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Zircotec is continually finding new applications for its high temperature coatings, heat barriers and thermal management services.  Please find all the latest news about new developments and events that Zircotec is attending...

JMW get more power for Austrian ELMS round

18th July 2014

This weekend sees the Zircotec sponsored Ferrari 458 of JMW Motorsport compete in the third round of the Euro Le Mans Series in Austria.

 

The European Le Mans Series (ELMS) arrives at the Red Bull Ring this weekend for the third round of the championship. There have been minor tweaks to Balance of Performance regs since the last round that means the JMW Ferrari 458 Italia of the JMW Motorsport team will be able to fit smaller engine restrictors along with all other 458s in the series.


   Zircotec equipped JMW Ferrari 458 at Le Mans

The smaller restrictors should boost the cars power output making it even more competitive. Of course, increased performance also brings with it increased heat which is why JMW work with Zircotec to provide heat management solutions.

 

The JMW Ferrari already features the highly effective ZircoFlex® heatshield which makes a huge contribution to keeping the drivers compartment much cooler than otherwise. It has been extensively tested and provided up to 85% better performance than its competitors.

 

The 458 Italia also features our Performance White ceramic coating. The coating keeps more heat in the manifold helping to move the gas more quickly and contributing to lower temperatures in the engine bay. Lower engine bay temperatures means less conductive heat to impact driver performance during a gruelling endurance race.

 

We are also reliably told by another of our Technical Partner race teams using Performance White on their manifolds that the coated manifold provides a noticeably crisper response in 'back to back' tests with non coated manifolds.

 

The Red Bull Ring at the small town of Spielberg just outside Zeltweg in Austria has changed names several times since its formation. It has previously been called the Österreichring and the A1 Ring and it is also the home of the Austrian F1 GP and the Austrian MotoGP round.

 

Because of its location winding around a valley and the way it passes through sections of dense trees weather can play an important part in how any races pan-out there much as at Spa. This despite how much shorter it is than the Belgian circuit. It could prove to be an interesting race.



Engineering magazines look at Zircotec and powertrain innovation

30th June 2014

 

Zircotec and our products have been featured in two respected industry magazines this month, Engineering Materials and Automotive Megatrends.

The first article is a piece on the aesthetically pleasing appearance of the Performance Colours
range, discusses its heat resistant properties and how it is gradually becoming a de rigueur OEM requirement for manufacturers of high end performance cars. It also explains quite succinctly the bonding process between the coating and the surface. The article is on page 14 of this month's edition of Engineering Materials and the online version can be found here.

  Plasma spraying Zircotec ceramic coatings

 

The story in Automotive Megatrends discusses how likely it is for the latest technologies employed in the upper tiers of motorsport to find their way onto road vehicles. Specifically it looks at Powertrain Innovation and how our coatings are currently deployed to help maximise performance within tight packages. The article can be found by downloading the latest edition of the magazine which is available free here. There are also other very interesting articles regarding networked or ‘connected' vehicles and the implications for the auto industry and end users.


Moto2 testing of Zircotec coated exhaust records 55% temp reduction

20th June 2014

 

Zircotec partners and World Championship leading Moto2 GP team Marc VDS Racing undertook extensive testing following winning the Spanish GP at Jerez.

 

The two day test sessions at the Almeria circuit confirmed the significant cooling effects of Zircotec's plasma sprayed ceramic exhaust coatings under full race conditions.

 

The team revealed they measured exhaust surface temperature reductions of up to 55 percent.

 

   Moto2 GP bikes see 55% temp reductions using Zircotec

"We've been using Zircotec coatings since 2012, immediately noticing benefits," says Pete Benson, Chief Mechanic at Marc VDS Racing. "However, rather than rely on gut feelings, we wanted accurate and useable data. Which is why we recently undertook back-to-back testing using two identical, performance checked, exhaust manifolds. One of which was Zircotec coated. Although we expected the coated manifold to show improvements, the results far exceeded our expectations. The heat reduction ranged from a minimum of 31 percent (302°C rather than 421°C) to, at times, an astonishing 55 percent (186°C rather than 410°C). The typical average heat reduction being 40 percent (252°C rather than 421°C)."

 

According to Marc VDS, this level of heat reduction is hugely important on a motorcycle for a number of reasons. "Due to the compact, tightly packaged nature of modern racing motorbikes, the exhaust is routed very close to the bodywork and gets very little direct airflow," explains Benson. "What's important for us is to keep the heat within the manifold and then get that heat away from the engine as quickly as possible. Zircotec's ceramic coating does this exceptionally well, at all speeds, and with remarkable consistency. Plus it reduces heat transfer to nearby components, increasing reliability, not to mention lessening heat-related rider fatigue and improved driveability. Even though we've not dyno tested to check for performance gains, the riders tell us that the bikes fitted with ceramic coated manifolds feel much more responsive."

 

A vital tool for optimising engine performance and the major loss path for thermal energy, the exhaust manifold is subjected to a quite brutal combination of vibration and stress loading, as well as having to endure a range of weather conditions. Zircotec's ceramic coatings, which are extremely durable, take such abuse in their stride.

