Fresh from its success at the Le Mans 24 hour endurance race, transmission technology specialist Xtrac will exhibit its high performance engineering capabilities under its ‘Race to Military’ business development initiative at the biennial Defence Vehicle Dynamics show known as DVD 2012, which is being held this week (20-21 June) at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire.   It’s a significant opportunity for networking between the two industries, DVD being one of the cornerstone events in the defence calendar.

Supacat SPV 400

“The motorsport industry is highly relevant to the development of military vehicles in the same way that it’s highly relevant to the development of a new generation of hybrid and electric vehicles,” says managing director Peter Digby.   “Whether it’s for the motorist or the military, motorsport can provide the technologies and skills to help the armed forces operate effectively with minimum risk and at reasonable cost to the tax payer.”

“We certainly have the experience and technical expertise to provide the performance demanded by the defence industry.   The truth is that performance is the same requirement as in motorsport and in the automotive mainstream.   Whether you’re a soldier, Formula One driver or everyday motorist your expectations for vehicle performance, reliability and efficiency are exactly the same and that’s what we’re good at – delivering performance, reliability and efficiency.”

To underline its design and manufacturing capabilities Xtrac will exhibit a high precision F1 gear cluster alongside its type 1002 axle developed for high mobility military vehicles.   The axles have been designed and packaged to be fully compatible with existing military vehicle platforms, and have successfully completed extensive trials, run over thousands of miles of extremely demanding test regimes, all completed without failure.

“Both are designed to the same standards,” says technical director Adrian Moore.  “Both have to deliver high performance and meet the requirements of low weight, cost effectiveness and of course durability.   Excess weight for example has the same relative fuel penalty and CO2 emissions impact whether it’s a race car, family saloon or military vehicle.”

“The motorsport industry, which overlaps with the UK’s advanced engineering sector, really does understand commercial and technical risk and knows how to manage it,” says the head of Xtrac’s growing automotive and engineering business unit, Clive Woolmer.   “A racing driver needs the confidence of knowing that his machine will finish the race.   Motorists want to complete their journeys as efficiently as possible.  It’s no different for a young soldier on the front line – except that their very lives and those of their comrades may depend on the capability and reliability of their vehicles.”

In motorsport, Xtrac has developed transmissions capable of handling the prodigious amounts of power and torque produced by modern high performance diesel engines and increasingly hybrid powertrains, and has helped the winners of some of the toughest motorsport events including the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race and the infamous Dakar rally – which is every bit as tough as anything that might be faced by a military vehicle.   Xtrac is applying this expertise for the benefit of the automotive mainstream and defence industries under its ‘Race to Road and ‘Race to Military’ business development initiatives.

For the DVD event, Xtrac forms part of the MIA’s Motorsport to Defence Pavilion, which will be among the largest exhibits in the main ‘Concept 3’ exhibition area.   The award winning company, which has 275 employees including many highly qualified professional engineers, will be represented by chief engineer Martin Halley, business development manager Robin Price and senior business manager Ross Brumwell.

Held over two days the DVD event is organised by DE&S, which is the part of the MOD responsible for equipping and supporting the UK’s Armed Forces for current and future operations.  It aims to provide a forum to attract the key MoD decision-makers responsible for equipping and supporting the UK’s Armed Forces for current and future operations, which are increasingly wide ranging with more and more security risks.

Established in 1984, Xtrac has become a world leader in the design and manufacture of gearboxes, differentials and driveline components, which are used throughout international motorsport and in particular within F1, IndyCar, Touring Car, Rallying, Rally Raid, GRAND-AM and many forms of sportscar racing including a major involvement in the Le Mans 24 hours, Daytona 24 hour and Sebring 12 hour races.   The UK business operates its global headquarters from a hi-tech factory at Thatcham in Berkshire, plays a significant role in the UK motorsport industry and is in the forefront of hybrid and electric vehicle transmission innovations for many international automotive companies.