A 10% Performance Gain For BTCC’s NAPA Racing UK
The implementation of Immico's technology brought about several significant benefits for NAPA Racing UK and their cars.
NAPA Racing UK, a leading British touring car team with three time Champion Ash Sutton heading a four car 2023 season, faced a critical challenge in optimising the performance of their Ford Focus touring cars. The current generation of engines incorporate a battery based hybrid system which increases the cooling requirements for the BTCC car, such that the motor generator unit (MGU) has its own cooling system. The team wanted to reduce the excessive heat build-up in the engine bays, leading to decreased efficiency and potential failures. To address this problem, NAPA Racing UK partnered with Immico Thermo Immission Control ‘Immico’, the global leader in high quality thermal management products in motorsport applications. The following explores the problem faced by NAPA Racing UK, the solution provided by Immico, and the resulting benefits for the team.
NAPA Racing UK, like all motor racing teams, experience significant heat accumulation in their engine bays during races. This issue poses multiple challenges, including:
Decreased performance: Excessive heat adversely affects the engine's performance, leading to decreased power output and reduced overall efficiency.
Engine reliability: Prolonged exposure to high temperatures increases the risk of engine failures, limiting the team's chances of finishing races successfully.
Decreased engine efficiency: Heat being dissipated through the exhaust system decreases the EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperatures) decreasing turbo performance and increasing air intake/ charge pipe temperatures.
Driver discomfort: Elevated temperatures inside the car's cabin impacts the driver's comfort and ability to perform optimally during races.
Component lifespan: Excessive heat accelerates the deterioration of various engine components, resulting in increased maintenance and replacement costs.
To tackle the heat-related challenges faced by NAPA Racing UK, Immico worked closely with the team during the off season to develop a heat shielding solution for the Ford Focus touring cars. This solution included the following key components:
High-performance thermal insulation materials: Immico utilised advanced thermal insulation materials capable of withstanding high temperatures and minimising heat transfer to sensitive engine components.
Customised heat shielding design: Using a professional CAD package Immico engineers collaborated closely with NAPA Racing UK to design bespoke heat shields tailored to fit seamlessly within the engine bay to protect the critical hot areas.
Heat dissipation optimisation: The heat shielding technology effectively directed and dissipated excessive heat away from critical engine components, ensuring enhanced performance and improved reliability.
The implementation of Immico's technology brought about several significant benefits for NAPA Racing UK and their cars:
Improved engine performance: By reducing heat build-up in the engine bay, the technology enhances the engine's performance, delaying and sometimes stopping the engine from reaching the threshold at which it reduces power due to high inlet temperatures
Improved thermal efficiency: Using the thermal management solutions designed by Immico Exhaust Gas Temperatures are increased by 80 degrees Celsius. This increases the energy and therefore the velocity of the exhaust gases. One advantage this brings is increasing the speed of the turbo spool up, reducing lag and giving better acceleration out of low-speed corners
Reduced charge temperatures: Intercoolers are designed to achieve maximum temperature reduction within the charge pipe. With Immico’s solution another reduction of 1 – 1.5 degree Celsius is achieved adding even greater density to the air further increasing engine power.
Enhanced engine reliability: The heat shielding solution significantly reduces the risk of engine failures caused by excessive heat, for example from boiling fluids, increasing the team's chances of completing races successfully.
Driver comfort and focus: By minimising heat transfer to the car's cabin, the solution improves driver comfort during races; last year’s round at Snetterton hitting 55 degree Celsius in the cabin, compromising performance of the driver and a solution was needed to help reduce this by 30%.
Extended component lifespan: Immico's heat shielding technology now protects critical engine components from excessive heat, prolonging their lifespan and reducing maintenance and replacement costs for NAPA Racing UK. The aim is to ensure all engine components last the season, barring any collision damage.
Competitive advantage: With enhanced performance and reliability, NAPA Racing UK aim to win this years British touring car championships.
Antonio Carrozza, Ash Sutton’s Race Engineer and NAPA Racing UK’s Chief Engineer:
“Working with the guys at Immico on this heat shielding project has been fantastic. From start to finish, Immico have been a fantastic technical partner to the team, developing a range of custom heat shielding products for the Ford. With the nature of the race cars, nothing was readily available “off the shelf” for these cars, and at the time of our initial talks, not even the CAD was available. We had some fantastic technical meetings, throwing ideas around, all with the same goal of reducing under bonnet temperatures, which has become critical in the intensely competitive environment of the BTCC. The guys are using innovative techniques to speed up the development process, which is critical in the world of Motorsport!
We have been extremely impressed by the level of precision engineering and attention to detail exhibited by Immico. The heat shielding seamlessly integrated into the design of the car, providing a perfect fit and ensuring optimal functionality. The durability of the product has been exceptional, withstanding the extreme temperatures and demanding conditions of the track without any signs of wear or degradation. The heat shielding not only effectively reduced the intense heat-soak by the exhaust system but also contributed significantly to the overall performance and reliability of our car.
I’d recommend Immico to any race team or automotive enthusiast seeking superior exhaust heat shielding. Their commitment to delivering top-notch products and exceptional customer service is unparalleled, and it has been an absolute pleasure working with the team."
Stuart Thorp, Managing Director of Immico:
“Working with Antonio and the NAPA Race team on the road towards the 2023 BTCC season has been a great experience for us at Immico. Allowing us to further develop our thermal management products at the highest level of testing. With extensive testing abilities we have been able to research and develop new techniques to keep our product at the highest level of quality to then offer to our customers.
I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone at NAPA Racing UK for making the start of 2023 such a great technical partnership experience. From optimising our product during the off season, all the way to enjoying being in the garage on a race weekend.
We are very proud to say we are a technical partner with NAPA Racing UK and it is great to see hard work paying off with them winning 9 out of the first 12 races!”