Lightweight, flexible heatshield proves its strength in tough, full contact motorsport, offering improved durability and lower costs.
OXFORD – The leading competitor in what is often cited as the toughest form of motorsport has selected Zircotec’s flexible heatshield to extend the life of dampers and batteries as well as minimising cockpit temperatures. Reigning National Points Champion, car constructor and Super Star grade BriSCA F1 Stock Car driver Tom Harris is now using ZircoFlex®, citing benefits for both cost and safety reasons for its use.
Now running for nearly sixty years, F1 stock cars are purpose built, 750bhp V8, full contact, spaceframe race cars that compete on a mixture of tarmac and shale oval tracks. With the quickest cars starting at the back and contact actively encouraged, damage is common place, emphasising the need for strong cars that can last the distance. Despite its roots in production-based cars (hence the term ‘stock’), today’s racers rely on advanced engine, suspension, chassis and thermal management technology that is used in other forms of professional motorsport.
“F1 stock cars only race on ovals,” explains Harris. “The suspension is therefore staggered meaning the damper sits very closely to the brake disc on the nearside. The heat generated by the brakes cooks the oil in the dampers and they only last a few meetings. By wrapping the damper with a single sheet of ZircoFlex we aim to extend damper life and save money.” Harris, a multiple champion who also builds a growing number of cars for competitors in the top short circuit race championship in the UK and Holland has also protected the battery to extend its life. “The optimum location for the battery for weight balance is unfortunately right next to the hot exhaust,” explains Harris. “With at least three races per night and numerous stoppages, I rely on the battery to start the car every time. ZircoFlex can be cut and folded around the battery to keep the heat away.”
Harris is equally keen to keep himself cool in the central cockpit, sitting literally astride the transmission just centimetres from the engine in front. “The races are short and intense,” claims Harris. “I have to start at the back of a field of around 40 cars and literally push my way to the front. If we race on shale, we also have to contend with being sprayed with that. Anything that helps improve my concentration is well worth having.”
Harris is also looking at other Zircotec products for use in other short circuit disciplines. “National Ministox is the feeder series with drivers aged 10 to 15,” adds Harris. “The A-Series engine has been around for many years, so there aren’t many upgrades that haven’t been used but we are planning to see what effect managing heat can have on engine performance. We plan to have a coated manifold on the dyno soon.”
Zircotec zircotec.com offers a wide range of plasma sprayed ceramic and metallic coatings that protect components against the effects of heat, wear, abrasion and corrosion. Lightweight and easily packaged, Zircotec’s technologies can be applied to a broad range of different materials including metals and composites. Proven in F1 and the nuclear industry, the technology is now trusted by car manufacturers, industrial users, car enthusiasts and an increasing range of other applications to effectively manage heat and wear, enhancing performance and reliability. ZircoFlex® Gold, the latest development from Zircotec, offers for the first time, a truly flexible ceramic coating with additional radiant heat protection.