Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Adjustable Pedalbox in the BAC Mono

The Mono is a car that has several features that are adjusted for the driver.  The team at BAC decided to keep the drivers helmet as close to the roll hoop as possible so fixed the position of the seat.  Unlike a conventional car, the Mono seat can not be adjusted, instead the steering wheel and pedal box can be adjusted to fit to the driver.  The picture below shows the black chassis and machined pedal box.  Simple cap head bolts are used to secure the box in position, with several choices based on the drivers leg length.

You can see the deadpedal on the left hand side of the box below.  It is also secured to the chassis with the pedal box.  We have been able to fit clients as tall as 6'5" and as short as 5' into the car.  We are quantifying inseam length soon so we can provide better fitment info for potential clients.  The seat insert shown in this post also helps with fitting a shorter driver.  The steering wheel is adjustable for reach and rake.  It is also fixed once an ideal position is found.  Luckily all these features can be adjusted for various sized drivers and take approximately 30minutes to complete.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Nitron Rebuilds in the US

As Nitrons exclusive Lotus suspension agent in the US, we offer full rebuilds and repair service here in the US.  Nitrons are a fantastic solution for lower lap times in your track car, but they require occasional rebuilding to stay in the optimal performance range.  We partnered with V2 Motorsports to offer this service in North America.  This Blog entry is devoted to sharing pictures and basic steps taken in rebuilding or repairing Nitrons.

Ralph@V2 has become very good friends of ours and has worked with us to develop some great Lotus solutions, including the popular V2arms and V2linx.  His V2 Fuel Tank that we offer remains the safest way to stop track induced fuel starvation on street legal cars.   Ralph is a true racer who has competed on 2 & 4 wheels as well as powerboats.

We invested in a Roehrig shock dyno a couple of years ago and placed it in Ralph's shop.  He built a clean room specifically for the shock rebuilds and pictures are shown below.  This capability also allowed Ralph to develop special valving for Nitron Triples that he successfully campaigned in two Exige 'S' in SCCA T2 racing.  

Rebuilding the shocks is a time consuming job that requires a full days work.  Here is a detailed list of the rebuild process:

  • Fully disassemble shocks(dampers), thoroughly clean and degrease in chemical tank
  • Replace all rod seals
  • Replace all damper shims
  • Replace all critical o-ring and scraper seals
  • Replace piston bands
  • Replace diaphragm components
  • Refill with the best factory shock oil
  • Re-gas with Nitrogen to specified pressure
  • Reassemble with cleaned springs and bearing spacers with new o-rings
  • Reset customer damper and spring preload setting

Nitron's position on rebuild intervals is as follows:

Nitron shocks have been designed and built to provide many years of exceptional performance, however it is recommended that they are serviced by a Nitron approved service centre according to the individual schedule received with the shock. It is recommended that every 12,000 – 18,000 miles (or 10-15 hours race/track use) the shocks are assessed and serviced.
Dampers are rebuilt and serviced to maintain their optimum ‘as new’ performance. As the piston rod assembly moves within the body-tube, tiny atmospheric particles and road debris ingress past the rod seals. This is of course an extremely slow process. Over many miles of driving/riding and millions of damper shaft movements, the oil is subjected to increasing levels of foreign particles. This invasion blackens the damping fluid/oil in just the same way that the oil in your engine turns black over time. This degradation hinders the flow of the oil through the various ports and can significantly reduce the overall damping efficiency. The viscosity of the oil is also likely to have changed and can run ‘thin’ in tired dampers producing adverse handling characteristics.

In addition rebuilding shocks, we can also upgrade them.  Converting Doubles into Triples is possible and well worth the upgrade cost.  Singles are best to leave as singles.  If you are interested in upgrading then it would be best to sell your Singles and buy a new set of Doubles or Triples.  Custom valving is also available and would require a simple phone call to discuss your specific needs.

We know that Nitrons are available on the used market.  If you buy a set, it may be in your best interest to get the shock dynoed to see if they are still in spec.  Give us a call and we can arrange to have the shocks tested.  Nitrons are a high performance item that require maintenance to keep their performance at peak levels.  We are here to ensure that you can enjoy the fast lap times that you earned when you first bolted on your Nitrons!  Learn more about the costs: HERE

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mono Blog Entry#19 : Various

It has been a flurry of activity over the holidays with the Mono build.  We've been tardy with an update and have the following pix for your review of our activity.
Tailights are installed and plugged in - though we still need to route the wires through the wing

Electrical kill & fire extinguisher switches were installed on left side panel.  Brake bias is on right side panel.

