December 19th 2011
Pescarolo/ACO school car gets Geartronics paddleshift
Last month we received an enquiry from a customer who runs a number of Pescarolo '02' pototype chassis that are used for the ACO 'Driving School'
The cars are fitted with GM 'LS3' engines and Sadev SL90-20 transaxles, and are expected to run virtually maintenance free for many thousands of kilometers! Geartronics were contacted in the hope that we could improve the cars existing solenoid based gearshift by fitting our sophisticated pneumatic system - which is of the same type as commonly used in LMP endurance racing. Confident that we could provide the necessary performance & reliability, we shipped a system over to the Pescarolo factory at Le Mans, and then set about designing & building a bespoke wiring harness for the car.
The following week, we visited the factory to finish the installation and commission & test the system - including a hastily written software addition that was requested by the customer. The software update was to change the existing digital clutch position input to an analogue pressure input. The feature was requested as yet another addition to the already comprehensive safety strategies of the system. A brief initial workshop setup was followed by a single 'installation lap' around the Le Mans 'Bugatti' circuit to check the system was functioning correctly. The brand new car was then sent back on track to complete several more laps to gather data. After careful analysis of the cars data acquisition, and making some adjustments to the 3-dimensional DBW throttle blipping, the system was deemed to be working well, both by ourselves and the test driver, Christophe Tinseau.
Following the success of the installation, it's planned that all the remaining ACO school cars will be fitted with Geartronics paddleshift, and hopefully we can make further in-roads into LMP racing now that we have demonstrated the effectiveness of our system on such cars.
PADDLESHIFT GCU UPDATE
This month, both the paddleshift hardware & software have been updated. Not satisfied with already having what we believe to be the best GCU on the market, we constantly strive to improve our products and add customer requested features.
The paddleshift page has also been updated, including some new and up-to-date images.
The updated GCU is now being shipped with all new systems, and the software update is available free of charge to existing users. The latest firmware version is 2.43.1 and the matching calibration software is 184.108.40.206 We would recommend that any existing users who are running version 39 or earlier upgrade their software to include the many new features that have been added.
Following in the footsteps of our highly successful 'Flatshift Pro' system, this new 'Easyshift' ECU features not just clutchless up and downshift capability, but also allows multi-source triggering to enable it to be used in virtually all applications. Adding to the usual digital switched and analogue load-cell inputs, we have developed a method of triggering the system by monitoring the existing barrel position sensor. This is particularly useful for the Quaife 60G and 69G gearboxes where no provision exists for a flatshift switch. The new triggering method also means that there is absolutely no requirement for micro-switches and proximity detectors that are often used in an effort to provide trigger signals.
As soon as the selector barrel rotates by a specified number of degrees, the ECU triggers either an engine torque reduction or throttle blip as appropriate. Not only that, the downshift strategy includes an anti-push system for super-smooth clutchless downshifts.
In common with all our products, the new ECU features fully closed-loop control of both the up and down shifts - a feature that's unheard of on any other aftermarket flatshift system! Closed-loop control ensures that the full engine torque is not re-applied prematurely during an upshift, therefore eliminating the risk of gearbox damage.
Geartronics to exhibit at the 2012 Autosports international Exhibition
Once again, Geartronics will have a presence at the forthcoming Autosport International Exhibition. The world's premier motorsport trade exhibition takes place on 12th-15th January 2012 at the Birmingham NEC (UK). We will be present on the 'trade days' Thursday & Friday. Come and see our interactive demonstrations at booth E455, where Neil Wallace & Peter Haywood will be on hand to answer any of your questions.
Based at the famous Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire, the round-the-clock race is the ultimate test for both driver & car alike,
and there is no better platform on which to prove the performance and reliability of our products.
For 2011, we had four customer cars running our systems. Our highest profile entrant was Nigel Mustill's Aquila CR1, run by the Chamberlain Synergy team. The same car was comfortably leading last years race before it was forced to retire after being hit from behind by a back-marker. The team was hoping for better luck for 2011 and were cautiously optimistic of a good result...
Friday qualifying started well, with John Martin putting the Aquila on pole by posting a stunning time of 2:03.560 - almost 5 seconds clear of the second placed Ferrari 430 GT2 of Witt Gamski, which was closely followed by the Paul White Mosler MT900R GT2.
