Xtrac has supplied gearboxes for the legendary Le Mans 24-hour endurance race Xtrac, with 30 of the 56 cars entered for this weekend’s race featuring its state-of-the-art transmissions. It has also supplied other cars with high performance differentials and high precision steering racks.

“Le Mans exemplifies what the £6bn UK Motorsport Valley and the British passion for motor racing is all about and the tremendous asset and capability that we have in the UK for race car technology and advanced automotive engineering,” said Xtrac’s managing director, Peter Digby. “As with motorsport generally, not only is it great entertainment for race fans the world over, but technical lessons learnt from this race cross over and can be applied to the automotive mainstream, through our “Race to Road” initiative, helping to improve the efficiency of the next generation of road cars including electric and hybrid vehicles.”

Technical director, Adrian Moore, added: “Many race engineers consider the transmission to be one of the most critical components simply because of the prodigious amounts of power and torque produced by race engines and hybrid drives, which the gearbox has to handle over a wide speed range. It’s also one of the most complex parts of the vehicle and for a 24-hour endurance race requires high standards of design and manufacturing if it’s to survive the tremendous loads imposed on the driveline whenever the driver changes gear – and there are over 22,000 gearshifts throughout a typical Le Mans race.”

Digby and senior design engineer Keith Pattison will head up a major trackside support operation by Xtrac, assisted by chief designer Jon Marsh, business managers Adam Bach and Mark O’Brien and build technicians Andy Milburn and Ryan Bambrick.

A supplier to Le Mans since 1992, this year Xtrac is again supplying transmissions to the major competitors in the LMP1 class.  The LMP2 class, which is dominated by Lola and Oreca cars, will be racing with its P1059 and P626B transmissions.  In the GTE class Xtrac is supplying all four Corvettes with P529P gearboxes and both Aston Martin’s with its P600 gearbox. The company is also supplying some customers with differentials as well as steering racks and pinions.