Lotus, Virgin & Hispania to use Xtrac’s “batch-produced” gearbox

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Xtrac, the transmission technology specialist and long-established supplier of gearbox components to almost every Formula 1 team on the grid, is supplying the Hispania Racing F1 Team and Lotus F1 Racing with a newly designed gearbox, designated as project 1044, developed for the 2010 season.

Including the aluminium casing, it’s Xtrac’s first total transmission system supplied into F1 since 1996, when the company previously supplied complete gearboxes and not just the vital internal components it has continued to supply ever since, which have enabled teams to build their own bespoke transmissions.

New team Virgin Racing will maintain this recent tradition of specifying a unique casing, which is a major structural part of the vehicle, but will otherwise also be using the entire project 1044 internal kit supplied by Xtrac. Hispania and Lotus meanwhile will use the complete Xtrac transmission including the casing.

All three F1 teams are racing with a Cosworth engine, for which the transmission was originally conceived as part of the FIA proposals put forward in 2008 to significantly reduce costs through the option of a standard powertrain. In the context of F1, where every component is normally designed and manufactured as a bespoke item, Xtrac’s “batch-produced” gearbox with common parts offers significant cost savings, while technically remaining highly competitive. It also benefits from an extensive rig and engine dynamometer test programme.

With a contemporary longitudinal layout, commonly utilized in F1 gearboxes, the transmission could be easily adapted to other F1 engines. It positions the gear cluster forward of the differential to ensure excellent vehicle weight distribution, while meeting critical aerodynamic requirements at the rear of the vehicle. It’s also designed to be as compact as possible to help accommodate the larger fuel tank and tighter packaging requirements imposed by the 2010 regulations.

At only approximately 40kg the basic architecture balances the usual requirements for low weight, reliability and robust performance. The design philosophy behind the internal components also benefits greatly from Xtrac’s extensive experience in F1 and as a leading designer and supplier of complete transmission systems, including the casing, to other major motorsport series around the world.

Established for 25 years, Xtrac is a world leader in the design and manufacture of gearboxes, differentials and driveline components, which are used throughout motorsport and in particular within F1, IRL, Touring Cars, Rallying, Rally Raid, Grand Am and many forms of sportscar racing including a major involvement in the Le Mans 24 hour, Daytona 24 hour and Sebring 12 hour races. More recently the UK transmission specialist has been applying its skills to non motorsport applications, with rapid growth in the defense and marine sectors.

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