ASTON MARTIN RACING WINS IN BAHRAIN TO TOP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Aston Martin Racing recorded an epic victory in the first ever Bapco 8 Hours of Bahrain, after Danish duo Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen came out on top of a race-long duel with FIA World Endurance Championship GTE Pro rivals Ferrari.
It was the second win of the season for the #95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE and it was enough to secure its drivers a 14-point championship lead as the series now heads into a two-month winter break. The fact that team-mates Alex Lynn (GB) and Maxime Martin (BEL) continued their run of third-place finishes at every race, also ensures that Aston Martin leads the GT Manufacturers’ Championship with 153 points.
VOLTA TRUCKS PARTNERS WITH PRODRIVE TO DEVELOP ITS ELECTRIC HGV
Prodrive is working with Volta Trucks to help engineer its revolutionary 16-tonne electric HGV designed, not only to meet zero emissions requirements, but also to help keep vulnerable road users safer in crowded urban environments. The Volta truck concept positions its driver low down, centrally and forward of the front axle, to give uninterrupted vision at street level through 220 degrees. Prodrive will help develop the design into a drivable demonstrator by early Summer 2020.
The Aston Martin Vantage GTE clinched its first double victory in the FIA World Endurance Championship, with the car winning both the GTE Pro and Am classes of the 6 Hours of Fuji. It was Aston Martin's first double triumph since the team managed it in Mexico in 2016.
Marco Sørensen and Nicki Thiim delivered a perfectly-judged performance with the #95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE Pro car in Japan, to deliver their first win of the 2019-2020 season and their second since the car was introduced in May 2018. Meanwhile in GTE Am TF Sport dominated the race with a lights-to-flag victory, having started from the class pole position.
NEW POWERTRAIN DEVELOPMENT CENTRE ENHANCES PRODRIVE'S CAPABILITY
Prodrive has opened its new advanced Powertrain Development Centre (PDC), reaffirming its commitment to help the automotive and motorsport industry develop solutions for its biggest challenges. Located at the Banbury headquarters of the world leading motorsport and advanced technology business, the purpose-built facility represents a £5 million investment and was constructed over a period of six months. Its installation reinforces Prodrive’s ability to develop the next generation of electric, hybrid and internal combustion engines for road and competition applications, while also strengthening the expertise and services that it offers existing motorsport and technology clients.
ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE GTE IN THE HUNT AT WEC SEASON OPENER
Aston Martin Racing came away from the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship with podium finishes in both the GTE Pro and Am classes after delivering a fiercely competitive performance on home soil this weekend.
WORLD'S FIRST ISO21780 COMPLIANT 48V DC-DC CONVERTER
Prodrive has created the first 48V-12 V DC-DC converter that has been designed to meet the latest ISO21780 standard on 48V automotive systems. With the dramatic projected growth in 48V systems, particularly to enable mild hybrid systems on cars, it provides businesses with an efficient and cost-effective platform which is configurable to suit almost any application including CAN and FlexRay awith multiple power options from 400W to 2.2kW. It can also provide the opportunity to downsize or remove the standard 12V battery.
The new Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE recorded its second FIA World Endurance Championship GTE Pro class victory in one of the most dramatic, unique and snow-affected sportscar races ever to be held at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. Driving the #97 Vantage GTE, Maxime Martin (BEL) and Alex Lynn (GB), delivered a perfectly judged win in the Total 6 Hours of Spa that featured everything, including four safety car periods and frequent heavy snow showers. The last of these caused the red-flag that halted the race ten minutes early while Martin was holding a slender lead in incredibly difficult conditions.
The new Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE recorded its maiden FIA World Endurance Championship victory with a perfectly-judged performance by Danish drivers Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen in the 6 Hours of Shanghai. The 2016 FIA WEC GTE Pro champions, navigated their way through no less than five safety cars, and had to contend with two red flag stoppages (for 90 minutes) because of torrential and persistent rain, to bring home the win for the #95 Vantage GTE.
Aston Martin was the class of the GTE Pro field all day in difficult conditions and ran one-two, with the sister #97 car driven by Maxime Martin (BEL) and Alex Lynn (GB) also leading at different stages of the event. With an hour to go there was a possibility of a clean sweep at the top of the podium, but earlier in the race the team had chosen to split the two cars’ strategy to optimise its chances for victory. This meant that the #97 had to change to its final set of wet tyres earlier than the #95 for the final stint, leaving them struggling for grip when a further rain shower came at the end of the race and they finished fourth.
Prodrive Composites is enabling Overfinch, the creator of bespoke Land Rover vehicles, to significantly increase production capacity by supplying consistent, high-quality carbon fibre components. Prodrive is fully integrated into Overfinch’s supply chain, providing finished, ready-to-fit components matching the company’s demanding build schedule.
As well as manufacturing the components, Prodrive Composites worked with Overfinch to design the new conversion packages for the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models. Using state-of-the-art scanning techniques, accurate dimensions of the vehicle were used to produce CAD models of the conversion packages. Once the design was finalised, Prodrive prepared the tooling and produced prototype parts to ensure fitment and aesthetics were as expected.
