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The Benefits of Carbon-Kevlar Lightweight and Crestapol 1250LV in Rally Cars

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Former world rally champion Petter Solberg competed in 2013 in the European Championship with a 600-horsepower car, the Citroën DS3, this car was equipped with lightweight carbon-Kevlar® parts. The new composite parts were designed and manufactured by Galway Carbon, a specialist in composite materials at Motorsport. Each of the eleven composite of the body panels were created by vacuum infusion using Crestapol® 1260high performance acrylic resin from Scott Bader, reinforced with carbon fiber and aramid fabrics. To further reduce weight, a foam core was also used in the bonnet.

The original pressed steel sheet panels, such as driver's door, bonnet and rear, were replaced by carbon-Kevlar composite panels, reducing the weight of the parts by 82% to 89%. There were a number of glass-reinforced plastic parts originally mounted on the Citroën DS3 rally version which were also replaced by new parts made with Crestapol and carbon-kevlar, which are significantly stiffer, stronger and more than 50% lighter than original parts.

The largest carbon-Kevlar panel fabricated was the front bumper that Galway Carbon managed to redesign to a weight of just 2,17 kg. Altogether, the eleven new body parts composed of carbon and Kevlar, reduced the original traction weight of 1200kg of the DS3 by more than 56kg. This is very important since a triumph can be decided for a matter of a few thousandths of a second, so for Petter Solberg, every kilogram counted.

Crestapol® 1260 acrylic resin was selected by Galway Carbon instead of infusion epoxy resins due to a combination of faster processability, reliable application performance in use and lower costs. The mechanical performance of the resin is exceptional, combining the strength and durability needed to reliably handle the tough conditions of rally racing. From the processing side, it is extremely good for vacuum infusion, with very fast cycle times at room temperature, well ahead of any comparable epoxy resin, and surface finish is excellent. The final reason is that Crestapol has proven to be more cost effective than any epoxy resin they had used since it is not necessary to make any oven curing.

Scott Bader's Crestapol® 1260 is a real alternative to prepreg epoxy resin systems for a variety of high-performance applications in markets such as automotive, transportation, wind and marine power where everyone has a need for lightweight composite solutions.

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