Xtrac appointed sole gearbox supplier for new hybrid class of sports car endurance racing


Thatcham-based Xtrac, which designs and manufactures engineering components and transmission systems for the motor sport sector, is to be the sole gearbox supplier for the new Le Mans Daytona hybrid race category known as ‘LMDh’. customers across the world.

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), which organises the Le Mans 24 hour race, and International Motorsports Association (IMSA) have announced that Xtrac will be the sole gearbox supplier for their new Le Mans Daytona hybrid race category known as ‘LMDh’.

The new LMDh class has been created by the convergence of ACO and IMSA regulations to provide a cost-effective, high-performance car able to race in the WEC series as well as the IMSA sportscar championship in the USA.  This cost capped sportscar will also share a common spine consisting of the complete car less the bodywork, engine, and hybrid system with the next generation LMP2 sportscar.

Xtrac chief executive Adrian Moore said: “It’s a visionary hybrid transmission built on years of experience gained by operating at the highest level of motorsport,”

The P1359 gearbox developed for the new LMDh class is a 7-speed transverse arrangement with an integrated motor-generator unit (MGU) driving into the gearbox through an optimised gear train.  The integration of the hybrid system is a vital attribute of the LMDh specification.  Xtrac has worked closely with the ACO, IMSA, Bosch and Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) to ensure that the package, function, and overall operation is optimised for cost, weight, performance, and reliability.  Bosch is supplying the MGU and hybrid control system, while WAE is supplying the battery system.

“The four appointed chassis suppliers, Dallara, Ligier, Multimatic and Oreca provided invaluable feedback to Xtrac during the design of the transmission,” says Moore. “It ensured that we met their requirements with a common transmission that will fit all chassis without modification.  It was a vital goal to make sure we achieved the cost-effectiveness of this new class of race car”.

Williams Advanced Engineering has its roots in hybridisation and endurance racing.  The company was formed around the team that created the Jaguar C-X75 hybrid supercar.  It provided the flywheel energy store to the Audi LMP1 car and aerodynamic testing to the all-conquering Porsche. In addition, WAE also supplied the complete KERS hybrid system to the Marussia Formula 1 team.

“We’re extremely proud to be involved in this exciting initiative which we believe is key to the future of sports car racing; allowing for a standard set of regulations on both sides of the Atlantic” said Iain Wight, Business Development Director, WAE . “As a company, we started in hybrid vehicle projects and have since grown our world class expertise in all areas of lightweight electrification; specifically high performance batteries and battery systems which will help secure the technical longevity of the series at the same time as meeting future demands of hybrid systems for manufacturers ”.