“Prodrive’s expertise in composite manufacture was critical to optimising the design, ensuring that high-quality, A-surface components could be produced consistently,” explained Kevin Sloane, chairman, Overfinch. “Our partnership with Prodrive has enabled us to significantly increase production and move into new markets. Prodrive collaborates with us on an ongoing basis including design work, product revisions and production. It can deliver fixed volumes each week to match our build order and provide components that are significantly easier to install than those we were using in the past.”
Prodrive utilised a new additive manufacturing technology to produce a backing that accurately secures the mounting bracketry and clips to the carbon components, ensuring it fits directly to the vehicle’s OE fixings. This process has significantly improved ease of fitment and directly reduced the build time per vehicle.
“Often companies like Overfinch request composite parts from suppliers, only to receive pieces that require modification and adjustment to make them fit,” explains Richard Gregory, quality and engineering director, Prodrive Composites. “Not only are we able to design and deliver components that fit straight on using the OE fixtures, we are also able to deliver the parts as and when they need them.”
Prodrive is producing both ‘visual’ and painted carbon composite conversion packages. Using its own paint facilities, Prodrive Composites was able to supply Overfinch with completed components, this ensured that regardless of how the car was specified, the composite parts were supplied to match specific vehicles within the build order. The streamlined process has reduced Overfinch’s average build time for a vehicle’s exterior from a week down to a day.
“We sequence delivery and have a dedicated project manager that resolves any queries, concerns or difficulties that arise,” concluded Gregory. “Being able to paint in-house and deliver components to Overfinch’s build schedule is a significant advantage. These factors have led to a strong working relationship between Overfinch and Prodrive Composites and we are excited to continue building this relationship.”
PRODRIVE SOLVES THE COMPOSITES RECYCLING CHALLENGE
Prodrive Composites has developed a process for manufacturing recyclable composite components that can satisfy future end-of-life requirements without any compromise in the performance of the original parts. Called P2T (Primary to Tertiary), the process not only simplifies recycling, but endows a composite material with the potential to fulfil three or more useful lifetimes.
P2T composites do not require heat or pressure during manufacture, which means there is no need for an autoclave, reducing costs and enabling the scaling up of production without major investment. The basis of the process is the use of a reactive thermoplastic resin instead of the more usual thermosetting type; a plastic monomer is reacted with a catalyst in the presence of the fibres to produce a cured laminate. Prodrive believes it is the first to develop this technique, which emerged through a development programme with an automotive OEM customer who required a high performance structural material with lower environmental impact than conventional composites.
80,000 fans gathered in Lohéac, France, for the latest round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship and witnessed both GC Kompetition Megane R.S. RXs reaching the semi-finals for the very first time. Indeed, but for a puncture, GCK debutant, Liam Doran, could well have made the final in his first WRX event for more than two years. In qualifying session 3, Doran set the overall second fastest time in the Megane and with a strong performance by Guerlain Chicherit, the two drivers qualified in 6th and 11th, putting both into the semi-finals.
Aston Martin Racing’s new Vantage GTE recorded its first top-five finish and made a significant step forward in pace and development during the 6 Hours of Silverstone this weekend.
Both Vantage GTEs maintained their 100% finishing records during Round 3 of the FIA World Endurance Championship, with Alex Lynn (GB) and Maxime Martin (BEL) delivering the #97 car’s best finish yet with a trouble-free run to fifth on home soil. Their team-mates Nicki Thiim (DEN) and Marco Sørensen (DEN) were also heading for a strong result until encountering a gear selection issue that required some unscheduled stops to resolve. The ‘DaneTrain’ recovered to finish ninth, ensuring the team’s third double-points finish of the season in the GTE Pro category.
Hummingbird, the British bicycle manufacturer behind the world’s lightest folding bike engineered by Prodrive, has broken new ground with the launch of an electric edition. Weighing in at 10.3 kg, it is the lightest folding e-bike available in the market.
Hummingbird, famed for its revolutionary 6.9kg folding bike, has developed a similarly elegant model that packs an extra punch – with a battery-powered motor to assist its rider on the urban commute.
The Hummingbird Electric features the same beautiful concept as its predecessor, which was designed to reinvent the clunky and cumbersome folding bike market, but with the addition of a 250W motor. And yet Hummingbird has achieved the remarkable in keeping the weight of the Electric below that of most non-motorised models. Thanks to its stunning frame, made from a single piece of meticulously handcrafted carbon-fibre, the whole bikes weighs only 10.3kg.
Prodrive has helped the Advanced Propulsion Centre launch its new Automotive Technology Roadmap on behalf of the UK's Automotive Council. The report reveals the technical innovations needed to deliver ambitious plans for future low carbon vehicles. The report draws on the expertise of 139 organisations from vehicle manufacturers and technology suppliers to consultants and academics. Prodrive used the Transit PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) it had help develop for Ford to demonstrate how it was already helping OEMs deliver many of the findings in the report.
The GC Kompetition team has taken its first ever podium in the FIA World Rallycross championship as Jerome Grosset-Janin took third place in the final at Holjes, Sweden in the Megane R.S. RX.
