 6.5-litre V12 engine fitted to the Valkyrie, their futuristic hybrid electric sports car.
And it sounds incredible: most of the Cosworth-developed engine is made of titanium, with the conrods and pistons machined from solid chunks of it. The crankshaft starts life as a solid steel bar 170mm in diameter and 775mm long. Upon completion 80% of the original bar has been machined away.
The end product is a crankshaft that’s an astonishing 50 per cent lighter than that used in the Aston Martin One-77’s V12 - itself a Cosworth-developed evolution of Aston Martin’s series production V12 and, for a time, the world’s most powerful naturally aspirated road car engine.
The new powerplant makes about 750kW – at 10 500 rpm - and will rev to 11 100! Peak torque is 740Nm at 7 000rpm.
The engine also acts as the only link between the front and rear sections of the car: it is fully-stressed element of the chassis, which makes its weight of just 206kg even more impressive.
It was built to a simple, yet extraordinary, brief: to create the ultimate expression of the (normally-aspirated) internal combustion engine.
For what they say will be the greatest driver’s car of the modern era, an internal combustion engine that sits at the absolute pinnacle for performance, excitement and emotion is needed and this means the uncompromising purity of natural aspiration.
With 114kW per litre, performance figures will be further boosted by a battery hybrid system, details of which will be revealed later.
Dr Andy Palmer, Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group Chief Executive Officer, said of the Aston Martin Valkyrie’s V12 engine: “To anyone with a drop of petrol in their blood, a high-revving naturally aspirated V12 is the absolute pinnacle. Nothing sounds better or encapsulates the emotion and excitement of the internal combustion engine more completely.
Despite the challenges it presented, there was never any question that the Aston Martin Valkyrie would make do with anything less. From the outset the team at Cosworth were unflinching in their commitment to achieving benchmarks which pushed the boundaries of the possible. The result is a quite extraordinary engine. One which I doubt will ever be surpassed.”
Claws for celebration
Jaguar has been making sports cars for 70 years and has developed two F-TYPE Convertible rally cars to celebrate that fact.
The rally-specification F-TYPE Convertibles are powered by Jaguar’s 221kW 2.0-litre Ingenium four-cylinder petrol engine. Built to FIA specification, both boast comprehensively uprated brakes and suspension fitted alongside a protective rollcage, race-seats with six-point harness and bonnet-mounted light pod.
The rally F-TYPEs feature upgrades to the brakes, suspension and drivetrain including the addition of grooved discs with four-piston calipers front and rear. Hand-built competition dampers and softer springs ensure the high-performance cars can be driven flat-out over rough rally stages.
Three-way adjustable dampers allow the cars to be tuned for different surfaces. Motorsport-spec wheels and tyres specifically for use on gravel were added, and a limited-slip differential improves power delivery on loose surfaces while a hydraulic handbrake helps drivers tackle hairpin bends.
The rally cars’ livery takes design inspiration from the new F-TYPE Chequered Flag Limited Edition, which will be available in South Africa from April 2019. Pricing will be announced closer to the time.
It's hot. It's a hatchling from KIA
KIA and GT are not often words you find in the same sentence but nothing is impossible in the modern motoring world. After all, who really thought Porsche would make diesel-powered SUVs?
KIA hasn’t been shy about venturing out, and we rather like this effort – their second stab at a Ceed GT - unveiled at the Paris Show at the beginning of October.
It’s powered by a 150kW/265Nm 1.6 turbopetrol and is available with a pukka seven-speed double clutch transmission, though a six-speed manual is standard fare.
The most interesting bit is that KIA says they had a six-month programme to fine-tune (our italics) the ride and handling in addition to the normal R&D that goes into a new model. From that (we assume) came a number of decisions regarding suspension set-up and what electronic driving aids to integrate. It also has faster steering response – which is unusual and few brands go to this length.
