Vehicle Completely Re-Engineered to Remain Safe and Carbon Positive While Making Tracks to End Child Trafficking
It takes much more than skis to traverse 356 miles of ice in Antarctica – especially if you are driving a 1956 Porsche 356A vintage car. Senior Chassis Design Engineer Kieron Bradley, a UK-based extreme explorer, has spent the past 18+ months re-engineering Valkyrie Racing’s classic vehicle mascot while ensuring the car itself remains both safe and carbon positive to complete the team’s long-awaited adventure. ‘Project 356 World Rally’ is both an expedition and a humanitarian effort, and the December 2021 challenge completes the ultimate endeavor by one woman, one car and one global mission to end child trafficking. (www.valkyrieracing.com)
Denver-based racer and philanthropist Renee Brinkerhoff is the incredibly tenacious woman behind-the-wheel and the anomaly behind a worldwide self-imposed competition that provides a visual means for her voice to support an end to human trafficking.
She chose to take on nearly 20,000 miles over all seven continents – primarily while partaking in globally recognized endurance rallies such as Peking-to-Paris and the East African Safari rally. The rallies additionally provide Renee global media exposure to discuss the problems and solutions for her cause and showcase her charitable foundation Valkyrie Gives. However, the frigid ice of Antarctica requires a different sort of preparation and mindset to conquer the extreme environmental and weather conditions.
While UK-based Tuthill Porsche has held a technical preparation role in nearly all of Brinkerhoff’s endurance rallies, Bradley’s own background as a polar explorer and three times world record holder provides the perfect synergy for the engineering aspects he can offer for this specific venture.
“Success for Renee and her car will come from the thoughtful balance of appropriate technology we’ve added, and the mass reduction implemented,” said Bradley. Because full days of 24 hours of sunlight can be anticipated across Antarctica during this time of year, mass from elements such as lights, framework, fire extinguishers and wheels could be removed, while an increase in mass to accommodate the surface condition of the snow allows for the addition of tracks, ski, and crevasse bars, along with a specialized brace and suspension system.
Bradley further explained that while the mass in the 356 overall has been increased, the mass per square inch (foot print) using the ski and track system, had been reduced to under 4 percent of the standard wheel displacement “The ski we’ve created must do 40 – 50 percent of the work, by compacting and prepping the snow for the track unit to follow over, with the underside blade guiding the direction – this ensures the tracks will not submarine under the light snow,” said Bradley.
LEARNING HOW TO SKI IN A 356
If a pair of skis are only attached at the hub points on the vehicle, the hubs and attaching suspension system would potentially be over stressed and compromised, even under light use. Therefore, Bradley’s solution attached the ski brace bar to the ski leg, transmitting the load away from the hub points and attaching the suspension system. Not only do the aesthetics of the skis look great, but they were also specifically designed to be supported by all the other components and to make less of an impact on the snow than a footprint.
Bradley discounted the use of any tire and proposed the skis and track combination, increasing the flotation by as much as 300 percent when compared to Antarctic 4×4 support vehicles on 42” tires – the 356 will be gliding and leading the tracks throughout the entire journey.
Other significant retrofits include:
- Crevasse bar that supports dual-sided solar panel (reflecting both sun and snow)
- Twin solar panels to produce a minimum of 150W at peek saturation
- Roll cage TIG welded/T45 material
- Rear track suspension mount frame TIG welded T45
- Track bearing system running Dupont Krytox low temp grease
- 12V low temperature compressor
- 4-ton bag jack to lift vehicle in soft snow
- Rear engine frame winch point
- Temperature gauge for early gearbox overheat detection
- Ability for occupant to have rear window exit option
- Accessibility from with the cabin area to reach survival dress, water, and communication equipment
- Design must accommodate the fitting of pre-approved spiked ice tires with no wheel alignment change
- Operational temperature range -50°C to +55°C
- Vehicle must use original rally-prepared suspension and steering system with only complementary suspension to control the tracks
- Use of simple hand tools is only permitted on the ice to constrain running tool mass
- Crevasse Bar to not impair driver vision
- All track and ski fitment to be accomplishable by one person
- Recommended speed for component durability 40k mph
- 1.2psi maximum ground pressure at 50mm soft snow depth
Brinkerhoff’s navigator, Jason de Carteret, is a world-record holder in polar exploration and has led more than fifty expeditions including those to both the North and South Pole. De Carteret and Bradley together claimed two world records for the fastest overland journey to the South Pole traveling in the Thomson Reuters Polar Vehicle. Brinkerhoff and De Carteret will attempt to set a land speed record on a blue ice runway in Union Glacier following the 356-mile endeavor. The team’s lead sponsor is global golf research and development powerhouse PXG, based in Scottsdale, AZ.
