Team RWTH Aachen University at the start again

The Institute of Motor Vehicles of the Rhenish Westphalian Institute of Technology (RWTH) Aachen University will again be at the start of some selected rounds of the BFGoodrich Langstreckenmeisterschaft at the Nürburgring and of the 24h Race.

In 2008, a team made up of scientists, students and apprentices started to prepare a vehicle based on an Audi A4 quattro which was fitted with a 3.0 l TDI engine in close cooperation with the Tuning Academy from Ingolstadt. The car was entered in various races at the Nürburgring for testing and it was further developed. This year, the car will start in the class for diesel vehicles with 2.5 to 3.9 l capacity (D3T). During winter, the car was adjusted to the requirements of the new regulations and aerodynamics, engine cooling and suspension were improved. The first participation is scheduled for the 4th of April 2009 at the kick-off of the endurance race championship.

Apart from very promising participations, this first year was also a period of “learning”. “Each member of this young team personally contributed to assemble a complete racing car from many single pieces and a bodyshell in a very short time. That alone already is a fantastic achievement. Experiences with the race car and with race organisations were collected last year at first participations. This year, the acquired knowledge shall be applied to achieve good results,” describes Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Stefan Gies, head of the Institute of Motor Vehicles (ika) of RWTH Aachen University, the goal for 2009. The team members shall in particular experience and exercise the practical appliance of theoretic basic knowledge and team work. The Institute of the Aachen University, though, is also looking forward to gain scientific findings through the use of innovative technologies. This is why they will start in the group “24h Specials” where a great number of modifications is permitted.

In cooperation with the Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) at RWTH Aachen University doors with an outer skin made of carbon fibre reinforced plastics were developed in 2008 already, an engine bonnet completely made up of carbon fibre reinforced plastics has now been developed and manufactured this winter. The aerodynamics of the vehicle, too, has been improved. The flow-through of the radiator, the intercooler and the complete engine compartment proved to be problematic in 2008 and was thus optimized due to simulation and tests. The new rear spoiler now provides more downforce at the rear axle and consequently improves the driving behaviour of the car.

In addition, a systematic analysis of the suspension set-up on a hydropulse test bench was carried out and a perfect set-up was found. The axle kinematics and the anti-lock brake system (ABS) as well as the electronic stability programme (EPS) were further improved and adapted to the special requirements at the Nürburgring.

Thomas Hanisch and Klaus Leinfelder (Tuning Academy Ingolstadt) as well as Prof. Stefan Gies (Institute for Motor Vehicles at the RWTH Aachen University) will be the drivers at some races of the endurance race championship. The team will be completed by Hans Keutmann (ITT-Keutmann, Düren) as fourth driver for the 24h Race.

A special thank must be extended this year again to the great number of companies providing their material, their know-how and giving financial contributions in order to enable the further development of the car, also in these economical difficult times.