Exclusive Interview With Martin Broadhurst, PMR Team Manager & Technical Director

1. How long have you been with the team?

I was the first team member back at the start of 2015; Adam Weaver (Team owner) had decided that he wanted to create his own professional team after many unsuccessful ventures as a sponsor in the BTCC, where cars would break down, not turn out etc and he felt the only way to get the value from investment was to have control of our own destiny. Since then, after much blood, sweat, tears and long, long days we have created a team which is capable of competing for the outright championship, which has been recognised by most people in the industry.

2. What is your background?

I’ve worked in motorsport most of my career, starting out as an apprentice mechanic before becoming qualified, and then moving into professional motorsport in 1997 as a senior Rally Technician, and working my way up through the ranks to today. A majority of my professional career was spent in World Rallying, eventually as a Number 1 Mechanic with Mitsubishi Ralliart (2000-2006), a year away from Rallying in 2006 to create the JCB Dieselmax World Land Speed Record car, before joining Prodrive at the end of 2006 on their Subaru WRC programme. I then joined Triple Eight Race Engineering in 2009, as Crew Chief for the final year of the Vauxhall BTCC program, and was heavily involved in the creation of the MG-6 BTCC cars at 888 until the end of 2014 season before joining PMR.

3. What are your hobbies?

At this level of racing, we don’t get much time for hobbies unfortunately, but working in racing started as my hobby so it’s a dream job I guess. When I do have free time, I like to spend much valuable time with family and my daughter and attend music concerts when our favourite bands come around. Luckily, my other half has also worked in motorsport for over 20 years as a mechanic and she works as Number-2 Mechanic on Jason’s car during race weekends, so we do get chance to spend time with each other even though race weekends are time consuming from normal life.

4. Tell us more about what goes in on the workshop

It’s pretty relentless in all honesty. People don’t realise how much work goes in behind the scenes; the cars are stripped to component form after every use they have, whether that’s racing or testing. We operate a full lifing programme, so every component that comes off the car is assessed and either replaced or rebuilt. We use Lifecheck to keep track of how many hours and kilometres each component has done, minimising the risk of mechanical failure. We also do the majority of our own fabrication and repair work in house too, including the race shells themselves.

5. Do the drivers get involved in the technical side of things?

In certain aspects, yes. For example, after each test session or race, the drivers, engineers and myself will have a full debrief, analysing and assessing the performance data gleaned from the cars. Back at the workshop, we’ll go more in depth with things like temperatures, pressures and airflow, which is where working with the team at Zircotec has really helped us.

6. What are the performance margins?

Very tight indeed. I can think of multiple examples during the last few seasons where Qualifying has seen at least the Top-20 cars, sometimes the entire grid, within just one second. We are literally fighting for thousandths of a second, so any performance advantage we can achieve can make all the difference.

7. How hot does the car get?

It can get very hot. During a particularly hot day at Oulton Park just a few years ago, we saw temperatures recorded inside the cabin itself of more than 60 degrees Celsius. Coupled with the fact that the drivers are wearing 2 layers of fireproof clothing, a helmet with balaclava, gloves and boots, are strapped into the car for around 45 minutes and have zero cool air blowing in, it can be a very uncomfortable place to be. After this, lowering cabin temperatures was something high on the priority list when we originally spoke to Zircotec.

8. What are the benefits of Zircotec’s thermal management products?

  • Ceramic coating – Due to restrictions in the technical regulations, we can only use ceramic coating on the exhaust manifold and exhaust down pipe section; the rest of the exhaust cannot be ceramic coated. The ceramic coating is a fantastic product for retaining heat, which then brings a performance gain by helping to minimise our under bonnet temperature
  • ZircoFlex® Heat Shield – This comes into effect where we cannot use the ceramic coating, and again this is a hugely beneficial tool in retaining heat within the exhaust system which aids performance of the engine, but also help maintain the performance of the driver by keeping the cabin temperatures as low as possible
  • ZircoFlex® GOLD – Is a great product in chassis preparation and for coating engine bay components which are required to be a cool as possible, all with performance in mind

9. Have your drivers remarked on cooler cabin temperatures from using Zircotec’s products?

Definitely. It may seem like something insignificant, but a cooler cabin means a more comfortable and less fatigued driver, which ultimately means less mistakes and sustained optimum performance. The biggest thing to note here though is that for 2019 we had new drivers, and these drivers did not mention cockpit temperature, which means we have already covered this job, and this is done using Zircotec thermal management products.

10. What are your technical/performance aims for the 2020 season?

Our aim for the 2020 season is to win the championship, along with a handful of other teams, so it will be the toughest year yet in terms of competition, as the margins we are finding now from these cars are very small, but extremely important gains on track, and Zircotec help us with this.

11. What will the change to hybrid vehicles in 2022 mean for you in terms of thermal management?

The change to thermal management in 2022 will bring about new problems which maybe we cannot yet see, and working with a partner such as Zircotec puts us at the forefront of technology when we need to create a quick and efficient solution, when the problems arise.