Structural prepregs, and a car body system from Advanced Composites Group Ltd (ACG) are being used by Donkervoort Automobielen to build its new D8 GT competition race car for the 5th Edition Dunlop 24H of Dubai, scheduled for mid-January 2010.
ACG’s VTM260 (Variable Temperature Moulding) Series, vacuum-only curing prepreg, and BPS240 Car Body Panel System are used extensively across the new 2010 race car. Continuous development of the chassis and bodywork finds ever more extensive application of ACG’s materials.
According to ACG, body parts, including the roof, mudguards and underbody panel, together with structural elements, including the rear chassis and the combined scuttle and windscreen framework, are all benefiting from a combination of improved stiffness and weight reduction.
The high surface quality of the prepreg moulded components minimises surface reworking and, in many cases, the parts do not require painting, further reducing the overall weight of the car. Manufacturers have noted that the exterior panels on both the race car and the road version of the D8, ACG’s BPS240 Body Panel System is proving so effective that it is basically paint-ready straight from the mould.
The production process has been streamlined as the company migrates away from the or safer and cost-effective processing route obtainable through the application of ACG prepreg. ACG’s technical personnel have assisted Donkervoort throughout, with onsite support and manufacturing advice flowing from its manufacturing division, Advanced Composite Engineering (ACE), and the Group’s Technology Centre.
In particular, the combined scuttle and windframework, which is manufactured in a single process using just vacuum for consolidation, wassubject of some discussion in the early days. Personnel from ACG’s R&D and Applied Technologies departments provided guidance on the tooling and manufacture of this complex shape using a vaireity of carbon, glass and Kevlar in both unidirectional and fabric formats. The result was a structure which passed strict FIA testing with flying colours.
Joop Donkervoort have been developing sports cars for 31 years and the 650kg all carbon chassis and body D8 GT is one of their highest achievements.
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