The Zircotec sponsored Oxford Universities Motorsport Foundation (OUMF) team’s freshly prepared Riley 1.5 historic race car lost a rear core plug right at the end of qualifying for the HRDC ‘Touring Greats’ at Silverstone on April 5th The team feared an ignominious exit from the first HRDC meeting of the year as the Riley limped slowley back into the pits.
They and other onlookers hadn’t taken into account the effectiveness of Zircotec’s ceramic coating at reducing surface temperatures though.
With just over an hour before the race, quick thinking team leader Tom Maitland immediately ordered removal of the engine to fix the problem. Though it had hardly stopped running, the students surprised many around them in the pits and not a few spectators by being able to unbolt and remove the stainless steel BTB manifold and exhaust system with minimal delay thanks to the Zircotec coating. The Performance White™ ceramic coating used on the Riley reduces surface temperatures by approximately 33% and crucially also accelerates temperature drop off.
Working feverishly, the students had the engine out, a new core plug installed and the engine back in with seconds to spare before the flag dropped heralding the start of the season’s first race. It was so tight the Riley had to start from the pit lane – but it made it to the flag in the end. Without the properties of the Zircotec coating to aid them it is highly likely the team would never have started the race.
Joe Ellis, MD of BTB Exhausts, who along with Zircotec is a keen supporter of the OUMF team was in the pits to see the efforts they made to stay in the race. He was deeply impressed with what he saw and delighted to see them gaining this kind of real ‘hands on’ race experience.
OUMF Coordinator Ding Boston said afterwards “It really is no exaggeration to say literally every single instant counted in this drama – and it really was thanks to Zircotec we made it at all. I confess when I looked at the task in hand and the time left before the race, I didn’t expect the team to prevail. Especially as this was the first race for many of them and the first of the year for their Riley project car. I am extremely proud of what they achieved, and we are all so grateful to Zircotec, BTB Exhausts and all our other generous sponsors and supporters.”
Zircotec is delighted to be able to continue sponsoring the OUMF team and also work with around 15 other university teams. At Zircotec we make no bones about our belief that the students of today are the automotive engineers of tomorrow and young talent needs to be encouraged and nurtured. There is also no more demanding arena to learn within than the white heat of competition.
You can follow the OUMF students’ through this season at www.oumf.org and we wish them and all our other student teams the very best of luck for the 2014 season.