 

"All components are 'lifed' and therefore changed regularly, so longevity isn't a major concern for us," mentions Benson. Even so, the team appreciates just how hard wearing Zircotec's ceramic coatings are. "We tend to replace manifolds at around 3000kms, approximately a quarter of a season, although many don't make it that far due to accident damage. But, even under the most extreme circumstances, we've never ever experienced any deterioration of the coating," concludes Benson.



Zircotec equipped cars in multiple classes for 2014 Le Mans 24hr

13th June 2014

This weekend sees 55 race cars and 165 drivers take part in the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours Race. A true test of endurance for both man and machine, it is exactly the environment where Zircotec's technologies can make the difference

 

With long stints of nearly four hours for the driver, often in a myriad of conditions, the need to protect both driver and car from the effects of heat is vital. Our barrier technologies are used in LMP1, LMP2 and GT category cars at this year's event.

 

  Zircotec sponsored JMW Ferrari  GT endurance racer

From protecting the driver from heat soak through to ensuring carbon composite parts can survive long periods next to high intensity heat sources without delaminating, both Zircotec's coatings and ZircoFlex® heat resistant heatshield are found in both LMP1 and LMP2 prototypes as well as GT cars. Our coatings are found on engine covers, brakes, aero parts and even the gearbox air cylinder as well as on the cockpit bulkhead to keep the driver's area cooler within fully enclosed cars. Our materials are crucial to maintaining the cockpit temperatures within the regulated limits for many cars.

 

For more information about how our coatings are helping 2014 competitors JMW Motorsport in its Ferrari 458, please watch a short video here

For race updates on the Zircotec supported JMW Motorsport Car, please follow their twitter feed @jmwmotorsport. Zircotec wishes all of its customers a safe and successful 24 Hour race this year.

 

The 2014 Le Mans 24 hr race commences at 3pm (2pm UK time) on Saturday 14th June and can be followed live via the Radio Le Mans website and also on Eurosport. 



Marc VDS win 5 out of 6 GPs this season

3rd June 2014

 

Zircotec's technical partners in Grand Prix motorcycle racing are the Belgium based Marc VDS Racing team. With the season about one third completed the team have won five out of the first six rounds of the Moto2 series and are having their most successful season ever.

The team runs two riders in the ultra competitive Moto2 series, Esteve Rabat and Mika Kallio who are currently sitting comfortably in first and second in the World Championship respectively.

  Grand Prix Moto2 teammates Kallio & Rabat on their Zircotec equipped machines

 

Rabat has won three GPs this season so far whilst teammate Kallio is himself no slouch with two victories to his name so far. They have also both managed to maintain that uncanny knack of when not winning, to either finish on the podium or as close to it as possible. That consistency has seen Rabat collect 124 points so far and Kallio 102 with their nearest rival only sitting on 69 points.

For the last couple of years the Moto2 class has used a control engine instead of it being a prototype class as had been up until that point. The change in the regs came about as the FIM the World controlling body for motorcycle racing, the teams and the manufacturers all tried to come up with a solution to reduce the costs involved. The objective was to encourage more teams to enter the class and that has certainly succeeded with the grids now regularly completely full with over 30 machines taking part.

The control engine is an in-line four stroke four cylinder configuration with the cylinders arranged laterally across the frame of the machines. The power plants are all manufactured by Honda and are loosely based upon their CBR600RR engine. With the advent of the control engine every last scrap of power became so much more important and yet even more elusive for the engineers. This is why Marc VDS came to Zircotec to discuss how our ceramic coatings could help them squeeze just that little bit extra out of the motors because as all race engineers know, it's all about gaining that edge.

We are proud to say we have contributed to the team's success by providing ceramic coatings using our Performance White
formulation on their manifolds and downtubes. We have been working closely with the team for the last couple of seasons. Our collaboration with Marc VDS has directly contributed to our research into ceramic coating applications for motorcycles and resulted in the Endurance Range.

The 2013 season's results were tremendous and in fact winning the World Championship was a real possibility until British rider Scott Redding crashed and broke his wrist with three rounds to go whilst leading the series. This year with both riders doing so well everyone is very positive about the future. Of course there is still two thirds of the season to go and anything can happen in racing but no one can deny the first part of the season has been a spectacular success.



Zircotec a finalist in Oxfordshire Business Awards

13th May 2014

We are thrilled to announce that Zircotec has been nominated for the Carter Jonas Business Export in this year's Oxfordshire Business Awards. The awards, now in their 20th year, celebrate the achievements of businesses across Oxfordshire.

 

Zircotec was nominated alongside a number of other companies from the region and after deliberation and examination, we have been selected as one of the finalists.

  Zircotec a finalist in Oxfordshire Business Awards

With a dramatic rise in sales, notably to vehicle manufacturers and key new contracts to supply our range of thermal barrier technologies to the US, Zircotec has already enjoyed a brisk start to 2014, with both extended shifts and recruitment already in place to satisfy growing demand. The second half of the year promises more growth with investment in new spraying and finishing facilities to keep pace with sales.

