High under-bonnet temperatures can reduce the available horsepower in any engine, so much thought goes into getting the hot air out from the engine bay. (Even my Securitas Retro Racing Escort Mk 1 has a large vent in the middle of the bonnet to expel the hot air.)
Race and rally engineers constantly struggle to manage air intake temperatures, particularly in production-based competition cars such the British Touring Cars category. The increased heat generated and the restrictions on modifications lead to the air intake temperatures rising with a noticeable drop in power.
Cooling air filter.
Now leading air filter manufacturer Pipercross believes it has solved the issue on its flagship C7000 filtration unit thanks to the use of a ceramic coating from Zircotec.
“One of the biggest issues in any engine bay is heat,” says Luke Tibble, development and motorsport manager at Pipercross. “For the air intake, it is imperative that cold, dense air is getting to the engine so it can perform at its best.” The solution was to isolate its C7000 filter unit, a product used by half of the BTCC grid as well as Time Attack, British Drift Championship and track day enthusiasts, from heat with a high performance Zircotec ceramic coating. “In previous years we tried carbon fibre, PPE and a range of heat shields, each offering some benefit,” adds Tibble. “As a motorsports company we constantly are looking for better solutions that provide more performance. It was this research that led us to Zircotec.”
Zircotec already provides a range of thermal management solutions to motorsport protecting both driver and car from the effects of heat but applying the coating to an air filter housing was novel. “The C7000 is a closed filtration unit with an aluminium housing,” says Ziroctec’s sales director Peter Whyman. “We are able to plasma spray the housing to prevent heat soaking into the filter itself. As the ceramic coating can lower surface temperatures by 30 percent, it offers a significant reduction in air temperature inside the unit.”
According to Pipercross, having the C7000 unit coated has already resulted in delighted customers in the BTCC and other series. “Zircotec’s ThermoHold® based coating has contributed to keeping intake temperatures down on the cars, ultimately providing more power,” concludes Tibble.
After seeing the effect it’s coating offers in terms lowering air intake temperatures, Zircotec is keen to investigate other uses where its durable, lightweight, thin (just 300 microns) coating could be used to offer performance advantages in other applications. “Any application that requires cooler air intakes could benefit from using a Zircotec coating,” concludes Whyman.
In Thailand, with the high ambient temperatures, this Zircotec application could provide quite an advantage. A certain Mk1 Escort is seriously looking at the possibilities.