JOIN VALKYRIE RACING IN ANTARCTICA
Valkyrie Racing/Valkyrie Gives has created the ability for a community of supporters worldwide to join them in Antarctica and be part of a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience. The name of each donor who contributes a minimum of $356 will be inscribed inside the hood of the car, receive a photograph of their name, and an exclusive ‘Antarctica Ice Challenge 356’ hat to commemorate their involvement. Donations can be made directly to www.valkyrieracing.com/donate356.
ABOUT VALKYRIE RACING
Learn more about the exciting story of Valkyrie Racing/Valkyrie Gives and follow Renee Brinkerhoff and her team’s progress on the website at www.valkyrieracing.com , through Instagram @valkyrie_racing or @valkyrieracing on Facebook.
ABOUT VALKYRIE GIVES
Valkyrie Gives is a non-profit 501 (c)3 formed to aid women and children at risk – with a special focus of ending the human tragedy of child trafficking. Valkyrie Gives provides their donors with the confidence that 100% of their gift is going directly to a vetted and proven project that will positively impact the lives of children at risk.
All administrative and other expenses associated with Valkyrie Gives are funded entirely by Valkyrie Racing.
Founded by entrepreneur and self-proclaimed golf nut Bob Parsons, PXG embodies his belief that every new product – from golf clubs to apparel – should be noticeably better. Every innovation should improve your performance. And every moment of impact should elevate your enjoyment.
PXG offers a complete lineup of right- and left-handed golf clubs, including drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, wedges, and putters, as well as high-performance, sport fashion apparel and accessories. To learn more, visit www.PXG.com.
The third season of the Ferrari Challenge UK came to a close with the fifth round of the Prancing Horse national series, held this weekend at Oulton Park.
It was an exciting year that saw James Swift’s (Dick Lovett Swindon) Trofeo Pirelli and Graham de Zille’s (Meridien Modena) Coppa Shell titles go to the wire, with an intense and hard-fought finale that saw Swift and de Zille win their respective categories in Race 1. In Race 2, H.Sikkens (H.R. Owen London) and de Zille took the wins in their classes.
Trofeo Pirelli. With 5 race wins out of only 8 races he competed in, Swift got the better of Lucky Khera (Graypaul Birmingham), who fought Swift for the title until the very end.
After missing the opening round at Brands Hatch, Swift has gradually improved his feeling for the 488 Challenge Evo to the point where he has been unstoppable with 5 consecutive victories that allowed him to close a 19 point deficit on reigning champion Khera and overtake him in the standings at the final round at Oulton Park. The driver from Birmingham has made the consistency of his performance his strong point, but 8 podiums including 2 wins were not enough to repel the assault of his rival Swift. Third place went to Sikkens (H.R. Owen London) who, after being crowned World Champion of the Trofeo Pirelli Am at the 2020 World Finals held in Misano, climbed onto the podium on several occasions during the season, taking victory in the opening race at Brands Hatch and the season finale at Oulton Park.
Coppa Shell. Graham de Zille dominated the category, with 8 wins, 8 pole positions and 8 fastest laps, ending the season with 165 points. The domination of the experienced driver from Lyndhurst was interrupted on only a few occasions by Paul Simmerson (Graypaul Birmingham) and Laurent de Meeus (H.R. Owen London) who each achieved one win at Snetterton and Silverstone respectively.
Team. In the special dealer ranking Graypaul Birmingham took the title by 8 lengths ahead of H. R. Owen London, with Meridien Modena finishing third at 160.
Balance sheet. In its first year of competitive use on British soil, the 488 Challenge Evo proved to be well adapted to the demanding British tracks and, above all, to be well received by the drivers who benefited from the great improvements introduced by the Evo kit and the new Pirelli tyres, developed specifically for these cars. There was no lack of spectacle on the track, thanks to duels and overtaking, made possible also thanks to the great respect between the drivers, also visible in the paddock at the end of the races.
- The Oulton Park circuit will host the opening round of the 2022 season, which will once again consist of 5 stages. After the debut on 6 and 7 May, the protagonists of the British series will compete on the Snetterton track, before moving on to the three most famous circuits in England: Donington Park, Brands Hatch and Silverstone, all the scene of Formula 1 world championship races.
06-07 May | Oulton Park
28-29 May | Snetterton
25-26 June | Donington
03-04 September | Brands Hatch
16-18 September | Silverstone
- Aston Martin Vantage GT3 wins on Nurburgring Langstrecken Serie return
- Vantage confirms its Nürburgring potential with brilliant win
- Aston Martin becomes first British manufacturer to win an endurance event on the Nordschleife
- Nicki Thiim and Maxime Martin victorious on driver pairing debut
Aston Martin’s Vantage GT3 made a victorious return to the Nürburgring Nordschleife, as the British luxury sportscar brand secured its first ever win on the famous German circuit in Round 8 of the high-profile Nürburgring Langstrecken Serie (NLS).