Adjusted the hood pin and installed front tow hook.  Battery is tucked away inside.

Heat shielding was added under the main body over exhaust system - right side.  Heat management is an area of focus.

Front lighting system was assembled and installed with CF & billet housings.  These look fantastic!

Heat grill made from expanded metal mesh is formed in a convex shape and finishes the body nicely.

Wilans harness were bolted in.  There are two positions for the shoulder belts based on width.

Motul fluids are used exclusively on the Mono and were filled.  We use the RBF600 brake/clutch fluid as well.
We just received the PC dongle so we can fire her up.  We are coordinating this momentous event with our partners at BAC - they will connect remotely and monitor along with us.  If I may quote Adamski,  "I love technology!"

Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 Ariel Atom Announcement from TMI.

TMI AutoTech, Inc. is pleased to announce the release of the 2013 Ariel Atom 3 incorporating numerous exciting changes and updates to the North American market for the already well developed and proven Atom 3 supercar.

The 2013 Ariel Atom 3 will provide newly offered standard features that will augment both function and performance.  In addition to new standard features TMI AutoTech, Inc. is excited to release new options that will continue enabling our customers to uniquely individualize building the vehicle of their dreams.

A high function digital dash that has been well proven within the popular Spec:RaceAtom race & track-day car has been adopted for full use within the Atom 3.  The Atom 3 driving experience will be enhanced by a new built-in dead pedal and an anatomic steering wheel.  Multiple gear shift knobs are also being released to provide improved cockpit ergonomics and individuality.

Looking from the outside - the 2013 Ariel Atom 3 will offer new standard color choices for both the chassis and body panels while also providing a subtle bonnet design change that will visually set it apart from previous Ariel Atom 3s.
Function and aesthetics are not the only changes for 2013.  Performance is always a priority when referring to any Ariel Atom 3 and we haven’t overlooked that important aspect of the new car.  The Honda 2.4L engine will once again be offered providing smooth, reliable power with outstanding torque output in standard naturally aspirated form.  A soon to be released supercharger option for this engine is now being developed and tested by TMI AutoTech that will be offered to Ariel Atom 3 buyers seeking maximum performance.  In addition to a significant horsepower increase, the 2.4L supercharger option also provides the highest torque rating to date for any Ariel Atom 3; 20 ft/lbs more than the previously used 2.0L supercharged engine option.

The 2013 Ariel Atom 3 chassis will incorporate additional chassis bracing and stiffness to enhance the car’s platform as well as the function and effectiveness of its push rod suspension system.  Rounding out the performance changes are the use of 4-piston brake calipers on all corners of the vehicle as standard equipment.  Bespoke lightweight magnesium wheels are once again an available option – a great compliment to the above chassis and braking upgrades.

The 2013 Ariel Atom 3 is the next evolution of the already iconic Ariel Atom supercar.  “Building on our experience over the past 5 years as a manufacturer of this exciting vehicle has allowed us to listen to clients, while at the same time put ideas to the test immediately on our backyard test track- Virginia International Raceway” explains Mark Swain – V.P. TMI AutoTech, Inc. “The 2013 Ariel Atom 3 is a product that comes from evolution.....from our clients, as well as a company built by driving enthusiasts”

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Recap and 2013 Projections

2012 wound down very quickly, and what a year it has been!  We introduced a couple of dozen new products, set a Lotus track record at Buttonwillow, opened a race shop at Spring Mountain, sold more Atoms than ever before and sold through our first years allocation of BAC Monos.  The economy has continued to challenge us but we’ve kept our heads down and maintained our focus on high quality products and service.  2013 is forecast to be a stronger year for us as we continue to expand our offerings.  Light-weight sportscars remain our focus and here is what we have in store for 2013.

Lotus.  We are loyal and devoted to this brand as we feel their cars strike the best overall balance for a sportscar.  They are an absolute blast to drive on the road or track.  I feel the Elise/Exige variants are destined to be iconic cars that will be coveted for years to come – especially if the increasing resale values are any indication!  Lotus nailed the fundamentals with this platform.  We will continue to hone and polish these superb machines with new offerings. 

