The ability to dramatically lower underbonnet and cockpit temperatures, as well as prevent damage to the surrounding bodywork has led Le Mans Series participant JMW Motorsport to use ThermoHold, a ceramic thermal barrier coating technology from Zircotec. By lowering temperatures in the Ferrari 458 GTE's cockpit, the car's power-consuming air conditioning system is needed far less frequently. Minimizing this increases the car's performance whilst still keeping the driver and engine bay cool.
"Regulations specify the cockpit must be kept below 32°C during the races," says Zircotec's Sales Director Peter Whyman. "Teams have to use air conditioning systems that draw power from the engine. By using our coating we lower engine compartment temperatures and minimize heat soak into the cockpit. It's a win-win situation."
Renowned for its beautifully presented cars, JMW Motorsport searched for a long lasting solution that would prevent surrounding bodywork and paint from peeling or discoloration. "The collectors run very close to the chassis and bodywork," said Davey Nichols from Team JMW Motorsport. "By coating the manifolds we have eliminated all the damage to the painted components and can maintain the pristine finish."
The team is now working with Zircotec to look at other areas of the car where the effective management of heat could offer performance, reliability or durability gains. "Coating the composite fuel cell is something we could offer to protect it from heat and lower the fuel temperature inside," said Whyman. "In addition our ZircoFlex foil offers a lighter alternative flexible foil for cockpit bulkhead. Working together we aim to find other effective ways to manage heat and improve performance of the car and driver."