Chevron Racing Cars is exhibiting the new Chevron GR8 in prototype chassis form at Autosport International. The new mid-engined competition coupe with Cosworth YD 2.0 litre power is being built for the one-make Chevron GR8 Challenge Series.
Organised by the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC), the Series will make its racing debut at Silverstone on 8/9 May 2010. Two Series rounds are to be staged at each of seven BARC race meetings. An additional round is a possibility if racing is resumed at Donington Park.
The final decision by Cheshire-based Chevron to exhibit at Autosport International was not taken until last week as the finishing touches were being put to the prototype chassis. The body is being shown in the form of design renderings generated from the CAD files produced for machining the body tooling model. Commencement of testing, initially without bodywork, is imminent.
With its Cosworth engine and Hewland gearbox, the Chevron GR8 follows a classic British formula.
The thinking behind the Chevron GR8's development has been to provide drivers with a high performance mid-engined coupe that delivers a satisfying season's sport without incurring inordinately high race preparation and repair costs. Barring accident damage, prepping expenditure for contesting the Chevron GR8 Challenge Series should be substantially less than the budget required to campaign a modified high-end road going GT over an equivalent racing mileage. Illustrating this, the 255-260 bhp Cosworth YD is built to run for 30 hours without requiring attention.
The design of the new car has a deliberate affinity with the classic Chevron B8 racing coupe, some 70 of which were built following its introduction in 1968. Priced £3,380 new, Chevron B8s - which typically make up a significant percentage of grids in international championship historic sports and GT racing - now change hands for £300,000.
The brief for the Chevron GR8's body design dictated that it should have cues alluding to its B8 predecessor. There are hints of the B8 in the windscreen shape, the long front overhang, the front intakes and the buttresses that clothe the rear diagonal tubing of the cage.
The objective of the styling is for the car to be instantly identifiable as a thoroughbred that a sporting owner will be delighted to garage alongside an Italian or German road going exotic. As the renderings released by Chevron generated from the body tooling CAD files indicate, the Chevron GR8's bodywork has a distinctive character, sculpted to convey purposefulness.
Engine : 2.0 L., 4-cylinder
Power: 255 hp
Torque: 174 ft-lbs
The final form of the tail section will be frozen after the prototype has undergone track and wind tunnel tuning.
The body is the work of international automotive design consultant Lester Allen, an ex-GM studio chief designer and former senior Royal College of Art vehicle design course tutor. Most of Lester Allen's work in recent years has been behind the scenes for Asian manufacturers. Previous British car designs for which he has been responsible include the Bentley Continental R and Aston Martin Virage, both for the one-time Heffernan Greenley consultancy.
Provision has been made in the bodywork design for window lifts and other refinements suited to customers who may wish to have a road-going car conforming to Low Volume Type Approval legislation.The Cosworth 2.0L YD in-line 4-cylinder power unit develops 255-260 bhp at 8200 rpm. Peak torque is 190 ft-lbs at 7500 rpm. Engines for the Chevron GR8 are being built alongside Cosworth's F1 production line.
The Chevron installation features a PiRQ4 engine control unit incorporating technologies derived from ECÚs used by winners of the FIA GT and World Rally Championship titles. The Cosworth electronics package includes a Pi Omega LCD panel display, providing crystal-clear readouts for the driver and seamless integration with the engine control unit data.
Power is transmitted through a Hewland JFR 5-speed sequential gearbox.
The Chevron GR8 is constructed around a centre section comprising a semi-monocoque aluminium sills and platform structure integrated with an MSA compliant roll cage in 50 mm diameter steel tube. Forward of the front bulkhead, a 50 mm and 25 mm box section steel spaceframe incorporates a removable nose box. The rear spaceframe is also in 50 mm and 25 mm box section steel. The sills make more effective use of material than might be the case with a tubular structure and are seen as a better solution to side impact protection.
The Chevron GR8's front suspension is based on an unequal length wishbone setup with an outboard Proflex spring damper unit. The rear suspension incorporates a parallel links and radius rods arrangement very similar to the B8. Whilst the concept may perhaps seem old fashioned, it is an effective method of feeding loads into the chassis. The track rod is not an exact a parallel link. It is angled, which allows considerable shortening of the rear chassis structure, contributing to reduced weight and better installation stiffness.
The braking system uses AP callipers, with 330 mm diameter by 28 mm wide discs at the front and 304 mm diameter by 28 mm discs at the rear. Steering is rack and pinion. All aeroquip is by Goodridge.
Reflecting modern aerodynamic practice, the Chevron GR8 has a front splitter, a rear diffuser and structural provision for a wing. The bodywork is being manufactured in GRP composite.
Two Chevron GR8 Challenge Series rounds will be run at each of the BARC meetings where the Series is in the programme and races will feature rolling starts. Entries are open to either one or two drivers. With a team of two, the idea is for each to contest one round. Accepting entries for two drivers creates obvious opportunities for sharing costs. As part of the support provided to participants, Chevron plans to have a pool car on hand as a spare should a competitor's own Chevron GR8 be unable to start a race for whatever reason.
The Chevron GR8 model name has aroused a certain amount of internet chatter. Chevron Racing's Helen Bashford-Malkie comments: 'In the wake of the announcement late last year that the Chevron GR8 project was under way, I guess the name was up for discussion amongst blogging community for the reason that few hard details had been released about the car.
'The inclusion of '8' pays homage to the B8, the project's inspiration. 'GR' stands for Grand Touring/Racing, but as GTR is used for a Nissan model, we omitted 'T'. We elected for 'GR' because it's got a bit of 'grrrr' combativeness about it. If some people choose to interpret 'GR8' as texting for great well, okay. The fact that it is also being used in the name of the racing Series was also a consideration.'Source - Chevron