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News Archive ZF in Motorsports in 2015
SCHWEINFURT 10/11/2015 – The 8HP ZF automatic transmission has proven its qualities in the BMW M235i Racing Cup since the 2014 season. Now, ZF introduces the next evolution – the 8P45R motorsport transmission. It is even more dynamic, lighter and consequently perfectly suited for use in motorsport. The 8P45R had its first successful track appearance at the VLN race end of October at the legendary Nürburgring.
Previously, an automatic transmission was considered a somewhat unusual construction in motorsport; however, ZF paved the way for this new solution during the 2014 season. The automatic 8HP transmission eases the workload considerably for BMW M235i Racing Cup competitors, and allows the racing drivers to stay almost completely focused on their environment and on the track. Mechanical damage as a result of shift mistakes is also excluded as are fatal blockages and dynamically unbalancing shocks on the driven axle.
Whereas the previous automatic transmission was based on a standard production line design and modified software, ZF now sees good potential for a pure motorsport planetary transmission. The aims of the redesign: ratios, shift points and shift speed should fulfill the greater demands in motorsport without compromise. ZF also attached value to low weight. By omitting the converter and other reduction measures, the designers saved about 15 per cent on weight. The internal power loss was also reduced.
The designers retained the fundamental design and assembly scheme – comprised of four planetary gear sets and five shift elements – from the previous 8HP transmission. One of several new features is the omission of a converter in the transmission. The pulling away or drive-off process is implemented by internal shift elements. A vibration damper upstream from the transmission input prevents damage through engine oscillations.
The gear ratio spacing is closer and the rev drops between gears have been reduced. Normally only the first six gears of the former 8HP transmission were used when racing. In the new transmission all eight gears are spaced sensibly in the operating range.
Throughout the 2015 season, the new gearbox underwent a test and dyno testing program. End of October it withstood its baptism of fire on the legendary Nordschleife of the Nürburgring in a specially equipped BMW M235i Racing. Dirk Adorf, chief instructor of the BMW Motorsport junior program, is convinced by the new development: „I am truly fascinated by the performance of ZF´s engineers after my first laps with the new gearbox. Being an automotive technician myself, I wouldn´t have thought it possible to build an automatic transmission without a torque converter, that provides such a fast changing of the gears as well as easy and comfortable starting. The clutch elements are extremely fine-tuned. I am sure that this system will be an example for other racing gearboxes and even for the development of series transmissions."
ZF plans the transmission’s market launch in the second quarter of 2016. Initially, the 8P45R transmission is exclusively available for the BMW M235i Racing. In the future, it is also envisaged for use in other manufacturers’ sportscars.
SCHWEINFURT 10/22/2015 - At the DTM season finale 2015 (German Touring Car Masters) in Hockenheim, ZF Race Engineering (ZRE) already took a look ahead. At the ZRE TechDay, ZF'smotorsports subsidiary presented new high-tech products for the racing season 2016 to a handpicked expert audience from the world of motorsports – true to the motto: after the season is before the season.
Decision-makers from the motorsports industry and representatives from the motorsports press learned about innovations from Schweinfurt's shock absorber and clutch development dedicated to motorsports applications. Engineers from the ZF TRW Division were also present.
Even the potential beneficiaries of the innovations made by ZF took an interested glance at the new damping and clutch systems: The DTM teams of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes paid a visit to the team of ZRE's General Manager Norbert Odendahl to find out about the product innovations. In the DTM Business Lounge of Deutsche Post, which ZRE leased for their TechDay, the teams were welcomed by Odendahl and Dr. Stefan Sommer. Together with ZF's CEO the teams gathered around the anniversary "100" for a photo. The TechDay was meant to be the motorsports subsidiary's program contribution to the ZF anniversary calendar.
In his brief welcoming address, Dr. Sommer did not only underline the company's historical significance, but he also emphasized ZF's excellent and successful motorsports tradition, citing the example of the F1 transmission for Lotus in Formula 1 in the 1960s. At the same time, he stressed the significance of motorsports for the volume production development of ZF products. In motorsports, ZF products must prove themselves at the highest technology level and withstand maximum loads and stresses.
