Monday, April 21, 2014

Project Dragon Update

We continue to work hard on Project Dragon.  This update will give you some insight on our progress.  The chassis is complete and basic assembly is beginning.  We should have the test mule in May to begin our tweaks and most importantly our validation testing.

Our chassis is now powdercoated and undergoing assembly at Palatov.  Our chassis is essentially the same as the D2 with the exception of two mounting tabs for the ECU and fusebox.  We are relocating those two items to the front of the car.  The main reason for this is to clean up the rear of the car by the bellcranks and shocks.  This area is fully exposed in our design and I wanted to keep it uncluttered.

Our LS3 engine arrived with a Camaro oil pan - this would not clear the chassis so a Corvette pan was ordered along with other parts to work with it.  GM has some error in their system as they state the eRod LS3 comes with a Corvette pan when in fact it comes with an unbaffled Camaro.  We will have to watch this issue for future builds.

The 997 GT2 transaxle that we have ordered came in and underwent a few mods to make it work in our application.  This 6spd gearbox required a new mount so Dennis has redesigned the subframe to fit.  The shift cables will also run underneath the car which will make for a tidy package.  Palatov are working on a sequential gearbox install that could become a future upgrade for our car.  Currently the 5spd will be the standard and this GT2 6spd will be the upgrade.

Palatov have worked with Bill Dailey to sort out a nice Dry Sump for the car.  This will be an option on our car as I think (testing will confirm) that the casual trackday owner will be OK with the stock oil pan.  We think for guys who want to run slicks and aero, this option will be a smart one.

The body design has been fully 3D surfaced which was a fun process.  Our final design is clean and remains very simple.  Our big picture idea is that we can offer different body kits for this chassis that the client can choose from.  To that end, we've ordered a D2 body that we will install on our chassis to show the flexibility.  Our body is very basic and will appeal to those clients looking for a hardcore and elemental design.  We are now working on the b-side attachments scheme and body splits.  This is almost complete and a critical part of developing a body that can actually be produced.

The image above gives you a feel for the car.  The rear will be exposed to help facilitate better cooling and heat evacuation.  Another key challenge for us is to validate that this body will allow the car to run cool when hammered on track.  We will first test the car without our body and then test again with.

Lights have been an interesting challenge.  We reviewed the FMVSS requirements in detail and meeting them is hard work!  We are working with Hella to source high quality parts.  We've sourced a number of sweet lights that we will begin testing.  The headlights will be a Bi-Xenon that should kick out some serious light.  Developing housings and enclosures is something that is also underway - and possibly the hardest part.

Joe Marko from Schroth USA came out to look at our chassis last month.  We reviewed the harness routing and discus proper interior headnet positioning.  He also had some good suggestions for rollbar padding.  He came away impressed with the car and may just be a buyer when we are done...

Our Cosworth dash arrived and we are sorting it out.  The form factor is perfect.  We know that it should be a cool solution but have to work out the wiring details.  Switches are the next task that need to be addressed.

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