Lexus Targa Newfoundland 2008, hybrid racing car is back
Hybrid Lexus ends at the sixth place Targa Newfoundland Rally 2008
Targa Newfoundland is both a unique adventure and ordeal of exceptional motor sports. Each year it brings together a plateau varies extremely modern and classic cars of the first 60 years of the Mini to American muscle cars roaring, through sports european and japanese rare thoroughbreds such as the legendary Audi Cup 1983 Group B who is registered this year. For five days, the teams will compete on some of the most beautiful and challenging that can be found on this continent roads. Over a distance of some 2 200 km, they will play 37 timed special tests run on real roads closed to other traffic.
The first hybrid car rally on "Roc"
For the sixth edition of Targa Newfoundland last year, the organizers have created a new division reserved for hybrid cars. The only manufacturer meet this challenge was hired its Lexus luxury sedan-performance GS 450h hybrid powertrain in the Targa competition focused on pure speed. The preparation of the car has been completely made in the workshops of the manufacturer, under the direction of engineer Piotr Nytko Emeritus, has the sole exception of the safety cage with full production was entrusted to experts in rally Fourstar Motorsports.
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I had the chance to drive the GS 450h accompanied by Jean-Francois Drolet as browser. Our car was the beefier and heavier tray but it surprised many in his first rally, among other faculty for it to move silently and pollution in the arenas and waiting for the signal of departure , thanks to its electric motors.
After five days demanding special stages, we find yourself on the 18th and 57 enrolled recipients Churchill trophy, awarded to the top three teams from the same country. We share with Jud Buchanan and Jim Adams, who rolled in the beautiful cut 1967 Acadian Canso Jud, and the father-son and that Tony and Ryan Kloosterman formed in a Subaru WRX duo.
Greater ambitions for Targa 2008
It is therefore a more experienced team that advanced Lexus in St-Jean this year for the 7th edition of the rally. She has a new member of the highest caliber in the role of co-pilot. Alan Ockwell only 26 years old but has already participated in over 50 rallies. In 2006, he and his brother Erik had finished second overall in the Grand Touring competition or goal is to achieve an average speed precise. Alan is also the co-driver Patrick Richard the Canadian Rally Championship and they are virtually assured of the title after all their recent victory rally Defi Ste-
The car is the same GS 450h solid and reliable which completes the Targa last year. The purpose of the team, for the second Targa, is to improve the performance of the car in the hope of climbing to the general classification while improving the safety of the crew. The latter objective was achieved with the adoption of the HANS device is designed to prevent serious neck injuries. Puisqu'Alan and I had already ours it was enough to find helmets Peltor rally same type of good teams anchors and compatible intercom.
We also want to unhook the trophy again Churchill Motorsport, the equivalent of a Nations Cup for the Targa. We will make a new team with driver Jud Buchanan and co-driver Jim Adams but this year also with Scott Giannou pilot and copilot Ray Felice, who always finishes in the top Targa Porsche 911 SC in the 1981 Scott. They are fifth in the general classes last year.
Care performance in details
It will not be a thin stain to climb general rankings this year, with the arrival of some new teams montees by other manufacturers and a strong contingent of seasoned veterans of the Targa. To have any chance the team had to improve the performance of the car in the most special and snugger or those other cars plan sand and gravel on the course. With anti-skid and traction control systems fully active electronic differential locking but the GS lost all motor skills on the slightest pinch of sand or when the inner drive wheel threatened to slip the slightest. What do piloting an interesting challenge and we assert mediocre timed according to our time-targets.
GS has not changed on the outside but nevertheless sees a series of changes and updates in recent months. The technical team was equipped with a limited slip differential and find a way to disable stability control and traction control without risking irreversible damage to the electric motor that controls the electronic continuously variable transmission hybrid powertrain. In theory, at the very least. They also installed new dampers that will give us a clearance slightly upper 10 cm of last year and which amortization will continue until the end of the rally.
Other changes may seem minor but will be greatly appreciated. Alan has the right to a new headquarters in best suits its size and the driver's seat can now adjust the length, an operation that required an hour before. It also goes a little higher which greatly improves coup d 'eye forward and ratings. We now also have a cruise control to be certain scrupulously respect the speed limits in steps of binding. Any infringement of the highway code is a crew of penalties in addition to any contravention and can be disastrous for the classification of the team.
A day of tests revealing
After a first meeting of familiarity that allowed the pilot and copilot to agree on codes of navigation and communication, Team Lexus loop a day of very busy and productive testing circuit development of complex Mosport in Ontario beginning in August. Taking full advantage of the many possible configurations of the circuit to simulate driving in special snugger Targa, we pushed the car up to bring new components to the test and see how the GS would behave with additional motor skills of the new differential once its electronic systems disabled. We also tests new brake pads, simulates changes in emergency wheels and repeated the exercise twice fascinating navigation had designed Piotr Nytko.
The tests themselves were sufficiently intense and successful launch for Peter and colleagues Vinh Pham and Injum Bhutta seeking answers and solutions to some problems detected. Pushing the limits of a complex that Lexus / Toyota hybrid group is not a sinecure as system certainly has not been designed at the origin for maximum performance racing and rally. GS is more manageable and predictable drive with a deactivated systems and better motor skills of the new differential, which bodes well for special snugger Targa. The fact that we have and won two seconds a lap is also encouraging. Our technical experts have subsequently solves a problem of overheated brakes and warning related to hybrid system messages have been attributed to the high hardness of our tests. We will anyway remain vigilant but the team now considers that our valiant GS is ready for the rally.
The car is already arrived in St-Jean by the carrier and us a ray has a million things that we have to do on our respective lists before closing our bags one last time and run to St-Jean in our turn . We're raring to go, febrile and eager to reconnect with our friends as much as our competitors. See you soon, dear Targa.
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