In September 2014, Tony Quinn once again approached PACE Innovations: “Build a car that can beat the 8 minute record on the Race to the Sky”. The event having laid dormant since 2015, was to be relaunched in 2015 under the ownership of Highlands Park, Tony’s racing venue in Cromwell, NZ. With the goal set, PACE quickly set about establishing a concept. Initial works about a MARC Car chassis were discarded; not enough aero, too heavy, not enough power. A bespoke design was quickly established: 15″ WRC Tyres and Wheels, Ford Focus Silhouette, 200mm of travel and the target of 800/800/800: 800kg weight, 800hp, 800kg of downforce at 100kmh.
A driveline platform was rapidly conceptualised; Fixed AWD, Front transaxle, rear diff and mid-engine. Engine choice was hotly debated in the PACE design office; what is the most weight and cost efficient way to achieve the 800/800/800 target. Turbo Quad Rotor? Built 4G63? Ganassi EcoBoost V6? Ultimately with the assistance of the team at VIP, the Nissan GTR VR38DETT was selected; but it would be off-the-shelf build. Custom Dry-Sump, Custom Turbos, Custom Crank. PACE would also be working closely with MoTeC to install and confirm the first customer implementation of the new MoTeC GPR-P Package, which had the all important gearbox control software, eliminating another control module from the electrical specification. The Nissan engine first had to be reverse engineered; so with a block and heads at PACE we set about laser scanning and CMM Probing the engine to integrate into the rapidly evolving cad model.
Meanwhile, with the workload increasing, a talented graduate engineer was hired to assist in the project full time, with his experience in CFD and some bodywork borrowed from the GTC V8/MARC Cars projects, analysis was undertaken to refine the concept shape and aerodynamic form to meet the 800/800/800 target. The bodywork was to be almost completely bespoke carbon fibre, PACE Innovations once again engaged with our pattern maker; Centreline Patterns in Adelaide to develop a production schedule to meet the strict deadline. With the CFD complete, PACE set about developing the final bodywork shape for manufacture.
With chassis design complete, no time was wasted in committing the design to manufacture and setting up on the PACE “big jig”.