“I am so happy the weekend ended this way. Of course I never imagined my first podium happening like this, but we were able to take advantage of all the opportunities that were presented to us today,” said a delighted Grosset-Janin. “It’s the work of the entire team and so many people that has finally paid off. We can’t forget that only three months ago rallycross was a world totally unknown to GCK and Prodrive. Now, we just have to keep up our good work and continue to progress.”
PRODRIVE FAST TRACKS URGENT OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENT FOR THE ROYAL NAVY
Prodrive Composites has fast-tracked a Design to Manufacture development programme for the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Within a very tight and critical time frame, the business helped deliver an Urgent Operational Requirement for HMS Diamond that optimised the positioning of the ship’s close defence ballistic protection structures.
The upgraded protective mounting incorporated a bespoke composite design to withstand aggressive environments and sea conditions and fits within existing packaging space. Having met all technical requirements and undergone sea trials, this system has also been installed to HMS Dragon and HMS Duncan, the Royal Navy’s most modern operational warship.
“We are proud to have been selected to deliver this critical project with BAE Systems, who recognised that our Design, Manufacturing Engineering expertise and facilities would be perfectly suited for this challenging programme,” says Warren Roberts, CEO, Prodrive Composites. “Delivery of an end-to-end solution within the specified timeframe, is a clear validation of Prodrive’s extensive in-house capabilities and the breadth of projects that we are able to undertake.”
Prodrive Composites completed all CAD work and tool design, component design, validation, manufacture and installation. “The ability to complete each stage in-house provided the platform to significantly streamline the development process,” continues Roberts. “This significantly improved our ability to concurrently engineer each element of the project. Ensuring the Royal Navy’s fleet was operational in the shortest possible time frame.
During the programme, Prodrive Composites worked closely with T45 COM, the Maritime Commissioning and Testing Authority (MCTA), and Royal Navy staff. Project requirements included the ability to control aggressive operational characteristics and to conform to World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) sea state code level 6, which controls conformance against very rough conditions with a wave height of up to six metres.
“The new system needed to be stronger and more robust but had to operate within the same space constraint. Essentially, the framework had to be stronger without being physically bigger,” explains Prodrive Composites technical sales manager, Phil Sherwood. “We carried out extensive finite element analysis with our composites team to validate our design, which relied on a cored composite structure and triangulated framework that optimised rigidity while offering the required degree of flexibility. For obvious reasons, component durability is of paramount importance.”
Following the upgrade of its on-deck close defence mounting platform, HMS Duncan – a 152-metre ship with a crew of 190 – has already been in service in the Middle East protecting allies from airstrikes.
ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE GTE RECORDS FIRST LE MANS POINTS FINISH
Aston Martin Racing’s brand new Vantage GTE recorded a double-points finish on its Le Mans 24 Hours debut. Despite coming into the world’s most gruelling endurance race with only one competitive outing previously at Spa-Francorchamps, the two Vantage GTEs raced through the night with barely a hitch as the #95 car recorded its first top ten finish at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
This was an impressive achievement for the 4.0-litre twin turbocharged V8-powered race car, based on the highly-acclaimed road car borne of Aston Martin’s second century plan and driven by Danish duo Nicki Thiim, Marco Sørensen, and three-time Le Mans winner Darren Turner after it had to be rebuilt from a new frame and roll cage after a testing crash.
NEW ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE GT3 AND GT4 MAKE PUBLIC DEBUT AT LE MANS
Aston Martin Racing has revealed its new Vantage GT3 and Vantage GT4 customer racing cars to the public at the 86th 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the Vantage GT3 making its racing debut in the Michelin Aston Martin Racing Le Mans Festival this weekend.
The new Vantage GT3 and GT4 – the former taking the track for the first time on Thursday (14 June) in the hands of Aston Martin Racing driver Ross Gunn - is derived from the new Aston Martin Vantage GTE; two of which are entered into the GTE Pro category of this weekend’s showpiece endurance event. All three modern Vantage race cars are based on the critically-acclaimed Aston Martin Vantage road car and powered by the same 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 engine, optimised by Aston Martin Racing.
Prodrive Composites has become the first UK carbon composites business to attain full certification against the newly released IATF 16949:2016 automotive standard. IATF 16949 is the internationally recognised standard for quality in the automotive industry, developed by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF), which is made up of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers.
Prodrive has also achieved ISO 9001:2015, a technical specification for automotive sector quality management systems, which has become one of the most widely used international standards in the automotive industry, harmonizing the different assessment and certification systems in the global automotive supply chain.
Warren Roberts, Prodrive Composites, chief executive, said: “Accreditation to these new standards will eventually become a pre-requisite for all suppliers to the automotive sector. Now, as the UK’s largest composite supplier outside the aerospace sector, it is a significant achievement to be the first to achieve IATF 16949 and I would urge all composites business to look to reach these standards.”
Prodrive suppliers structural and visual composites to most of the UK’s leading premium vehicle manufacturers including, Bentley, JLR, McLaren, Aston Martin and Lotus.