Let's check in with Richard den Brinker and see how the 2018 champ is shaping up this year!
"Through competition, we have discovered what components, in this WTAC car's setup we want to keep and also how we can use them more effectively. We're working towards a set up based on a holistic strategy this year, rather than a mix of original ideas and modified add-ons we picked up along the way. For example, we have had three different bonnet arrangements, different air cleaner setups, lots of different exhaust and inlet manifolds, exhaust pipe sizes, turbos, different engines etc. The four-year journey to victory in 2018 has taught us a lot about what we've got and how to optimise those parts to work most efficiently as a whole in the car.
We are in the process of moving the engine down and back to improve the centre of gravity of the car.
The reason being, the WTAC rules allow us to have the engine back further than where we designed it to be initially. Not a small undertaking, as we are now modifying the car to suit the new engine position. That means re-making the inlet and exhaust manifolds, making a new sump, oil pump mounts, essentially we are redesigning the whole front half of the car to make it stiffer and function better. The list of modifications involve a new bell housing and clutch, modify the torque tube, revised gearbox mounts, oil lines, fuel lines, wiring harness. In doing this process we have the opportunity to optimise the parts we've ended up with.
Anytime you lower the centre of gravity and reduced the rotating moment of inertia, basically, everything improves.
The engine position of the last iteration had limitations and obstacles. We ended up with no strut brace due simply to a lack of available space. With the new stronger engine, it can be implemented to bear chassis loads through the engine block. Which is a philosophy used in open-wheelers where suspension parts are mounted to the gearbox for example.
We can run a load path through the crankcase and stiffen the chassis, so essentially the bottom is braced through the engine and with the new lower position, there's now room above to run a strut brace on the top, it's all basic stuff, we are just optimising the components we have.
As the car was such a big project in the beginning and looked so crazy from the outset, we were probably overly cautious with the rules. Now the car is built and sorted, we can go back through each rule individually and know where we want to improve as opposed to the first instance, where we didn’t know where these opportunities were.
The car this year is essentially running the same engine as last year, a 4-Litre 4 cylinder, with the same bore and stroke, we feel we have ironed out some of the technical issues that we have encountered in regards to the engine bores and head gasket sealing and heat management within the cylinder head. We won’t know 100% until testing, but we found a lot of problems and we have fixed a lot of problems.
So watch this space, owner Rod Pobestek is excited at how the WTAC pro-class is looking this year and we are really looking forward to hitting the track and again rubbing shoulders with the best in the sport.