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.
“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.