Hybrid VW Lupo Enters 12 Hours at Spa Race
The highlight of the Belgian Touring Car Series is undoubtedly the 12 Hours of Spa. Organised by the PRC Group and being held on the 9th June, it offers up a splendid mix of Silhouettes, more traditional Touring cars and a host of others! The ideal opportunity for Jose Close, a reputable driver always on the look out for new technologies and Ernst Breuer, the man behind the BTD (Breuer Technical Development) company, to come up with and enter a quite novel car for Belgium: a small VW Lupo of the hybrid version, powered at the same time by a thermic heat engine - a diesel unit run on bio-diesel - and the other one; electric!
In comparison with other "racing" projects in the field of hybrid vehicles, the originality of the Breuer/Close approach lies in the workings of the two engines. "Only the electric engine will be used when entering and leaving the pitlane ", Jose Close commented, "and this will also be the case when the car is running at a reduced speed, during a neutralisation, behind the Safety Car. With the electric power unit on its own it is in fact possible to reach 160 km/h downhill, and 80 km/h when climbing. We have tests to back this up. However when the car is in racing mode the electric engine will generate additional power, and this especially in the uphill part of the circuit. In fact we go from 65 to 90 bhp approximately. The electric unit acts as a power back-up, and also helps to reduce the fuel consumption. Enough to let drivers do 3 hour driving stints ."
This rather special VW Lupo, definitely the Tom Thumb of these 12 Hours, was not built with racing in mind "In fact this hybrid Lupo has been around since 2003", Ernst Breuer explains. "With the backing of the Walloon Region and the support of the University of Liège, The aim was to prove that a company such as BTD could produce a vehicle powered by an engine of the future. At that time, the Lupo diesel was the car with the lowest fuel consumption. Once fitted with a hybrid unit the consumption figures fell even lower." This Lupo was one of the many projects being handled by Breuer Technical Development for road going vehicles, and not for racing. "It is true that our activities in the field of competition, be it peripherals for the Toyota F1 engines, or units for the Lamborghini Murcielago running in GT, are pretty well known ", Ernst continued."But to be honest for us racing only represents 20% of our activities, as compared to the 80% invested in research and development for the automotive industry as a whole. This ranges from powerful engines for the FIA GT through to the development of hybrid units, such as this small VW Lupo."
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