Advanced Ceramics

Case Study: Camaro Cool

December 3, 2012

While preparing the ex-Richard Lloyd 1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 for the Tour Britannia, engineer Steven Wood wanted to ensure the crew and car would be in premium condition during the long-distance event. After experiencing heat issues in previous competition outings, Wood knew that the Tour Britannia—a three-day mix of rally stages, races and road sections—would generate uncomfortably high cockpit temperatures. Because so much time would be spent in the car, an effective heat barrier was needed to keep the drivers cool.

The solution came from Zircotec. The Oxfordshire firm offers a range of technologies to keep road and race cars cool, including ZircoFlex®, a flexible ceramic-backed aluminum that can be cut, folded, and bent to shape. The material, which is just 0.25 mm thick, can reduce surface temperatures by 64%. In triple-layer format, protection increases to lower surface temperatures by 84%.

“The V8 in the Camaro generates a lot of heat,” says Wood. “With so much time in the car in race suits, we wanted to keep the cockpit as cool as possible and decided to fit the foil to the bulkhead and floor where the exhaust is routed.”

According to Wood and driver Stuart Scott, ZircoFlex significantly lowered the cockpit temperatures to ensure the car was more comfortable and safe for the drivers. “The first-ever application of Zircotec was to lower cockpit temperatures in a rally car,” says Peter Whyman, Zircotec’s sales director. “With ZircoFlex, we have an affordable solution through which club and national competitors can receive a protection that was previously the domain of professional teams.”

The Camaro performed beyond expectations at the Tour Britannia and secured a podium, beating a number of the more nimble and suitable Porsche 911s. “It is a great car to drive and now a much more comfortable one too,” says Wood.

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