The final DTM weekend was a success for ZF in terms of race results, too. Motorsports partner BMW secured the DTM Constructors' Championship and ZF brand ambassador Christian Engelhart took the vice champion's title in the Porsche Carrera Cup. On the penultimate race day of this year's DTM series, Dr. Sommer also had the honor of presenting Timo Scheider with the winner's cup in front of running cameras of ARD (German public broadcasting station).
For the anniversary, ZF Race Engineering GmbH had collected from its partners, friends, and prominent supporters, rarities from motorsports and exclusive experiences and auctioned them off to benefit the "Tour of Hope" fundraising campaign. Since 1983, cyclists have ridden the Tour of Hope year after year to raise funds for the treatment of children suffering from cancer and leukemia. Finally, former figure skater Marina Kielmann, ambassador of the Tour of Hope, accepted a check for € 15,000 for this good cause from ZRE.
The rush to get into Formula 4 racing is huge worldwide. Mygale Racing Car Constructors has already delivered 100 cars. ZF Race Engineering GmbH has been there right from the start by supplying the shock absorbers for the standard chassis.
By entering the world of the newly founded Formula 4, we are demonstrating our expertise in the field of chassis technology. We supply not only the best of the best with ZF damper technology, but are committed to supporting young talents in F4 motorsports. To signal our cooperation with Mygale, ZF Race Engineering presented itself as partner at this year’s Motorex trade show in Mexico.
For the 2015 season, ZF has been sponsoring racecar driver Christian Engelhart during his appearances at the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany as well as in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. The 28-year-old from Kösching, Germany, was previously sponsored by TRW. In the context of the acquisition of TRW, ZF continued to sponsor him. To express his long-term partnership with TRW, the integration logo of the new ZF TRW division is now also on the engine hood of Engelhart’s Porsche, right next to the ZF logo.
Engelhart’s goal for 2015 is to win the titles in the fastest one-make cups in the world and, half way through the season, he is on track toward achieving this goal in both series. He is currently third in the overall rankings in the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany and sits in second place in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.
Clutches and shock absorbers from ZF Race Engineering GmbH are installed in Christian Engelhart’s racing vehicle as well as in all other race cars in the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany and the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. The steering pump used is delivered by ZF TRW.
This might also be of interest: How many volume-produced components are used in the Porsche Carrera Cup?
The world’s largest BMW and MINI meeting was held for the 11th time from July 9 – 12, 2015. During this mega event held over four days, ZF Race Engineering GmbH presented to all interested drivers of BMW and Mini the unique Sachs Performance products in the fields of coilover suspension and clutches.
With the support of ZF Friedrichshafen AG - ZF Services, almost 20 000 fans were introduced for the first time to the current 8HP automatic transmission from ZF as well as its passenger car transmission oil service. Both sales teams were able to answer many technical questions from true BMW fans directly on site over the four days and received very positive feedback on the performance, quality, and services of ZF products.
More than 1 000 visitors responded to the call for donations for the “Tour of Hope” campaign at the booth of ZF Race Engineering GmbH and ZF Services, with the sales team handing over a total of € 1 073.55 in donations to Mr. Norbert Odendahl on Sunday afternoon.
A warm thank-you to all BMW and MINI fans who made a donation to this campaign.
In an era that seems defined solely by process optimization, streamlining, and productivity increases, it is, unfortunately, all too easy to forget that there are some situations where strategic measures just cannot help. For the 100th anniversary, ZF Race Engineering GmbH therefore collected from its partners, friends, and prominent supporters, rarities from motorsports and exclusive experiences to be auctioned off to benefit the Tour of Hope. Since 1983, cyclists have ridden the Tour of Hope year after year to raise funds for the treatment of children suffering from cancer and leukemia. For over 30 years now, this event has raised a total of € 32 million in donations for children’s hospitals and parent support organizations.