We continue to delve deeper into parts that keep these cars running – stock OE replacement as well as upgrades.  Finding suitable replacement parts for the consumables on this platform continues to be a priority for us.  Additionally we will continue to refine our own parts as needed – our proven gPAN2 was nicely enhanced in 2012 and is now the gPAN3.  As we find ways to continuously improve our parts, we will implement the changes that make the most sense.  
We had a successful year running our Art Car (’04/'05 Elise) piloted by Glen Irani in Lotus Cup.  Glen is an amazing driver and set the Lotus track record at Buttonwillow with a 1min53s lap in our car.  See video below.  Parts like our raceUPRIGHTS, drySUMPraceRACK allowed us to compete with 211s and sometimes beat them.  The Lotus Cup series had a change in management late in the season that caused some confusion, but is now well prepared for 2013.  The Spec Elise class is growing and promises to be the most competitive class with well over a dozen cars queuing up for 2013.  We will be back on board as an active sponsor of this series.

The biggest black cloud that faces the Lotus community is the number of blown engines and transmissions.  We continue to work hard to develop solutions that can make the car more reliable with track use.  We want customers to have fun with these cars and recognize that limits exist and when breached, will result in broken cars and frustration.  Simplify and add lightness could not be a more fitting slogan...I continue to believe that the simplest cars remain the most reliable.

Fabrication and testing of our new subframe will begin in 2013.  We think this will give our clients some interesting powertrain options moving forward.  We have several other items that we are testing including spherical bearings and reinforced shifter housings.  Our success with new transmission solutions in 2012 fell short.  We've not given up and have a few ideas that we will continue to work on.

Ariel.  We sold a brace of new Atoms this year and a couple of used ones as well.  It was a our best year yet.  The Spec:Race Atom (SRA) is a cool race version that runs fast and reliably.  TMI have run a very successful second season at ViR with the SRAs.   We have two race weekends scheduled in Feb & March and have 8-10 SRAs getting shipped from VA to our race at Spring Mountain.  We hope to have over 20 Atoms (SRA, Atom2 & Atom3) at each weekend.  Honda Racing are also expected to participate these weekends and bring along their staff and some race cars for us to drool over. 

TMI are introducing a new 2013 Atom3 that will have several enhancements over the 2012 cars.  A supercharged version is also coming that promises significant torque increase over the supercharged K20 powered cars.  I had a sneak peek of the dyno charts - this kit will be awesome!  

BAC.  We sold through our 2012 allocation of the exciting Mono.  We know that once the NorthAmerican sportscar community sees this car, they will go nuts.  The car is shockingly fast, utterly gorgeous and enviably rare.  This car is easily one of my all time favorite cars - just under the F1.   I predict our 2013 allocation will go quickly once we unveil this British beauty.

We have been building our first car and blogging about it.  Sector111 are writing the assembly manual as we fully assemble this car – we import it as a complete knock-down kit (CKD).   It has taken us longer to build this first car than we had expected, but we expect subsequent cars will go much quicker.  We have spent significant resource to scale this up and expect this effort to make us an even better lightweight sports car specialist.

Other Cars.  Alfa are returning with the 4C in late 2013 or 2014.  We've been anxiously awaiting this car since it was announced that they were building it with the US market in mind.  I honestly feel this car will be a proper Exige replacement as the specs make it a close competitor.  We will likely begin part development for the Jag F-type and add it to our Kappasphere division.  It looks like a sweet machine!

Commitment.   We will continue to support the Clubs, Forums and Race Series.  From the start, we have been committed to these organizations as they truly support our interests in these crazy lil cars.  Sector111 are fully committed to light sportscars and especially Lotus.  Recent diversification of our attention/resource has turned out to be a smart decision as Lotus has really been on a roller coaster ride.  We think that other light cars are coming and we will apply all our knowledge to improving or refining them.  I hope that Lotus finds its way again as I am a believer in their brand.  Ultimately we are dedicated to supporting you and will do our level best.

Free shipping has just recently been implemented on our website.  We know shipping costs are a concern and have been looking at ways to make it a non issue when you are deciding on parts.  Fedex/UPS/etc all raise their rates like clockwork each year - our shipping tables are directly connected to theirs.  We don't ship enough volume to get the lowest rates but are doing our best to keep the costs as low as possible.  For those of you who are placing sizable orders, we are offering you this additional savings.

I'm glad to report a few of you Pixies fans caught our joke...

I'm always humbled by the visits we receive from clients around the world.  Recently, we had clients stop into our Temecula office from Australia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Japan, England and more.  The Internet has really made connecting like-minded folk a relative breeze.  It is a pleasure to meet you and please don't hesitate to call or email me if you would like to stop in.

Thank you!  Again I would like to thank all of our customers.  Your continued support has allowed us to keep developing solutions, even in a troubled economy.  Without you, Sector111 could not continue.  I believe these niche vehicles are the coolest things on the planet and with your help, we will remained focused on them.

Happy New Year and a healthy and prosperous 2013 for us all!