21 January 2014
21 January 2014
Two Suzuki S1600 rally cars with custom designed light-weight composite body kits secured ‘Winner’ and ‘Runner up’ positions in the 2013 Spanish Rally Championship.
In preparation for the 2013 rally season, the Suzuki-Repsol team set Karbonius Composites, Lestado, Spain the challenge of redesigning the body kit for their S1600 cars in line with FIA rules to further reduce weight and improve impact resistance, particularly for the front bumper.
The companies state the re-engineered composite body panels were supplied to the Suzuki-Repsol team by Karbonius Composites, a Spanish fabricator. Karbonius says a 55% weight reduction was achieved by switching the production process to vacuum bagging and fabricating new front and rear bumpers, the four inner wing sections, two mirrors, and the front fog light housings using Crestapol 1250LV high performance acrylic resin reinforced with Aramid and Silionne glass fibre fabrics.
Karbonius explains a new set of Suzuki S1600 body panels were vacuum bag infused using a new, much tougher laminate design. This new laminate design comprised of Crestapol 1250LV with two layers of twill Aramid fibre fabric (200 g/m2) and one layer of Silionne glass fabric (245 g/m2).
According to Karbonius the total weight of the new Aramid-glass Crestapol 1250LV body panel kit was only 10.8 kg, a reduction of 13.2kg (55%) from the 24kg weight of the original VE Silionne glass body panels. The company also claims that there were significantly improved impact properties of the body panels due to a combination of the much tougher Crestapol 1250LV resin and the Aramid fibres.
David Segade commented: “It is amazing what these vacuum infused parts made with Crestapol 1250LV resin can withstand. The glass fibre epoxy resin front bumper only lasted one race. I am very impressed with the significantly lower weight and improved toughness of these Aramid-glass fibre Crestapol body panels, as is the Suzuki-Repsol team. When compared with the epoxy resin, we reduced our overall production time by more than six hours. This is because Crestapol 1250LV resin, in addition to being easy to infuse, cures at room temperature and so can be de-moulded in only few hours. When we manufactured body panels with epoxy resin, the parts typically needed to be post cured at a minimum of 65 ºC for up to 12 hours. For Motorsport body panel applications, I personally think Crestapol 1250LV is probably the best product currently available on the market. It is certainly the best resin for high performance FRP parts that I have used.”
Photo provided by Scott Bader