The Race started at 4:30PM on Saturday afternoon, and the Aquila quickly set the pace, setting fastest times for the first 25 laps before the first scheduled pit-stop. This trend continued, and by the end of the 6th hour, the Aquila had stretched out a 3-lap lead over the 2nd placed Marcos Mantis GT3 of Topcats Racing.
During the 7th hour, things started to go wrong for the Aquila team. A broken driveshaft forced a stop for repairs, costing 15 laps. However, with the repair complete, the car was back on the pace and was lapping consistently quicker than the rest of the field, posting times in the 2:10's. Incredibly, by the end of the 15th hour, the yellow car had climbed back up to 3rd place. Unfortunately though, a burst water hose forced another lengthy stop and the previous hard work was undone, dropping the car back to 14th position.
The remaining 7 hours of the race proved fairly un-eventful, and the last of the 26 pit-stops saw Nigel Mustill complete the final 30 minutes of the race to bring the car home in a creditable 9th place.
The Aquila also set the fastest lap of the race with a time of 2:04.019
During the entire race weekend, including Thursday practice, the Geartronics paddleshift system ran flawlessly. Bob Berridge, the number 2 driver, commented that the system "never missed a beat".
Other teams to use our paddleshift system were cars 48 & 54 (Butler Motorsport BMW E46's). The Don Grice car 48 unfortunately had to be retired after 17 hours with engine failure, but the similar car of Clint Bardwell crossed the line in 27th place, making it a second 24hr finish for the Geartronics paddleshift. Remarkably the system fitted to this car had already covered more than 19,000 shifts before the race had even started!
Finally, car 68 (BMW E46) ended the race in a superb 5th overall position, against considerably more powerful machinery. Kevin Clarke's Intersport Racing E46 was using
our closed-loop flatshift system, no doubt considerably reducing the driver's workload and protecting the Drenth DG400 gearbox during the hardest 24-hours of its life!
If you're interested in a high-performance professional paddleshift system, proven to withstand the rigours of 24-hour endurance racing, then please give us a call...
Gallery page updated
Click here to see just a small sample of the many & varied paddleshift installations we have completed.
Paddleshift for Ginetta G50
Experienced GT racer Dave Krayem and engineer Ben Scrivens choose Geartronics paddleshift for the Ginetta G50. After evaluating other options on the market, both Dave & Ben were soon convinced that our pneumatic actuation and superior software strategies were the right choice.
Geartronics have considerable experience with the Ginetta cars, having worked with Quaife to design a tightly packaged actuator assembly for their 60G gearbox. We also have open access to the MoTeC M800 ECU having worked with Ginetta on several other G50 installations. This allows us to use the drive-by-wire system to perform the downshift throttle blip - a somewhat more elegant solution than simply using an actuator to operate the throttle pedal. Using the MoTeC DBW function allows us to dynamically vary the amount of blip depending on engine speed and gear, while our GCU determines the duration of the blip based on the gearbox barrel position. The result is a fast and perfectly smooth down-shift, regardless of gear or vehicle speed.
Krayem's first time out with the paddleshift (which had zero track testing up to that point) was the BRSCC Euro Saloons meeting at Rockingham where he took creditable 3rd & 2nd places.
Afterwards he commented: "I was delighted with the Geartronics paddle shift. Your service was timely, expert and professional and the system is light, finely made and worked perfectly first time out. Now I have it I would not be without it."
Paddleshift for Chevron GR8
Another GT car to get the Geartronics treatment this month is the pretty Chevron GR8 of Andy Yool. This particular car had the locked factory ECU removed and replaced with a DTA S60
(courtesy of Wayne Schofield of Chipwizards), thereby allowing us to make more precise torque reductions. However, our system is also capable of running 'standalone' so that owners wishing to retain the standard ECU can still enjoy the benefits of closed-loop pneumatic shifting.
Triple success for Geartronics paddleshift customers at the "Richard Burns Memorial Rally".
John Indri (Darrian), Rob Dennis (Escort MK2) and Bruce Edwards (Darrian) finish in 2nd, 3rd & 4th place behind the 'works' Prodrive Mini WRC of Pierre Campana. Indri was particularly impressive, finishing just 21 seconds adrift of the works car.
An in-car video of Edwards can be seen here
Stewart Robb secures British sprint championship.
The Pilbeam/JUDD MP88 of Stewart Robb emerged a clear championship winner, 15 points ahead of his nearest rival Colin Calder in the Gould GR37.
