Whilst preparing the ex-Richard Lloyd 1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 for the Tour Britannia, engineer Steven Wood wanted to ensure the crew and car would be in premium condition over the long distance event.
1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 with Zircoflex coating.
After experiencing heat issues in previous competition outings, Wood knew the Tour Britannia; a three day mix of both rally stages, races as well as road sections would generate uncomfortably high cockpit temperatures. With so much time spent in the car, an effective heat barrier was needed to keep the drivers cool.
The answer came from thermal management specialists Zircotec. The Oxfordshire firm offers a range of technologies to keep road and race cars cool including ZircoFlex, a flexible ceramic-backed aluminium that can cut, folded and bent to shape. The material, just 0.25mm thick can reduce surface temperatures by 64 percent. In triple layer format, protection increases to lower it by 84 percent. "The V8 in the Camaro generates a lot of heat," says Wood. "With so much time in the car in race suits, we wanted to keep the cockpit as cool as possible and decided to fit the foil to the bulkhead and floor where the exhaust is routed."
According to Wood and driver Stuart Scott, ZircoFlex significantly lowered the cockpit temperatures to ensure the car was more comfortable and safer for the drivers. "The first ever application of Zircotec was to lower cockpit temperatures in a rally car," says Zircotec's sales director Peter Whyman. "With ZircoFlex we have a solution that is affordable that club and national competitors can receive protection that was previously the domain of professional teams."
In the event the Camaro performed beyond expectations and secured a podium beating a number of the more nimble and suitable Porsche 911s. "It is a great car to drive and now a much more comfortable one too," concludes Wood.