Home' Australian Automotive Aftermarket Magazine : Australian Automotive Aftermarket e-Zine - Feb 16 Contents COVER FEATURE
Schaeffler’s history on the world’s race tracks now
spans several decades, putting its precision
products to the test in extreme conditions, and
making it possible for the company to play an
active part in shaping the future of the automobile.
The company’s commitment to motorsport has
been a substantial element of its brand strategy
for many years and is anchored in the company’s
genes in Herzogenaurach, Germany as well as
around the globe where Schaeffler’s more than
80,000 employees are active.
Examples of the company’s products being put to
the test can be traced back to Dr Charles G.
Percival’s 1910 epic journey from Mexico to
Alaska. Not only did the driver have to contend
with rudimentary unmade roads throughout the
80,000 kilometre trip in the 50-hp Abbott Detroit
Bulldog with many water passages, large potholes
and deep mud, but also temperatures ranging from
desert heat to freezing cold.
Dr Percival was so thrilled by the reliability of the
FAG bearings that at the end of the trip he wrote
to the company’s management enthusing about
the ‘marvellous way’ in which the bearings resisted
all adversities encountered by his vehicle.
It was in the inaugural event of the famous Indy
500 of 1911 that a Schaeffler brand notched up
its first international motorsports success. Racing
a car he built himself, nicknamed the ‘Marmon
Wasp’ due to its yellow and black paintwork, Ray
Harroun was the first winner in a car equipped with
The invention of the cage guided INA needle roller
bearing by the Schaeffler brothers at the end of
the forties was a game changing innovation
reducing friction and providing stability. Today it is
the prerequisite for making many automotive
transmissions fit for freeway driving.
One of Schaeffler’s customers was Porsche and in
1965 Schaeffler founded the clutch manufacturer
LuK, launching the first diaphragm clutch on the
market in the legendary Porsche 911. Today every
third car around the globe is equipped with a
clutch of the LuK brand.
Le Mans 24 Hour and the World Endurance
1970 saw the Porsche evolving from a class win to
an overall winner at Le Mans. The 12 cylinder
engine of the successful 917 used barrel tappets
of Schaeffler’s INA brand providing further
evidence that the race track served as a valuable
The Le Mans 24 Hour event is today regarded as
the world’s most important endurance race. In this
tradition-steeped classic motorsport event ‘man
and machine’ constantly operate to the limit,
delivering maximum performance without a break.
“Consistency plays a major role,” Schaeffler CTO,
Professor Peter Gutzmer, said. “The cars cover a
distance of some 5,000 kilometres at Le Mans in
24 hours, which roughly equates to the racing
distance of a Formula One full season. It’s an
extreme challenge and therefore perfectly fits the
quality that Schaeffler defines for its production
technologies as well.
“Even though many of our components are small,
they play a crucial part in determining success or
failure. Today we offer more than 15,000 variants
of our needle roller bearings and these are used in
automobile, trucks, motorcycles, construction and
agricultural equipment. Even in this modern day
and age, modern automotive transmissions would
hardly be conceivable without needle roller
bearing,” Prof Gutzmer said.
Schaeffler’s continuing involvement in motorsport
is wide and varied. Driving the green and yellow
Schaeffler Audi RS 5 DTM (German touring car
series), Mike Rockenfeller secured the title in the
most popular international touring car series in
2013, taking the third place the following year.
The FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) is
regarded as a technological pioneer in global
motorsports. From the 2014 season onwards, the
philosophy of the competition has changed.
Instead of the most powerful engine it is now the
most efficient race car that will win and Schaeffler
is very much part of the program as this is part of
its own DNA.
The collaboration between the Stuttgart-based
OEM company and Schaeffler dates back as far as
the first Porsche in 1948 and this has been
followed on by six decades of automotive progress.
Today the relevant components including
electromechanical camshaft adjusters and rolling
stabilisers have evolved into standard products
with progress never ceasing along the road from
the Porsche 356 to the Cayenne Hybrid. The
Porsche 919 Hybrid has been specifically
developed for the new regulations and is the most
complex race car that Porsche has ever developed
to take full advantage of race organisers incentives
for reducing waste energy. Assisted by advanced
energy recuperation systems the 919 features a
combination of kinetic energy recovery at the front
axle plus a conversion of thermal energy at the rear
end of the vehicle.
This futuristic engineering concept was
successfully put through its paces in the WEC. On
the way to clinching its first victory, the Porsche
919 Hybrid car covered 23,232 kilometres in
racing, producing and developing nearly 3,592
kilowatt hours of electrical energy in the process.
It has been calculated that this is enough energy
to cover the requirements of an average German
household for more than a year. Porsche’s CEO
Matthias Müller commented that this is absolutely
the right decision in the light of mobility for
tomorrow and the involvement in a highly
challenging motorsports program such as this was
a direct investment in the development of future
road-going sports cars.
Racing the Porsche 919 Hybrid, Australian
motorsport hero Mark Webber is set on satisfying
his hunger for further successes in the Le Mans
24 hour race as the World Endurance
Championship (WEC) enters a new technology era.
Formula E full electric racing cars revolutionised
motorsports in 2014 and Schaeffler has been
involved from day one in the development of this
latest technology. In its inaugural season the grid
was made up of just 10 teams with Schaeffler ABT
How Schaeffler’s motorsport involvement has benefited the industry
AAAM FEB 2016 TRADE - EZINE:AM MAGAZINE SHELL 16/2/16 10:39 AM Page 20
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