The Geartronics paddleshift system was fitted to the Pilbeam for the start of the season, and has proved to be 100% reliable, taking either 1st or 2nd position in every round of the championship.
That makes it two in a row for Geartronics - last years championship was won by another one of our customers, Nick Algar in his Gould/NME GR55.
This adds to our British Hillclimb Championship success last year with Martin Groves, proving once again that Geartronics are the dominant force in hillclimb and sprint paddleshift systems.
SR2 wins at Spa.
Britcar racers, and Geartronics customers, Mike Millard and Ian Heward took a well deserved victory in the SR2 Rapier at the 2 hour Britcar race at Spa - despite Ian having never driven the circuit before!
Ian claimed to have learned the demanding circuit during qualifying, but it didn't seem to make much difference to the final result. Congratulations to them both!
Mike and Ian are using the Geartronics paddleshift system to operate the Hewland NMT transaxle.
Milner sets FTD at Goodwood
The recent Goodwood Festival of Speed saw the appearance of another new Geartronics equipped car, this time the Toyota Celica GT4 of Jonny Milner.
Jonny, better known as a double British Rally Champion, has recently turned his hand to the Toyota Sprint Series, and decided to try again at winning the Goodwood hillclimb after being pipped into 2nd place last year.
The extreme Celica featured a new 850hp turbocharged, supercharged and nitrous injected engine, and Maktrak 4wd gearbox operated by the Geartronics paddleshift system. Sadly, Jonny had to settle for the runner-up position in the hillclimb event (mainly because of a less than perfect launch), but he did come away with the Tag-Heuer prize for setting the fastest time of day in an earlier run.
Former US BOSS champion Phil Stratford recently tested his Tyrrell F1 car with our paddleshift system. On hand for the first test was our US distributor
and F1000 racer, Nicholas Belling of XLR8 Racing Developments, and an engineer from Engine Developments to look after the ECU configuration on the JUDD V10 engine.
As expected, the system ran perfectly right from the install lap, and Phil went on to complete approximately 60 problem-free laps in the car.
Steiner Motorsport wins with Geartronics
Followers of this news page may recall that back in March we fitted our shift system to the Osella FA30 of European Hillclimb expert Marcel Steiner.
We recently received an email from Marcel, and in it, he says: "I`m verry happy with your system! It works perfectly! I won all three races with new track record in Switzerland, and I won one race of European Hillclimb Championship."
Marcel has also produced an excellent video of his system in action - watch it here
Don't just take our word for it...
We regularly receive emails from customers expressing their satisfaction with our products, so we've decided to publish just a few of them on the new testimonials page.
Z-cars Mini project
Chris Allinson of Z-Cars had been using a rivals flatshifter system when we persuaded him to remove it and go with our intelligent paddleshift system instead.
Initially sceptical, he was soon convinced of the benefits of using a pneumatic system with closed-loop control. After a short test session at Mallory Park circuit, Chris was quickly getting used to almost seamless up and down shifts without having to use the clutch.
In addition to our renowned closed-loop shift strategies, the shift quality was further improved by the use of a carefully managed torque reduction strategy within the engine ECU.
New compressor passes all tests
We can also bring you news this month of a technical update to our system. Over the past few weeks we've been evaluating a new, higher performance compressor. The new pump offers a significant weight saving over the existing unit of almost 700g. Bought in as a commercially available pump, we strip and modify them to cope with the rigors of motorsport use. We've bench tested two of them for more than 40 hours of operation with no failures and no significant wear. The first three units are currently in use in race cars without issues, including the Mini above. We now have stocks of the new unit and it will be offered with all new systems and as an upgrade for existing customers.
Highly regarded tuning company LSC Motorsport becomes our partner in the Czech Republic.
LSC (Brazdil Technology) are involved in all areas of motorsport, including race, rally, rallycross & European hillclimb. Ladislav Brazdilova has a long history of top level motorsport involvement,
including work with the works Skoda Fabia 'kit' and Octavia WRC cars.
Examples of their work include the Lotus 'WR12' of Vladimír Vitver seen here. The car had previously been fitted with a rival shift system that did not
work to the satisfaction of the driver. LSC, recognising the clear superiority of the Geartronics product, recommended to the customer that the under-performing system was removed and replaced with ours.
Stewart Robb wins outright and sets new course record.
