Auto Service World
News   June 28, 2006   by Auto Service World

Belts Pass Ultimate Endurance Test

The 24 Hours of Le Mans, the ultimate test of endurance racing, was won by the diesel powered Audi R10. That much is known. What is less known, is how that diesel power generates stresses far in excess of a traditional gasoline spark ignition engine, including the stress on drive belts.
A special Goodyear Gatorback Poly-V belt, developed and built by EP associates from Lincoln, Neb., and Kranj, Slovenia, helped the new Audi to become the first diesel car to win one of the most grueling car races in the world, according to Dave Maguire, EP’s director of research and development.
The 650-horsepower diesel engine package, driven by Frank Biela and Marco Werner of Germany and Emanuele Pirro of Italy, proved to be the fastest and most fuel-efficient engine at the track.
Mike Gregg, chief engineer for power transmission belts at Lincoln, said the Gatorback Poly-V drives the racecar engine alternator and is the only belt on the car.
“The belt is subjected to torsional vibration, which naturally occurs on a diesel engine from the rapid accelerating and decelerating pulses of rotating pulleys,” said Gregg.
He said several EP competitors’ belts failed the Audi tests that recreate harsh endurance race conditions. “However, EP took what we’ve learned from NASCAR and provided Audi with a five-rib Poly-V belt construction that not only stands up to their rigorous tests, but performs for the entire race,” he said.
More than 235,000 spectators saw the Gatorback-equipped Audi set a record number of laps driven between fuel stops and establish a new distance record of 380 laps.
“We’re proud to be a part of this milestone in racing that proves diesel-powered engines and Gatorback belts are competitive in endurance and fuel consumption under harsh race conditions,” said Maguire.
He said the Audi will always be the first diesel to ever win the Le Mans, and “Gatorback belts can always be associated with the claim.”
The Gatorback Poly-V equipped Audi R10 TDI also won the 12 Hours of Sebring in March.

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