Racy bits include standard 18-inch wheels housing larger brakes and a number of details to make it stand out from ordinary Ceeds. The same applies inside: witness a black roofliner, D-shaped steering wheel, aluminium driver pedals and special seats. Sounds like a car to keep the traditional hot hatch brigade on their toes.
Toyota talks Gazoo
Gazoo…sounds like the name of a techno music band from the 1980s or an App you use for advice on how to grow you own weed hydroponically.
You wouldn’t intuitively connect it to motorsport, or to brand like Toyota, traditionally hyper-conservative in almost everything they do. Unusually, and courageously, Toyota’s local PR people used this very Jeremy Clarkson quote in a recent press release: “Whenever I’m suffering from insomnia, I just look at a picture of a Toyota Camry and I’m straight off.”
Yet when they create a sub-brand the approach changes somewhat, and Gazoo – or Gazoo Racing to be specific – is the banner under which their motorsport operates. So, for the record, Gazoo Racing is Toyota competing on a global motorsport stage and leverage technologies and learnings from this ‘arena’ to develop cutting edge production vehicles.
Ahhh…the crossover…motorsport improves the breed.
Toyota Gazoo Racing currently competes in the World Rally Championship (WRC) and World Endurance Challenge (WEC) series – two top-tier global motorsport disciplines. The recent Le Mans 24 hours win and double-podium Finland WRC finishes bear testament to this. The locally developed Dakar-competing race Hilux has forged a rock solid reputation for Hilux and this in turn has filtered down to the bread-and-butter models, some of which now proudly wear the Gazoo Racing Dakar moniker.
‘GR’ is set to evolve into the ‘defacto’ Toyota-performance brand spawning a multi-tiered product strategy. The intention is to establish Gazoo Racing (GR) as the ‘AMG’ or ‘M’ of Toyota. The GR-brand will be developed to include and signify different levels of performance – catering to the needs of a wide target audience. And it is worth remembering that in the past there hasn’t been a complete dearth of performance-orientated Toyotas even if they have sometimes been few and far between.
Names such as AE86 aka ‘Hachi Roku’, Celica, MR2, RSi, Sprinter, Supra and TRD conjure up feelings of admiration and passion. In the tuner world, engine codes such as 4AGE, 3SGTE and 2JZ are still revered to this day and utilised in many forms of motorsport.
Being savvy marketers, Toyota teased local consumers recently with the Yaris GRMN, a car which they say has been reworked and infused with WRC-sourced DNA. A group of journos drove it and they were pretty unanimous: bring it on!
lightweight 17-inch wheels, larger brakes, central oval tailpipe and a bespoke exterior finish. Under the bonnet is a 1.8-litre engine, tuned to produce 156 kW at a hearty 6 800 rpm and benefiting from a supercharger, a feature unique among B-segment performance hatchbacks.
Driving the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission, the engine enables a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of around 6.3 seconds; top speed is electronically limited to 230 km/h.
The car weighs a surprisingly modest 1135kg prompting Toyota to claim the best power-to-weight ratio in its class.
Tyres, suspension, steering and drivetrain all get the treatment, so its lowered, has a limited slip differential and the brakes are upgraded. 205/45R17 tyres, say Toyota, contribute to the car’s very precise steering feel. Take a look at the technical specifications: Toyota has even listed the spring rates and anti-roll bar diameters…numbers it can take years to dig up on other brands!
All of this in a Yaris three-door shell, sporting all the styling cues you’d expect and a special paint finish.
With only 400 made, you’d have to go to Europe to see one in a showroom. But as a compass showing the direction in which Toyota’s needle is pointing, it is pretty exciting. You can learn more about GR here: https://toyotagazooracing.com
Coming soon: the VBOX Touch! The ultimate all-in-one testing solution.
Want to make a start on the track but you don't have a race car? Then rather look at something like the BMW Club's Time Trials. Find out more here: http://www.bmwclub.co.za. Also consider the Pursuit series, which is part of Historic Racing South Africa. https://www.historicracing.co.za/historic-pursuit-racing/