Against strong opposition from rival manufacturers Porsche, Ferrari, BMW, Audi and Mercedes, Aston Martin Racing and its works drivers Maxime Martin (BEL) and Nicki Thiim (DEN) – who were competing for the first time as a driver pairing – delivered an inspired performance in the four-hour race to clinch the first overall win for a British manufacturer at this level.
The race marked the first NLS participation for Aston Martin in the GT3 class since the current Vantage made its competitive debut at the Nürburgring, three years ago. With interest growing from existing partners and potential future customers to race the Vantage GT3 in the series, and the Nürburgring 24 Hours in 2022, the factory used the opportunity to demonstrate the car’s potential and to gather data around the Nordschleife.
Having qualified eighth, Martin made quick progress at the start, gaining two places on the first lap, and then another later in the opening stint when a rival retired. A clever strategy by the team saw them run three longer stints than their rivals bringing the car into victory contention. When Thiim handed the car back to Martin for his second stint, the Belgian found himself right behind a clutch of rivals, passing two of them in one breath-taking manouvre, and moved up to third. He passed the second-placed Audi just as the leading BMW made its final stop and gave the Vantage back to Thiim in the lead. The Dane, spurred on by the prospect of his first overall win on the Nordschleife, then brought the Vantage home safely 13s ahead of its nearest rival.
“It’s an awesome achievement for everyone to come here, with a ‘new’ car for the first time on the Nordschleife and win,” said Martin. “It shows the high level of preparation and how well we have developed the car. It’s great for Aston Martin to win here amongst all the German manufacturers. It’s not something that many brands have done! I felt confident in the car and had some nice fights to take the lead, and from there Nicki had to control and that is never easy here – so he did an amazing job as well. We didn’t have the fastest car, but we worked well as a team.”
Thiim added: “Veni, Vidi, Vici almost. We were stable all the way through. So much has happened to this car in three years, it’s completely different to the one that raced here then. We brought the best guys in the business with us to really try and understand the data so that next year we can create a strong package. It was a pleasure to race with Max for the first time, he made it easy for me to take my first NLS win. I’m proud and honoured to have been the one to have crossed the line first for Aston Martin at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.”
Aston Martin Racing President David King said: “This performance has clearly demonstrated the potential of the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 at the Nürburgring. To come to the heartland of the mighty German manufacturers and win with a car that had so little testing data under its belt at the start of qualifying is an extraordinary achievement, and there is plenty more to come as we were some way off the fastest race lap. Our goal when we came here was two-fold, to gather data to assist in the development of the car and to show potential partners and customers why Vantage deserves an NLS programme. I think we’ve done that emphatically. We’ve been wanting to win a race on this track for a very long time, so to claim a victory in this manner is deeply satisfying.”
- Assembly of the rally cars has begun
- Audi RS Q e-tron with complex powertrain concept
- Four kilometers of cables, two central control units and six cooling systems
In 100 days from now, the 44th edition of the famous Dakar Rally will kick off. For Audi Sport, this marks the beginning of a real race against time.
Audi is tackling one of the greatest challenges in international motorsport, quite deliberately using a unique concept. The Audi RS Q e-tron has an electric powertrain with two motor-generator units (MGUs) from Formula E. While the vehicle is in motion, the high-voltage battery is charged by an energy converter consisting of the efficient TFSI engine from the DTM and another MGU.
“The prototype of the Audi RS Q e-tron was created in around twelve months,” says Julius Seebach, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH and responsible for motorsport at Audi. The rollout on June 30th, 2021 in Neuburg an der Donau and the start on January 1, 2022 in Ha’il (Saudi Arabia) are separated by merely six months. “That’s a very short time to prepare for such a complex project. I cannot emphasize this often enough: The Audi RS Q-e-tron is the most sophisticated vehicle in terms of technology that Audi Sport has ever deployed in racing.”
Andreas Roos, Project Leader for all factory-backed motorsport activities, can only confirm that: “The Dakar is extremely challenging – even for a conventionally powered vehicle. With our powertrain concept, the challenge is distinctly greater. The chassis and suspension do not entail major differences, but we have a lot more components in the car that have to be not only high-performing, lightweight and functioning reliably under the extreme conditions of the Dakar. They also have to be attuned to each other perfectly and work together smoothly.”
A conventionally powered Dakar vehicle features two major components: the internal combustion engine and the transmission. “In our Audi RS Q e-tron, we have an electric motor at the front axle, an electric motor at the rear axle, the high-voltage battery and the energy converter, consisting of another MGU and the TFSI engine from the DTM,” says Roos. “And each of these components, for instance, requires a dedicated cooling system. That means we have not only one cooling system in the car but as many as six, including the intercooler and air conditioning system for the driver and co-driver.”
