HONDA SUPER GT 300/500
ERS CASE STUDY
FIRST HYBRID SYSTEM CHAMPIONSHIP WIN OUTSIDE OF FORMULA 1
Zytek was fortunate to be nominated by Honda to develop an energy recovery system which would be used in Super GT racing for many years.
Super GT Racing Introduction
Super GT racing in Japan is very popular. Regular race day crowds number 50,000 and special events can exceed 100,000.
Split between two major classes for predominantly privateers and factory cars, the racing is very competitive, closely fought, and exciting.
Historically, the series has focussed on gasoline powertrain cars, using regulations to ensure parity between the entrants. However, in order to promote use of new technology, the rules do permit the design and implementation of hybrid systems to enhance performance. The tie in with roadcar technology means that such systems gain a lot of exposure to potential future customers.
Zytek Nominated By Honda
In order that Honda created a platform on which to promote hybrid technology, in 2010 they commenced with activities to create an ERS application that would be small, light, efficient, and enable them to compete within the very evenly matched SuperGT racing series.
Zytek was fortunate to be nominated by Honda to develop the system which would be used in GT racing for many years.
Retrofit Hybrid System
The ERS system was developed to be easily fitted to existing motorsport gearboxes, to allow the benefits of the system to be easily quantified on existing platforms.
The first system was developed for use on a test platform, the very successful Honda HSV, featuring
- An electric machine mounted on the side of the gearbox
- Battery plus electronics in the cabin
This gave the best balance of serviceability, mass and centre of gravity distribution. The system was tested in competitive environments under race conditions and was shown to offer either a lap-time benefit, or a fuel saving advantage.
The Zytek ERS system was fitted to a factory Super GT300 CRZ and ran for the last five races finishing with a best result of third.
2013 – First hybrid system championship win outside of Formula 1
In 2013, the factory developments continued, and this was reflected in the results achieved. Entered for a full season for the first time, the performance of the car and the hybrid system were apparent from the first race. Finishing second at Okayama, the team built on this and won the championship at the final race at the Fuji Speedway.
This result was more notable, as this represented the first time a battery hybrid system had won a championship anywhere other than in Formula 1.
2014 / 2015 – Series Power Restrictions Regulations
For the following season, the hybrid effort was swapped over to the SGT500 platform, where a revised system now with a peak power of 60kW was installed.
The energy recovery system was utilised on five cars in total, running throughout the season. Unfortunately for the hybrid cars, electrical system performance was limited just prior to the season starting, negating the positive effects that such a system could have on vehicle performance.
Despite this, the system was still used, running on all five cars throughout the season.
For the next year, the system was removed due to there being no performance advantage with the newly introduced system power restrictions.