The motorsport specialist Xtrac, whose transmissions are used throughout international motorsport and increasingly in the automotive mainstream, will give the public a rare glimpse into its cutting-edge technology at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend (28 June to 1 July).
At the special invitation of the Goodwood organising committee, which is careful to select ground-breaking exhibits, Xtrac will form part of the trailblazing technology displayed in the FoS-TECH technology pavilion. It’s the company’s first ever appearance at this popular automotive and motorsport event.
Xtrac was selected primarily because of its involvement in the REEVolution project, which is a collaborative research and development programme funded by the government’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board; designed to create new high performance range extended electric vehicles (REEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). Jaguar Land Rover leads the consortium, which includes vehicle manufacturers Lotus and, through its Infiniti brand, Nissan. The battery, electric motor and transmission suppliers are, respectively, Axeon Technologies, EVO Electric and Xtrac.
The consortium has built three demonstrator vehicles to showcase the innovative new technologies – some yet to be revealed – developed since the project was announced in 2010. The demonstrators aim to be best in class and build on the skills of all the businesses involved. The driving force behind this is the development of a UK supply chain for new ultra low carbon vehicle technologies to position suppliers so that they can exploit an expanding global market.
One of those demonstrator vehicles is the INFINITI EMERG-E electric sports car, which makes its global debut as a prototype at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend before embarking upon a year-long testing schedule. The prototype delivers its power and torque via an Xtrac 1092 transmission, which also features in the Lotus Evora 414e series hybrid technology demonstrator. As part of the REEVolution consortium Lotus will show a cutaway version of the Evora 414E at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
“Goodwood provides an exciting introduction to this new technology,” says Xtrac managing director Peter Digby who will visit the show on Friday with technical director Adrian Moore. “We are thrilled to be playing our part in the REEVolution consortium as well as being part of the technology pavilion, which will give our engineers a wonderful opportunity to present our transmission technology to the public for the first time.”
“The motorsport industry is highly relevant to the development of a new generation of hybrid and electric vehicles,” added Moore. “The UK government is actively supporting the development of these new technologies, hence the large R&D investment by the UK automotive industry in next generation electric cars and advanced hybrid solutions.”
“The motorsport industry has a significant role to play and can be highly instrumental in the development of alternative powertrains by transferring technology and by developing new technologies in the short timescales that are so common in motorsport,” commented Clive Woolmer, head of Xtrac’s growing Automotive and Engineering business unit. “The UK motorsport valley is home to a £6 billion industry with a proven track record not only at developing innovative technologies, but also promoting that technology through the high visibility of Formula One and other races such as Le Mans 24 hours and the Dakar rally.”
To underline its design and manufacturing capabilities Xtrac will exhibit a combination of automotive and motorsport technology including a state-of-the-art F1 gear cluster as well as examples of hybrid and electric vehicle transmission technology. Xtrac personnel supporting the FoS-TECH display are all highly qualified drivetrain specialists including general manager Clive Woolmer, business managers Robin Price, Ross Brumwell, James Setter and Varun Lakshman, accompanied by experienced engineers Chris Cholmeley, Michael Allen, Paul Pomfret, Richard Billyeald and John Russell.
They are particularly keen to answer any questions from youngsters interested in science and mathematics. The company is heavily involved in developing initiatives for school children to interest them in a career in engineering and technology. It already offers work experience to Year 10 and 11 students attending local schools in Newbury in Berkshire where the company is based and regularly participates in factory visits and careers fairs aimed at Year 9 students onwards. Xtrac has also been driving the renaissance in engineering apprenticeships as well as sponsoring under-graduates to study engineering at university. It maintains close links with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and Xtrac staff include a number of highly qualified Fellows of the Institution.