Packaging is another major issue with such a complex vehicle. “We had to make use of every centimetre to accommodate all the components in the car,” says Roos. That comes at the cost of ease of service. “For instance, changing the front-axle differential still takes a lot of time at the moment. That must be achievable faster at the Dakar and is one of the issues we’re currently working on under massive time pressure.”
Obviously, the special conditions at the Dakar Rally play a role as well: sand, water, cold and major elevation differences. “We have a really large amount of sensitive electronics and many electrical components in the car that we need to protect against sand and water as effectively as possible,” says Roos. “We’ve learned a lot in the tests we’ve run so far and are now trying to feed all of our findings into the rally cars in time for the Dakar Rally.”
A large part of the work is in the areas of software, electrical and electronic systems. “We’ve got two central control units and around four kilometres of cables in the vehicle – not even counting the high-voltage cables,” says Roos. “The interaction of all powertrain components and of the high-voltage battery as well is extremely complicated. If anything doesn’t fit there the car will stop.”
Meanwhile, assembly of the race cars for the Dakar Rally has begun at Audi Sport in Neuburg an der Donau. Because the Audi RS Q e-tron travels also on public roads in cross-country competitions, each vehicle receives road approval including the related individual acceptance. Concurrently, the development schedule up until December includes a large number of additional stations – such as the Audi climate chamber for simulating the temperatures and elevation differences prevailing at the Dakar and a pendulum test on a speciality test rig.
There are still 100 days remaining before the Dakar Rally kicks off. 100 days that will become extremely intense for everyone in the Dakar team to achieve the next major stage goal: to put three superbly prepared cars on the starting ramp in Ha’il.
In 2020, a challenging year marked globally by restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, Audi delivered a total of 1,692,773 models, a fall of 8.3 percent compared with the previous year. The contribution by Audi UK to this total remained significant at 107,892 cars. Audi is already making considerable headway with its range-wide electrification programme, which began with the world premiere of the all-electric Audi e-tron SUV in September 2018, and is now the biggest manufacturer of electric vehicles among the three German premium brands. Due for introduction during 2021 are the new e-tron S, e-tron S Sportback, Q4 e-tron and e-tron GT sports car variants. By 2025, Audi will offer more than 20 models with all-electric drive in the most important markets worldwide and achieve roughly 40 per cent of its sales with electrified variants. These will of course be underpinned by a range of models with classic layouts covering every relevant market segment from the compact class to the luxury class.
With nominations closing at 5pm on 1 October, there is just over a week left to have your say in the Royal Automobile Club’s annual celebration of the UK’s historic motoring and motorsport scene.
Eight categories reflect the breadth and diversity this industry encompasses, from museums and events to restorations, journalism and individuals, and the Club is inviting nominations both from those working in the industry and historic motoring enthusiasts.
Nominations should be made through the Awards’ website www.royalautomobileclubhistoricawards.co.uk. Candidates can nominate themselves or be nominated by a third party. The eight categories are:
- Collection – for British-based collections or museums which have made a significant contribution to the historic motoring movement during the Awards’ eligibility period 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2021
- Competitive Event – including motor racing meetings, race series and individual races, hill climbs, navigation and stage rallies and regularity trials.
- Innovation – for new products, services, facilities or other innovations which turn great ideas into solutions.
- Motoring Spectacle – including concours d’elegance, non-competitive tours, classic vehicle shows, club gatherings and virtual events.
- Outstanding Journalism – for written or broadcast features in a British publication, broadcast media or digital platform.
- Personality – for an individual’s outstanding contribution to the UK classic motoring/motorsport world during the eligibility period.
- Restoration – for restorations by UK-based companies which demonstrate both impressive technical expertise and a significant amount of research and sensitivity to the vehicle and its history.
- Young Achiever – for rising stars aged between 18 and 30 who are building their future in the industry.
Each category is judged by its own handpicked, independent panel of judges with great expertise in their particular category, with each panel headed by a Lead Judge who has tremendous expertise in the relevant subject.
At the Awards’ evening on Thursday, 25 November, the Club will also present the Royal Automobile Club Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of an individual who has made a remarkable contribution to British motoring and/or motorsport heritage over many decades.
The Awards are supported by renowned German luxury timepiece maker A. Lange & Söhne, centre of excellence for historic motoring Bicester Heritage, wealth managers 1762 from Brewin Dolphin, specialist insurers Footman James, classic motoring event organiser HERO-ERA and StarterMotor, the charity which encourages young people to take up careers in the historic vehicle industry and to enjoy historic cars.
The Awards are a continuation of the Club’s more than 120-year pedigree in recognising motoring accomplishments. Today, the Club presents a series of internationally-recognised accolades, including the Segrave Trophy, the Torrens Trophy, the Simms Medal, the Dewar Trophy and the oldest trophy in motorsport still being competed for today – the Tourist Trophy.