Sprint racer Stewart Robb sets a new course record at Castle Combe in his Pilbeam MP88
Geartronics, in conjunction with Pilbeam Racing, recently fitted our highly respected paddle shift system to the JUDD KV4 engined car, and with the help of an engineer from Engine Developments to configure the EFi Euro-6 ECU, we soon had the system up and running with the usual minimal setup time. A quick test session at the Curbrough sprint course confirmed that the factory GCU settings worked perfectly out of the box. Stewart then went to the first sprint of the season and won the event outright, setting a new course record along the way.
Indri wins again.
Darrian GTR driver John Indri lead from start to finish in a dominant display during the recent Caerwent Rally. With the exception of an embarrassing incident with a bumble bee, Indri was never challenged in the ex-Hoseason Darrian.
Once again, the Geartronics paddleshift is proven to be the system of choice for winners.
Steiner Motorsport choose Geartronics Paddleshift
A recent trip to Switzerland saw the installation of our paddleshift system to the Osella FA30's of Marcel Steiner and Urs Müller.
The Italian Osella chassis are fitted with 450bhp Zytek KV3000 engines and Sadev SL-75 transaxles - of which we have considerable experience. Click here to see a picture of the installation.
Sean Edwards drives 996 GT3 RSR with Geartronics paddleshift.
The Porsche 996 GT3 RSR of CTR Racing was recently driven around Snetterton by GT expert Sean Edwards, and John Clonis (the cars owner) couldn't get him out of it - he was loving it so much!
The Porsche 996 & 997 cars present a challenge when installing paddleshift because of the Bosch ECU, but we have worked to overcome the limitations of the factory locked unit to provide a very effective solution, as can be seen from this on-board video
Eliseparts.com & Geartronics win first time out
A brand new 6-speed sequential gearbox for the Lotus Elise/Exige has won straight out of the box at Eastern Creek in Australia. The new gearbox has been developed by Eliseparts.com specifically to fit the Honda K20A engine that has proven to be a popular upgrade for the Lotus cars. From the outset, the box has been designed to operate with the Geartronics paddleshift system, and the result speaks for itself.An in-car video of the gearbox testing can be seen here.
Racetech Harnessing makes it a worlds first in LED lighting for LMP cars.
Geartronics partner Racetech Harnessing used its revolutionary LED headlamps for the first time on the Oak Racing LMP1 car at Sebring. This is the first time that any LMP car has used such technology. LED lighting offers many benefits, including: more natural lighting, less weight, less power consumption, & longer life when compared to existing filament or gas discharge lamps.
For more information, contact Racetech Harnessing directly at www.racetechharnessing.co.uk
Ariel Atom V8 smashes 'Top Gear' lap record.
What more is there to say? The new 500bhp Atom V8 was recently put through its paces by Top Gear's "new Stig", and set a new record time of 1:15.1 around the Dunsfold Aerodrome test track. That's an almost unbelievable 1.7 seconds faster than the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport!This incredible machine has set a new performance benchmark amongst road-going cars, and Geartronics are proud to have been part of it. The Atom's Sadev ST90 gearbox is operated by our pneumatic shift system, making upshifts in typically 40mS or less. This not only helps straight-line acceleration, but also allows drivers to make almost seamless upshifts when powering out of corners without causing chassis instability, as witnessed by the Top Gear footage of The Stig's hot lap.
For readers who haven't seen the Top Gear episode, we'll post a link here, as soon as it appears on Youtube.
Once again, the Autosports Exhibition proved to be a resounding success - thanks to you!For the duration of the two days, we saw a constant stream of visitors, sometimes 4 deep and blocking up the aisles! Just like last year, we were very aware that several people never actually got to speak to us because of the queues, and for that we apologise. However, now that the dust has settled, we would be more than happy to talk to you with a clear head! For those of you who couldn't get to see what we had on offer, click on the photo above to see a more detailed picture of the stand. For this year's exhibition, we had two working paddleshift systems, as well as static exhibits of all our high-quality components. The first working exhibit was demonstrating the system fitted to a Sadev sportscar transaxle. This featured our new CAN-enabled GCU, with full 'Autosport' specification wiring harness and Goodridge braided hoses. A system like this is aimed more towards the professional market, but is equally at home in a club level application should your budget permit. The second system was fitted to a Maktrak Mitsubishi Evo transmission. This demonstrated a more affordable system using push-fit hoses and a more basic specification wiring harness. Our basic harnesses still use the highest specification Raychem spec-55 wire and DR25 sleeving, but generally use less expensive connectors.