Vehicle performance and reliability are essential for the success of OEM spec-series motorsports programmes. These are also aptly known as one-make series as all participants compete in identical vehicles meaning that the onus is on the skill of the drivers and their technical teams to get that competitive edge out on the track while promoting the capabilities of some of the world’s most capable sports cars.
The Porsche Carrera Cup is one of the most prestigious spec-series GT motorsports championships. It is competed with Porsche 911 GT3 cup cars which are specifically designed with one-make racing in mind. Teams race across the world in regional championships which culminate in the global Supercup championship.
Porsche and Ricardo: engineering collaboration for spec-series success
These single-make motorsports programmes require collaboration with partners who can guarantee consistency and quality of product to ensure an even playing field for competitors.
When Porsche made the decision to outsource the supply of the transmission for their cup series in 2013, Ricardo was the natural choice to realise their design for consistency and quality. During this time, Ricardo began supplying the transmission for the new 991 GT3 Cup variant and managed the transition over from the previous 997 variant.
To support the manufacture of the model, Ricardo designed a dedicated cell and assembly line which supplies over 250 transmissions a year to the main production line at Porsche Zuffenhausen in Germany.
Ricardo deployed a multi-tasking approach to production to manage the relatively high volumes required for production. This approach reduced set-ups and manual interventions to maximise efficiency on the line, whilst achieving the repeatability and consistency required to meet Porsche’s exacting quality standards. These efficiencies also enable Ricardo to deliver product to dovetail with the series production of the 911 road car.
As well as manufacture and assembly, Ricardo manage end of line testing for the transmission and supply spares for the spec-series.
Ricardo and Porsche also frequently engage in engineering collaboration to improve performance and optimise costs for this vitally important motorsport programme. Together, we have supported variants of the transmission, including for the Porsche 911 RSR and the Porsche 911 GT3 R. The programme was also recently extended to cover the 992 in 2021.
Craig Cunningham, Operations Director at Ricardo’s Midlands Technical Centre looks back fondly on the Porsche cup programme to date:
“The Ricardo team has a great sense of pride in having worked with Porsche on this prestigious motorsport championship for almost 10 years. It is truly a team effort and our staff at the Midlands Technical Centre all pull together to make this programme a success. From purchasing of components, to machining the high specification parts, to assembling and testing the transmissions. We are very proud of what we have achieved so far for Porsche Motorsport.”
Martin Starkey, Managing Director of Ricardo’s Performance Products segment comments:
“I’m particularly proud of what Ricardo has achieved in the many years that we have been delivering transmission supply to Porsche. The Porsche Cup programme showcases the very best of our extensive capabilities. From maintaining a global sub-supply chain of key materials and components right through to in-house precision manufacture and assembly to the highest automotive standards. The Porsche Cup programme demands it all!”
In next month’s feature, we delve deeper into the world of GT3 customer racing as we explore the development of a transaxle which helped see this OEM’s customers to success at the Nürburgring 24hrs and the Spa 24 hrs.