Honda Hybrid continues ..
to win in rally championshipThe Lancaster-based Oaktec Honda Hybrid rally car won class A of the Formula 100 Rally Championship on the Roskirk stages last weekend in the hands of Paul Andrews and Bill Meeson, continuing its form from the previous two years. Oaktec’s Hybrids for Motorsport project receives support from the Government-sponsored EEMS programme, Energy Efficient Motorsport. The unique petrol-electric Insight hybrid rally car is now in its fourth year of competitive motorsport and recorded its eighth class win from the last 10 rallies finishing 27th overall in field of 51 cars of all classes. The Roskirk was the opening event for what promises to be a busy year for the team. Oaktec has plans to compete both in the UK and overseas as it continues its programme of development of hybrid energy recovery technologies both for motorsport and other specialist applications.The Oaktec Honda Hybrids employ modified hybrid energy recovery systems and Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) to give class-winning performance allied to exceptional fuel efficiency. In its last competitive outing in 2008, the EEMS-supported Honda Insight rally car entered a fuel economy trial, and at 82 miles per gallon it easily recorded the best result of any car in the event.Oaktec driver and team boss Paul Andrews comments, ‘The modifications we have made to the hybrid energy recovery system both increase performance and fuel efficiency at the same time. It is really a case of having your cake and eating it! The more waste energy we claw back, the more we can use to make the car faster or to deploy to the electric drive to save fuel. This car just keeps getting better and the CVT transmission makes it fantastic to drive!’Team director and co-driver Bill Meeson added, ‘2008 was a great year for us but we think this year could be even better. Despite the credit crunch, there is a lot happening at the sharp-end of low carbon vehicle development. We have a good support package, both technical and financial and we will be releasing full details soon.‘Within a few weeks, the new Formula 1 racing season begins, with hybrid energy recovery systems (known as KERS) in use for the first time. Oaktec has been using this technology in motorsport for four years now and from our experience it has huge potential benefits. Will the F1 teams get it right first time? We’ll have to wait and see!’The next planned rally for the Oaktec Honda Civic and Insight hybrids is the Lee Holland Stages at Anglesey on April 26th.