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Clutch Development … circa 2001

One of the biggest revolutions in the design of rally cars is in equipment which is hardly ever used – the clutch! The more that teams try to avoid using clutches, the more important they seem to become…

The opportunities to take full advantage of these developments in rally car clutch design have only really come about with the use of electronics gearshift systems in the last two years, and also, in the case of Ford, Peugeot and Hyundai with the design of the longitudinal Xtrac transmission unit. 

The engineers at Sachs Race Engineering, active in world championship rallying with Ford, explained some of the curiosities about a part of a car which few people ever think about, let alone actually see, and in competition a part of the car that is only operating for a relatively few seconds for every event. It is easy to forget just how critical it is!

The revolution in clutches has only really come about in the past five years. The one big change has been in the friction material used. Until recently this used to be sintered metal, now this has become carbon material.  

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Author

Martin Holmes