 

"Zircotec is delighted to be selected as a finalist for this important regional award," says managing director Terry Graham. "Through our rising exports and domestic sales, we are growing, generating manufacturing jobs in Abingdon. We are also investing in new equipment to ensure sustainable development and keep up with demand."

 

It will be of interest to those with a passion for Britain's classic cars that Zircotec is located on the site of the old original MG car factory in Abingdon so in a way it is a rebirth of the towns involvement with sports cars, and the company does work closely with the MG Car Club in the town.

 

Zircotec's products are found in all forms of motorsport including F1, MOTO GP and British Touring Cars. Its range of ceramic coatings are increasingly found on the road cars helping to improve aesthetics, reliability and safety with customers such as Lamborghini and Aston Martin relying on the technology.

 

The winner of the award will be announced at the Oxfordshire Business Awards dinner on June 20th at the Oxford Four Pillars Hotel at Sandford upon Thames.


Zircotec partners announce drivers for Le Mans

12th May 2014

JMW Motorsports has announced its three driver team for the legendary Le Mans 24hrs race. The Zircotec technical partners will once again feature three experienced Le Mans participants including Abdulaziz Alfaisal who returns to the team to race at the classic event for the second year in succession. He will be joined by Seth Neiman and Spencer Pumpelly. The team will run a Ferrari 458 Italia featuring Zircotec heat management solutions in the GT class.

  Zircotec partners announce Le Mans drivers

Zircotec’s partner in endurance racing JMW Motorsports will field the highly experienced team of drivers who between them have already competed in the race 16 times. Seth Neiman and Spencer Pumpelly are both from the US whilst Abdulaziz Alfaisal hails from Saudi Arabia. This year’s race will mark the fifth time the JMW team has competed in the race and team owner Jim McWhirter is pleased to have the drivers on board for the event.

 

“I am delighted to welcome Seth Spencer and Aziz into the JMW Family for Le Mans 2014. They are all former competitors at Le Mans, indeed Aziz drove extremely well for us in 2013 and it is a pleasure to welcome him back." said McWhirter. "Seth and Spencer bring loads of experience and I believe that with this driver line-up combined with our own five years knowledge of Le Mans we can be very competitive against strong opposition.”

 

It will be Seth Neiman’s 9th outing at Le Mans, whilst Alfaisal has competed in the gruelling classic endurance event four times previously and Spencer Pumpelly three times. 

 

The team are using Michelin tyres this year for the first time having run their previous campaigns with Dunlops. The team’s Ferrari 458 italia benefits from Zircotec ceramic coatings and also our ZircoFlex® flexible ceramic heat barrier material to help the team’s thermal management which is crucial during endurance racing events.


More Formula Student teams supported by Zircotec than ever before

11th May 2014

 

Zircotec is supporting an unprecedented number of Formula Student teams from the UK, Europe and around the World with a total of 22 teams so far. This involvement forms a key strand of Zircotec's program of educational support for the next generations of automotive engineers.

 

  More Formula Student teams than ever are working with Zircotec
Zircotec offers a programme of technical support for teams competing in the series. This provides the teams with access to our ranges of cutting edge thermal management solutions based on our ThermoHold® ceramic coatings and our ZircoFlex® ultra thin, ultra flexible thermal barrier sheeting. In this way the Formula Student teams can have access to exactly the same thermal management solutions as our customers in F1, MotoGP, Le Mans racing etc. As part of this technical partnership the Formula Students teams will provide Zircotec with technical data on the design, build and performance of the cars enabling Zircotec to continually improve our ranges of products.

So far this year 22 Formula Student teams have taken the opportunity to work in partnership with Zircotec and we would urge any other teams considering contacting Zircotec to do so now before the end of May 2014.

"Formula Student is a remarkable concept, offering a unique insight into the real engineering and development of a real race car," says managing director Terry Graham. "The quality and innovation of engineering design shown by the students is often outstanding. We want to provide access to the technologies they will encounter when they graduate. This year Zircotec is supporting universities from around the globe including Sweden, Spain, India and Germany and we encourage students to sign up for the last remaining places available for our technical partnerships."

Zircotec has supported a growing number of teams since 2006 and Graham has enjoyed subsequently meeting many of the engineers through the firm's work in F1 and other branches of professional motorsport. "The heat and packaging problems encountered while working on these projects are real world issues and Zircotec can support them to discover, test and validate a robust solution, a process relevant to a range of engineering areas."

The Formula Student event is the largest and most prestigious automotive engineering event of its kind in the World. It's organised and run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the UK event is to be held at Silverstone from July 25th to July 27th. It is supported by many sectors of industry and by high profile engineers such as Patron of the event and F1 stalwart Ross Brawn OBE. The competition aims to inspire and develop enterprising and innovative young engineers. Universities from across the globe are challenged to design and build a single-seat racing car in order to compete in static and dynamic events, which demonstrate their understanding and test the performance of the vehicle.