The weekend of February 18-19th saw New Zealand’s newest and fastest touring car championship hit the tracks for the first time, with British based high performance transmission specialist Quaife Engineering Ltd playing a crucial role by supplying the series’ control specification gearbox.
Called the New Zealand V8 SuperTourer Championship, the new series uses four-door touring car bodyshells built onto a controlled race chassis, with long term rival marques Ford and Holden being represented with their iconic and popular Falcon and Commodore models.
The V8 SuperTourers are powered by an all-alloy, 7.0-litre, fuel-injected engine, which produces a mighty 575 bhp and 507 lb.ft of torque. This impressive powerplant meant that a robust, high performance transmission system that also fitted into the series’ strictly cost controlled criteria was crucial, hence why championship organiser V8 SuperTourers Ltd chose the Quaife QBE69G unit for the control specification gearbox.
Rated for use up to 750 bhp, the ‘69G’ is designed and manufactured at Quaife’s advanced facilities at Sevenoaks and Gillingham in Kent. The six speed sequential unit uses advanced design features such as 90mm shaft centres for strength, a modular gear cluster, an integral oil pump and a choice of gear lever positions to suit location.
“We’re very proud that the new V8SuperTourer championship has elected to use the Quaife QBE69G gearbox against considerable competition,” says Michael Quaife, Technical Director of Quaife Engineering. “We’ve subsequently enjoyed a close working relationship with V8 SuperTourers Ltd’s Mark Petch, and have worked with the V8 SuperTourer organisers and teams to perfect the installation in the new cars since the prototype first began testing almost a year ago. Everyone here is extremely proud that a British product can compete and succeed in such a high-profile series in New Zealand and it highlights the global nature of Quaife’s current export markets.”
The V8SuperTourer Series is billed as the ‘V8 Series Of Champions’ and features a star-studded grid that includes Greg Murphy, Kayne Scott, John McIntyre and Paul Booth, as well as former NZV8 champions Craig Baird and Paul Manuell and several up-and-coming talented drivers.
Fully supported by Ford, BP and Hankook Tyres and with dedicated broadcasting slots on New Zealand’s TV3, the sixteen car V8SuperTourer grid blasted off at Hampton Downs circuit near Auckland on Saturday 18th February, with Kiwi touring car legend Greg Murphy taking a historic win in the first of the weekend’s three races.
Seven rounds are scheduled, with a mixture of sprint and endurance races before the series concludes in October 2012.
Technical information – New Zealand V8SuperTourer Cars
The New Zealand V8SuperTourer is based on a monocoque chassis, like the Australian V8 Supercar car of the future (COFT) project and is built to accommodate both the current VE Commodore and FG Falcon bodies, or any other similar sized four-door production vehicle such as the Toyota Camry or BMW 5-series.
Designed and built by Paul Ceprnich of Pace Innovations Australia, the chassis forms the basis of a future-proofed V8 touring car, similar in concept to a current Australian V8 Supercar but at less than half the cost.
The car is powered by a strictly controlled, one make, all-alloy, fuel injected and dry sumped 7.0-litre V8ST engine (proprietary branded for the series) that is unique to the New Zealand championship. The powerplant is derived from the Le Mans programme and hand-built in America to deliver some 575 bhp at 6,800rpm, with an expected racing life of 10,000 racing kilometres before requiring maintenance. This engine is very similar to that of the successful international GT racing Mosler supercar, though final preparation and tuning of the V8ST powerplant is completed in New Zealand.
The drivetrain consists of a triple-plate clutch, which delivers engine torque through the Quaife QBE69G 6-speed sequential transmission via a two-piece pro-shaft. This feeds a classic nine inch Ford based rear end with a spool differential.
The rear suspension adopts a proven three-link live rear axle system fitted with camber and toe, CV style, floating rear hubs. The front is a sophisticated new design featuring a double wishbone layout that is also symmetrical from left to right, resulting in interchangeable components and therefore reduced overheads, plus a smaller spares inventory. Both the front and rear suspension movements are dampened by adjustable bump and rebound shock absorbers fitted with adjustable spring platforms.
Steering is through a power assisted rack and pinion assembly, mounted ahead of the engine in order to better optimise the front suspension geometry and the high loads generated under long distance racing events.
The V8SuperTourer uses a Brembo brake package that includes 380 x 35mm ventilated front discs and 355 x 32mm ventilated discs at the rear. Brembo’s super-stiff forged billet alloy six-piston brake calipers are fitted up front and four-piston calipers behind. This state-of-the-art braking package provides awesome stopping power for the comparatively light V8 SuperTourer car, which has an all up weight including driver of less than 1,300 kg.
Fitted to this are bespoke V8ST 11×18 forged alloy wheels carrying 280 x 680 x 18 Hankook racing slicks or wet weather radial tyres identical to those used in the super successful German Touring Car Championship – the DTM.
Overall, the V8SuperTourer has comparable performance to a current Australian V8 Supercar but at a greatly reduced build cost. The new V8SuperTourer car are s specifically designed to compete in both sprint and long distance enduro style racing thanks to a 120-litre capacity fuel cell.