Designing a Safe and Affordable Endurance Race Car for Amateurs
Design, text and images by Cor Steenstra.
Motor racing is a dangerous sport. It always has been and always will be. But it is also a lot of fun. It’s a passion that is nearly impossible to avoid. Professional racing these days is a very expensive business abd can only be executed properly by race teams that are sponsored by large companies, automotive and those thinking they can profit from the exposure.
What about the rest of the world?
This concept originating from Huub Vermeulen in The Netherlands is targeted at the serious amateur who wants to thoroughly enjoy their racing, who want to test their own limits and who want to come home with a smile on their face, only to get ready for the next outing.
To make this an affordable, fast and safe vehicle we started with a well known chassis, based on the known Nascar style chassis from Howe Racing. We used that base with slight alterations, but identical safety and strength. The seating position is moved backward to allow for the ideal balance between front and rear, and the safety structure includes a roll-over hoop which has an extra support forward, and is shaped like a wing.
Most racetracks have run-off areas filled with sand or small stones, and this construction will allow a car in worst case, flipped-over scenario, to skid over the surface and not get buried within it. From a driver/owner perspective this allows an ease of egress even in a difficult situation like this, and aids the safety of the driver. Combined with the very solid construction this car, even after a heavy accident like mentioned, can be easily repaired in the pits and be driving taking part in the next sessions.
The intended power unit for this race category is an 8.5 ltr V8, which provides plenty of power and has the endurance capabilities for long Le Mans type races. However, the packaging also allows for smaller engines and we even a zero emission EV version of it is created with easy to exchange battery packs.
The design request was to use the technology mentioned above and to have a strong and timeless design. Using the Panoz as a starting point we used Autodesk Alias Autostudio to sculpt the main surfaces using the Organic Modeling method. This allowed perfect flow of the aerodynamics, perfect highlighting, and a simple way to adjust the shape according to the client preferences and race experiences.