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VLN project 2010: From series Ford Focus RS to racing car: Ford movement from the road to the ring

VLN project 2010: From series Ford Focus RS to racing car
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He wanted it that way - the Ford Focus RS - it is practically his own fault. Anyone who arouses desires as a series car with an above-average performance need not be surprised if these result in extraordinary ideas. (Here you can find the S top test Ford Focus RS ) One like this for example. Take a Focus RS off the assembly line and give it to young people with a good dose of enthusiasm and no less expertise. In addition, they are given the noble goal of building a veritable racing car from it in a double sense of the word. Close to series production, but safe and fast enough to attract attention in the endurance championship at the Nürburgring.

Ingenuity from 20 budding automotive engineers

Safe - it's not easy, even if it sounds like it. Matching the temperament and inventiveness of 20 budding automotive engineers with the given framework proves to be a very demanding undertaking. Doors, rear section and front hood made of ultra-light carbon, titanium exhaust and air lift system as well as elaborate aerodynamics and a rear wing protruding far to the rear for maximum contact pressure? All of this would certainly be more than desirable. But on the one hand, the lush, bubbling spring that spits out the money for it has not yet been found. On the other hand, such a massive conversion also harbors considerable risks.

Basic ideas of a near-series racing car based on Ford Focus RS

Professionals know that just implanting the balance beam brake, which the juniors also considered, can easily devour 14 days. Time that a few weeks before the start of the new VLN season - the first run starts on March 27, 2010 - is simply not available. Against this background, plans that are too extroverted or ambitious seem very daring. And ultimately they would run counter to the original basic idea of ​​a near-series racing car. So let's talk about the whole thing nicely and raise conscious renunciation to what is necessary.

Close to series production, safe and sufficiently fast. For the majority from the HondaCivic Type-R Cup races in the past three years for those with sufficient racing experience in engineering science title aspirants, the package of requirements is one way or another a demanding one. After all, the only thing the budding young engineers had to do until now was to refine a fully assembled racing car that had already been tried and tested by the manufacturer. Adjust it according to the needs of the respective driver crew and - as far as possible - gradually make it faster. The Cologne juniors impressively demonstrated their ability in this regard with third place in the Civic Cup last year, not least thanks to an excellent team performance in the pits.

What does a production Ford Focus RS need for the racing car conversion?

But now it is important to turn a production vehicle into a racing car in the first place. Fire extinguishers and slicks alone don't help. Apart from the basic safety requirements (which also include a roll cage approved by the FIA), all series parts must be checked for the increased loads and, if necessary, appropriate alternatives developed. Will the Revo Knuckle hold up when 260 mm slicks instead of 235 mm road tires pull on the front drive axle? Is the locking effect of the standard Torsen differential on board sufficient in racing or would it make sense to give the five-cylinder turbo sports car a Drexler lock instead? And which rim design harmonizes best with the preferred braking system?

Questions about questions. The list could be extended indefinitely. A lot of work for the budding automotive engineers, but also the point of this project. On the material side, the demanding undertaking is supported by the manufacturer itself. Ford Germany did not want to go for a veritable factory assignment. 'A project of this size is difficult to cope with in view of the still difficult economic situation,' says Team RS boss Dirk Densing, summarizing the financially delicate matter. 'But as a local company, we naturally have a tangible interest in the practical training of our Cologne-based young engineers.'

He does not say that the project itself makes sense for a sports-oriented automobile manufacturer because since the Fiesta Cup at Ford there have been no more motorsport activities on this side of World Rally sport. However, anyone who shares with sport auto the conviction that one should always be careful to use things for their purpose will be of our opinion when we say: The practical relevance of prospective engineers is only one aspect of the good whole.


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