Pace Innovations won the contract to design, build, and assemble two brand new V8 Supercar ‘Car Of The Future’ (COTF) prototypes to fit both a Ford and Holden bodyshell. The given objectives for this project were wide ranging but several were outlined as very important; update the technology used in V8 supercars, increase driver safety, and create a common platform chassis making it far simpler for other manufacturers to join the series. All of this was to be achieved whilst also reducing the cost of a finished V8 Supercar and not changing the manufacturers ‘DNA’. It was no small ask!
There were numerous stakeholders involved in this project, MoTeC, with parts for the new ECU and data logging technology, Triple Eight Race Engineering with various current and future spec suspension parts, Albins with a newly developed ST6 transaxle designed specifically for the category, and many more highly skilled companies offering their industry expertise.
Along with Supercars COTF Technical Projects Manager, Vincent Dumarski, we were able to manage the design and build process of the prototypes through to completion in 2011 for evaluation by current V8 Supercar team representatives, with an extensive testing programme.
Testing of the performance of the chassis and suspension parts of the prototype went very well with the test drivers having very positive things to say about the performance of the cars.
Upon completion of testing of the V8SC COTF prototype chassis we were given the task of making several design changes to the prototype design for the production version to be released to V8SC teams. The changes were largely in aid of streamlining the production process for larger volume production, as well as incorporating several requests from the V8SC technical committee and V8SC team representatives. With these changes implemented the CAD of the production model COTF was finalised and released to all V8SC teams.
We decided to use our extensive knowledge of the new COTF chassis to create chassis ‘kits’ which include all the parts required to build a complete COTF chassis. This kit has laser cut to fit and CNC mandrel bent 25CrMo4 roll cage tubing imported from Bodytec in Germany, all other square, round and rectangular tubing used in the chassis laser cut to fit, all sheet metal parts laser cut and folded made from 12 differing thicknesses and materials.
All of our kits have parts made to the highest quality and also have various ‘jigging tricks’ and shrinkage factors applied to them we have learnt over the years to help our customers increase their production efficiency and completed chassis accuracy. In total we have sold 26 chassis kits to various leading V8SC teams for the inaugural season and we will provide ongoing part sales and support for all our customers from 2013 and beyond.
Prior to the COTF project Pace Innovations was already involved in the production of various leading V8SC teams chassis production. We supplied teams such as Triple Race Engineering, Ford Performance Racing, and Stone Brothers Racing with chassis in several forms of completion. These teams and a few new teams communicated to us they wanted to continue this working relationship through to the new COTF chassis. We ended up with orders for 23 COTF chassis in various forms of build completion to numerous front running V8SC teams. We have now tooled up for this production and have three separate jigs used at three different stages of the chassis build to speed up production and expect to have all 23 chassis completed and delivered to the teams by the middle of November 2012.