POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – The corollaries that racing is always pushing the boundaries of technology and Dyson Racing never stands still meet this weekend at the American Le Mans Series VIR 240.
The defending series champions will be running a newly-developed Kinetic Energy Recovery System in the No. 16 Mazda-powered ModSpace/Thetford P1 entry at Virginia Int’l Raceway. The Flybrid Automotive Limited KERS system is based on a high-speed, lightweight flywheel that is incorporated into the car’s bell housing and stores braking energy for later use under acceleration.
“We have been researching and working on the KERS hybrid system with Flybrid since the end of last season,” said Chris Dyson, Vice President and Sporting Director. “We have done extensive dyno testing and have tested the system in the car. We had encouraging enough results and will be running it in the car this weekend at VIR and at the season-ending Petit Le Mans. We are in close contention for the championship, and as a race team, we are always looking to better our performance.”
“The ALMS is the leader in green racing and the perfect series to showcase this technology,” Dyson added. “The regulations are encouraging of regenerative technology and up until this point, there have been very few customer-friendly options. Flybrid was very interested in developing their product and linking up with a front-line organization. We were looking for the right partners for this kind of project and we when we found each other, it was a very natural fit from the beginning.”
The Kinetic Energy Recovery System used in the Dyson P1 car is the first of its kind to race outside of Europe. Developed specifically for this application by UK based Flybrid Automotive, the KERS uses a small high speed rotating flywheel to store otherwise wasted braking energy and return it to the wheels to assist the car’s next acceleration.
The steel and carbon fiber energy storage flywheel weighs just 11 lbs. (5kg) and can rotate at up to 60,000 RPM inside an evacuated chamber to allow storage of up to 134 BHP (100 kW) for up to five seconds during each braking maneuver.
Transmission of power to and from the energy storage flywheel is managed by a three speed clutch-based transmission developed and manufactured by Flybrid Automotive. This transmission is fitted inside the gearbox casing of the car and is connected to an engine speed shaft in the vehicle’s gearbox.
Energy storage and release is automatically controlled by an onboard computerized hydraulic system that does not require any special driver inputs. Energy is stored every time the car brakes and released again every time the car accelerates back up to speed, boosting acceleration without burning any additional fuel.
This performance boost is slightly offset by the additional weight of the system which with all its accessories and fluids weighs around 88 lbs. (40kg).
Commenting on the collaboration with Dyson Racing, Flybrid Managing Director Jon Hilton said, “We are delighted to have been selected as KERS supplier by the reigning ALMS champions and look forward to a long and successful relationship with this highly professional team. It is clear that energy management is going to play a significant role in the future of endurance racing and both Flybrid and Dyson Racing are now well positioned to make the most of the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.”
“We are very excited about this new technology,” added Rob Dyson, Team Principal. “This fits in perfectly with the innovation that IMSA and the ALMS have encouraged, and Dyson Racing has always been interested in new technology. We are hot rodders at heart, always looking to go faster. Our competition has been pushing us hard all year, and while it is early days for the KERS, we hope that we can develop it to help us win another title.”