Burning the midnight oil
The last few months have been very busy for all at Elemental. After over a year of testing and development of our XP1 car and the subsequent revisions and refinements to the baseline design of the Rp1, the project has dramatically moved forwards.
The whole team has been concentrating on the build of our first full pre-production level car, PP1, in anticipation for its debut on the hill at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed and also the subsequent work on the next two full production level cars, one of which will be our first customer car. Add in the work to get the full planning permission for our Factory approved as well as the final fine-tuning of both the mechanical and aero packages means that we have all been burning the midnight (more like the 2am) oil in order to get everything ready in time.
In the factory new storage shelves have been put up that were then quickly filled with racks of new components, tubs, body panels, diffusers, every kind of fastening and fitting imaginable and an array of custom welded or laser cut aluminium and steel details that make up the Rp1. With the PP1 tub set up and prepared for the assembly and the final designs of sub-frames, suspension, fuel tanks and so on were sent out for fabrication and returned to the factory. In late March with the arrival of the first full engine, gearbox and wiring harness, final assembly could begin in earnest.
The PP1 car started to take shape over April with the car going through its initial component pre-fit and check and then final assembly into a full running chassis. With the engine and gearbox fitted the car achieved initial power on at the end of April. ECU Expert Ryan was on hand at the factory to set up the basic engine mapping and then the car was tested on a rolling road and then the test track, again with Ryan on hand, to fine tune the custom maps and launch control.
Figures from the rolling road showed that Rp1 was giving a rather healthy 330Bhp maximum power output from the 2-litre Ford Eco-Boost powerplant. The first test of the Launch control, activated using the higher engine maps for race and track, worked perfectly reducing wheelspin and increasing rear end traction helping the test car to achieve a 0-60 time of 2.9s. As ever, our technical director John is certain that there is more to come and we expect these figures to improve as we continue to do the final development work on the car.
The revised tub, new front and rear sub-frames, suspension geometry, new shocks, uprights, rockers and brand new Alcon brakes all look the part and crucially help contribute to the low overall weight and increased stiffness, and improved dynamics of the chassis.
The Aero package, a highlight of the original XP1 car, has been further refined and optimised in CFD and the MIRA wind tunnel to improve both balance and overall downforce, particularly at the rear of the car.
Finally, the new lighter and more refined full carbon-fibre bodyshell has been given an eye catching paint job in a bright calypso blue that looks the part and compliments the exposed carbon tub to great effect.
All in all, the production level Rp1 is looking very good indeed and the initial tests of the car point to it being something really rather special. Roll on Goodwood.
Top of the Top 5 Goodwood festival of speed 2016